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Destination Guide – Cyprus

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Cyprus, an island with a fascinating and dramatic history dating back as far as 9,000 years, was invaded and colonized by an astounding mix of races and civilizations… As late as 1974. Tourism on the island, certainly package tourism from Ireland, focuses on the government-controlled south of the island.

get there

Cyprus’ main airport is Larnica. The current terminal only opened in 2009 and is well equipped to handle the annual influx of tourists. Nevertheless, further expansions are planned and by 2013 the terminal will be able to handle 9 million passengers per year. The airport itself is a little outside of Larnica itself, but there are good transfer options both to Larnica itself and to the tourist mecca of Ayia Napa.

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getting around

Since there is no railway on the island, buses and taxis are the only means of public transport on the island. However both have recently been revamped with 4 different types of bus services offering everything from airport transfers to rural buses connecting surrounding villages. Taxis are reasonable too, it’s a relatively small island. Many tourists choose to hire scooters and quads and these are as common on the streets of Ayia Napa as cars themselves. Much like Ibiza, driving standards on this island are generally poor with many roads lacking any kind of markings and lighting are. There is plenty to see in Cyprus if you venture outside of the main tourist spots so some form of transport is recommended for the days when you are at least not hungover…

Sleep

Hospitality in Cyprus is fantastic as many family run hotels have a keen interest in making sure your impression of the island is as positive as possible. You are also very welcome here with a cheap last-minute package tour. There are countless hotel chains in Cyprus, including well-known western chains such as Hilton, Four Seasons and Holiday Inn. There are also hotels geared towards package holidaymakers that offer a more affordable setting.

Alternative accommodation is offered in restored historic houses across the island in partnership with a government agritourism initiative. It’s worth googling if you’re interested in a package alternative

meal

As with most Mediterranean diets, Cyprians eat large amounts of fresh fish and olive oil, giving them a long lifespan and fantastic standard of health. This is certainly true of the Greek-influenced south. Traditional foods also include meats like lamb, pork, chicken, and vegetables like potatoes and beans, etc. As a tourist, you won’t go hungry if the local cuisine isn’t your thing. Many steakhouses can be found in the tourist resorts, dining out at these resorts can be very cheap as several restaurants in one area are all struggling for business. Even fast food franchises like Burger King and Pizza Hut have sprung up in places like Ayia Napa to cater to crowds of hungry tourists.

Drink

The main center of nightlife in the southern part of the island for the Irish tourist has to be Ayia Napa and the nightlife is really where Ayia Napa shines. So much so that it’s hard to believe this place was a quiet fishing village just 35 years ago. That’s not to say it’s an exclusive Irish hub, with British, Irish and Russian bars all easily working together. To be honest, the Irish are probably outnumbered by the other two, but that doesn’t mean we go unnoticed.

The main focus of nightlife is the central square, which is overlooked by dozens of bars and nightclubs. Competition is fierce and every bar tries to attract the throngs of partygoers. Away from the main square are the ‘super clubs’, which stay open until the early hours and regularly attract world-class DJs. For those just not satisfied, there are a handful of after-hours bars that open when the superclubs close.

Thanks to Paul Oneill

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