Away from its beguiling beaches, Cyprus has plenty to offer the visitor, including historic sites including Bronze Age and Phoenician tombs, Roman mosaics, Byzantine castles and churches, and Islamic mosques. This richness and diversity is reflected in the two very different halves of the island, partitioned following the Turkish invasion in 1974. Access to both areas of the island, however, is increasingly easy. Head inland and explore hiking trails through the Troodos Mountains, where you can visit beautifully painted Byzantine wooden churches. Go scuba diving off Lanarca, one of the Mediterranean's prime dive sites, and sample vibrant nightlife in Ayia Napa and Lanarca.
Arts and culture
A new purpose-built art gallery opened in Lefkosia in 2014, and showcases art and sculpture from the 16th-century to the 20th-century. The A G Leventis Gallery features work by artists such as Chagall, Monet and Renoir, as well as significant work by 19th and 20th-century Greek artists.
Delve into the distant past of Cyprus's history at The Cyprus Museum, which is the oldest and largest archaeological museum on the island.
Cyprus stages a variety of events throughout the year. Why not time your visit to coincide with one of them? They include the Ancient Greek Drama Festival, which runs from July into August and is staged at the ancient theatre of Citium, 19km west of Limassol. Others include The Wine Festival, which is held in Limassol in September, and includes free wine tasting, dancing and music.
Things to see and do
Explore Cyprus's eventful history at archaeological sites such as the evocative Tombs of the Kings, a Hellenistic-Roman burial site, and Buyuk Han, a gem of an example of Ottoman architecture and a rare surviving medieval caravanserai, or roadside inn, where travellers could rest and recuperate.
Other highlights include Kyrenia Castle, first built by the Byzantines over the remains of a Roman fort and added to by every conqueror after that, from Richard the Lionheart to the Ottomans. The attraction includes a dungeon and a museum, and don't miss the fabulous views from the ramparts.
Cyprus offers a range of beaches to suit a variety of tastes. Fig Tree Bay is good for families and water sports, and offers tranquillity and decent food. Latchi, available by car, is the choice for deep water diving and snorkelling, Pezounospilioi is tranquil, and Guaba Beach has music and dancing.
Eating and drinking
Cypriot cuisine is simple and delicious. For the best taverna on the island, sample Fetta's Corner in Paphos. Seafood enthusiasts are directed to Paliovarka in Limassol, or Kalamis in Protaras. For a more upmarket dining experience, choose from three Michelin-starred restaurants on the island.
The Patio Bar in Lefkosia serves good cocktails, while Alea in Paphos offers seven types of daiquiri and live music in the summer. Catch some late jazz in the Jazzy Bar in Mindelo on Fridays.
Times, in Lanarka, is a popular seafront café-bar which often provides a stopping-off point for a trip to the neighbouring Club Deep. Alternatively, catch some live music including jazz, classical and world music at Academy 32, located in the basement of the Cyprus Academy of Music in Lefkosia.
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