Aphrodite's Rock

Flights to Cyprus

Visitors may board flights to Cyprus for the enchanting blend of eastern and western cultures, or for the sunny beaches and crystalline waters. Many are initially lured to the island for its party reputation and cheap package deals, but return for the hidden rustic villages, fragrant lemon groves, and clear air of its mountain trails. The haunting landscape is diverse enough to spend the morning skiing and the afternoon on a sunny beach.

General Overview

Famous as the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, Cyprus is a truly romantic destination with a cosmetically gorgeous façade. Rugged cliffs drop down to sandy beaches, and quaint tavernas and pubs line the seaside with music and colour. Couples and the young party set may travel to this Mediterranean island in search of sun, sand, and hedonism, but a different world beckons beyond the beachfront resorts. There's another side to Cyprus, rich with the traditions and history of the Byzantine Empire and ancient Greece. The frescoed walls of the UNESCO World Heritage site Tombs of the Kings beckon budding archaeologists, while couples may wish to marvel at the Rock of Aphrodite jutting out of the sea foam.

Getting There

The majority of passengers arriving on flights to Cyprus will fly into the Larnaca International Airport just outside of Larnaca. The island is served by a number of carriers, including British Airways, Easyjet, and Monarch. Charter flights are also available to the western airport at Paphos.

What to Budget?

Just as one might expect from a country straddling east and west, whether or not Cyprus is inexpensive depends on which direction you're coming from. Compared to the Middle East, it will seem pricey. However, compared to comparable Western European destinations, it's a bargain. The North tends to offer better value for those on a budget, although good deals can be found all over the island particularly during off-season. One tip to keep in mind is that there is a 15% VAT added to most services, and an additional tax on products and services applies in the North. Tipping is customary in Cyprus, so expect to add another 10% onto your restaurant bills.

Can't Miss Attractions

With so many welcoming beaches, a day soaking in the rays should be at the top of any Cyprus to-do list. You'll find sugar-soft sandy beaches in the south-east corner of the island, near Agia Napa and Protaras. Konnos beach is preferred by the locals, nestled below the cliffs of Cape Greco. Dance the day and night away in the hip beach bars and clubs of Lemesos, and sleep it off in the Blue Lagoon next to a sea turtle. History buffs won't want to miss the perfectly preserved Neolithic site of Choirokoitia, with over sixty original round houses arranged in ancient streets dating back to the sixth century BC. If you tire of the bustle of Cyprus's resorts and beaches, you may wish to head up into the Troodos Mountains for wine tasting, hiking, skiing, and bicycling opportunities. Near the top you'll find the exquisite Byzantine Kykkos Monastery. If you're after an adventure, hire a motorboat in Latsi for a solo trip around the island or a dive down to the Zenobia shipwreck.

Travel Tips

1) Salty, sturdy Halloumi cheese is a favourite addition to BBQ skewers and vegetarian salads in Britain, but it originates in Cyprus and dates back to the Byzantine era. Try this in a refreshing traditional meze spread with Greek and Middle Eastern influences.

2) You may get a surprise if you venture into a Cypriot "cabaret" in search of show tunes and light entertainment. These cabarets more often that not are more 'adult' entertainment.

3) Hiring a car is often the best way to get around the island, particularly if you want to get off the beaten path and into the mountains. However, roads are often poorly marked and drivers can be quite aggressive, so it's best to proceed with a bit of care. 

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Images by Flickr: Verity Cridland

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