Overview

Introduction

The year 2018 will mark the 48th year that Sunvil has promoted this enchanting island. In that time, we have built up a knowledge and feeling for the country which is second to none. We can truly say that we know Cyprus inside out. Who better, then, to introduce you to this, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, having many of the attractions of Greece, yet spiced with a dash of the Orient?

It is an easy place to visit: the 4½ hour flight is reasonably short. Eighty years of British rule has left its mark and you will find much to remind you of home. Driving on the left, for example, and English almost a second language, the police and judiciary trained on our lines. Cypriots are among the world’s most welcoming people: ‘Nobody comes to Cyprus once’ is an island saying, and when you return, even years after, you will be greeted warmly because you are an old friend.

Cyprus

Watch Sunvil Holidays video about holidays in Cyprus

When to go

Apart from its long, luxurious summer, Cyprus off season can be most attractive and peaceful. Skiing is available on Mount Olympus, the countryside becomes green and fresh again after the first rain and soon a profusion of flowers emerges. Among the first are the delicate white narcissae… in February come the anemones, according to legend the spilled blood of Adonis.... wild orchids, freesias and irises appear and finally fields of bright yellow chrysanthemums herald the new summer. And remember, that Greek Easter (6th - 9th April 2018) in Cyprus is something very special.

Where to go

Along the south coast are fine sandy beaches, first class hotels and a lively nightlife. Inland you can discover an entirely different style – the age-old peasant culture led by the village priest and mukhtar (head man) where tales are told and little has changed through generations. If, however, you are seeking a wild, unspoiled place, go north-west to the Akamas Peninsula and the national park. There you can almost hear the flowers growing it is so quiet, or the lapping of small waves far below, and the sea is the colour of amethyst.

About the food

A unique blend drawn from sources all around the Eastern Mediterranean, there is a variety not quite found elsewhere. Cyprus salads and fruit are excellent, as are meat dishes such as delicious kleftico (tender lamb). There are many vegetarian dishes cooked with olive oil, tomato, local herbs and spices. Hundreds of years of practice makes perfect. At some stage seek out a village taverna and try a ‘meze’ – a feast of up to 30 small dishes of just about everything in the kitchen.

About the wine

Cyprus has been exporting wine since the days of Homer, and you will find a wide selection comparable to the best from the Eastern Mediterranean, especially now that small wineries are in fashion. Keep sampling until you find your favourite. The local brandy is also very good, and brandy sour is a popular and refreshing drink. It is said that the grapes used to make the famous Pico Island fortified red wine 'of the Azores' Archipelago in the Atlantic ocean originally came from Cyprus.

Holiday Tips

Holiday tips from Representative Angela:

  •  Take a picnic basket full of locally produced goodies and spend some time on the Blue Lagoon beach near Aphrodite's Baths, Latchi
  • Go with the local goat herder moving his goats back to his farm to milk.  Though he does have a nap half way through which causes the goats to wonder slightly off track!  This can be arranged in Latchi or Aghios Georgious
  • Experience herbal cocktails and other home-made delights at the Herb Garden in Pano Akourdaelia or attend a learning/gastronomic day at the Herb Garden including organic meze with local wine
  • Visit the local farmers' market in Pano Akourdaelia for homegrown produce such as seasonal fruits, vegetables, home-made preserves, breads, cheeses, olive oil and more
  • Set off for a short two kilometre walk taking you through orchards, carob trees or olive groves
  • There is a series of village route books designed by the Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI).  The village routes describe a selection of recommended self drive tours:
  • Village Route One - Limassol District
  • Village Route Two - Larnaca (Orini) District
  • Village Route Three - Famagusta District (Red Earth & Windmills)
  • Village Route Four - Troodos Green Heart of Cyprus
  • Village Route Five - Pitsilia
  • Village Route Six -  North Paphos & Akamas


 Escape the tourist resorts and experience local tradition and crafts, in a village life setting.

Birdwatching in Cyprus

Bird Watching in Cyprus

Cyprus is a magnet to large numbers of migrating birds on their journeys between three continents. Sunvil Holidays are pleased to offer clients the opportunity to enjoy this fascinating spectacle by arranging excursions with local guides on request.

Excursions on the Island

Even for those of our clients who have been to Cyprus many times there are always excursions that will add to the appreciation of what the island has to offer.

