Cyprus, a member state of the European Union, is located in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey and west of Syria. The island, which has a population of around one million, has been inhabited since the tenth millennium BC and has undergone a wide variety of inhabitants and rules since. After being a British colony for almost a century, in the eighties, the country was invaded by Turks and was consequently divided into two parts -- the Turkish part in the north and the Greek part in the south, with the capital city of Nicosia divided.
Cyprus is most popular with tourists as a beach holiday destination and as such, it offers modern accommodation facilities, outstanding nightlife, and numerous kinds of seas and beaches. From the rocky beaches around Paphos to the smooth and sandy beaches of Larnaca, everyone can find something to suit their taste on this island. However, there is one beach that is guaranteed to take everybody's breath away -- Ayia Napa, a long stretch of sandy land that makes its way into the sea embraced by crystal-clear, turquoise water on both sides, is truly unique and well worth the time. Although Ayia Napa and Paphos offer hotel accommodation at the moment, in Larnaca, you can find some nice Cyprus hostels as well.
Although its tourism is definitely centered around beach life and parties, there is a rich cultural heritage present on the island that attracts many visitors as well. From Ancient ruins to a strong Medieval heritage, and breathtaking monasteries to impressive mosques, there is a bit of everything here. For a cultural tour, you can start off in the far north part of Cyprus, in the Turkish-speaking Gyrne, where the monumental Kyrenia Castle dominates the coastline. Just a short ride from the city, up on the mountain, another castle, that of St. Hilarion is nestled at a dramatic location, preserving the memory of the country's struggles between the Christian and Muslim populations. Gyrne is a great place to stay for a few days and Cyprus hostels here are available for a relatively low price as well.
The next stop on the route to the discovery of the country's past could be in Nicosia, the country's capital, a place where the memories of the Turkish invasion are a part of the everyday life of the people. With the city being divided into the Greek and Turkish parts and the inhabitants having to go through a border control to be let into the other half of their city, the coexistence of two very different cultures is what makes this place strikingly unique.
Farmagusta is a place that you cannot find anywhere else. A ghost town after the invasion, the city is the living example of the transformation of a place from Christian to Muslim, with the hybrid cathedral-mosque serving as a shocking witness to the changes. In the south of the country, there are a number of important archaeological sites and ancient ruins that are now well preserved and on display to the greatest pleasure of the visitors. One of these is the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park near Paphos, where you can step back into the past with the help of the illustrations on the mosaics that date back to the times of Ancient Greece.
All in all, Cyprus has everything that is needed to make your holiday unforgettable. From natural beauty to cultural sights, from breathtaking beaches to amazing gastronomy, Cyprus can be a great destination if you are looking for a warm welcome in a truly unique place. Best of all, Cyrpus has two international airports in Larnaca and Paphos with cheap flights that connect the country with each major European region as well as a harbour in Limassol that makes the country approachable by sea from the direction of southern Europe as well.
Hi, I'm JudyM,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Cyprus hostels. Welcome.