Where else does 24-hour partying sit alongside ancient archaeological sites? Where else can you find inaccessible mountains and wide sandy beaches, full-on resorts and tiny traditional villages?
For some, Cyprus is a haven of sun, sand and social life, where a week of partying is the objective and it’s one that’s easily fulfilled. For the more adventurous tourist, Cyprus is a real island of contrasts and the fascination is in comparing its many faces.
Forty percent of the island of Cyprus is occupied by Turkey, and has been for over 30 years. This part of the island is largely barren and suffers from very poor economic growth. The remaining sixty percent is unoccupied and welcomes tourists with open arms, resulting in a very healthy economy, that’s sustained year-round by visitors from abroad. Most of these visitors remain largely unaware of the occupation, despite the fact that one of the island’s best-known party resorts – Aiya Napa is less than 10 miles from the UN Buffer Zone.
Cyprus benefits from warm coastal weather all year round, but its central region is rugged and mountainous; with the Troodor mountain range providing excellent skiing during the winter, whilst off-peak tourists are sunning themselves on the beaches. A well-planned winter holiday can see you snowboarding one day and windsurfing the next – the perfect way to make the most of the contrasts in landscape.
If you’re willing to take a drive, you can also experience traditional Cypriot life by visiting some of the more remote, rural villages. Here, people rarely move far outside the immediate vicinity and concentrate on traditional crafts and cuisine. Take a car, a map and a basic language guide and experience the “real” Cyprus that the main resorts just can’t give you. On your way back, visit some of the most impressive archaeological sites in Europe – from Greco-Roman through Byzantine and Medieval, Cyprus is steeped in history – and you can relax on the beach later, safe in the knowledge that you have explored some of the contracts that Cyprus can offer.