Our representatives will be able to book these for you locally. Some are only available in particular villages where an old lady will demonstrate how to make ‘Halloumi’, the traditional Cyprus cheese or ‘Soujouko’ a mixture of almonds and walnuts covered with layers of crystallised grape juice.

There are coach excursions from both the Paphos and Limassol areas to the mountain villages and monasteries and also to the interesting village of Lefkara and the much underrated capital Nicosia. Those who know Cyprus well will tell youthat it is the very heavily forested  mountains and their villages which give the true flavour of the island. Cyprus has one of the most respected forestry departments in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Many of our clients hire a car and explore the island on their own, but sometimes it is interesting to have a guide  take you through the history and places which have created the modern Cyprus.

There are also some excursions by Landrover organised by very environmentally conscious operators that will take you to mountain areas and river valleys that cannot easily be reached by normal excursions. These, often geologically  themed, trips are extremely interesting and will show a side of the island than no amount of individual exploring can provide.

Discover UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Cyprus is a melting pot of cultures and the crossroads between the Aegean and the Middle Easts. Across the island visitors will discover sites of historical and archaeological importance including Byzantine churches, Neolithic dwellings and sleepy villages. In 1980, the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia and Kato Paphos were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Since this date, a number of other sites across the island have been added to the list.

In 1980, the Sanctuary of Aphrodite in Kouklia and Kato Paphos were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Since this date, a number of other sites across the island have been added to the list.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Cyprus fall into three distinct categories: Paphos, Painted churches in the Troodos Region and Choirokoitia.

Paphos:

Two sites in the Paphos Area have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List:

  • Kato Paphos including the remains of ancient Neo Paphos (Aphrodite’s Sacred City) and the Kato Paphos necropolis known as Tafoi ton Vasileon (Tomb of the Kings).
  • Kouklia including the remains of the Temple of Aphrodite (Aphrodite’s Sanctuary) and Palaepaphos (Old Paphos).


Painted churches in the Troodos Region:

The region is characterised by one of the largest groups of churches and monasteries of the former Byzantine Empire. 10 monuments here are inscribed on the World Heritage List:

  • Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis (St. Nicholas of the Roof), Kakopetria
  • Ayios Ioannis (St. John) Lambadhistis Monastery, Kalopanayiotis
  • Panayia (The Virgin) Phorviotissa (Asinou), Nikitari
  • Panayia (The Virgin) tou Arakou, Lagoudhera;
  • Panayia (The Virgin), Moutoullas
  • Archangelos Michael (Archangel Michael), Pedhoulas
  • Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria
  • Panayia (The Virgin) Podhithou, Galata
  • Stavros (Holy Cross) Ayiasmati, Platanistasa
  • Church of Ayia Sotira (Transfiguration of the Savior), Palaichori.

 
Of the ten churches nine are situated in the District of Nicosia and one, Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), Pelendria is in the District of Limassol.

Choirokoitia:

The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia dates from the 7th century BC and is one of the most important pre-historic sites in the eastern Mediterranean. This site was added to the World Heritage List in 1998.

Explore the wine villages

The area, known as the “Krassochoria” (the Wine Villages) is located north of Limassol, on the southern slopes of the Troodos mountain range. Traditional forms of viticulture are still kept alive in these villages.

Wine production is still the main occupation for most of the inhabitants. Villages in the area house various local wine museums, which are well worth a visit. This is the area which produces the island’s renowned dry red wine. The area is best reached from the Limassol to Paphos road, turning right after Erimi village.

For further details on the area of the wine villages see CSTI Village Route One.

Note: Some of the private museums mentioned charge a nominal entry fee. Wine Village information can be provided courtesy of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

Koliani

Koilani is an attractive, wine-producing village. On the outskirts sits the single-aisled vaulted church of Agia Mavri dating from the 12th century, with wall paintings from the 15th century.

The Koilani Ecclesiastical Museum was created by the Holy Bishopric of Limassol as a district branch of the larger Byzantine Museum being planned in the village itself. It houses a collection of icons and ecclesiastical objects from the parish. The museum occupies a two room building in the courtyard of Panagia Eleousa church. The exhibits span a period of about seven centuries and include pieces of an icon-stand from 1735, icons dating from the 13th to the 19th centuries, holy utensils and old books.

The Museum of Viniculture is housed in a traditional village house. Viniculture equipment and items of folk art are on show. In the yard, a large cauldron used for the preparation of the local spirit Zivania can also be seen.

