One of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a rich tapestry of ancient art and natural beauty. You can explore Roman tombs and Byzantine art, take a traditional Turkish bath, or visit the largest Ostrich Park in Europe, depending on what mood seizes you. There’s a gothic castle on a hill and a speckling of monasteries, all of which make admirable daytime adventures. But as the sun sinks below the horizon, Cyprus crackles into an indomitable neon light-storm of thumping beats. Here’s an overview of the best places to be and things to do on Cyprus, whether the sun is coming up or sinking down…
Ayia Napa is one of the world’s liveliest clubbing destinations, and a popular choice among the 18 – 30 crowd. Clubs like Black N’White, Castle Club and Starsky’s bring the noise for dancing queens, and opportunities to spot reality stars and footballers abound. Organised bar crawls and fantasy boat parties – though not for the faint-hearted – are the order of the day, and when the hangover kicks in, there’s always the massive Waterworld Waterpark to get you rehydrated. If clubbing isn’t your scene, activities range from the enlightening to the bizarre. Explore Ayia Napa’s sea caves on a boat tour, head to the abandoned ghost town of Famagusta, or laze away in the Marrakech Spa accompanied by Moroccan tea and pastry.
It’s the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, and there’s plenty to love in the pretty coastal city of Paphos. Historians will cherish the opportunity to explore Kato Paphos Archeological Park, an ancient ruin which includes Roman villas with original mosaic floors and an ancient Odeon carved from limestone blocks, while adventurers can learn to scuba at the Dive Point Diving Centre. Once you’ve worked up a healthy appetite, visit one of the many tavernas in Paphos to sample some freshly prepared Greek cuisine, then relax with a cocktail in Notos Café Bar, and look out over the Harbour as the clubs begin to throb.
Cyprus’s second-largest city mixes beach life, activities and a fairly sophisticated night scene. With everything from paintball and off-road driving to archery and go-karting, start with Sayious Adventure Park for an action-packed day out. Animal lovers should visit the donkey sanctuary, where you can help care for the animals, or the Limassol Zoo, where you can see baboons, wallabies and lemurs. As night falls, whether your taste is in trance, rock or jazz, there will be a club to accommodate, or if you’re looking for something a little more mellow, check out Retro, a club for the over 30s, playing the hits of yesteryear.
Of course, outside the main hubs, there are plenty of picturesque spots you can include in your holiday itinerary, from hiking the remote Karpas peninsula to enjoying traditional Cypriot tavernas in villages like Tochni and Kalavasos. Whether you’re more active in the day or at night on holiday, you’ll find something to absorb, entertain and astonish in Cyprus.
Images by lix – and David Evers used under Creative Commons