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What to see

Pafos: The legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Pafos is included in the official UNESCO list of cultural and natural treasures of world heritage.

Kato Paphos is a touch commercialised, but older Pafos maintains its charm and either way this is still a quiet resort, despite the building of recent years.

As well as the beach, visit Aphrodite's Rock, the 3rd -5th century-mosaics of the Houses of Dionysus (considered the best in this part of the world), the ancient Odeon Theatre and the Tombs of the Kings 2km north of Kato Pafos.

Of an evening, wander down to the harbour, head to the hills for the village tavernas or grab a cocktail in one of the bars before hitting the dance floors

Polis & The Akamas Peninsula: If you want peace and quiet then this is the place to head. The Akamas Peninsula, on the west coast, is one of the last natural and unspoilt places on the Cypriot coast.

Barren rock and lush vegetation take turns along the coast and there's a wide variety of flora and fauna. Walkers will love following the trails crossing the peninsula. When you need a break, pull up at a taverna and enjoy succulant fish and kalimares while you stare down at pure aquamarine seas.

Not far from here are the Baths of Aphrodite where the ancients, including Aphrodite herself, are said to have bathed, hidden in the groves .

Polis is one of the few southern beach resorts where independent travellers not looking for comfy hotels can go. Set among citrus orchards and surrounded by spectacular scenery, Polis is a charming base for exploring the surrounding area or if you're staying in Pafos, head out here for the day

Nicosia (Lefkosia): The capital of Cyprus, in the middle of the island, is cut in two by the Green Line, which divides the country. Since the wall came down in Berlin, it's the only divided capital in the world.

Pass through the famous Famagusta Gate to Laiki Geitonia, the old section which has been lovingly restored. Wend your way through narrow stone streets , explore jewellery and handicraft shops, dine in charming tavernas, marvel at churches centuries old

Larnaka: See yachts and sailing vessels from around the globe and take a walk along the palm-lined harbour promenade. This is the shopping bit. You'll find a heady mix of international-calibre boutiques, cafes and sweeping ocean views.

One of the oldest, continually-inhabited cities in the world, Larnaka abounds with sights, including the Larnaka Medieval Museum, housed in a 17th-century fort and the church of St. Lazarus

Ammochostos Region: This is for the sun worshippers and live wires. Superb beaches, multi-star hotels, tavernas and discos abound.

Choose from Nissi Beach, Makronissos Beach and Agia Napa, plus Fig Tree Bay in Paralimni, but if partying is not your thing, stick to Pafos and Polis.

Agia Napa, perhaps the most famous, was once a small fishing village. Today it is as lively a resort as any in the Mediterranean.

For local colour, head to the crescent harbor, crowded with bright fishing boats. If you want to escape the resorts, explore the calm, sandy coves of Cape Greko. Head north, toward the basket-making community of Liopetri. Or go east to Protaras, where more glorious beaches spread out under the sun

Limassol: Visited by Richard the Lion-Heart, leader of the Third Crusade the tradition of celebration and hospitality is strong in this vibrant seaside town.

In February before Lent, masked revelers invade the street with music, parades, and dancing for Carnival. In September, the Wine Festival explodes in the town for a week.

If you tire of the 10 miles of beach then head out of town to Amathus, one of the ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus or visit the Kourion archaeological site, an ancient city-kingdom, where you can take in a play or concert at the ancient Greco-Roman Theater, overlooking the blue Mediterranean

Farmagusta: Once the richest city in the world, now crumbling charmingly, Famagusta's old city is now mostly notable for its few remaining churches although it was once thought to have been the birthplace of Shakespeare's Othello.

Somewhere to visit is Othello's Tower, where, legend has it, Christoforo Moro (governor of Cyprus from 1506-08) killed his wife Desdemona. Another legend holds that all the wealth of Famagusta's Venetian merchants, abandoned during the Ottoman bombardment, is buried in the tower's basement

Salamis: Nine km (5.6mi) north of Famagusta, this is the country's best archaeological site. Visit the fully restored Roman amphitheatre overlooking the sea, the gymnasium with marble baths, and the mosaics.

Most of the ruins are Byzantine or Roman, and they're scattered over 8km (5mi). You can camp south of the ruins or stay in one of the nice hotels to the north. It's an especially great place to see the sun set

Troodos Mountains: Thick cedar and pine forests and snow in winter. Can this be Cyprus? Try trekking, ski-ing or mountain biking. Or, do as we did, and just head there for the day from Pafos.

Along the way, sample mountain goat cheese, a characterful Cypriot wine, fresh cherries, or rosewater from the local villages.

If you have a mind, pop into one of the nine painted Byzantine churches, all listed on UNESCO's prestigious World Cultural Heritage List. Kykkos and Trooditissa Monasteries are well worth a visit

When to go

With around 300 days of sunshine a year you can enjoy Cyprus anytime but April/May and September/October will probably be the most comfortable.

Winter temperatures average 17°C,

Summers are usually hot, averaging 32°C


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