The island’s Mediterranean location ensures year-round warm temperatures and clear-blue skies, while the coastline offers plenty of opportunities for serious sunbathing and more active water-sports. Inland Cyprus wears a different set of clothes as the air cools and the topography is given over to forest-clad mountains, citrus groves and sleepy villages (providing the perfect antidote to the bustle of the coastal strip).
The remnants of nine thousand years of history lie all around: ancient ruins, crusader castles, Ottoman mosques and Byzantine churches all jostle for attention against a mountainous backdrop, while parts of the coastline have changed little since Aphrodite first emerged out of the glassy waters. Recent history has been no less tumultuous and today Cyprus is a land divided. The UN-patrolled Green Line separates the Greek South from the Turkish North and means that anyone booking a Cyprus holiday must first decide which side of the line they want to visit
The South has seen the most frenetic development and resort towns have sprung up along the coast in a welter of high-rise resorts and beach-side complexes. While this influx of holidaymakers has brought in much needed currency, it has transformed the island. Towns such as Ayia Napa and Limassol are now synonymous with package-holiday mayhem and retain little of their original ‘Cypriot charm’.
The North has remained a much more low-key destination; mostly as a result of being left out in the political cold since partition. Ironically it’s this lack of development that is now paying dividends. Today towns such as Kyrenia and Famagusta are attracting the attentions of more discerning travellers who like their sun and sea tempered with a bit of old world charm.
In short the island really does have something for everybody; whether you want a detoxifying spa break in the mountains or are bent on punishing your liver in the neon bars and clubs of Ayia Napa. Families with small people are equally as welcome and both the Greeks and the Cypriots are famed for their hospitality.