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Cyprus Holidays

Surrounded by beautifully clear water, fringed with world-class beaches and drenched in year-round sunshine, it's no wonder Cyprus is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It offers family beach resorts, clubbers' escapes and pretty harbour towns, all with a side of history.

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An island of two halves

While the archetypal image of a Cyprus-based holiday might be an alcohol-soaked getaway, that's far from the whole story. Ayia Napa certainly caters to such tastes for those who harbour them, but there's a whole other side to the island, filled with historic ruins, breath-taking landscapes and charming curios.

An island of intriguing contrasts, Cyprus has family-focused resorts like Larnaca as well as its wild party bases, with sleepy beach resorts and inland hamlets filling in the gaps. It's a land of rich natural beauty and friendly people eager to welcome visitors to its shores.

Where to stay in Cyprus

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Beaches galore and beautiful coastlines

With no fewer than 59 Blue Flag beaches, you can rest assured that you'll encounter some mighty fine stretches of sand on this idyllic island getaway. Whether you're looking for a family-friendly and amenity-stocked beach like the one at Coral Bay or prefer topping up your tan in privacy at a secluded cove such as Governor's Beach, there'll be something for you.

Loved-up adventurers might want to swim around Aphrodite's Rock near Paphos, said to be the birthplace of the Greek goddess of love. Circle the outcrop three times and – legend has it – you'll be head over heels in no time. Alternatively, you could conduct your own sea-monster search at Cape Greco, where a six-headed, 12-limbed female Leviathan is said to lurk.

Investigate archaeological treasures from antiquity

Over the ages, the island has passed through the hands of various conquering empires – the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Ottomans and even the British have all laid claim to this beautiful and strategic location. .

The result of all this conquest is an eclectic mix of enchanting ruins, with each civilisation leaving its own unique mark on the nation. Marks & Spencer's and red post-boxes are just two British contributions.

From the impressive Tomb of Kings near Finikoudes to the chunky but well-maintained castle in Limassol, archaeological aficionados will be in their element. The crumbling amphitheatre at Kourion and the stunning mosaics in Paphos are other stand-out attractions for history buffs

Stretch your legs and fill your lungs in the country’s interior

No visit to Cyprus would be complete without a trip to the scenic Troodos Mountains on its western flank. As the largest mountain range in the country, the peaks are incredibly popular with skiers and snowboarders during winter months. The highest peak is Mount Olympus, soaring to almost 2,000 metres and hosting four ski slopes.

If you're more excited by architecture and history than sheer adrenaline, the range's past as a centre of Byzantine activity should set your pulses racing. With numerous monasteries and chapels nestled in among the peaks and valleys of Cyprus's interior, it's home to a cluster of picturesque villages and countless impressive works of period art.

All kinds of urban life

It's not often you get the chance to walk from one culture to another, all contained within the same capital city. Nicosia was split down the middle by the Greeks and the Turks in 1961 and still retains the distinction today, making it unique in the world. The old district is full of charming courtyards and winding passageways.

Outside Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca compete for attention as the island's principal port destination, while laid-back Paphos in the extreme southwest is now a firm favourite with British expats and holidaymakers. Inland, you'll find sleepy villages to send you off into a blissful slumber.

Party like its 1999

Cyprus enjoys a reputation as a magnet for all-night ravers and boozy holidays. Ayia Napa, situated on the island's southeast coast, has been a draw for clubbers for decades, and those looking for a particular kind of good time will surely find it here.

However, that's not to say that all nightlife in Cyprus is as overbearing as a Ministry of Sound promotional video. Elsewhere in the country, more relaxed locales offer up alternative evenings full of traditional entertainment, chilled cocktails and a laid-back vibe. Whether you want to party like it's 99 or like you're 99, you'll find your spot in this versatile destination.