Tourism has traditionally been a major source of income and a driver of economic growth in Cyprus, with a significant contribution to the country’s GDP. Being one of Cyprus’ most resilient and strong economic sectors, tourism continuously experiences substantial growth, translated into a number of more than 3.5m tourists visiting Cyprus every year.
There is something magical about Cyprus. It is about amazing colors of the sea, a sense of endlessness of a holiday and of total freedom. There is no need to escape from problems, they disappear on their own accord as if by magic, vanish and dissolve somewhere where the sea gradually merges with the sky. Life is the only thing that is left, with its intrinsic values, recklessness, inspiration and the secret desire of eternal love. Dreams the colour of flamingo also remain…
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus and as the Government seat and cultural centre of the Island it offers theatres, clubs, international sporting events and an excellent variety of restaurants and bars. The Venetian Walls encircle the Old Town with its blend of historic architecture and the ‘Green Line’, which divides the south of the city from the occupied north, is of particular interest. Museums are numerous and galleries feature both Cypriot and international art, with shops from bargain to boutique completing the extensive attributes of this unique city.
From the ‘Green Line’, where buildings still bear the marks of warfare, the streets radiate out to find working Hammam Baths, exposed archaeological sites, the artists quarter and beautiful churches such as Faneromeni and Trypiotis. Walking the Venetian Walls brings you to Famagusta Gate exhibition centre and the colourful shops of Laiki Geitonia. Outside the Walls the city is modern, shops flourish and trendy cafes give the best views for a spot of people-watching.
Take a journey from the low plains of Nicosia to explore the pine-scented Macheras Forest or the awe-inspiring heights of the Troodos Mountains for winter skiing or summer treks. One route will take you through the Tamassos region where you can stop at Agios Irakleidios where the Saint once lived as a hermit, see the ancient ruins of Aphrodite’s Temple at Politico and enjoy the traditional village of Pera. The other road climbs all the way to Kykkos Monastery, giving detours to the Byzantine Churches listed by UNESCO as unique heritage sites.
Limassol stretches for over ten kilometres along a sandy coastline; travel from the Amathus site of Aphrodite’s ancient sanctuary, through the tourist district of beaches, boats, eucalyptus groves and luxurious hotels and into the city centre. In the second largest metropolis on the island, Cypriot culture is celebrated at the famous Easter Carnival and August Wine Festival, whilst the international flavour of Limassol exudes through the variety of restaurants, frequent concerts, the World Rally Championship and public art exhibitions.
Depending on which part of Limassol you visit, the streets are either quaint alleys or wide tree-lined avenues. Both old and new hold many surprises; gourmet restaurants border Limassol Castle in the aptly named Castle Square. This famous fortification in the Old Town houses the Medieval Museum and was the romantic venue for Richard the Lionheart’s marriage to Berengaria of Navarre. Churches such as Ayia Napa and Ayia Marina are examples of fine Orthodox styling and the Municipal Gardens and zoo give a refreshing break.
Discover the extensive site of Kourion west of Limassol where dramas and concerts are played out on the stage of the ancient sea-facing Theatre. Kolossi Castle at Episkopi was styled for the Knights Templar in the 13th Century and was the hub of wine export from Cyprus. The region is still famed for the Commandaria wine named after the Knights headquarters and the wine routes are clearly marked through beautiful countryside and friendly villages like Koilani. The artists village of Laneia, beaches such as Governor’s Beach and Agios Georgious, and for the whole family, the two nearby Water Parks, are also great escapes.
With Cyprus’s International Airport on its doorstep, many travellers find Larnaca an attractive stop-off. It was once the ancient city-kingdom of Kition and has historic sites going back to the Mycenaean era; sacred temples, Byzantine churches and the Medieval Fort are all of unique interest. Many visitors are also drawn to the superb sandy beaches, the craft shops, al fresco taverns and above all, the easy-going attitude of the people.
From the Marina and pier you can take boat trips to see the Zenobia wreck, one of the top ten dives in the world. The white sand beach of Phinikoudes and the palm promenade is lined with restaurants and has the 17th century Medieval Fort at the end marking the entrance to the old town. Central to the old quarter is the magnificent Saint Lazarus Church and, for those seeking a moment to relax, we recommend the museums; Pierides with its garden of modern sculpture, the Natural History Museum and the Medieval Museum housed in the Fort.
