Reasons to Visit Cyprus in the Winter

Reasons to Visit Cyprus in the Winter

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, attracting over 2,000,000 visitors every year. The island has something for everyone including friendly people, an amazing coastline, stunning mountain village, family resorts, marinas, a booming agro-tourism scene, world class spas and award-winning golf courses designed by golfing legends. On your bargain holidays to Cyprus, sample tradition Cypriot cuisine and follow the islands new wine trails celebrate the 40 new wineries which have developed on the island in recent years. Six wine routes criss-cross the island, taking in some of the best boutique wineries. Cypriot wine production dates back nearly 5,000 years. The warm waters of Cyprus are perfect for diving and water-skiing while those seeking adventure can explore this beautiful island on trekking or bird-watching tours.

So why go to Cyprus for your winter sun holiday? Apart from holiday packages being at their lowest price at this time of the year, the following are just a few reasons why Cyprus is perfect choice for your holidays during the winter season.

1. Average winter daytime temperatures throughout the whole of Cyprus rarely drop below 20C making this the ideal time to explore the island and all it has to offer. With 340 days of sunshine a year you can be sure to catch some rays throughout December and January. The island’s magnificent blue-flag beaches enjoy sea temperatures in the high teens throughout the winter months making it possible to take a dip on Christmas Day!

2. Christmas is an amazing time on Cyprus with age-old traditions and plenty of delicious Cypriot food. Unique to the region is the habit of hanging crosses wrapped in basil and sprinkled with holy water on the front door of a house to ward off the kallikantzari (goblin-like spirits), which are said to make mischief during the twelve days of Christmas. The towns and villages across the island celebrate Christmas with magical processions accompanied by kalanda (carols) which have been handed down from generation to generation since Byzantine times. The main festival on Christmas Day is held in Eleftheria (Freedom) Square Nicosia. Larnaca plays host to one of the most dramatic services on the 5th January when young swimmers dive for a cross which they return to the priest.

3. Winter is not excluded from the islands colourful year-round cultural scene. Concerts and events take place all over Cyprus, from local bands, choirs, orchestras, dancers and groups through to Viva Verdi – Moscow New Opera in Rialto, Limassol. Eleftheria Square in Nicosia is the place to be to catch live acts with performances everyday during the last two weeks of December with free entertainment every Sunday at the entrance of the Pafos Mosaics near the harbour.

4. The Cypriot people love their food which plays a major role in their Christmas celebrations. Christopsomo (Christ Bread) accompanied by dried figs, nuts and honey are eaten on Christmas Eve with stuffed turkey, roast chicken and roast lamb traditionally served on Christmas day. If you have a sweet tooth you will love the traditional cakes such as kourabiedes (a small almond cake coated in icing sugar), melomakarona (traditional honey cake) and finikia (walnut pie). If you hanker for a traditional British Christmas dinner with all the trimmings you will not be disappointed as most of the hotels observe UK traditions with traditional British fare and festive decorations.

5. New Year is an important date for families in Cyprus with the 1st January marking the Feast of St Basil, the regions equivalent to St Nicholas. This is the main day for present-giving. Downtown Limassol plays host to some of the best New Years Eve parties but most of the hotels celebrate with style. Visitors should celebrate New Year in Cyprus with a piece of Vassilopitta (St Basils Cake) which is baked with a silver or gold coin to bring good luck to the person who finds it.

6. Visit Cyprus for pampering and relaxation. In recent years the island has seen a number of high quality spas and health farms open which mixed together with the year-round good climate and varied terrain offers a great way to recharge your batteries. Intense yoga stays and relaxing spa breaks together with treatments which are indigenous to Cyprus, such as the chance to be immersed in the healing waters at Ayii Anargyri, will leave you feeling totally relaxed and revitalised.

7. Car hire is exceptionally cheap at this time of the year giving visitors a chance to explore this amazing island under their own steam. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has teamed up with the Travel Foundation to create 6 self-drive routes which will guide you to some of the most beautiful and special parts of the hidden interior of the island.

Just a four hour flight from the UK, December holidays in Cyprus remain a popular winter sun holiday choice with visitors from the UK and all over – 136,000 Brits who visited the island last year can’t be wrong!