Cyprus, with its pleasant Mediterranean climate, fantastic beaches and over 300 days of sunshine a year, is one of the most beloved destinations for sun-drenched Swedes. But a trip to Cyprus does not necessarily have to be likened to crowded beaches and all-inclusive hotels. This Mediterranean pearl hides in a sea of fantastic sights, some more hidden than others, just waiting to be discovered.
Visit a cat monastery in Cyprus
One of the most special attractions in Cyprus is a laundered cat monastery. Yes, you read right. On Cape Street you will find the monastery of Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton, St Nicholas of the Cats in English. The monastery is considered to be one of the oldest on the island, but now its large number of cats is the most astonishing.
Back to the origins of the monastery in the 4th century, Cyprus went through a hard time, with most of the inhabitants having to leave the island. This contributed to multiplying the number of snakes, making it absolutely unbearable to live on the Akrotiri Peninsula, where Cape Data and the monastery were located. One of the governors of the time therefore chose to bring a lot of cats to the island to overcome the snake plague. Today, the many snakes are gone, while the descendants of the cats continue to roam freely in the beautiful monastery.
The Blue Lagoon in Cyprus
One of the most beautiful attractions in Cyprus is undoubtedly the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon with the crystal clear blue water lies west of Akamas and offers warmer bathing water than on the rest of the island. In addition, it is a great place for diving, where you have both a good view and a wealth of fish and fascinating rock formations, and are just waiting to be explored. The easiest way to get to The Blue Lagoon is by boat or with a quad bike that manages to get through the somewhat bumpy road that leads to the bay.
Avakas Gorge in Cyprus
Remember to pack the good sneakers for your next trip to Cyprus. The island has the most magnificent scenery with good hiking opportunities. On Avaka's peninsula in northwestern Cyprus you will find Avaka's Gorge. This three kilometer deep gorge, which is split between 30 meters high limestone cliffs, is not only a beautiful sight, it is also a home for a truly unique animal and plant life, where several of the species are not found anywhere else in the world.
On a hike through the gorge, you can look forward to being able to pick sun-ripe figs and prickly cactus fruits, or get a view of a fox running through the desert landscape
Ditzimin Museum in Cyprus
The village of Droushia is one of the island's most hidden treasure, which is also one of the more unusual attractions in Cyprus. With its location on a bulge on the outskirts of Paphos Forest, winding streets and old houses built in boulders, the village is really worth a visit. But it is the local museum, the Ditzimin Museum, which is the main attraction in Droushia. This little crazy "living museum" gives you an insight into the local life, culture and working methods that have not changed much in the last hundred years.
Zenobia, vrakdykning in Cyprus
It is not only the Blue Lagoon that offers diving. Outside Cyprus you will also find what is considered by many as one of the world's best wreck diving.
At the bottom of the Gulf of Larnaca, the Zenobia truck ferry has been lying since it sank in 1980. With its entire length of 172 meters, Zenobia is one of the largest shipwrecks in the world, and despite the fantastic visibility in the waters around Cyprus, the wreck is too large to allow see it from one side to the other. It is also too big for you to be able to swim around the whole wreck on a single dive, many travel to Cyprus and spend a whole week just to explore Zenobia.
The wreck is fascinating for divers of all levels. Beginners can explore the top of the ship, which is only 16 meters deep, while the more experienced divers have the opportunity to dive deeper into Zenobia's cargo hold and all the way down to the ship's cabins. Tours are arranged to the wreck with the local dive clubs in the area.
Girne port area in Cyprus
On a trip to Cyprus you cannot help but notice how many nations have had influence on the island over time. In particular, it is Greek and Turkish culture that seems to shine through most. And that is still the case today. Because in fact, only 2/3 of the island belongs to the Republic of Cyprus today. Northern Cyprus is still under Turkish leadership, and here in Northern Cyprus you will find the historic village of Girne with the Greek name Kyrenia. This port city is a beautiful gem, and dates back to a hundred years BC.
Take a stroll in the horseshoe-shaped harbor area, which bends with cozy cafes, small shops and beautiful architecture, and that brings your mind to Venice and its many canals. If you need to cool off during your stay in Girne, you will find one of the best beaches in Northern Cyprus in Catalcoy just a few minutes drive from the port area. Before leaving Northern Cyprus you must not miss visiting St Hilarion Castle on the outskirts of Girne, which is said to be the inspiration for the castle in Walt Disney's Snow White.
Hiking in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus
The most popular nature areas in Cyprus are the Troodos Mountains. This green nature area is a perfect place if you are looking for a cooler break from the warm coasts. The Troodos Mountains offer a truly unique nature and wildlife with fragrant pine forests, rushing waterfalls, world-class panoramic views and world-protected birds such as eagles, vultures and not least the nightingale.
In the Troodos Mountains you can choose from four main trails for your hike; Atalante takes you around Olympus Mountain, Persephone offers the best range of the mountain range, Kalidonia shows the way to Caledonian waterfall and Artemis leads you around the top of Chionistra mountain.
Along the way, you may come across some of the mountain range's isolated villages with the beautifully decorated churches, many of which are listed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Another good hiking trail in the Troodos Mountains is the 8-kilometer Venetian Bridges trail, which starts from the village of Kaminaria to Tzelefo's medieval bridge deep in the Paphos forest. The hiking trail also leads you past other medieval bridges, Elia and Roudias, which are all a beautiful sight in the fall, when the forest's leaves are really reddish in the autumn sun.
Limassol, vinfestival in Cyprus
If you take the course to Cyprus in late summer, you can look forward to participating in the Limassol wine festival. For two weeks at the end of August and the start of September, the wine god Dionysos in Limassol is celebrated with Greek music and dance, food stands and of course masses of local wines from larger and smaller wine producers in the area. The festivities are located in Limassol Municipal Gardens and attract up to 15,000 visitors each year. The highlight of the festival is when all participants are invited to throw off their shoes and jump in the big tubs of grapes to squeeze the grapes in the old-fashioned way.
Ski in Olympus in Cyprus
You might remember Mount Olympus from countless stories from ancient Greece. It is said that Mount Olympus is the place where the Greek gods lived. But did you know that the mountain of the gods is also a favorite place for skiing? Olympus is the highest mountain in the Troodos mountain range where you will find the only ski resort in Cyprus.
If you come to Cyprus during the winter months, you can therefore look forward to being able to rush down the slopes, where the snow glitters like small diamonds under the blue Mediterranean sky. Before leaving the snow to return to the sun and warmth, you can partake in a fun local tradition. The locals usually create a little snowman at the top of the car's bonnet, then drive down and get a swim in the sea at the foot of the mountain.