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What you should know

Language: Greek, but English is spoken almost everywhere

People: Cypriot (Greek 78%, Turkish 18%)

Money: Cyprus pound, C£, divided into 100 cents

Population: 785,000 (including 141,000 in North Cyprus)

Visas: None, for up to 3 months

Health: Oh what joy! None. (except possibly Hepatitis)

Land and climate: Sandy beaches, rolling agricultural fields, wild cedar forests, and rugged mountain landscapes

Time: GMT/UTC minus 3 hours in the east, northeast, south and southeast;

GMT/UTC minus 4 hours in the west; and GMT/UTC minus 5 hours in the far west

What to buy: Definitely Cypriot Delight, pottery and lace tablecloths

Food: Heavenly dips of tahini and taramosalata with baskets of fresh village bread and crisp salad. Souvla (spit roasted meat wrapped in vine leaves), Spanakopitta (a pie of spinach, feta cheese and eggs, wrapped in fillo pastry) or the succulent Kleftico (lamb cooked as robbers use to, in sealed ovens, which used to be underground).

Try a Meze at least once, but starve yourself first because there are around 30 dishes

Tavernas: Well worth the effort, whether in the mountains or overlooking the sea in Polis. A great way to have a Meze and too much village wine.

Nightlife: Famed for hospitality that knows no hours. I found myself sipping cocktails, belting out Mustang Sally more times than I care to mention and dancing away the wee hours.

Neon lights are definitely there if you want them, but quieter restaurants exist, both in town and in the nearby village Tavernas

Type of Holiday: Mainly package tours in coastal resorts or hotels but not just sun, sand and brandy sours. Cyprus is packed with history and culture and authentic village life is still there if you go looking for it. Quieter areas are Pafos or Polis. Clubbing in the North East resorts of Agia Napa. Ski-ing and walking in Troodos


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