Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, after Sicily and Sardinia. This mythical birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis, and home of Pygmalion, is where east meets west, at the crossroads of Greek and Turkish culture in the eastern Mediterranean.
With a booming tourist industry, it has retained its historical heritage and you’ll find beautiful spas side by side with ancient village coffee-shops. There are extensive golden beaches and even skiing on the snow -tipped mountains. This is a place of traditional villages, dramatic castle ruins and prehistoric sites. Richard the Lionheart captured the island while crusading against the Saracens in the 12th century. Venice seized it in the 15th century and fortified the main city of Nicosia with its famous Venetian walls. The island was a British colony and became a republic in 1961. Since 1974, it has been divided into four parts: The Republic of Cyprus, which is part of the European Union and uses the euro, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the United Nations Green Line that separates the two, and the British Sovereign Base Areas.
The climate is typically Mediterranean, with long hot summers and warm dry winters. Other than Nicosia, the main towns are Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Famagusta and Kyrenia. Cyprus is at its liveliest in the summer months, when tourism peaks, but it has a sizeable population and stays busy and active all year round.