10,000 years of cultural history, multifaceted nature and spectacular beaches – in Cyprus, the third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, you can spend a holiday with a surplus of variety. With 300 sunny days a year, the beach season lasts from April to October. It’s not only the climate that is legendary there – so are some of the stories you hear. For example, that the goddess of love, Aphrodite, was born from the ocean off the coast of Cyprus.
Which currency do you use in Cyprus?
You can conveniently pay in euros in Cyprus. You can have a very relaxed holiday without needing to exchange currencies and can easily compare prices.
Do I need special vaccinations to travel to Cyprus?
It is generally recommended to be vaccinated against tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis and polio when travelling to Cyprus. Vaccinations against measles and hepatitis A are also a good idea. If you’re in a high-risk group, you should also consider vaccinations against hepatitis B, pneumococcal disease, influenza and rabies.
Which language is spoken in Cyprus?
There are two official languages in Cyprus: Greek is mainly spoken in the south and in the north of the island, Turkish is predominant. Since most locals in Cyprus also speak English fairly well, it’s usually easy to communicate.
The climate in Cyprus can be described as subtropical Mediterranean. Hot, dry summers alternate with mild and rather wet winters. Thanks to its position in the southern Mediterranean, summers last a long time, from April to October. Then the sun shines in a cloudless sky for up to 13 hours a day. It gets particularly hot inland, with temperatures reaching above 45 degrees Celsius. Due to a constant ocean breeze, the coast has slightly less extreme temperatures of up to 38° C. The water temperature rises from 20° C at the end of April to 25° C in midsummer and you can rely on pleasantly consistent weather for your Cyprus holiday. It gets noticeably cooler as of mid-November and the thermometer often drops to 10° C at night. During the day, the temperatures from December to mid-March lie at around 20° C. Even in winter, it rarely gets colder than 8° C along the coast. But regular snowfall can be expected at higher altitudes. Take a look at our blog post if you want to learn about the TOP 12 most beautiful beaches in Cyprus!
Depending on your holiday plans, Cyprus is an attractive destination year-round. The best times for a beach holiday are the months of May, June and from September to mid-November. July and August also bring excellent beach weather. It does get extremely hot, however, meaning that few other activities will be much fun. The months of March, April and November are recommended for hikes and sightseeing tours. Even skiers are in their element in Cyprus. The lifts in the Troodos Mountains are generally open until mid-March.
Nicosia – also called Lefkosia – is the only divided capital city in the world. With its unique blend of Turkish and Greek culture, it has a charm all its own. Here you can discover exciting history, interesting architecture, culture and atmosphere – along with an equally vibrant cuisine.
In a nutshell, Cypriot cuisine can be described as Greek cooking with a clear eastern influence. Typical recipes are refined with cumin, cloves and cinnamon and, instead of the parsley that is common in Greece, coriander is added to the pot and plate. In addition to sun-ripened vegetables from the island, Cypriots love meat – preferably grilled or cooked in a traditional clay oven. Favourite dishes are lamb, beef, pork and goat cooked with garlic, bay leaves, olive oil and red wine. “Luntza”, an air-dried ham, is a true island speciality. Cypriots also enjoy octopus and calamari from the ocean.
The Cypriot counterpart to Greek feta cheese is halloumi. This cheese is made from sheep, cow and goat milk and marinated in brine with mint. Since halloumi doesn’t melt, it’s ideal for roasting and baking. You can often see it as part of a mezze plate: Then up to 30 different appetisers are served in small portions. When it comes to desserts, Cypriots aren’t stingy with their sugar. The fried “lokoumades” dough balls, baklavas or semolina almond cakes are especially tempting. “Soutzoukos”, a thickened grape syrup with almonds or nuts, is made only in Cyprus.
The restaurants in Cyprus will take you along on a culinary world trip. From Italian, French and Spanish to Lebanese, Asian and Polynesian, the entire international cuisine is represented. Most menus are written in two languages: In addition to Greek or Turkish, you will also see dishes presented in English. Of course, every meal is served with bread. Table reservations aren’t customary, unless you’re in a top restaurant or with a large group. Restaurants in Cyprus are usually open from noon to 3 pm and 7 to 11 pm.
Even if the name might make you think differently: A “kafenio” doesn’t have much in common with a café. These are traditional coffee houses visited exclusively by men, who meet to drink together, discuss the day’s events and play board or card games.
While Islamic holidays like Ramadan mark the calendar in northern Cyprus, you will experience Christian-Orthodox and Greek national holidays when holidaying in the south of Cyprus. The mood gets especially cheerful when the towns and villages honour their various namesakes with exuberant festivals. The Easter celebrations are also a special experience. Good to know: Since the religious festivals are based on the Julian calendar, Easter, for example, always occurs on a slightly later date than in Central Europe.
“Green Monday” ushers in the Lenten season in Cyprus. It marks the end of the Carnival season, during which colourful costume balls are held in Paphos, Limassol and Larnaca. During Holy Week, many Cypriots traditionally observe strict fasting rules and attend a long church service on Easter Saturday. In many places, this ends with great fireworks that symbolise the resurrection of Jesus. On Easter Sunday, people invite their family and friends to convivial barbecues.
The second most important Christian festival is Mary’s Assumption on 15 August. On this day, Cypriots like to meet for picnics, and parish fairs are held in many places. No less than two holidays demonstrate the Cypriots’ pronounced love of freedom: The revolution against the British colonialists is commemorated on 1 April. This “EOKA Day” remembers the civil war in the 1960s, in which Cypriots fought for independence from the Kingdom. For the second time each year, on 1 October, the Greek part of Cyprus celebrates its release from British rule on Independence Day.
