Cheap Flights to Cyprus
Once a centre for the cult of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, this quirky little island nation retains its essentially Mediterranean character. With some of Europe’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches, citrus and olive groves, tranquil forested mountains, and balmy temperatures, this island has some incredibly stunning natural beauty to recommend it – but there’s so much more to this exquisite idyll than just its looks.
The island’s ancient history and archaeology are some of the most impressive in the world, and the cuisine and hospitality here is exceptional. It also offers sporting adventures, fantastic nightlife, and everything from luxury hotels to tiny, intimate boltholes in the countryside for somewhere to stay.
More than 40 airlines and 60 charter companies operate over 260 flights every week into Cyprus – the two main scheduled operators being British Airways and Cyprus Airlines. Travellers can easily reach Paphos and/or Larnaca airport from all over Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and also from multiple destinations in the UK including Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds and London.
Paphos International Airport on the west side of the island is relatively small with only the most essential facilities but these do include a bar on an outdoor terrace offering great views of planes landing and taking off! Larnaca airport on the east side of the island is also minimal, but is conveniently placed for onward travel throughout Cyprus with excellent transport links.
What to do in Cyprus
The island has some great options for getting around, with an efficient island-wide bus service available for journeys throughout Cyprus. Taxis are relatively cheap and readily available in Cyprus, but ideally you should hire your driver ahead of time to avoid paying over the odds. Ask your hotel for help with hiring taxis, or keep hold of the business card of a reliable driver so you can hire him for future outings. Car hire is also a great option and offers you the freedom to explore the fabulous sights of the island the way you want. Here’s a rundown of some of the major areas that you may wish to discover during your stay:
Paphos is renowned as the birthplace of Greek goddess Aphrodite. Modern-day Paphos is divided in two, with the upper section up the hill being the commercial center, and lower Kato Paphos which contains the main archaeological points of interest, as well as most hotels, bars and restaurants along a coastal strip a few kilometres long. There is a newly built promenade leading round to the marina and a long coastal path with amazing views – perfect for a morning or evening stroll. With palm tree-lined boulevards, dozens of restaurants, stunning archaeological gems, frescoed tombs, vibrant nightlife, Byzantine monasteries and golden beaches there is something for everyone in this unique city .
Nicosia is the centrally located capital of Cyprus and the largest in population city of the island. It is the administrative and financial hub of the island as well as home to several universities, foreign embassies and offshore companies which gives it a truly cosmopolitan feel. It is also the world’s last divided capital and the barbed wire fence of the ‘Green Line’ cuts the town in two. Despite all this – and thanks to the comparative lack of tourists – it is perhaps one of the most authentically Cypriot cities, and there are some great opportunities to be had here to soak up some real Cypriot culture – as well as boasting some great shopping options if you fancy a little retail therapy.
This is the largest mountain range of Cyprus and is located in the centre of the island and stretches across most of the western side of Cyprus. The highest peak is Mount Olympus which also boasts 4 ski slopes. These mountains are popular with walkers and people wanting to visit the tiny mountain villages nestling in its valleys and clinging to the terraced hill slopes. The area has been known since ancient times for its mines, and in the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the threatened coastline, and the ten painted Byzantine churches, which are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The coast of Cyprus is littered with stunning beaches boasting clear sparkling waters which entice you to take a mellow dip. There are rocky coves as well as long sandy beaches and it is easily possible to find quiet spots away from the main resorts if you fancy a more secluded spot. Fishing, water sports and diving are all popular activities along the island’s coast.
Top Things to See and Do in Cyprus
History buffs will love…
The Cyprus Museum in central Nicosia which is home to the island’s top archaeological collection which also happens to be among the best in the world. Every era from Stone Age to Byzantine is represented and highlights include a fascinating display of 2,000 terra-cotta figures from the 6th and 7th centuries BC, as well as three limestone lions and two sphinxes from approximately 475-400 BC, and beautiful mosaics and ceramics. A visit here is essential to a deeper understanding of the island’s incredible historic past and its ancient sites.
