Fed up with our dreary, damp summers? Then Cyprus is the place for you. The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus offers wall-to-wall sunshine and beautiful blue sea. English is commonly spoken, which is unsurprising as it’s a hot spot for British tourists. The Cypriots themselves are friendly, hospitable people, so why not try a spot of island life and make yourself at home?
Cyprus is fascinating country in that it has two major population groups, Greek and Turks. It gained independence from the UK in 1960 and an attempt by the Greek Cypriots to seize control in 1974 was met by military intervention from Turkey. This led to the partition of the island into the Turkish controlled north and the Greek-Cypriot south and the establishment of the ‘Green Line’ that divides Nicosia, the capital city. In 1983 the Turkish-held area declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but this is only recognised by Turkey. Since 2002, relations between the two sides have improved and the UN is leading talks to reach a settlement to the situation. Currently the international community considers the North as occupied territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
While its politics might seem somewhat turbulent, its people are extremely welcoming. In fact it is viewed as impolite to refuse an offer of Greek coffee or a cold drink. And if you are invited to a Cypriot home for a meal, you should take a gift of wine or something sweet with you. Food-wise you could be offered any number of dishes drawn from all around the eastern Mediterranean. So expect plenty of salads, fruits and meat dishes, many cooked with olive oil, tomatoes and local herbs and spices to give them distinctive flavours. And, of course, there’s the traditional Meze, a popular feast comprising up to 30 small dishes to share amongst friends.
It’s cheap to get to Cyprus with numerous low-cost airlines offering flights due to its popularity as a tourist destination. While many visitors are simply there to soak up the sunshine and enjoy the renowned nightlife, there are also wild, unspoiled national parks to the north of the island and inland villages that haven’t changed for decades.
The capital is Nicosia, but other major population centres include Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.
The President is elected for 5 years and is the head of government and the chief of state
At a glance facts about Cyprus
- Languages: Greek and Turkish (English is also commonly spoken)
- Population: 1,189,085 (2018)
- International dialling code: +357
- Time zone: GMT+2 hours
If you’re interested in studying in Cyprus go here for more information.
Europe, member of the EU