Kyrenia old harbour

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Cyprus is expecting to have its biggest year for tourism in 2017, with a three per cent year-on-year increase in visitors between January and March sparking the prediction of a record-breaking year.

The claim comes after a record-setting 2016, when over three million holidaymakers visited Cyprus – a 17 per cent increase on 2015. Three years ago the country underwent a major overhaul of its marketing approach for tourism, as it sought to benefit from nearby markets in Turkey, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. It is believed that the tourism industry contributes to around 20 per cent of Cyprus’ 17.6 billion-euro economy, with 2017 predicted to exceed 22 per cent.

This news follows the reports that showed how April was another record breaking month for the popular Mediterranean cruise destination. 286,331 tourists visited Cyprus in April, compared to 225,575 in the same month a year earlier. This was also the highest volume of visitors recorded in Cyprus during that specific month.

Glorious sunshine and warm weather throughout much of the year has made the little island one of the world’s top destinations. But there is much more to the country than the sand, sea and sun. Archaeological evidence has proven that it has been inhabited since pre-history, with the earliest records of people dating as far back as 3800-2400BC.

For a small island situated in the Mediterranean, Cyprus has a fascinating history. It has been coveted as a prized possession for anyone ruling the Eastern Mediterranean at the time. As such, its landscape and culture has been influenced by a number of empires throughout the years. You can also experience Cyprus’ history through its assortment of ancient sites and attractions. Here we give you some of the best before your Mediterranean cruise holiday.

Best historical sites in Cyprus

St. Hilarion Castle

St. Hilarion Castle is not only one of the Cyprus’ most stunning castle ruins, but one of the Mediterranean’s. The old crusader bastion is the location for many of the local legends.  

St. Hilarion Castle in Kyrenia

 

The weaving paths and accessible chambers engage with the adventurer in all of us. Those willing to make it to the top will be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views. 

Kyrenia

This is not a conventional historical site in the sense that it isn’t an old ruin in the foothills of the Cypriot countryside. Instead, Kyrenia is a picturesque town clinging to the northern coastline. 

Kyrenia Castle

 

Portraying old Ottoman character, the harbourside district of the old town is particularly picturesque. Kyrenia Castle looms over the harbour, with narrow winding streets leading you through the labyrinth of wooden-shuttered houses.  

Tomb of the Kings - Paphos

Stepping into the Tomb of the Kings is like being transported thousands of years back in time. You are surrounded by ancient walls, where the only sound is that of the sea and your own footsteps.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of Cyprus’ finest historical sites, with well-preserved tombs and chambers used by the residents of Nea Pafos from the third century BC to the third century AD. They were in fact not used by royalty, their name actually comes from their grand appearance. 

Kourion Archaeological Site – Lemesos

One of the most significant city-kingdoms, Kourion, is among the most impressive and stunning remains in Cyprus. Overlooking the coast and fertile valley that the river Kouris runs through, the city is associated with the Greek legend of Argos and the inhabitants descended from Argean immigrants. 

Old Greek ruins city of Kourion near Limassol

 

Destroyed by an earthquake in 365 AD, the jewel in the site’s crown is certainly the Greco-Roman theatre built in the second century BC. Now restored, it is open for musical and theatrical performances during the summer months. Reminiscent of the classical Roman amphitheatres, it was once used to watch gladiatorial games with 2,000 spectators.

This corner of the Mediterranean is steeped in ancient history. The plethora of historical sights and attractions combined with the wonderful weather makes it an unmissable cruise holiday destination and shows why the country is predicting its most successful year for tourism.

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