If you grow weary of the coast’s sea and sunbed scene, and even if you don’t, make sure you spend some time in the country’s capital, Nicosia (or Lefkosia as it is known officially and to Greek speakers). It is an enticing city and is ideal for experiencing what modern Cyprus is all about.
Kyrenia (Girne) & the North
Castles cling to craggy hilltops. Lonely churches peek out amid wild-flowered slopes. Fields of gnarled olive trees march across the coastline where the harbour town of Kyrenia, backed by the imposing silhouette of jagged mountain ranges, looks out towards the sea. This bite-sized region combines the best of Cyprus’ natural charm with oodles of history.
Lemesos & the South
The south coast is Cyprus at its most diverse. Beaches hem the shore offering relaxed holiday fun. Impressive sites like Ancient Kourion showcase the island’s rich history. Travellers seeking vestiges of traditional rural life are charmed by the gentle pace of the hill villages scattered on the Troödos Mountains’ slopes. And centred around it all is cosmopolitan Lemesos.
Famagusta (Mağusa) & the Karpas (Kırpaşa) Peninsula
The thin finger of the Karpas (Kırpaşa) Peninsula is all rolling meadows, craggy cliffs and wild beaches with a handful of snoozy villages thrown in. It’s a taste of old-style Cyprus that can’t be beaten. Despite new roads and development efforts, it still feels like someone stopped the clocks here a few decades back.
Home to Mt Olympus (1952m), the island’s highest peak, this stunning mountain range provides visitors with a forested flipside to the coastal resorts and big city clamour. Overlooking the valleys of Lemesos, Larnaka and the greater Mesaoria plain, this region covers over 90 sq km and is a protected natural park which safeguards its wildlife, ecology and geology.
Phenomenal weather and perfect beaches have transformed this unassuming fishing village into every young hedonist’s favourite European party-holiday destination. Gorgeous white sandy beaches and literally hundreds of clubs and bars have made it a Disneyland for clubbers the world over.
This part of western Cyprus, jutting almost defiantly into the Mediterranean, is one of the island’s last remaining wildernesses. Visitors can still traverse the Akamas as long as they’re prepared to walk, ride a trail bike or bump along in a sturdy 4WD. Those with less stamina can take tour boats that sail the Akamas coastline from Latsi, west of Polis.