What should be done by all tourists, who have a rest in Cyprus.
Cyprus is an island that has enjoyed popularity as one of the best vacation destinations in the world for the past ten years. It is unique and amazing: forested mountains, rocky shores, sandy beaches – these landscapes captivate the imagination of tourists. However, many people ask themselves a question, what to do on the island and how to spend precious vacation days sensibly?
Well, of course, rest! And how to relax is a matter of taste… On the island of Aphrodite you can sunbathe on the pristine beaches, and you can devote time to active recreation. You can see the sights, and you can rest your soul in the silence of monastic cloisters. You can walk through the streets of old towns, and you can dance till dawn in Ayia Napa. You can go on a fascinating culinary journey through the restaurants and tavernas, or you can taste the unique wines in the cozy courtyards of rural wineries. Whatever you choose, excellent service and hospitality of the Cypriots will make your vacation unforgettable! I immediately stipulate that I’m not going to impose my opinion on anyone. As many people – as many opinions and tastes! But for those who have never been to Cyprus and are going to visit it, I think my information will help make the rest pleasant and unforgettable! So, a few things you must do on the island of castles, beaches and offshore:
Swim on the beaches of Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa is a small tourist town in the southeast of the island and one of the most popular resorts in Cyprus. The city has gained fame as the “second Ibiza” and “Cypriot Las Vegas” for its vibrant nightlife, many discos, restaurants, bars and cafes.
The main visitors of the resort are young people who prefer fun companies and noisy parties. It is also famous for its beaches, which are considered the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. White sand and crystal clear water – what more do you need for recreation? The most popular beach in Ayia Napa is Nissi Beach. It is located in a picturesque bay in the west of the city. Fans of diving can enjoy the spectacular coral reefs of the bay. The name of the resort means “the sacred valley”. Today Ayia Napa is a “holy” place for lovers of rest, entertainment and parties!
Get a license to drive a donkey.
A half-hour drive from Larnaca and Limassol is the Donkey Farm, where tourists have the opportunity to ride donkeys through the mountains. The lop-eared inhabitants have exceptionally loud names. Thus, the traveler gets a unique opportunity to ride Schumacher.
For those who want to learn how to ride a donkey and learn all the subtleties of driving this stubborn animal, there are special “driving courses”, consisting of theoretical part and directly test-drives (roads, mountain trails, rough terrain) with experienced instructors. And after successful completion of the course a special certificate – “donkey driving license” is issued.
Go to the tasting of “Kommandaria”.
Cyprus is a wine producing island, although the conditions for growing grapes here are not easy. The queen of local wines is Commandaria, the oldest wine in the world.
The technology of its production has not changed for centuries. The secret of the spicy, mild flavor, reminiscent of partly sweet sherry, lies in the fact that the grapes are harvested later than for ordinary wine, sun-dried, thus increasing the sugar content of the berries, and only then pressed under presses. The juice is infused in steel or clay vats. The Troodos Mountains are the homeland of Commandaria. On the slopes of Troodos two sorts of grapes grow: red Mavro and white Xinisteri, which give the wine its unique taste. There are more than 50 wineries scattered throughout the mountain valley, where you can go for wine tastings. The ideal place for this is Crassochoria. You can get here by car or bus, it is only 46km from Limassol. Here, by the way, in September, there is an annual wine festival.
To taste the meze
The location of Cyprus – at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa – is reflected in its cuisine. Olive oil and olives are in abundance, a variety of herbs, served fresh or used as seasonings, sauces of all colors and shades, grains and legumes, fish, meat and lamb.
The easiest way to get acquainted with the local dishes is to order meze. Then you are guaranteed to taste all the best and most unusual that the Cypriots have invented. There will be a white yogurt sauce “talaturi”, and pink “taramasalata” of fish caviar, and vegetable meatballs. And that’s not to mention the onion, souvlaki and kleftiko.
Cross the green line
Nicosia is the only capital in the world divided by two hostile nations. The city used to be divided by the Green Line right along the main street, but then the border was removed and now UN peacekeepers ensure order. Tourists have a great opportunity to walk around the city, which is trying to get along with two religions – Christianity and Islam.
Particular attention should be paid to the old town of Nicosia, which is two-thirds on the Greek side. By the way, the Turks call Nicosia in their own way – Lefkosha. Of course, also the city is interesting with many cultural monuments and attractions: it is worth to look at the monastery of St. Barnabas, go to the Kyrenia Gate, visit the mosque of Hayder Pasha.
Swim in the bay of Aphrodite
If you believe local legends, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite. According to myth, it was from the waves of Petra tou Romiou Bay that the goddess of beauty and love appeared on earth. It is believed that every man, who bathes in this bay, becomes a passionate lover, and a woman acquires unfading beauty. If a couple in love goes into the water of the cove, their union will not break up until death. To be honest, it is extremely uncomfortable to swim here – very strong wind and waves, cold sea and a stony entrance to the sea. It is much better to spend this time looking for pebbles. If you find a pebble in the shape of a heart, you’ll find a lot of love, and if you find a pebble with a hole, you’ll be rich. And if you don’t find any, you’re lucky, because you already have everything!
See the salt lake.
Salty Lake Aliki, which is located near the city of Larnaca on the southeast coast of Cyprus, is fascinating at any time of the year. In summer, the lake dries up and its area is covered with a salt crust, which is quite an unusual sight. And during the rainy season, from December to March, huge flocks of pink flamingos arrive here. Watching these graceful birds is a pleasure!
Explore the villages of Cyprus
Recently, the Cypriot government was concerned about the preservation of villages in the mountains and came up with a program for their preservation, assuming 50% of the cost. Thanks to this it was possible to restore the historical appearance of the villages and houses of many villages. At the same time an agritourism project was launched in which 57 villages were included. All this was done to restore traditional crafts, creating tourist routes. And although construction work is still going on in many villages, the locals are welcoming guests. The most famous are Omodos, Geroskipou, Kornos, Kakopetria and Lefkara. Each one is beautiful and unique in its own way!
See the “ghost town”
Cyprus is not only a happy tourist country. In 1974, a military conflict between Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus turned the world-famous resort of Varosha into a real ghost town: houses abandoned, hotels looted, and abandoned vehicles in the streets. Back in the early 1970s, the Varosha neighborhood in the city of Famagusta was a popular resort in the world, where the most famous people from around the world had a rest.
To this day, the quarter is closed to entry and fenced off. It is an ideal place for stalkers, but not safe: the perimeter of the city is guarded by the Turkish military and daredevils who break into the closed area face a fine of 500 €. However, you can look at the quarter from the neighboring territory or with binoculars from the nearby village of Derinya.
See the ancient city of Curion and its Greco-Roman amphitheatre
Kourion Archaeological Park is one of the most important archaeological sites of ancient Cyprus and one of the most visited historical sites. The park is located 15 km west of Limassol, on the flat top of a steep cliff, which also offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the sea and the surrounding countryside.
The ancient city of Kourion attracts many tourists with its amazing and interesting history, which dates back to the XII century B.C. Its well-preserved remains of ancient buildings and temples, mosaics, tall columns (some of which were brought by ships from Italy), arches, and other architectural structures. Particularly well preserved in ancient Curion is its amphitheater. Here in the summer months there are still shows of Greek tragedy.