Larnaca plays host to one of the Mediterranean’s premier wreck dives, the Zenobia, which come to grief near Larnaca harbour on its 1980 maiden voyage. owing to an electronic glitch. The wreck was then towed away and scuttled at its present location 1,500 yards offshore, and it offers some incredible diving opportunities. Be warned though – it’s not for first timers. With a maximum depth of 140ft, you’re going to need some experience before you attempt a deep dive. Happily though, there are other, shallower shipwrecks, plus reefs and caves, nearby.
Your taste buds will thank you for indulging in a traditional Cypriot meze. Head off the beaten track a little and find a truly authentic taverna to sample what is actually more of a epic feast than a mere dinner. ‘Meze’ means ‘small delicacies’, and a top quality meze consists of six to 30 small dishes, ranging from meat and fish to dips, vegetables and cheese. Highlights include delicious dips, such as Tahini a – smooth paste of sesame seeds; Halloumi – a delectable grilled salty cheese made from goat’s milk; Dolmades – vine leaves stuffed with minced meat, rice, mint and onions; Sheftalia – spicy sausages; and Kleftiko – unbelievably tender lamb slow cooked in the oven. Better still, you can accompany these culinary delights with an excellent fresh and fruity vintage from one of the local vineyards.
If you want to party hard…
Dubbed ‘ the party capital of Cyprus’, the nightlife in Ayia Napa on the east coast is infamous world-wide, and the club scene here is incredibly diverse with something for everyone. This is something of a Nirvana for clubbers, and thousands of tourists flock here every year eager to get their groove on when the sun sets and to take part in the raucous revelry that unfolds. Big name artists and DJ’s come here from all over the world play to packed out events each summer, and whatever your musical tastes, you will definitely find something to please. Thankfully this area is also where you will find some of Cyprus most beautiful beaches where you can recover from the madness of the night before.
What to do in Cyprus
Soak up some sun
This is an island that was created for sun worshippers, and the coastline is studded with stunning beaches of every flavour, from larger sandy beaches with a vibrant atmosphere to more secluded, romantic spots with rocky coves where the waves gently nibble at the glittering pebbles on the shore. Cyprus has picked up a record number of ‘Blue Flag’ beaches in 2013, taking its total to 57 and putting Cyprus in the top rank in the list of countries with the cleanest holiday beaches in Europe.
July is peak holiday time, and this is when the beaches will be at their most busy, brimming with tourists, sun-seekers, young families and active types taking on some extreme sports – so if you’re after some quiet time, it might be better to visit during the less popular months of the year when things are a little more tranquil. It’s ridiculously easy to spend days on the beaches here, and when the day is coming to an end there are some excellent beachside tavernas where you can treat yourself to some fantastic fresh seafood Cypriot style and watch the sun go down.
Dance the night away
The island is also known for its diverse nightlife which ranges from energetic and lively to relaxed and romantic. From restaurants that offer their patrons candlelight dinners to world class nightclubs, the island’s highly varied and entertaining nightlife choices caters to individuals of all ages and tastes. The infamous Ayia Napa is the island’s nightlife hub – the main square is packed with countless bars, cafés, English style pubs, restaurants and clubs all vying for your custom. Some clubs stay open throughout the night, closing as late as 6 am. Alfabet is one of the biggest clubs in town, with circus performers galore as well as the occasional foam party. If you fancy something a little more sophisticated try Larnaca where the nightlife is centred on the palm-lined promenade that runs along the beachfront and which is littered with bars, cafés, and tavernas and some great opportunities for cocktails.
Cyprus offers some fantastic culinary experiences – including the legendary multi-course challenge of the meze – but many visitors aren’t aware that there are some excellent wines produced here too. In fact the history of winemaking in Cyprus is very old, one of the oldest in the world, so what better excuse to tickle your tastebuds (and perhaps get a little sozzled in the process) with a wine tour around some of the island’s best vineyards? Limassol’s rather quaint old, in-town fishing port has some popular, and convenient, venues for a tour with wine sampling.
