Cyprus: Main Sights
A kaleidoscopic blend of cultures
The array of popular attractions in Cyprus will ensure you are not short of things to do and because the island is compact the opportunity to experience numerous places of interest is accessible. Ancient and historical sites in both northern and southern Cyprus have been preserved like the intriguing Tomb of Kings and the beautiful Roman mosaics, and the numerous myths and legends bring the history of the island of Aphrodite to life. Modern day Cyprus will take you on boat excursions to watch dolphins, splash around in water parks or sample local wines in the Lambouri winery.
Major attractions in Northern Cyprus
Dominating the harbour in north Cyprus, Kyrenia Castle holds a poignant place in Cypriot history for it purposes of defending the island. The date of its conception is unknown though it is thought to have been originally constructed by the Romans and later fortified by the Byzantium's to defend the island against the attacking Arabs. The first mention of a settlement in Kyrenia dates as far back as Richard the Lionheart in the 12th century. It is well worth a climb up to the battlements of the castle to admire a most amazing view.
One of the main tourist attractions in north Cyprus is the ancient ruins of Salamis. During Roman occupation the city of Salamis was the capital of Cyprus and gold coins found in recent excavations dating back to 411 to 374 BC identified its importance to the island. Parts of the city have been devastated by two earthquakes, though typical Roman trademarks like the 15000 seat amphitheatre and baths are evident as are the marble statues, decapitated by the Christians as a display of abhorrence towards Roman paganism.
The Ghost Town of Famagusta
Famagusta on the east coast of Cyprus and lying on the border separating the north from the south was once known as the Monte Carlo of the eastern Mediterranean. Today, a four mile stretch of abandoned, bullet ridden hotels is physical evidence of the unrest between Greek and Turkish inhabitants. The area known as the 'Dead Zone,' is a ghost town guarded by Turkish militia on the site of a beautiful stretch of golden sand and a reminder to the Greeks of what they have lost. The old town of Famagusta takes you into another world, back to medieval days when the townsfolk lived beyond the walls built by the Ottoman Empire to protect the city. Climb Othello tower to admire the views the ancients kept a look out over from their fortress gantry.
Bellapais Abbey is a 12th Century monastery set on the side of the mountains. It was originally occupied by the French brotherhood, Order of the Premontre who were held in the highest esteem during the reign of Latin Kings. Visitors to the abbey a free to roam wherever they wish as there are no restricted areas. The intricate stone carving and delicate murals of gothic architecture is fantastic and the whole place as a pleasant feeling of calm.
Alagadi Turtle Beach
On a delightful beach in the Karpas peninsula of northern Cyprus, turtles swim to shore to lay their eggs. In May, the turtles can be seen digging deep pits in which to keep their eggs that will hatch two months later. The beach is around a two hour drive from Kyrenia and one hour from Famagusta.
Main Attractions in Southern Cyprus
Tomb of Kings
The Tomb of Kings in Paphos is a necropolis where it is believed aristocrats living in the area around the 4th century BCE. The underground tombs were cut into the surrounding rocks and feature Doric columns and frescoed walls. Books are on sale for a small price and are worth the investment for detailed explanations.
Paphos Archaeological Park
A trip to Cyprus would not be complete without a trip to the Archaeological Park in Paphos, a short walk from the harbour. It is dripped in mythological mysteries and the stunning Romans mosaics stumbled across by farmers in 1961 are find to behold. It is in the Paphos Archaeological Park where you will find the House of Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine and the House of Theseus demonstrating the splendour of Roman occupation. Due to the lack of shade it is advisable to wear headgear to shelter from the sun.
The picturesque settings in Cyprus is the Adonis Falls set in the hills of Paphos and is a beautiful place to relax and let the day drift by. The journey to the waterfall can be quite treacherous along the narrow mountain roads, but once you reach the falls you will find one of the most endearing sights in Cyprus. The quaint pool is perfect for a swim and if you are feeling a little more adventurous the water is deep enough to jump from the rock above.
WaterWorld Water Park
WaterWorld Water Park in Ayia Napa is Europe's biggest aquatic fun land. It has a theme of ancient Greece mythology with funtastic rides like the 'Fall of Icarus' in which you travel speeds of up to 40 kmph taking 15 seconds to travel the 25 metre drop, the epic snaking flumes of 'The Quest of Heracles,' or the ever popular 'Poseidon's Wave Pool.' The Water Park is a great day out for the family, though the draw back is you are not allowed to take in your own food or drink so can be expensive.
Dolphin Boat Safari
The Dolphin Boat Safari in Cyprus leaves from Ayia Napa every ?? minutes and come highly recommended - at the right time of year. On the trip you have the option to do a bit of deep sea fishing, snorkelling and of course, watch the dolphins swim and play in the crystal clear waters. However, the dolphins are only there 3 out of 4 trips.
The Lambouri winery near Limassol has been established for more than 300 years and is the most exclusive in Cyprus. Situated in the serene surroundings of Kato Platres the Lambouri winemakers pride themselves in their award winning wines. Limited to only 75,000 bottles a year, their wine is available only from the Lambouri winery and selected bars and restaurants. The tour demonstrates the wine making process, but the best room is kept till last - the tasting room.