Floating on the waters of the European Mediterranean, but pointing longingly towards the shores of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, Cyprus is an odd mixture. It is a kaleidoscopic blend: its cultural influences are dominated by Western Europe, but its geographic proximity to Asia and Africa gives it more than just a hint of the East. Long coveted by mainland Greece and Turkey, this small island has its own definite and beguiling character.
Whether you know it as the ‘island of sin’ (or ‘fun’) thanks to wild stories from Agia Napa; the country that entered the EU only as a half; or, as the tourist brochures love to point out, ‘the island of Aphrodite’, Cyprus both confirms and confounds the stereotype. Parts of Cyprus have been overrun by keen developers who (depending on who you’re talking to) have either ‘sold the country’s soul’ or ‘are bringing great wealth to the island’. Whatever the truth, in the tourist centres of places like Pafos, Agia Napa or Lemesos (Limasol), you might feel as if you’ve entered a sunny, scorching Essex suburb with lobster-red Brits letting it all hang loose with a lukewarm can of Foster’s in tow. But if curiosity draws you out of the cities, you’ll discover the small villages of the Akamas Peninsula and the heavenly golden beaches of the Karpas (Kırpaşa) Peninsula. Walk the gorgeous Troödos and Kyrenia (Girne) & the Northcoast and inhale the scent of the citrus groves of Morfou (Güzelyurt), or climb to the medieval castles with their shimmering island views. Wander through the sea of wildflowers covering the island in spring, and Cyprus will take your breath away. With good walking shoes, a swimsuit and some sunscreen in your bag, you can have a trip you’ll remember for years.
Best places to stay in Cyprus
Cyprus travel guide
A fractured identity, a passionate people, and lifestyle, culture and landscape that capture the imagination, providing plenty of surprises.
Ask Lonely Planet: where can I find an unusual cookery course?
Travel and food are the happiest combination there is, and Lonely Planet Magazine's experts know exactly where to find the tastiest cooking classes. Steam, stir-fry or sizzle up a storm in one of these destinations. 1.
Cyprus - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Cyprus starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on diving, cycling and hiking.
Linked by a road artery, Kato Pafos (Lower Pafos) and Ktima) (Upper Pafos) form an interesting whole.
Mediterranean Europe: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Mediterranean Europe guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip. For as long as people have been travelling in the Mediterranean, authors have been writing about them .
Cyprus - Lefkosia (Chapter)
Lefkosia is an enticing city and ideal for experiencing what modern Cyprus is all about. The ancient walls, traditional restaurants and a growing multicultural core effectively showcase the city’s basic make-up.
Paphos Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
Explore Paphos, the vibrant Cyprus coastal town, at leisure on a must-do hop-on hop-off bus tour! As you travel around town on board an open-top, double-decker bus, create your own itinerary, hopping off whenever you like.
Winter Walking in Cyprus
Discover Cyprus on foot during winter
Europe's six surprise islands
Europe’s most popular holiday islands draw major tourist crowds to its well-known charms - everyone knows Ibiza as Party Central - but with a bit of insider info, you can hit these islands and manage to have that castaway, lush-mountains-and-entire-beaches-to-yourself kind of holiday. A real island getaway.
Cyprus - Lemesos & the South Coast (Chapter)
The physical heartland of the Republic, Lemesos and the south coast is one of Cyprus’ most diverse regions, encompassing archaeological remains, beaches, a lively nightlife and the verdant proximity of the Troödos mountains.
Sights in Cyprus
Activities in Cyprus
Tours in Cyprus
Restaurants in Cyprus
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
If you get tired of the coast’s lazy, beach-bum lifestyle, and even if you don’t, make sure you spend some time in the country’s capital, known officially (and to Greek speakers) as Lefkosia).