Cyprus offers its visitors a wide range of activities, landscapes and cultures. Dotted across the breadth of the island are villas available to rent that allow you to experience as many different combinations as possible.
Renting villas in Cyprus is an option open to holidaymakers, regardless of what it is that they want to experience. Whether it is to take in the stunning beaches on the eastern Karpas peninsula, the historic villages of Paphos or the lively clubs of Ayia Napa, renting a villa can serve as a base that offers a far greater sense of flexibility.
Divided into two main parts; one mainly Turkish (the north-east of the island), and the other side Greek, the island is a hub of different cultures. Although Turkish and Greek are the official languages of Cyprus, the food on offer and sights to see are examples of a greater diversity. The island’s location in the east of the Mediterranean makes it an historical link between North Africa, the Middle East and ancient European empires.
Conflicts between the Greek and Turkish parts of the island have been intense in the past, and travelling between the two parts is potentially problematic. While there are still rumblings between the two factions, it is far calmer than previously and moving around the island between both parts is relatively straightforward. It is possible to rent villas and apartments in both parts of the country, and to get the most out of the island it is important to sample both cultures, as they are such an integral part of its identity.
The west of the island, and the region of Paphos in particular, is home to a significant part of the country’s magical history; the old town was the island’s capital during Greco-Roman times. The Rock of the Greek is set by the beach that is supposed to have been the birthplace of the ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. There are regular visitors to the historic site as well as the neighbouring tombs and castle. There is also an annual festival to celebrate Aphrodite. While still hot, Paphos has the mildest temperatures on the island, making trips around the old villages just that little more bearable during the peak of summer.
Regardless of where you stay on Cyprus, the sumptuous food on offer is one of the country’s highlights. The salty, grilled halloumi cheese and dips of hummus and taramosalata are the main attractions and are served virtually everywhere. Often they will come before, or part of, meze platters, the Cypriot answer to tapas. These are the best way to sample everything on offer and are ideal for sharing with your entire family or your other half.
Cyprus villas make it possible to try everything out on the island, while still having the luxury of a place all to yourself. So, when it comes to food you can eat out if and when you choose, but by the same token you can impress your friends with your attempts at recreating your own meze. There are plenty of shops to buy everything you need, but even better are the local markets where the produce will be the best around: do as the locals do and haggle for the lowest price, tasting everything as you go along.
You can even cook for yourselves and then head out when there are parties and festivals. Go in September and you may be privy to the wine festival in Limassol. It serves up local wines from on and around the island, as well as salouze; a jelly-like dessert made from the same grape juice as the wine, but then dished up and served with honey and nuts.
Whether it is the history of Cyprus, its food, or anything else for that matter, the best way of getting what you want is by taking control. The easiest way to do this is to rent a car. By having your own vehicle you don’t have to worry about staying too close to the airport, or being close to a busy town that you wanted to stay clear of. The island has good bus links but no railway system, and so the car is the preferred option. Having a vehicle parked outside your villa means that you can go partying when you want, or head to the beach on another day or to the mountains the next.
We can’t mention Cyprus without noting the party town of Ayia Napa. Holidaymakers from all over the globe head to this clubbing mecca in the south-east of the island and depending who you ask; it is either paradise or your worst nightmare. For those who want nothing else than nights on the tiles, there are plenty of villas and apartments in and around the town, and the entire holiday can be spent on the dance floor. For those who just want a taster, you can stay in villas further away in quieter parts of the island and simply head into the town when you choose.
The party scene at Ayia Napa does not mean that the whole island is full of clubs and tourists; far from it, in fact. The vast majority of the island is made up of beautiful terrain, ideal for walking holidays. There are long beaches with the best rumoured to be in the Karpas peninsula in the Turkish part of the island. It is also possible to stay in villas in the Troodos Mountains, or near the citrus groves of Morfou.
If you’re heading to Cyprus in the summer, then you will want to have a pool in your villa, or be by the beach, or both; because it gets rather hot. But like everything else, that shouldn’t have to restrict you in where you stay. Having your own place and your own transport is what Cyprus is all about. You can do it all, or you can do nothing but lie by the pool all day; that’s the beauty of it, it’s entirely up to you.