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.
Lemesos & the South
Cyprus: travel books to read before you go
This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Cyprus guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip. Lawrence Durrell’s Bitter Lemons is a charming, funny and touching account of a Greek-speaking Englishman coming to live in Cyprus in the mid-1950s...
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.
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
Cyprus - North Nicosia (Chapter)
Home to roughly a third of the population of North Cyprus, the northern half of Lefkosia is another world. Historic buildings are being restored and the area around the Selimiye Mosque has a real sense of heritage.
Sights in Cyprus
Activities in Cyprus
Tours in Cyprus
Restaurants in Cyprus
Budget hotels & hostels
Guesthouses and B&Bs
For a small country, the variety of landscape in Cyprus is sometimes quite astounding. And the Troödos Massif, holding up the country’s highest peak, Mt Olympus, like a proud beacon, offers the perfect antidote to the hot, lazy life of the beach.