The attractions of Cyprus villa rentals and the holidays they bring are those classic Mediterranean features superb beaches, wonderful weather, plenty of historical and cultural interest and beautiful mountain scenery and villages.
Spring and autumn are the ideal time to visit Cyprus, as July and August can be very hot – though you can always head up into the cool and beautiful Troodos mountains, with their monasteries, wineries and walking trails. Cyprus is a popular destination for long winter visits, as the weather remains mild even when it’s wet.
Cyprus plays host to a million British visitors every year. What attracts them are classic Mediterranean features – superb beaches, wonderful weather, plenty of historical and cultural interest, beautiful mountain scenery and villages – plus something extra.
The long British link with the island means that in some ways it’s strangely familiar. In most of the island, English is widely spoken, traffic drives on the left and familiar shops and products are easily found. However, since 1974 the island has been divided into the Greek-speaking south and the Turkish-speaking north.
As far as most holiday visitors are concerned, Cyprus means the southern, Greek part: it is highly developed, with a thriving and sophisticated tourism industry and plenty of direct scheduled and charter flights. Many people working in the Cypriot tourism industry have lived in Britain – another reason why they are able to provide so well for British tastes.
Southern Cyprus has several busy resorts with large hotels, but also quieter areas. The biggest resorts are Limassol, Larnaka and purpose-built Ayia Napa, but these cater mainly for hotel-based package holidaymakers and can get very busy with their fair share of noisy youngsters. Protaras is more relaxed than its neighbour Ayia Napa and has a fine beach, but if you prefer somewhere less frantic and with a bit more history, Paphos in the west is probably the best bet. It has a big, interesting harbour with lots of fishing and pleasure boats, and the Saturday market shouldn’t be missed. Just inland from its fantastic beaches are three championship golf courses, where slightly cooler temperatures mean you can tee off comfortably throughout the year.
A few kilometres to the north, Coral Bay has an excellent beach and a good choice of villas, while Peyia is a firm favourite with many visitors who really love Cyprus and return again and again. For a quiet, low key holiday you could head a little further north to the unspoilt Akamas peninsula, famous for its turtles, and the very pleasant Latchi and Pissouri areas.
Fewer people go to the Turkish north. It has remained quiet with a more ‘foreign’ atmosphere. For many people that’s an advantage – there are no crowds, prices are low and there is little new development.
The weather, beaches, scenery and historic sights (including ancient Salamis, near Famagusta) are superb and there are some terrific villas available, many with private pools. As a result, Northern Cyprus can be an excellent choice for a quiet holiday. The fact that services and facilities are less prolific is seen by many as a great bonus and a key part of the area’s charm.
Many villas are in or near Kyrenia, which has one of the most beautiful harbours in the world, but they are also to be found in other attractive parts of the North, such as the foothills of the Besparmak mountains. Wildlife has not been neglected – the Karpas peninsula is a National Park with wild donkeys, and there are designated protected turtle egg-laying sites.
If you book a villa in Northern Cyprus, the owners will be happy to advise you on the practicalities of getting there. You can fly from Britain via Turkey to Ercan airport in the North on Cyprus Turkish Airlines (see www.kthy.net), or now that the North-South border is open, you can fly via Larnaca in the Republic of Cyprus, on a variety of airlines. If you do that, it is best to ask your host in the North to arrange for you to be met – taxis or car hire firms from the North will be happy to collect from Larnaca or Paphos (cars hired at Larnaca cannot be taken into the North). We hope you found our Cyprus villa rentals guide useful in helping you decide on what to do and where to go next!