Just outside Larnaca are the famous Salt Lakes where the pink flamingos settle and the sacred Hala Sultan Tekke mosque casts a dramatic reflection. Further west is an equally important religious site at Stavrovouni Monastery. Beaches are within easy reach: Mackenzie with its young crowd and bars to the west, and Larnaca Bay, home to hotels, excellent water sports and family facilities to the east. The villages of Larnaca district still hold their traditional charm; watch the women of Lefkara create Venetian lace designs or feast at the taverns of Tochni and Ayia Anna, where Cypriot dancers perform balancing tricks and entertain diners for the whole evening.
Paphos is an exquisite town on the west coast full of charm and history. The world famous mosaics within the Archaeological Park and the Tombs of the Kings are just two sites that have qualified the whole town to be included on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List. The social focus of Paphos is the Harbour where cafes and restaurants offer fresh local fish and an opportunity to relax in the shade of the Medieval Fort. Yachtsmen love Paphos for its westerly winds, romantics swoon at the sunsets and shoppers find gifts galore.
In Kato (lower) Paphos, the Medieval Fort has a roof top view of the whole town and in September, international operatic performances are staged with the Fort as the dramatic backdrop. From here you can now enjoy a stroll under the palms along the newly pedestrianized sea walls or in the adjacent Archaeology Park. On the way to Pano (upper) Paphos, you can visit Chrysopolitissa Church and St Paul’s Pillar before reaching the shopping streets of the exquisite old town.
To the west of Paphos is the lively area of Coral Bay leading to the scenic and peaceful Akamas Peninsular famed for its wild flowers and rare turtle breeding grounds. To the north you will find the excellent fresh fish taverns of Polis town and the beaches of Latchi and Pomos. The most notable Paphos site is Petra tou Romiou to the east, where the goddess Aphrodite is said to have risen from the waves. From this spot you can see one of the three golf courses of the area and the view to the Troodos Mountain range, the wine regions and the glorious Cedar Valley.
Ayia Napa – Protaras
Most people recognise Ayia Napa for its party spirit and, as evening descends, you will see the streets fill with clubbers out to enjoy one of the many sets played by international DJs. By day, the town takes on a different guise. Visit the peaceful 16th century Monastery in the centre of town or the Thalassa Sea Museum. The trendy bistros and bars serve drinks and meals al fresco till dawn and a stroll to the Harbour restaurants gives you the chance to try local fish dishes. Board a pleasure boat to see the dramatic Palaces and Sea Caves hewn from the coastal cliff face or just relax on the beach; Nissi, Limnara and Krio Nero are excellent for swimming and water sports.
If you want to get sporty, the best in sports and swim wear is sure to turn heads on the beach. If you feel in a party mood, then get down to the groovy club wear shops for the funkiest creations. If you are visiting for a wedding then why not spoil the couple with a gift of beautiful porcelain or the latest in luggage for their honeymoon. And if you are in Ayia Napa for a performance at one of the many year-round festivals, indulge yourself in a stunning new outfit; you’ll be the talk of the town. For leather ware, jewellery, sunglasses and watches the prices are great, the styles are in and summer waits for those who want to shop till they drop – the choice will take your breath away.
Closed to Ayia Napa is Protaras one of the most popular holiday destinations on the island. The perfect tan is available at the stunning stretch of white sand beach in Fig Tree Bay whilst themed bars, al fresco restaurants and chic clubs line the main street. They provide film showings, cocktail bars, live entertainment and Karaoke, allowing everyone to join in regardless of age or talent.
Cyprus is well known for the hospitality of its people, its delicious gastronomy, its rich culture and extraordinary natural beauty. With its golden sandy beaches and clear blue waters, as well as its pleasant Mediterranean climate with year-round sunshine, Cyprus has been a popular tourist destination for decades. The island’s famous beaches have been awarded with 57 Blue Flags in 2015, ranking the island first in the EU for the tenth consecutive year, including three records:
- most Blue Flags per capita in the world
- most dense concentration of Blue Flag Beaches
- most Blue Flag beaches per coastline
Cyprus’ tourism industry has gained several prestigious awards, including the Sustainable Destinations Global Top 100, VISION on Sustainable Tourism and Totem Tourism and Green Destination titles presented to Limassol and Paphos in 2014.
But there is much more to Cyprus than just sun and sea. Cosmopolitan and culturally rich, Cyprus offers a variety of tourism options that cater to all tastes and desires, whether it be sports, historical and cultural attractions, luxury resorts, wine routes, nature trails and ecotourism in traditional villages.
The island has all the prerequisites to further develop this industry and offers great potential for investments in niche areas such as Health & Wellness, Sports, Luxury and Lifestyle tourism.