Omodos

The wine producing village of Omodos, built on the Troodos hillsides amidst acres of vines - with its narrow cobbled streets and the majestic monastery in the village square - is one of the most picturesque villages in Cyprus.

Omodos was once the property of Sir John de Brie, Prince of Galilee, as was the Monastery of Stavros (Holy Cross), in the centre of the village. The monastery contains old icons, excellent wood carvings and other ecclesiastical objects of interest, as well as a small museum of the national Liberation Struggle of 1955-59. An old winepress known as Linos is a short distance from the Monastery and is open to visitors.

Foini

Nestling in the heart of the Troodos mountains amidst green and fragrant pines is yet another picturesque village, that of Foini. According to tradition, the village was named after a Frankish lord, Juan de Fejniu or Feniu, while another says its name originates from the Greek word for palm tree “foinikas”. The village is renowned for its pottery, for the manufacture of traditional furniture and for the local “lokoumi” (Turkish delight). The Pylavakion, a private museum of folk art, displays examples of local pottery, traditional agricultural tools and kitchen utensils.

Vasa

Vasa is one of the most important wine producing villages of the region with over 40% of its agricultural land being allocated to viticulture. Some of the best red wines of the island are produced here. It is a picturesque village with cobbled streets and traditional architecture.

The ecclesiastic museum of Vasa houses important icons and religious objects. To arrange a visit, one has to contact the village priest. There are two excellent tavernas in the village.

Arsos

This is one of the largest wine producing villages of Cyprus. There are two theories as to the derivation of its name: one suggests it comes from the Holy Alsos (grove) of the goddess Aphrodite where the village is built, the other that it was one of the four towns founded by Ptolemy Philadelphos in honour of Arsinoe. It has been associated with wine production since ancient times. Nowadays, most inhabitants still make their own wine, while the village womenfolk have a reputation for the special dishes they prepare using wine. The Folk Art Museum of Arsos is housed in a traditional house. Its exhibits present traditional village life.

Fasoula

The village of Fasoula dates back to the Middle Ages and is depicted on old maps of Cyprus with the name Fasula or Pasula. The most likely origin of the name is that it comes from the Frankish word “Fasoula” meaning scythe, the tool for harvesting. The Agricultural Museum is in a traditional house and contains agricultural tools, such as a plough, yoke, scythe and earthenware jars for everyday use or for storing wine or olive oil.

Golf in Cyprus

The TSADA GOLF CLUB, the island’s first golf club lies 15 minutes drive from Paphos in the gentle hills above the town close to Tsadha village. The course, designed by leading architect Donald Steel, is arranged in two loops of 9 to make the most of the natural surroundings. It is full of variety, not excessively long, and in an elevated position which enjoys cooling breezes from the coast for much of the year. Clubs and trolleys may be hired, and handicap certificates must be shown. In 1997, a second 18 hole course opened near Aphrodite’s Rock. SECRET VALLEY is a 25 minute drive from Paphos. The Aphrodite Hills (next to Secret Valley) opened in 2003 and is part of one of the most sophisticated and up-market developments on the island. It is a world class 18 hole, par 71 course. The ELEA GOLF CLUB, a challenging par 71 golf course designed by the legendary Sir Nick Faldo was opened in 2010. It is located just south of Paphos near Geroskipou and incorporates numerous natural features as well as views over the  Mediterranean. More courses are currently being constructed.

We cannot pre-book your requirements in the UK and fees must be paid in Cyprus. Most hotels in the Paphos area have arrangements with the golf courses.

Recommended Book: Cyprus Remembered

This is the fourth book of photographs by Reno Wideson, recording and celebrating the people and landscapes of Cyprus. For further details and to purchase copies of the book (£45.00 plus pandp) please contact Gorgoneion Projects 

Read more

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Claire Kalatzis
Claire Kalatzis
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Time Difference

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Average flight times

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Talk to our Cyprus expert

Claire Kalatzis
Claire Kalatzis

Claire joined us in 2005 after having spent 6 years in Lesbos running her own business teaching English, where she married a Greek. The economic crisis in Greece forced them to return to the UK. Alongside day to day reservations, Claire is also mother goose to our 30 or so overseas representatives in Greece and works very closely with Graeme, our overseas manager in Greece, to arrange for their interviewing and training. Understandably she loves Alonissos.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
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  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

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