A Seasonal Guide to Cyprus

With its location in the Mediterranean, Cyprus doesn’t really experience the same four seasons the rest of the world is subjected to. Around these parts, temperatures range from hot to hotter, with the exception of a moderately-rainy winter season.

Shifts through the seasons come, instead, in the form of annual festivals.

Many are held in spring and autumn, when the weather is at its mildest, but an observation of largely Greek Orthodox religious celebrations means you’ll find a healthy selection of festivities throughout the year, each of which invites holidaymakers to dive head first into the local culture.

To get you dreaming about living like a Cypriot, here is a rundown of what happens across the seasons in Cyprus every year.

Winter

Its position in the Mediterranean means that Cyprus enjoys incredibly mild winters that usually stay in the mid-teens even in the season’s peak.

December and January see the most rain, though Cyprus still gets an average of six hours of sun per day even in mid-winter.

In January, the traditional Cypriot festival of Epiphany – also known as ‘Ta Fota’ – celebrates the baptism of Christ.

A procession of school children follow the local Bishop to the waterfront, where he tosses a crucifix into the sea in order to bless the waters. It’s a sight to behold as people dive into the sea after it. Whoever retrieves the cross is rumoured to have good luck for an entire year.

Spring

Spring is when temperatures are at their most comfortable in Cyprus, though the season is notoriously short, with summer often prevailing. On the whole, temperatures average in the 20s and are often made to feel breezy with frequent winds, especially in April.

Carnival is a massive celebration in Cyprus, happening from late February to March. But the Limassol celebration is the biggest on the island and one of the most notable carnival events worldwide.

To party hard in the run-up to Lent, locals put on performances, festive feasts and vibrant parades with wildly-decorated floats.

The Anthestiria Festival in May is a colourful festival meant to usher in spring and the season’s new blooms. It dates back to ancient times when the god Dionysus was celebrated. In Paphos, a parade of floats decorated with fresh flowers winds its way to the harbour in a lively celebration of nature’s rebirth.

Summer

Summer is when Cyprus really gets into its groove, seeing temperatures that climb well into the 40s. Cloudless days are the norm, and many locals escape to the mountains for a little respite. The sea offers little consolation, with water temperatures in the high 20s.

Every summer in June, thespians take the stage for the annual Shakespeare Festival at Kourion’s ancient open-air theatre, where the backdrop is the Mediterranean Sea. The plays rotate on a yearly basis, and the proceeds from ticket sales are donated to local charities.

Also in June is The Flood Festival – also known as ‘Katakylsmos’. It’s exactly 50 days after Easter and celebrates Noah’s survival of the famed flood.

Celebrations primarily take place in coastal towns, with the biggest in Larnaca. This one features concerts, watersport activities and traditional food stalls, as well as music and live dancing well into the evening.

Autumn

In the autumn, the weather in Cyprus goes from crazy-hot to comfortable again, usually beginning mid-September. Temperatures average in the 30s all the way through to November, when the rainy season kicks in again.

Held every year in Paphos from late August to early September, the Pafos Aphrodite Festival is a celebrated event. It’s in the square beside the city’s medieval castle, and features a staggering open-air opera performance, in tandem with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.

Limassol Wine Festival runs from late August to early September and is one of the most anticipated events of the year, bringing thousands to Cyprus’ self-proclaimed Wine Capital.

Stationed along the waterfront, the festival pays tribute to Cyprus’ long-standing love affair with wine through music, dancing, Cypriot cuisine and unlimited wine – yes, you heard that right – from local vendors and grapes from across the country.

The KYPRIA International Festival is Cyprus’ largest celebration of the arts and is held in September and October. This cultural event features dance, music and theatre performances, along with art exhibitions, and often attracts world-famous names to its stages.

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