With its spine of pine-clad mountains, acres of vineyards and silvery olive groves, sandy beaches and virtually untouched interior of rolling hills and forests, Cyprus is full of surprises, despite being one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean.  As the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love, it's simply made for romance.

Soak up the contrast between a fresh fish meze washed down with local organic wine in a sleepy fishing village and the chic, up-and-coming beach clubs and designer restaurants in Limassol and Paphos, the two most stylish resorts. 

Chill out in some of Europe's finest spas - or ride a horse through the foothills of the Troodos Mountains along ancient trading routes.  Explore the designer shops in Limassol - or pack a picnic and hike the Akamas Peninsula on the island's western tip, where turtles breed in summer and you can skinny-dip if there's nobody around. Visit  the Rock of Aphrodite as the sun sinks in the west for breathtaking views of towering white cliffs and turquoise sea, from which the goddess emerged in the roam.

Cyprus is easy to explore and a rental car can whizz you from the walled capital of Nicosia to the fabulous mosaics and centuries-old tombs of the Paphos Archaeological Park to the west in a day. Limassol's car-free centre is buzzing with life on balmy summer nights and the backstreets reveal treasures like the oldest Turkish bath on the island, or romantic outdoor dining around the floodlit medieval castle. 

Aphrodite would have approved.


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