Destination Guide - Cyprus

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Cyprus

A holiday to Cyprus promises and delivers the prefect holiday package to party animals, families, couples and also those looking for an adventurous break. 
It is an island idyll that also has fantastic nightlife, stunning natural scenery and cultural gems around every rocky outcrop.  It is set in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, east of Greece, south of Turkey and north of Egypt.  Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and the Republic of Cyprus is a member state of the European Union. Cyprus is also the third most populous island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the most popular tourist destinations.  There is a Turkish controlled area in the north of the island and the rest is under Cypriot rule, apart from two British army bases that are under UK rule.

Health
Many British expats choose to settle in Cyprus because of the favourable climate and also because of the environmental conditions of the island.  There is little air pollution, sewage facilities and sanitation provision is good, as is the presence of a piped water system.  Health care in Cyprus is regarded as being of a high standard, and is a mixture of free state provision, private health care and also other schemes that cater for certain sections of the population.  You are advised to take an EHIC card on holiday to Cyprus, as it will entitle you to the same level of medical provision as a local would receive.  This doesn’t cover all of your medical expenses though, and travel insurance would be needed to cover the cost of repatriation.  The good thing about healthcare in Cyprus is that it’s generally inexpensive, and the cost of medication is not exorbitant.  It is safe to drink the tap water in Cyprus, although it has a high chlorine content, so it won’t necessarily be pleasant tasting, so you may still prefer to drink bottled water. 

Cuisine
The Cypriot people are food-lovers who also love to share the delicious cuisine on offer to visitors to the island.  Cyprus is famed for its meze offerings where there is a ‘little bit of everything’ to sample.  The flavours on offer are the result of the varied history and the geography of Cyprus, so incorporate tastes of Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and good old English fare.  Meze can typically include delicacies such as stuffed vine leaves, halloumi cheese (produced by thyme-fed goats, and tasty when fried), hummus and souvlakia (grilled meat kebabs). These well-seasoned but not-spicy dishes are often washed down with coffee, beer or brandy.  It is worth noting that seafood can be pricy due to the low fish stocks in this part of the Med, and many are imported deep-frozen.

Electricity - Two kinds of plugs can be used in Cyprus, the European two-pin outlet or the UK style two parallel pins with a flat pin. 

Currency – the Euro

Driving – on the left

Climate – Cyprus has an enviable subtropical climate – it has very mild winters and warm to hot summers.  Snow only falls in the central Troodos Mountains and rain falls mainly in Winter, with dry Summers.  Cyprus is a year-round destination as it has teh warmest winters in the Mediterranean part of the EU – Cyprus has around 180 hours of sunshine in December, while London has 37 hours.

Clothing – pack light and according to the island’s mild climate, remembering layers for covering up in the evenings.  Also, remember to dress to cover your shoulders if you visit any religious sites or churches.  Cypriots tend to dress up when dining out in the evening, so take at least one smarter outfit.  If you fancy exploring the volcanic coastline, diving or jelly shoes will protect your feet.

Where to go?
For history and culture – venture to Paphos in the south west coast of the island.  This quaint fishing harbour is home to historical landmarks such as the Pillar of St.Paul, the well preserved mosaics of Paphos and also Petra tou Romious (Aphrodite Rock), the mythical birthplace of the Greek Goddess of Love.


For kids and teens – a definite destination is the mythology-themed water park Water World in Ayia Napa, which is filled with adrenaline-pumping thrill rides with twists and turns aplenty, including a whirlpool drop and a slide with lights and sound-effects.  The Greek-god inspired rides may also prove educational to receptive young minds!

Relaxation – There are many options for those seeking a quieter village feel to their time away.  Pissouri Bay is one such laid-back village which is a sparsely-populated oasis of calm and tradition built on the side of a green hill near Cape Aspro.  Wander the cobbled streets which retain the essence of traditional Cypriot life, dine out in a vine-decorated romantic tavern in the evening twilight, serenaded by the lilting charm of Cypriot music.

Action – The Troodos Mountains offer a cooler climate with the possibility of snow and skiing in Winter, and there is always the opportunity to explore the good range of marked trails for those wanting to get closer to the dense forest.  You will be rewarded for your exertions with a stunning view of the Mediterranean coastline below.

Nightlife – Ayia Napa has an established reputation as a party resort that is famous for the best in urban grime and garage music.  There is also the added bonus of top-notch eateries on hand serving top-quality Japanese, Mexican or Italian food.  Check out the famously happening bars too – Bedrock (karaoke at its most fun) and Castle Club, which have fans and atmospheres all of their own.  Ayia Napa – so influential it even had an irritatingly catchy tune written about it!

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