"Cyprus - The Land Of Aphrodite" Top 5 Page for this destination Cyprus by steventilly

Cyprus Travel Guide: 3,947 reviews and 10,106 photos

So Much History

What a wonderful island Cyprus is. It is blessed with so much history, standing as it does at the crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The island is littered with historical sites spanning not just centuries but milennia.
As well as these it is also blessed with a great many wonderful churches and monasteries, the best of these being in the hills and mountains away from the coast. Several are designated as UNESCO heritage sites, gaining this recognition for their beautifully painted ancient frescoes and icons. The mountains also contain some charming and picturesque villages where wine and traditional foods are still manufactured and the pace of life is much less hectic than down at the coast. Naturally the mountains are also a good way of avoiding the heat for a while too.
The larger cities of Cyprus, while swamped somewhat by development both touristic and to meet local needs, still have a great deal of character and quite a bit of historical interest - not to mention fabulous and cosmopolitan eating places! The food in Cyprus was without doubt some of the best we've had and every night was a dining delight.

Highlights

It was almost the case that everywhere we went was yet another hightlight , be it staggeringly beautiful scenery, jaw dropping frescoes, incredible mosaics or yet another mouthwatering meal. Special mention however must go to the following:

Paphos Archeological Park
At a mere £2 entry (free on Sunday) this has to be the bargain of the year too. You can spend all day there (we went back trwice) and the mosaics that are on display there, in-situ, are utterly fabulous. And it's not all about mosaics - there are other sights to see there; the roman villas in which the mosaics are set; and ampitheatre; basilicas; agora; asklepion, and all set amongst some beautiful rolling countryside, especially lovely in spring when the place is a mass of wild flowers.

The Troodos UNESCO Churches
There are 10 of these and we visited 2 of them, by-passing a third en-route. Gaining access can be tricky, a combination of luck, timing and good advice. We used all three to see the churches that we did. Nothing much to look at from the outside, they are wonderfully decorated inside, with both wall paintings and icons. My only regret is the "no photography" rule which means that all I have to remember them by is my own memories.

The Rock Of Aphrodite
Someone else's page here on VT described the coastal scenery here as breathtaking. To be honest I was sceptical at the time but soon changed my mind. We visited the rock three times at different times of different days so saw it in a variety of different lights. I have to say that the coast here really is stunning, I could spend hours here.

Kykkos Monastery

Nothing prepared us for Kykkos monastery. The guide books may have mentioned that there were murals on the walls there, but none really stressed or illustrated just how jaw-droppingly gorgeous these are. Occupying a full four sides of a quadrangle, and on two floors, these murals, while not being particularly ancient, are simply beautiful and quite staggering in their execution. Even the ceilings of the corridors are decorated.
The church of the monastery is solid gold opulence, and maybe a little overpowering. For me the murals were the highlight, possibly of our whole trip.

The Seven St. Georges
A traditional Cypriot taverna in the village of Geriskipou The Seven St. Georges serves only one type of meal - the mezze. You can choose from meat or vegetarian, the meat one containing many elements of the vegetarian one. The rule of this place is that the food keeps coming until you say stop. Being a mezze each individual dish is quite small, so it takes a while before that stopping point is reached - 2 hours usually. We got up to 26 dishes - can you imagine 26 different vegetarian mezze dishes? By the time we'd been a second time we'd had about 35 different dishes! The food is superbly cooked, imaginative, organic and home grown.

Famagusta
Far from the depressing array of ruined gothic monuments described in The Rough Guide we found Famagusta to be an absolute delight. But then maybe we really love our gothic monuments! The sheer scale of these churches, towering as they did above the relatively low-rise city, made them quite an awespme sight, and also made them easy to find! Our only regret about Famagusta was that we didn't have longer there.

Quiet Valleys
One day we decided just to drive up one of the valleys that lead up into the mountains. Nothing in particular drew us to that valley, just a finger on a map, and we decided we'd drive "till the road got too bad". As it turns out the road never got "too bad" but we soon found ourselves in the middle of nowhere, somewhere so still and so quiet with fields of fruit trees and vinyards. We enjoyed a drink at a quiet kafenion where the owner spoke three words of English - "brother live Yorkshire" - and picniced in a shaded spot between a church and a mosque by the roadside. We saw perhaps four people the whole day.

More about all of these places, and a whole lot more, will be in my pages here when I've finished.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:An Island With So Much To Offer
  • Last visit to Cyprus: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated May 30, 2007
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Comments (11)

  • Sep 10, 2009 at 12:34 AM

    Cyprus is such a small island and has so much to offer

  • yumyum's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2009 at 6:10 AM

    Great page! Never thought of going there but maybe an option after all. So thanks! But where did you fly to?

  • 10eke's Profile Photo
    Oct 20, 2007 at 1:58 AM

    I so enjoyed your pictures Steven. I promised myself to go back one day as we weren't able to visit all we wanted to see of Cyprus because Ed's back pain

  • maztek's Profile Photo
    Oct 5, 2007 at 5:11 PM

    good... lot of information....really a virtual visit..thanks

  • Sep 25, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Loves the photo. Cyprus is beautiful!

  • Jul 1, 2007 at 4:14 AM

    Looks a great place for food. 7 St Georges looks unbelieveble.

  • cheekykev's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2007 at 7:01 AM

    Brings back memories of a baking day at Salamis two and a half years ago. It felt like a huge site then!

  • sandysmith's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2007 at 12:26 AM

    not surprised food tips are first? is it finished yet?...not long before the next trip

  • Helga67's Profile Photo
    May 29, 2007 at 1:57 PM

    I see you're getting the feel of it to drive around your holiday destinations. So much more you can do by car, isn't it. I liked your driving tips :-)

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Lovely sights especially the Theoskepasti church, but I still feel there is one sight sadly missing. ;)

steventilly

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