Cyprus is located in the eastern Mediterranean. It is a sizeable island at 9250 square kilometres and has a coastline of 648 kilometres. The climate is typically Mediterranean, with hot summers and mild winters. Most of Cyprus is agricultural land that is spattered with ancient castles and Greek and Roman ruins. The south of Cyprus is a more popular holiday destination than the north due to being more accessible and having a more developed tourist industry. There are many hotels and apartments on offer, tailoring to family and package holidays. The language spoken in the south is Greek and in the north is Turkish, but English is widely understood. The currency used is the Cyprus Pound. Traditional food combines elements of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Much of Cypriot history is owed to its geographic location, as it is in the pathway between Europe and the Middle East. There have been settlers in Cyprus since Neolithic times, but in the more recent past, Egyptians, Assyrians and Persians have battled over their rights to the land. By the 4th Century BC, Alexander the Great had power over Cyprus, assimilating it into the Greek-Egyptian kingdom. The Romans later took control when this Kingdom declined. Repeated Arab raids in the 7th and 8th Centuries destroyed many of the coastal settlements and by the end of the Middle Ages, the island was falling into decline. The British arrived in 1878, restoring some order to the country, but as they refused to listen to calls for Cypriot independence, a Greek rebellion was sparked in the early 20th Century. Independence was finally granted in 1960, but with it came the Turkish seizure of the northern section of the island, which caused hundreds of thousands of Greeks to flee to the south. In 1974, the Green Line was drawn across the country to separate the Turkish North from the Greek South. The unrest continues, as seen by the referendum in 2004 that saw the Greek Cypriots rejecting an EU plan for reunification.
The resorts in Greek Cyprus offer tourists many different types of vacation. Aiya Napa was once a small fishing village but is now a popular destination with clubbers, offering a 24 hour nightlife. Larnaca is a coastal resort built on the ancient city of Kition. It has a touristy waterfront, but still retains some of its historic past. Paphos is the old capital of Cyprus and is filled with hotels and apartments with restaurants and bars covering the harbour. Resorts in Turkish Cyprus are less well developed, although facilities are generally comfortable. Kyrenia is a popular choice with some scenic and historical spots in the surrounding area.
Cyprus is quite a good place to learn to dive with some basic sites on offer, as well as progression onto the simple wrecks then onto the more adventurous Zenobia and exploring caves and tunnels. Most dive sites are only a few minutes boat journey and there are a number of shore dives available. Diving is most popular in the south around Ayia-Napa and Paphos, whilst Larnaca attracts some attention due to the wreck of the Zenobia being located there. Whilst diving in Cyprus is not the best that the Mediterranean has to offer, the Zenobia is one of the best wreck dives in the world. The wreck is worth a trip to Cyprus for, and it needs to be dived more than once in order to appreciate the size of the wreck and get an understanding of it. For more pristine dive sites, it is necessary to travel to the northwest tip of the island around the Akamas Peninsula. Often there are artefacts such as Roman pottery on the seabed, but please be aware that removal of these items is strictly forbidden. Nitrox is available at some dive Centers and there are two decompression chambers on Cyprus at Larnaca Makarion General Hospital and the British base of Akrotiri.
Cyprus would make a good destination for divers who have a non-diving family with them and for those who just want to squeeze in a few dives whilst away. There is plenty to see above water and its history provides tourists with more than just a resort holiday. You may hire a car or minibus in Cyprus with Go Airport Transfers.