Dekelia Sovereign Base Area

During independence negotiations between the nascent Republic of Cyprus and the British administration in 1960, the rights to two major British Sovereign Base Areas (SBAs) were brokered. Dekelia SBA is the one of these.

The area comprises a large part of eastern Cyprus, running from Larnaka Bay to the border with the North. You can pass through the base, and even stop and enjoy fish and chips in the civilian area. It has a small beach populated with a few British-styled shops and a playground for kids.

The military site itself is off limits. While Dekelia SBA remains a critical centre for intelligence gathering and monitoring of the Middle East, the British government has stated that it is prepared to cede back some of the area if Cyprus becomes reunified.

Palaces & Sea Caves

Five kilometres east of Agia Napa, located at the inlet between Limnara Beach and Cape Greco, are unique rock formations known as 'the palaces'. Carved into the cliff face by centuries of waves buffering the coast, they look like spy holes, framing the clear blue sea. The natural architecture plays host to divers, who can approach the rocks here only by boat.

Further east are spectacular sea caves cut into the face of the rocky coastline. From look-out seats above you can hear the echoing created by the sea as it funnels back and forth. When the sea is calm you can access some of the caves on foot, but on rough and windy days the spray reaches your face some 10m above, leaving you with tight cheeks and the taste of salt in your mouth. The best views are had from the sea, so consider one of the many charters that run from Agia Napa's harbour.

Worth a Trip: The Kokkinohoria

The Kokkinohoria (The Red Villages) are so named because of the deep-red, mineral-rich earth found in the area. The area comprises the inland rural villages of Xylofagou, Avgorou, Frenaros, Liopetri and Sotira. Most of these villages rely heavily on agriculture and are famous for their potato and kolokasi (a root vegetable similar to taro) produce. Wind-powered water pumps dot the landscape, and prosperous crops are cultivated three to four times annually. When tootling about with your own wheels in this area, take a good map, as signposting is limited.

With all this agriculture it's not surprising that you can find some excellent country taverns serving up simple dishes and fresh local produce. For a meze feast, which conjures up rural Cyprus on a plate, head to Mousikos Tavern.