Cyprus: travel books to read before you go

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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. The political tensions of the time serve as a backdrop to this classic of travel writing on Cyprus. Durrell lived in the village of Bellapais (Beylerbeyi) in Northern Cyprus and describes, in his inimitable style, life in Cyprus from the local point of view and from that of a willing expat colonial administrator.

Colin Thubron’s Journey Into Cyprus was the last significant travelogue of the unified Cyprus, written following an amazing, almost 1000km walk undertaken in the spring and summer of 1972. Sprinkled with stories from the road and historical insight, this book is a must for anyone contemplating an extended visit to Cyprus.

Seamus MacHugh’s Cyprus: An Island Apart is a modern travel memoir designed to give the short-term visitor a concise background to the island’s history and culture, its archaeological treasures and its two religious contexts, together with the divisive politics of the island. Amusing anecdotes fill the pages and describe the quirkiness and foibles of Cyprus today.

If you want to know more about colonial Cyprus, read My Old Acquaintance: Yesterday in Cyprus by Barbara Cornwall. Cornwall recounts the customs of this bygone era drawn from the experiences and impressions of colonisers, pilgrims, churchmen, adventurers, military men, travellers and scholars who have visited the island over the centuries.

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More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.