Enhancing and diversifying the tourism product is one of the primary objectives of the Government and the relevant authorities, which aims to achieve high value–added tourism from traditional as well as emerging tourism markets. Extending seasonality and improving connectivity is right at the heart of the government’s tourism policy, continuously striving to maximize the island’s potential, preserving and showcasing Cyprus’ local cultural treasures, improving existing infrastructure and the quality of services offered, whilst promoting the advancement of new tourism sub-sectors, such as religious and cultural tourism, sports tourism and health and wellness tourism.
Large-scale development projects
A number of large-scale development projects, such as leisure & theme parks, luxury resorts, marinas, tourism resorts and golf courses are underway, attracting significant levels of foreign investment. Tourism is also now gaining momentum with the creation of a single Integrated Casino Resort, a landmark attraction that will add value to the island’s tourism product. The new casino aspires to becoming the leading Integrated Casino Resort in Europe and amongst the best in the world, exceeding five-star requirements and offering numerous leisure services such as hotels, spas and conference centres. Moreover, following the success of the Limassol Marina, new luxury marinas are also in the pipeline for Larnaca, Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Paphos.
Health and Wellness Tourism
Another sub-sector under development is health and wellness tourism, which is a fast-developing industry that combines medical & wellness treatment with rehabilitation and holiday options. The country already fulfils a number of important criteria, such as an accessible location, a mild Mediterranean climate all year round, an existing network of high-quality hospitals and clinics, luxury resorts and existing tourism infrastructure, a multilingual, skilled workforce, as well as the expertise of internationally educated doctors.
Cyprus offers world-class reputation for high-quality private health care in a technologically advanced environment, with 6 public hospitals and approximately 80 private clinics. Following the introduction of the EU Directive on Cross Border Healthcare in 2013, EU citizens are free to choose between a variety of healthcare solutions and treatment abroad, thus opening up further possibilities for Health and Wellness Tourism in Cyprus.
Cyprus sees record-breaking arrivals every year and with new projects on the way, aims at further enriching its product and maintaining its position as a leading tourism destination in the world.
Petra tou Romiou
Aphrodite’s mythical birthplace ‘Petra tou Romiou’ is an interesting geological formation of huge rocks along one of the most beautiful coastlines on the island, located on the southwest coast of the Pafos (Paphos) district.
According to the legend, the Ancient Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty – Aphrodite – was born of the sea foam here. Legend tells that she rose from the waves and was escorted on a shell to this particular beach.
The giant rock formations, which are seen at the same location are linked with another – more recent – legend which tells that the Byzantine hero Digenis Akritas heaved them there to keep the Saracens Arabs (7th-10th centuries) at bay. The name of Petra tou Romiou (‘rock of the Greek’ in Greek) comes from the hero.
It is said that in certain weather conditions, the waves rise, break and form a column of water that dissolves into a pillar of foam. With imagination, this momentarily looks like an ephemeral, evanescent human shape. Other popular myths tell that swimming around the rock will bring various blessings, including eternal youth and beauty, riches, good luck, fertility and love. The marriage is sealed, and true love leads to marriage and a happy life together with the person one loves and desires. Even the singles soon will meet the true love. The land around the rock brings forth a magic and thousands of visitors go there for a swim.
In 1996 the villagers have started, through governmental subsidies and incentives, to renovate their old houses (100-300 years old), and convert them into traditional lodgings ready to accept visitors from around the globe. The need for a better and more organize co-ordination of all these SME’s Cyprus Tourism Organization established the Cyprus Agrotourism Company, a body dealing exclusively with holidays in the Cyprus countryside. There are more than 100 traditional houses and boutique hotels in 60 villages around Cyprus. We estimate that the number of the agrotourism establishments will be increase until the end of 2020.
Traditional Accommodation and activities in the countryside
The houses are spread over the villages, near the coast of Larnaka and Pafos regions and in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, covering Limassol and Nicosia regions. It is important to mention that all the houses and b&b hotels have all private facilities. Each house has fully equipped kitchens; showers/bathrooms etc. in some cases provide swimming pools and fire places, air-conditioning, gardens, stone yards, beautiful balconies and outdoor furniture under the vine shades. Guests always have their privacy and the owners are not staying in the same unit, although they are always available to help their guests. The boutique hotels offer hotel services. In some cases have spa facilities, restaurants etc. Most of the houses are self-catering and some of them offer traditional breakfast, or the visitors have the option of dine in one of the village taverns.
By staying in one of the villages one has the opportunity to explore the beautiful nature of Cyprus, flora and fauna, to meet the locals and listen to their stories, to visit the wineries and follow the wine routes, to dine in the local taverns and taste the delicious Cyprus food, to walk and discover, bike and discover. We also provide information about all these activities, like climbing, riding, cycling, and angling, bird watching, skiing and diving and the places where you can find some traditional products (sweets, crafts etc). The 10 Unesco’s world heritage churches in the Troodos Mountains and the archeological sites are also worth a visit.
