Cyprus may be a small country, but it is a large island, the third largest in the Mediterranean. The island of Aphrodite is a place with a big heart; an island that gives its visitors a genuine welcome and treats them as friends. The capital of Cyprus is the beautiful Nicosia.
The other major cities of the Island are Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos. On May 1 st 2004, Cyprus joined the European Community which has opened the door for property investment and growth. The rapid improvements in the islands infrastructure and its awaited further developments (more golf courses, airports, marinas, etc.)
Cyprus is a multilingual community making for easy communication for its international residents. The official languages in Cyprus are Greek and Turkish but English is widely spoken across the island.
Protaras is one of Ayia Napa's main satellite resorts and a firm favourite with British families. The town is situated in the East of the island, the sea here has a glassy clarity and Protara's beaches are among the best on the island. The beaches facilitate the entire spectrum of water sports to choose from, as well as a variety of white-knuckle pursuits such as paragliding and water-skiing.
Protaras is popular with Cypriots and anyone wanting to get away from it all should head south to Cape Greko. Besides peace and quiet, the rocky shoreline provides some great snorkelling and diving. If you want to stretch your legs there is an attractive coastal path running all the way from Protaras to Ayia Napa, only eight kilometres away, which takes in some impressive cliffs, sea caves and a number of Roman ruins. Although Protaras is billed as a predominantly 'family-orientated' destination, it is also a place that knows how to party; it boasts many excellent restaurants and tavernas offering both modern and traditional cuisine, a varied nightlife and splendid atmosphere.
The seafront town of Larnaca bustles with cafes, tavernas, shops and bars. Historic charm is lent to the scene by its fortress castle, now used as the town's summer cultural centre. Today the city is a relaxed place, well loved for its easy going attitude and friendly people. Larnaca is an excellent base from which to get to know the central and eastern section of Cyprus. Its proximity to the International Airport along with its beautiful sandy beaches make Larnaca a popular holiday choice.
Tourism is beginning to catch on in a big way and hotels and resort complexes are springing up on the outskirts of town. Much smaller than Nicosia and Limassol, Larnaca has a population of just over 60,000. Its main shopping area is Zenon Kitieos Street, a typically busy road of small shops, with a wonderfully colourful fruit and vegetable market at the far end.
Other nearby towns include:
Limassol is the second biggest town of Cyprus it has experienced great developments over the last thirty years, becoming the biggest port in the Mediterranean transit trade. The south coast town has become one of the most important tourism, trade and service providing centres in the area and is the island's largest seaside resort. The city is renowned for its long cultural tradition. A wide spectrum of activities and a great number of museums and archaeological sites are proposed to the interested visitor. Acting as a magnificent backdrop to the city that spreads for ten miles along the coast are the Troodos mountains, in whose fertile foothills most of the country's grapes are grown.
The town's carefree holiday atmosphere, with wide seafront promenade and bustling little shopping streets, is matched by the gaiety and lively character of its people. With its fun-loving reputation and the best nightlife on the island it is fitting that only Limassol stages some of the Island's best-known festivals: the annual Wine Festival in September, when the various wineries offer free samples of their products for ten days: the ten day pre-Lenten Carnival with masquerade parties, balls and grand parades: the Limassol Festival in Summer: and the ancient Drama Festival at Kourion.
Nicosia, the thousand year old capital of Cyprus, is now Europe's only military divided city. Its beginnings date back 5000 years to the Bronze Age. It lies roughly in the centre of the island in the Mesaoria Plain, flanked by the beautiful northern range of Kyrenia mountains with its distinctive 'five finger mountain'. There are various suggestions as to the origin of the name Nicosia (or 'Lefkosia' in Greek) but the most likely one is linked to the popular tree, the tall 'Lefki' which once adorned the city.
Seat of Government, Diplomatic headquarters and cultural centre of Cyprus, the capital presents two distinct faces: the old, original part of the city, surrounded by sturdy Venetian walls over 400 years old, and a busy modern metropolis which has a population of over 170,000 together with its suburbs. Within the large area encircled by the strong bastion walls that served to protect the town for centuries are many places of great historic interest.
Birthplace of Aphrodite and in Roman times the capital of Cyprus, the small charming harbour town of Paphos is situated on the southwest coastline. Sheltered from the north by the Troodos Mountains, it has the healthiest year-round climate in the Mediterranean. Paphos Harbour with its ancient castle, marine and water sports centres, is lined with restaurants serving fresh fish and marine delicacies. Nearby are archaeological sites, rich with antiquities, providing activities away from the usual interests. The town of Paphos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of the world's heritage.
Bordered by a lovely coastline, the Paphos area has charming villages in its mountains, here life has gone unchanged over the years, where the customs and traditions of the country have been kept alive because that is how it has always been. This beautiful part of the world attracts many visitors from inland and abroad. Paphos seduces its visitors with its majestic landscape, lovely coastline, historical treasures and delightful villages.