About Cyprus

Overview

Sunshine is the order of nearly every day on the island of Cyprus, which has a typical Mediterranean climate. The weather in Cyprus is characterized by long, hot and dry summers and mild winters, punctuated by brief autumn and spring seasons. The best time to travel to Cyprus is during summer when blue skies are guaranteed, and gentle sea breezes moderate the heat on the coastal resorts. During winter temperatures remain pleasant, but there can be snow and rainfall in the interior Troodos Mountains.

Steeped in hundreds of years'' history, it''s no wonder Cyprus offers some of the most exciting and fascination sightseeing opportunities in Europe.

Visit the Archaeological Museum in Nicosia to view artifacts dating back to over 8,500 years ago or explore the site of the first discovered Neolithic ruins of Choirokoitia just north of Larnaca. Marvel at the striking mosaic floors in Paphos dating from the third century AD; visit the mystical Catacombs where visitors are greeted by a pistachio tree laden with pieces of cloth, or for a romantic side trip from Paphos, visit the natural grotto on the Akamas Peninsula near Polis (30 miles/48km north of Paphos) where legend has it that the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, used to take her baths.

The public transport system is reliable enough and can get you to most major cities, however, one of the best ways to get a real feel for the country and to explore everything it has to offer is to hire a car for a leisurely tour round Cyprus.

Weather

Cyprus is located in the east of the Mediterranean, just south of Turkey, north of Egypt and southeast of Greece. Its location in the Med leads it to enjoy a fairly typical sunny Mediterranean climate; however, its proximity to southwest Asia makes it one of the hottest parts of the Mediterranean, especially in midsummer.

Cyprus is under the influence of a shallow low pressure trough which extends from the great continental depression that is centered over southwest Asia. As a result summer heat can at times be unbearable and the skies during these months are often completely cloudless. This also keeps winters around the coast exceptionally mild with daytime temperatures usually in the low to mid-teens; snow is only observed at higher altitudes and only very rarely in the lower regions.

Cyprus as a whole remains very sunny throughout the year. On average the number of daily hours of sunshine ranges from six in midwinter to twelve or thirteen in midsummer. The invariably clear skies that allow this also mean that rainfall is very low throughout the summer and it is highly likely that any trip you take during this season will see no interruption to the dry weather. Sea temperatures are exceptionally warm throughout summer, peaking in the high twenties, but are comparatively chilly from December until early May. However, even during the winter the lowest average is still in the high teens, as warm as it ever gets around the UK.

Summer is the most popular season for its endless heat and sun. If you are not a fan of high temperatures then it is best to visit Cyprus in the off season of spring when the weather is sunny and but not too hot and the island is in full bloom. Autumn is also an enjoyable time to visit, though the scorching summer results in the island drying out considerably, only returning to its green beauty after the winter rainfall.

People

The people of Cyprus are traditionally warm and welcoming and consider a visit to their island as a compliment - one that is repaid with genuine hospitality, summed up in the Greek word Philoxenia: Friendship towards the guest. Their native language is Greek, but English is readily spoken in all the shops, restaurants and hotels - in fact just about everywhere. In a world of ever-increasing violence, Cyprus has a remarkably low crime rate, and from just one visit to the Island the visitor can understand why.

The pace is leisurely, the people kind and helpful, always ready with a smile. The Cypriots are hard workers too - resilient people who have withstood and accommodated the succession of invaders throughout their long history.

It is probably no surprise with a history so long, that Cyprus is remarkably rich in culture. Its importance has been honored by UNESCO, which has included nine of the island''s Byzantine Mountain churches and the entire town of Kato Paphos in its World Cultural Heritage List. Wherever you tread in Cyprus you are reminded of a strong tradition that is kept alive from generation to generation through the many events, which are celebrated. Hardly a week goes by in Cyprus without a celebration of some sort, whether it is a colorful festival or homage to a saint on one of the numerous "name days".

Throughout the year there are also exhibitions, concerts, drama and folk festivals. Cypriot culture is also reflected in the rich folk art of the island. Age-old crafts, handed down from one generation to another, are faithfully carried on to this day by skillful hands and nimble fingers, fashioning handicrafts, both decorative and useful, that would grace any home.

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