When you drive from Paphos to Limassol along the ocean, you will pass the distinctive Aphrodite’s Rock: It is said that the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, emerged from the ocean near this prominent rock formation. According to legend, swimming around Aphrodite’s Rock three times will grant couples eternal love. On full moon nights in particular, you probably won’t be alone during this romantic activity.
Myths pertaining to the goddess of love can be found in many other places in Cyprus too: On the east coast, for example, you can find the “Bath of Aphrodite”. Allegedly, the goddess was bathing in the pure spring water of this small grotto beneath a fig tree when the handsome Adonis saw her and fell eternally in love with her. Aphrodite relented to Adonis’ courtship, although she was actually married to the god of fire, Hephaestus.
Are you interested in the most spectacular outdoor activities in Cyprus?
The months of May, June and from September to mid-November are most recommended for a beach holiday. If you’re planning an active holiday, you can enjoy pleasantly warm temperatures and reliable weather from March to May and in September and October.
The Golden Beach on the Karpas peninsula always turns up on the top-ten list of the most spectacular places in Cyprus. This region is known for its desolate and unspoiled beaches, so it can be recommended for explorers and romantics looking for an authentic Cyprus holiday.
Yes. An identity card is sufficient for the arrival as well as for travelling between the two parts of the island. A passport or temporary passport are also accepted.
In the summer months and on the central plain between the Troodos and Pentadaktylos mountains, you will experience the highest temperatures in Cyprus. Here the temperatures can reach 45° C. The climate along the coast is more agreeable. There the thermometer will “only” reach 38° C in midsummer.
Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, Cyprus has relatively mild winters. In December, its warm average temperature of 16° C makes it optimal for trekking tours and sightseeing.
When it comes to tipping, you should know that this is customary in Cyprus. It’s usually included in the prices in restaurants. But if you’d like, you can add 5% of the bill amount as a tip.
The most popular souvenirs include tablecloths and napkins with artistic hemstitching, which have been traditional in Cyprus for hundreds of years. Other nice keepsakes from a wonderful holiday on the Mediterranean island include leather goods, woven rugs, baskets and pottery.
Feel wonderfully free on this holiday by renting a car on arrival at the airport in Paphos or Larnaca. Or you can rent a car for just a few days to reach specific destinations. A rental car gives you independence from the bus schedules in Cyprus, so you can reach even desolate beaches or the mountainous inland very easily. And along the way, you can stop at any vantage points you please.
But it’s good to know that you have to drive on the left in Cyprus. This was “inherited” from the British colonial period. Rental cars in Cyprus therefore use right-hand drive. The right-of-way rule “right before left” still applies. You should take special care when turning. Particularly during the first few miles, you might end up on the wrong side of the road out of habit.
There are no trains in Cyprus. But there is a well-established bus network and you can ride the public buses very inexpensively. Within the larger cities, the fixed-line buses usually travel at half-hour intervals. After 6 pm and on the weekends, however, the service is limited. Buses are also a popular transport method for cross-country trips in Cyprus. Only the smaller mountain villages are difficult to access by bus. In those cases, shared taxis are a convenient alternative: They have space for up to seven passengers and you can arrange transport between any addresses by phone.
In Cyprus, one beach paradise is followed by the next – among the many beautiful spots along the crystal-clear water, you can also find numerous bays and beaches with fine sand – many of these in the popular coastal region of Agia Napa. While the sandy beach of Nissi in this area boasts a vibrant beach life with beach bars, music and great water sports – other swimming spots feel miles removed from the nearest hotel. One of these is on “turtle beach” in Alagadi, northern Cyprus. There you can enjoy the view of the sun sparkling on the ocean in the midst of unspoiled nature.
Fantastic pebble beaches in Cyprus
Soft and sun-warmed sand may feel great on the feet, but the water is even clearer along the many small pebble beaches of the Mediterranean island. Conditions there are ideal for divers and snorkellers and often also for other water sports enthusiasts, such as wind and kite surfers. The best-known pebble beach in Cyprus is probably the one near Paphos: Aphrodite Beach is said to be the mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess of love. There the Cypriot coast also displays a rather rough charm and appears very picturesque.
Hidden bays and insider’s tips in Cyprus
Do you want to have a spectacular view of the water all to yourself? Or are you looking for a very special place for romantic moments? From famous holiday spots like Paphos or Limassol, it’s not far to reach many of these hidden places. Some scenic bays are so remote that even the drive there through idyllic, untamed landscapes is an adventure in itself. This includes secret swimming areas on the wild and romantic Diskarpaz peninsula.
Spring and autumn offer the best conditions for a hiking holiday in Cyprus. With the mild weather and pleasant temperatures at those times, trekking tours along the coasts, through forests and over mountains are a pure delight. On the whole, the Mediterranean island is covered by an expansive, 200-kilometre network of interesting routes. You can take particularly picturesque walks in the Troodos Mountains and on the Akamas peninsula.
Those who love water sports tend to rave about the 620-kilometre coast of Cyprus: The conditions are almost too excellent to just go swimming. Kite surfers are particularly drawn to the beaches south of Larnaca. Divers flock to the bays of Agia Napa and Cape Greko. For sailors, Cyprus is no longer just an insider’s tip.
Skiing in Cyprus? Why not?!
Of course sun, beach and ocean are the first things that come to mind when you think of Cyprus. But this island in the Mediterranean also has a ski area in the Troodos Mountains. They are snow-covered from January to the end of March and you can reach the slopes via lifts with exotic names such as “Zeus” or “Hera”. Two cross-country ski trails also contribute to the perfect winter sports feeling.