While geographically an island situated closer to the Middle East than to Europe, Cyprus is unquestionably European. The island of Cyprus is divided into two. The Republic of Cyprus, to the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the north. The island lies in the far East of the Mediterranean Sea and is surrounded by Greece (to the west), Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq (to the east), Turkey (to the north) and Israel and Egypt (to the south).
The resources of Cyprus
Cyprus encompasses an area of over 9,250 square kilometers with its coastline approximately 650 kilometers in length. Despite being a small country by world standards, the island is the third largest in the Mediterranean. It is an island rich in natural resources and there are over 200 operational quarries currently excavating a range of materials including limestone, marble, gypsum, ochre, and umber.
The Republic of Cyprus (the southern part of the island) is home to over 800,000 people. Greek is the native language in this region although over 90% of these residents are capable of speaking English which makes it a desirable travel destination for native English speakers. In the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, there are about 200,000 people residing, with Turkish the commonly spoken language and English not as commonly spoken in these parts.
The three major cities in the Republic
The Republic of Cyprus is home to the three largest cities on the island and these are the areas most commonly visited by tourists. To the west is Limassol, with its glorious marina and coastline and is the most popular destination in the summertime. To the east is Larnaca, a city also situated on the coast and is a favorite location for young families and students. Towards the north sits Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus and a highly desirable travel destination for visitors seeking a more traditional Cypriot experience.
The island of Cyprus is renowned for its glorious weather. It has a warmer climate than all the member countries of the European Union. The average temperature in Cyprus is 24 degrees Celsius during the day and 14 degrees Celsius at night. Usually, the warm temperature season lasts for between 8 and 9 months beginning in April and ending in November. During the other 3-4 months of the year, temperatures are mild but not undesirable with days over 20 degrees Celsius not uncommon.
The average temperature at sea around Cyprus is 22 degrees Celsius. This ranges from a low of 17 in February to 28 in August. From May to November, the average sea temperature is greater than 20 degrees in all 7 months.
Cyprus receives an average of 2700-3450 hours of sunshine per year, or 326 sunshine days. This is twice as much sunshine as is experienced by countries in the North of Europe such as England. In the height of summer visitors can expect 13 hours of sunshine, whilst in winter the average amount of sunshine per day is approximately 6 hours. The humidity reading on the island is high. With the relative humidity of approximately 70% in winter and 50% in summer.
Relative to other countries in the EU, Cyprus experiences minimal rainfall. The island experiences about 500mm of total rainfall in a year. During the winter period, as expected, rainfall is most likely with December, January, and February the rainiest months of the year. You can expect about 20 days of rain in this 92-day period. Between June and August rain is considerably rare. It has not been uncommon in past years for an entire summer season to be devoid of rain. Yet with that said you can generally expect a day or two of rain in this 90-day period, but not enough to worry about packing an umbrella though!
An important decision to make for any traveler is where to stay when visiting. Below are our tips for the best hotels to book into when visiting the Republic of Cyprus.
Limassol- Crown Plaza
Situated near the beach, this centrally located hotel is a wonderful choice amongst tourists. The staff are exceptionally friendly and will cater to all your requests as best they can. The Crown Plaza is close to desirable outdoor shopping markets and near many nice restaurants and cafes.
Paphos – Louis Phaethon
If seeking a hotel in Paphos then we strongly encourage staying at the Louis Phaethon. We have not experienced better hospitality than when staying at this wonderful venue (and considering the brilliance of Cypriot hospitality, that is saying a lot!). Upon arrival do not be surprised if you are greeted with prepared drinks and snacks. The food at the hotel restaurant is of the highest standard and in the lounge, staff will constantly approach you to ensure you are comfortable and are on offer to take your drinks order.
Larnaca- Golden Bay Beach Hotel
The major appeal of situating yourself in wonderful Larnaca is the ability to wake to a glorious sunrise. The Golden Bay Beach hotel offers sensational seaside views in addition to a glorious pool set-up that will have you considering staying at the resort and not even bothering to venture out. The catering on-site offers a wide variety of local and international food. There are gym facilities and the front of house staff are very attentive and enthusiastic to help with any questions you may have.
Nicosia – Semeli Hotel
When headed inland to the capital consider Semeli Hotel. This wonderful establishment offers terrific service by polite and helpful staff. Room service is prompt and breakfast always fresh and tasty enough to get you going in the morning. A prime choice of location if you are in town for business.
Cyprus offers a variety of things to do for those visiting the country. Below is a list of what we consider to be the best things to do when visiting this beautiful Mediterranean island.
Hala Sultan Tekke
Built in 648 A.D this ancient mosque is considered to be one of the most important places of worship for those of the Muslim faith. It is open to everyone and there is no admission fee.
Dated between the 3rd and 5th century A.D, the Paphos Mosaics are some of the most intact and preserved mosaic floors in the world.
Church of Saint Lazarus
Situated deep inside Larnaka City, the 9th-century church is a spectacular site. Made predominantly of stone, this building is a wonderful piece of Byzantine architecture.
This ancient royal city dates back to 1100 B.C and its location, just 11km from the city of Limassol makes it an easy attraction to reach. There is a small admission fee but given the different areas open to visitors (fountain complex, baths, market etc.) you should give yourselves a few hours to fully explore the city.
Fun things to do
Located near the village of Pano Platres this beautiful site is a perfect place for tourists to relax and embrace the serenity of their surroundings. There is no admission fee to visit the falls.
Stroll along the 7km walking trail that cuts through the beautiful Avakas Gorge. With limestone walls reaching up to 28m in height this is a lovely activity to indulge in while visiting Cyprus. Please note though that due to the terrain in parts the hike can be quite a challenge.
Party the night away in the summer heat along Makenzy beach in Larnaca. With DJs pumping out the beats and crowds of people enjoying the sun and drinks you will have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the Cypriot nightlife. Be warned though that in the midst of the Cypriot Summer, this beach strip is absolutely jam-packed so if rubbing shoulders with the locals is not your thing then it may be best to steer clear!