WEDDINGS AND HONEYMOONS
Cyprus the island of beauty and love, is one of Europe’s leading destinations for weddings, blessings and honeymoons, and is famed for its wonderful climate, beautiful scenery and myriad of options for venues, ceremonies and celebrations. From sundrenched vows and sacred ceremonies to newlywed adventures, Aphrodite’s island is love personified.
There are so many reasons why Cyprus wins the heart of couples wishing to marry abroad, including:
Short flying time from all European countries.
– Significantly lower costs compared to marrying in other countries.
– Simple marriage formalities with worldwide legality.
– Wedding certificate given at the ceremony on the same day.
– Ease of last minute arrangements.
– English widely spoken.
– Stunning variety of different wedding venues including beaches, yachts, castles, museums, wineries and traditional villages.
– A range of bespoke, themed and packaged weddings all available on the island. Traditional Cypriot village weddings that follow the local customs available for something different and unique.
– Beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters.
– Fantastic climate with warm, sunny days throughout the year.
– Location provides a combination of wedding, blessing and/or renewal of vows with holidays and honeymoon.
– Highly experienced and professional municipal wedding officers available to help you plan your event to suit both your vision and your budget.
– Highly experienced and professional wedding planners available, with a specialization in beautiful bespoke weddings.
– A wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets from 5-star resorts to self-catering apartments.
– Family and friends can combine wedding with a holiday.
– Delicious Mediterranean cuisine.
– Warm and welcoming culture.
– Cyprus widely recognized as the ‘Island of Love’ identifying brides with the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, who was born on the island.
– Diverse activities including: water sports, golf, sailing, horse riding, walking, cycling and even skiing and snowboarding in winter.
Municipality and Religious Wedding Venues
All towns and cities in Cyprus have their own Municipal Offices where you can acquire your Marriage License and, if you are planning a civil ceremony, get married. If you prefer a religious ceremony, you must first apply for your Marriage License at the Municipal Offices, and then make arrangements for the ceremony to take place at the religious venue of your choice. Click on the links for a full list of Municipal Offices and Religious venues.
Everything at Your Fingertips
You can find a complete range of the services you need for your wedding and/or honeymoon across the island, and there are teams of professionals in all sectors who are ready to help your wedding dream become a beautiful reality.
From start to finish, you will find everything to make your day complete, including:
– Wedding Coordinators
– Wedding certificates
– Invitation design and printing
– Florists (bouquets & arrangements)
– Music (live, DJs, traditional, etc.)
– Wedding dress / bridesmaids’ dresses
– Groom’s suit
– Wedding rings
– Bonboniere (guests gifts)
– Wedding cake
– Photography & video
– Reception venues
– Limousines / antique cars / carriages
– Guest transportation / car hire / accommodation
– Make-up and hair stylists
– Fireworks, balloons and special effects
– Stag & hen nights
– Honeymoon arrangements
– Catamaran trips / receptions / parties
The Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) participates in Wedding Exhibitions in various locations throughout the year, where you can find out more about marrying on the island and how your perfect wedding day can unfold under the sun.
If you want to take a tour of the island, to enjoy its natural beauties, its historical vastness, its attractive resorts, its crystal clear blue flag beaches, its cuisine, its people, and its amenities, you can easily get in touch with a certified tourist guide.
Tourist Guides have a deep knowledge of the history and culture of Cyprus, sufficient knowledge of European history and world culture,and tourist guiding skills and techniques( presentation skills and group management skills.) Most Tourist guides are at least bi-lingual.
All tourist guides who are members of the Cyprus Tourist Guides Association, (and, by extension, members of the World Federation of Tourist Guides Association), are licensed by the Cyprus Tourism Organization.
Cyprus Tourist Guides provide services for:
- Tours organised by travel agents (up to 55 persons)
- Tours for conference groups or incentive groups
- Walking tours
- Nature tours
- Tours for Special Interest groups
- Tours for Individual Business travellers
- Tours of Museums
- Tours of historic areas of towns
- Tours for individuals or groups
- Tours conducted in a guides car (maximum 6 persons)
- Tours by private vehicle (maximum 6 persons)
Cyprus Tourist Guides can converse in the following languages:
Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, Flemish, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukranian, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.
Cypriot Tourist Guides may be booked by contacting either individual Guides or The Cyprus Tourist Guides Association.