by Carol Montrose
Although Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a little bit like the kid who came from the milkman; it sort of looks like the rest of the family, but it definitely seems different. This could be because it rests at the crossroads of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and it has been overrun and ruled by many different nations. If you plan to visit this enticing island, here are a few fun facts that set it apart from the rest.
1. It is nicknamed the Island of Love. As the story goes, Cyprus was the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. But its long history of love also includes the fact that it was a gift from Antony to Cleopatra; she apparently used native plants to make her own exotic perfume. Another myth has it that Richard the Lionheart skipped a year of the Crusades to live there when he fell in love with a local woman.
2. Independence came late. The Republic of Cyprus was not born until 1960. Before that, control of the island had passed from one nation to another over the course of hundreds of years, finally resting with the British Empire until independence was granted.
3. It’s an island divided. Although the population of Greek Cypriots holds majority over the Turkish Cypriots, the many wars between the two peoples of this island necessitated a separation of cultures. For this reason, the Greeks live in the southern portion of Cyprus while the Turks occupy the north.
4. The summers are long. You might expect an average season to last about three to four months (depending on the location). But thanks to its sub-tropical climes, summer on Cyprus lasts an incredible eight months, from April through November, with average temperatures holding around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. You can ski and go to the beach on the same trip. The gorgeous beaches are something of a trademark in Cyprus, but thanks to the height of the Troodos Mountains (around 6,400 feet at the highest point) residents and visitors can stroll the beaches (which feature temperatures in the 60s during the winter) and hit the slopes in the same day (their first ski resort is currently in the works).
6. It’s home to a famous mountain. Mount Olympus, which is notable in Greek mythology as being the home of the gods, is the tallest mountain in the Troodos range.
7. The food is fantastic. Anyone familiar with typical Mediterranean cuisine will no doubt enjoy the abundance of seafood and veggies included in the local cuisine. And visitors will also want to sample their native cheese, halloumi, which is made from a combination of goat and sheep milk.
8. The wine is impressive. Some of the Cypriot vineyards are thought to be the oldest in the world to continuously produce wine. It’s worth a sip to see what that tastes like.
9. There’s plenty to do. Whether you love art and architecture, you’re more of a sports nut, or you prefer to hit the beaches and then go shopping, there’s plenty to keep you entertained when you travel to the island of Cyprus.
10. They support tourism. The Cypriots are known as a welcoming people, and whether you’re keeping your trip low-key by staying at a B&B or you’d prefer to live in high style at Cyprus Villas, you’re going to enjoy all the hospitality that the people of Cyprus are renowned for.
Carol Montrose is a writer for Aphrodite Hills, a luxury resort and one of the most prestigious holiday destinations in the Mediterranean. In her spare time she enjoys reading and she is currently writing a book on the joys of freelancing.