If you fancy yourself as something of a sommelier , head off the beaten track and into the vine-terraced foothills of Limassol district to search out something a little more sophisticated. There are six wine routes on the island that have evolved alongside 40 boutique wineries that are attempting to resurrect almost-forgotten indigenous grape varieties – and what’s more the stunning scenery means your visual senses will be as delighted as your tongue.
What to do in Cyprus
This is an island steeped in history, and there are a wealth of cultural sites to explore. The ancient city of Paphos has some of the most incredible archaeological sites in the world. The harbor region of Paphos contains most of the local attractions. The Tomb of the Kings features around 8 tombs and a network of underground caves and passages. Spread over a vast area, these impressive tombs date back to the 4th century BC. They are carved out of solid rock and some are decorated with Doric pillars. The Cypriot elite were buried here rather than actual kings, but the magnificence of the tombs gave the location its name.
Kato Pafos archaeological Park includes sites and monuments from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, while most remains date to the Roman period. The marvellous mosaic floors of four Roman villas dating back to the second century A.D. form the impressive epicentre of the finds, with highlights such geometrical decorations as well as mythological representations and the stories of Theseus killing the Minotaur and the Birth of Achilles all meticulously crafted in mosaic.
The complex also includes other important monuments, such as the tumbling ruins of Asklipieion – a sanctuary dedicated to the god of medicine, the Odeion – a 2nd century amphitheatre built entirely of well-hewn limestone blocks which is still used for musical and theatrical performances in the summer, the Agora, the “Saranta Kolones” (Forty Columns) Fortress – A Byzantine castle near the harbour, and the “Limeniotissa”
If there is one main element that characterizes the Cypriot cuisine, it is its freshness. The other is the wide variety of delicious dishes with various influences including Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisines. We suggest you sample a traditional Meze – it’s the quintessential introduction to Cypriot food. A Meze typically consists of lots of small hot and cold dishes including meat, olives, fish, cheeses, humous, vegetables, fruits, salads and garlic bread – but make sure you’ve got a big appetite as sometimes as many as 30 different dishes are served! Some flavoursome local Cypriot wine makes the perfect partner to a Meze, so take your time to enjoy the food and wine and watch the sun go down.
Cyprus has a mixed Greek and Turkish heritage, which has led to a varied culture. Amongst the more Turkish elements are the hamams – and a visit to a hamam is sure to be an experience. Take a trip to Omeriye Hamam – a famous 14th Century restored Turkish bath in Nicosia’s old town. The interior of the building is ornate and beautiful, and it’s the perfect setting to try out this centuries-old tradition. The hamam is loosely based on the sauna principle but with added perspiring, exfoliating, splashing in cold water and pummelling. It’s guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated and ready to take on some serious sightseeing, indulge in some extreme sports or simply indulge your newly rejuvenated body with come delicious Cypriot cuisine.
Hotels in Cyprus
Cyprus has something for everyone regardless of age or budget, and this is also true of Cyprus’ accommodation options. Cyprus hotels and resorts range from luxury five-star hotspots to economical budget options, but every hotel offers the chance to experience the outstanding natural beauty of this island.
For intimate romantic holidays at boutique hotels to family-friendly escapes and resorts complete with restaurants, bars, sports and spa facilities, and nightly entertainment – Cyprus has the perfect hotel accommodation to suit your needs. Discover more about some of the best hotels Cyprus has to offer or find and compare cheap flights to Cyprus from Liverpool in our search at the top of this page.
Whether you prefer to lounge around in the lap of luxury at a five-star hotel right on the beach with every amenity, or you prefer an independent hotel apartment or villa with private pool – or even a quiet hideaway in the hills for a more natural and romantic experience – you will find what you want on the island. Our guide to Cyprus hotels can help you find the perfect accommodation to suit you whatever your preference, at rates that give you great value for money.