General info about Cyprus
Cyprus is a land of many charms. Glorious sun-kissed beaches, stunning mountain scenery, a wealth of historical sites, and long hot summer nights… Spend some time getting to know the island and you’ll soon see why Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, was born here.
Cyprus lies in the north-eastern Mediterranean, at the crossroads of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. It is a land of contracts, with a coastline made up of stunning rock formations interspersed by long sections of sandy beach.
Troodos is the main mountain range, with Mount Olympus its highest peak at 1,951 meters. There are 380 villages. The population is 792,604 and the most common language is Greek, although English is widely spoken. Cyprus became a full member of the European Union in 2004 and adopted the Euro as its currency in 2008.
From Pafos to:
- Lefkosia: 149 km
- Lemesos: 67 km
- Larnaka: 139 km
- Polis: 37 km
From Lefkosia to:
- Agia Napa: 80 km
- Pafos: 149 km
- Troodos: 70km
- Lemesos: 83 km
- Larnaka: 45 km
From Lemesos to:
- Lefkosia: 83 km
- Pafos: 67 km
- Larnaka: 45 km
From Larnaka to:
- Lefkosia: 45 km
- Lemesos: 71 km
- Pafos: 139 km
- Agia Napa: 40.5 km
- Paralimni: 43.5
Now that you’ve spent a couple of days on the beach and the suntan is coming along nicely, it’s time to get out and about. Cyprus has so much to offer, it’s hard to know where to begin but a wander around the nearest town is always a good place to start and you’ll be delighted to discover that there are some great bargains to be found.
Did you know that glasses and contact lenses are much cheaper in Cyprus than in most European countries? Eye testing is free and you don’t even have to book an appointment – all shops have qualified opticians and standards are excellent, plus they have the very latest selection of frames of just about every named brand you can imagine. Your glasses will be ready for collection within a couple of days, or they can be sent on to you.
Cypriots are very fashion conscious and there are virtually hundreds of shops to browse. All Europe’s major stores are here including Zara, Mango and Bershka as well as British favourites, Debenahms and Marks & Spencer. Do take a look at the smaller boutiques, usually located slightly off the main drag. These specialise in pieces from Europe’s top fashion houses. Fendi, Armani, Gucci, MaxMara, Escada and many others are all there, together with some of the island’s own impressive designer brands. Most of these smaller shops sell fantastic accessories. There is also a huge range of footwear with imported Italian and Greek designs being the most popular.
For a really enduring memento of your holiday, look for a piece of jewellery. Silver and gold is reasonably priced and there are many designer shops offering fantastic pieces for those looking for a very special buy. Some jewellers make copies of archaeological pieces (cruciforms, birds, animals, etc.) and these are incorporated into charms, pendants, key-rings, cufflinks and more. Look out for the pomegranate (the ancient symbol of fertility) it makes a great gift for a young bride. Many small shops sell more modern silver items, often with semi-precious stones. Tiny silver framed icons of the religious saints are also popular buys.
Visit a market:
An experience to delight the senses. Just about every type of fresh vegetable and fruit are on display in the colourful markets – ask anyone and they’ll tell you where they are. Saturday’s are usually the best days to go, as this is when the majority of stall owners bring their produce from the villages.
The markets sell mainly locally grown seasonal fruit and vegetables, so don’t expect highly polished, tissue-wrapped, apples. Here everything is brought straight from the fields or orchards – usually only a few hours after it’s picked. The produce arrives in brightly coloured crates- just grab a bag, select the pieces you want and hand it to the stall keeper for weighing.
There are lots of other things to discover: Herbs and spices, handmade baskets, olives and olive oil, village cheeses, sausages, smoked hams and homemade breads, crystallised fruits and pure honey, are all there to be bought and taken home as a special gift. Don’t forget to take your camera.
Tax Free Shopping:
Did you know, if you are visiting Cyprus from a non-EU country, you can claim back the VAT on purchased items through the Euro Refund Tax Free Shopping scheme?
Look for shops that display the distinctive ‘Tax Free Shopping’ logo. If you spend over 50 euro ask for a Euro Refund voucher to show (together with the goods) when you leave the island – the tax on your purchases will be reimbursed to you at the Euro Refund desk within the airport or port departure.