Envisioning the ideal Mediterranean idyll brings to mind scenes of landscapes laced with olive trees... stunning cliffs... picture-perfect coastlines... the welcoming smiles of locals who love life, and an evocative sense of antiquity. This vision has a name: Cyprus.
At the crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus offers a diverse range of topography and the opportunity for travellers to experience 10,000 years of living, cultural history - all in a comparatively small area.
Though a part of Europe, Cyprus lives and breathes a heritage that could only come from being at the centre of so much world history for so many centuries: Neolithic sites; enthralling sanctuaries to Aphrodite; Roman villas with ornate mosaic floors; city walls erected by Venetians, and a plethora of native treasures and traditions too.
Within the space of a single day, passengers who arrive at a port in Cyprus can take in a number of historical and natural attractions, from the Lemesos (Limassol) Medieval Fort to Kolossi Castle - a Crusader fortress, and the stunning Greco-Roman theatre of Kourion. In the west, the birthplace of Aphrodite and lively Pafos (Paphos) with its Roman mosaics and wealth of archaeological sites await discovery. To the east, the ancient city-kingdom of Kition - and Larnaka’s many quaint villages with their traditional handicrafts - are a delight to explore. Inland, the Troodos Mountains are home to winemaking villages, natural trails, Byzantine monasteries and painted churches.
It won’t take long to see and appreciate all the diversity that Cyprus has to offer. In less than an hour, travellers can go from alpine peaks - where it’s pleasant even in the height of summer - to bustling seaside, where a host of activities can be enjoyed, from swimming in waters that reach temperatures of 27°C (84°F), to sailing, diving, and of course... cruising.
And as the easternmost island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is also a natural point of departure for exploring the rest of this amazingly diverse region – offering the best of all worlds.