Athens – CyprusAthens – Cyprus

Athens – Cyprus

The island nation of Cyprus represents the most easterly stage of EuroVelo 8 – Mediterranean Route. Currently it is only linked to the rest of the route by flights to Athens. In Cyprus, EuroVelo 8 follows a circuit around the southern part of the island taking in all of the major settlements and attractions. Cyprus’s four largest cities – Lefksosia (Nicosia), Lemesos (Limassol), Pafos (Paphos) and Larnaca – are all on the route with Paphos and Larnaca also being the location of the two international airports, so it is likely that visitors using the EuroVelo route will start in one of these locations.

Lefkosia (Nicosia) is the capital city and combines the historic past with the liveliness of a modern city. The historic centre is encircled by the original medieval walls, while outside the wall, the modern town with its contemporary comforts pulsates to cosmopolitan rhythms. Since the invasion of the northern part of the island by the Turkish army in 1974, the city has in fact been split in two and is currently the only divided city in Europe and the only divided capital in the world.

 

Lemesos (Limassol) is the second largest city of the island. It lies between two ancient city-kingdoms, Amathous and Kourion, and boasts many antiquities, Byzantine and Frankish monuments, evidence of its long history. Today Lemesos is the island's main port, the centre of the island's wine industry and a major tourist resort.

 

Pafos (Paphos), a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the capital of Cyprus for a long period of time in antiquity, and numerous archaeological sites can be seen from the centre of the modern town down to its picturesque harbour, as well as along the coast. It is out of the seas of Pafos that Aphrodite is said to have risen.

 

Larnaca is built on the site where ancient Kition once stood, one of the ancient city-kingdoms of Cyprus, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe. In the winter months, thousands of flamingoes, wild swans and other migrating birds make their annual stopover at the nearby salt lake.

 

Between these cities there are ample opportunities to explore the countryside and coastlines of Cyprus, which include the surprisingly high mountain range of Troodos, with lush valleys and wine-producing villages, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Byzantine painted churches, Neolithic settlements and ancient archaeological sites and of course, many inviting beaches.

 

photo credit: Lefteris Katsouromallis (flickr.com)

 

  • 57
    Blue Flag beaches
    on Cyprus
  • 1,952
    M tallest peak in
    Troodos Mountains
  • 10
    painted churches
    recognised by UNESCO

 

  • Cape Greko, Cyprus

    Cape Greco was designated as a National Forest Park in 1993. It is a relatively unspoilt area with great natural beauty which changes and offers something different each season. It is an oasis of tranquility nestled midway between the busy resorts of Ayia Napa and Protaras.

  • Panagia Angeloktisti, Cyprus

    According to local tradition, the residents of ancient Kition moved to Kiti in order to escape the Arab invasions. In Kition they decided to erect a church in honour of the Virgin (Panagia). While building the church, they realised that the foundations had moved to a different location overnight. After the miracle had occured the villagers then changed the location of the church and noticed that an army of angels was coming down at night to build it; hence the name 'Aggeloktisti' ('built by Angels').

  • Choirokoitia Neolithic Site, Cyprus

    The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia, occupied from the 7th to the 4th millennium B.C., is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Its remains and the finds from the excavations there have thrown much light on the evolution of human society in this key region. Since only part of the site has been excavated, it forms an exceptional archaeological reserve for future study.

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The stages