Cheap flights to Cyprus

There is a great deal packed into a small space on the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. Not only does it abound with good beaches and holiday resorts, but its relatively tiny land mass is riddled with the relics of ancient history, from the beehive huts of primitive man to classical Greek and Roman ruins, and everything imaginable in-between.

A thousand years is but a blip in time in the long history of Cyprus, but it was that long ago that the city of Nicosia (also known as Lefkosia) became its capital. Today Nicosia is unique in Europe because it is divided by the 'green line' that bisects the whole island, dividing north from south. The line, which serves as a United Nations peacekeeping buffer, was drawn in 1974, when the Turks invaded and took over the north. Most of the tourism development since then has taken place in the southern Government-controlled sector, and the political divide, even in Nicosia itself, has not dampened the island's appeal as a major holiday destination.

The charms of Cyprus are many and varied. For a start the weather is sunny and dry for most of the year, and the encircling sea is blue, clear and enticing. There are modern luxury hotels in the coastal resort towns, historic restored city precincts to explore, tavernas and nightlife aplenty. Cyprus has remote and picturesque mountain villages and monasteries, beautiful churches, Crusader castles and fascinating museums. The local people are extremely welcoming of tourists, happy to share with them the ir innate love of life and camaraderie. In Cyprus it is possible to mingle with crowds, or seek isolation off the beaten track as the mood takes you, even in peak holiday season. For this reason the island is also a favoured destination for honeymooners, a reputation enhanced by the fact that legend has it that Cyprus was where Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, rose from the sea.

Currency

The currency was changed to the Euro (EUR) on 1 January 2008. Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments. Money and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, open from Monday to Friday. There are ATMs spread throughout the island, operating 24 hours a day.

language

The majority of Cypriots speak Greek, and a small percentage speaks Turkish. The Greek Cypriot dialect differs from mainland Greece. English, German and French are spoken in tourist areas.

Attractions

Steeped in hundreds of years' history, it's no wonder Cyprus offers some of the most exciting and fascination sightseeing opportunities in Europe.

Highlights for travellers include: a visit to the Archaeological Museum in Nicosia to view artefacts dating back over 8,500 years; exploring the site of the first discovered Neolithic ruins of Choirokoitia, just north of Larnaca; marvelling at the striking mosaic floors in Paphos, dating from the third century AD; visiting the mystical Catacombs where visitors are greeted by a pistachio tree laden with pieces of cloth; taking a romantic excursion from Paphos to visit the natural grotto on the Akamas Peninsula near Polis (30 miles/48km north of Paphos) where legend has it that the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, used to take her baths. Tourists are unlikely to ever exhaust the wonders of this country or run out of things to see and do in Cyprus.

The public transport system is reliable enough and can get you to most major cities, however, one of the best ways to get a real feel for the country and to explore everything it has to offer is to hire a car or moped and take yourself on a leisurely tour round Cyprus.