Highlights of Cyprus
The Troodos Mountain Range is the largest in Cyprus. Set at the heart of the island, its lush forested hillsides are home to traditional mountain villages, Byzantine monasteries and hilltop churches. Fill your lungs with fresh mountain air and soak up the aromatic scent of pine trees as you descend along winding tracks to Pedoulas village. Visit in the spring to see patches of colourful wildflowers and blossoming cherry orchards amongst endless views of verdant valleys. Or head to Platy Valley in autumn to catch sight of budding crocus flowers and herds of mouflon sheep.
The remote coastal region of Akamas Peninsula is a protected wilderness where nature has been largely untouched. This unspoilt part of the island is a walkers' paradise; sweeping views of dense woodland sprawl towards the craggy coastline and turquoise blue seas lap the golden shores. Make sure to take your binoculars as a wide variety of bird species can be spotted here; keep a look out for the lemon-yellow feathers of the Black-headed Bunting and the large silhouettes of Bonelli's eagle soaring the skies above.
Join a guided walk through Lefkosia (Nicosia), Cyprus' capital for more than 1000 years, to uncover an old city enclosed by 16th-century Venetian walls. Weave your way through winding alleyways lined with medieval buildings and ancient churches, and explore shops and galleries with goods spilling out into Laiki Yitonia's narrow cobblestone streets. Alfresco restaurants and cafes entice you in to sample traditional Cypriot food - try some delicious fried halloumi cheese or pitta bread stuffed with grilled meats and salad as you watch the world go by.
A trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Byzantine churches of the Solea Valley is a highlight not to miss when travelling in Cyprus. Visit the 12th-century church of the Virgin Mary of Asinou, also known as Phorviotissa, to view some of the finest examples of Byzantine mural paintings. Vibrant frescoes depict Christian fables, including the harrowing scene of the Forty Martyrs of Saint Sebaste, and inscriptions date the earliest frescoes as far back as 1106AD.