Cyprus is a serene getaway destination in Europe, so here’s your guide to the hottest European country to visit in the winter. Cyprus boasts amazing weather, stunning beaches and culturally rich cities. It is a must-visit country that has the best parts of both Europe and Asia.
It’s the perfect vacation destination for Europeans seeking hot weather during the winter. This is exactly what I did as the only criteria I had was to find a location with warm and sunny weather that had beaches and wasn’t too far from England. Although Europe is getting hotter every year as the effects of climate change are felt, the winter remains cold in most of the continent. So you should head towards Asia to catch some much-needed sun around January time, hence Cyprus is the ideal holiday destination for those seeking an escape to a paradise not so far away.
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT CYPRUS
There is so much to do on the Eastern Meditterean island of Cyprus, it’s a great place for both holidaymakers seeking a beach-side vacation and those wishing to explore the country’s rich history. Below I will rattle through a few reasons why Cyprus is an ideal country to visit and give you some notable spots to go to!
LOCATION AND HISTORY
The 4-hour 40-minute flight from London to Larnaca, one of Cyprus’ major cities, was the perfect length in that it wasn’t short but also not too long. Being geographically located in Asia, just off the coast of the Middle East, Cyprus has similar subtropical weather patterns to its neighbouring Asian countries with an estimated 300 – 340 sunny days every year. Despite its location, Cyprus is politically and culturally linked to Europe, it’s a current member state of the European Union. This in large part is where most of the turmoil that Cyprus has faced over the years has come from, the fact that the island is split between two prominent ethnic groups, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The Hellenic island was originally settled in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greeks. This was before occupying powers from a manner of varying places would claim the strategically located island as their own. Later, under Ottoman rule in the 16th century, thousands of Turkish settlers from Anatolia moved to the island. This marked the first major demographic change in Cyprus’ population. To this day, the island remains divided after the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus which caused the political separation of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Although there are still ongoing tensions, the Republic of Cyprus has managed to maintain stability, building Cyprus to be a dream destination for European travellers searching for a beach-side escape.
THE BEACHES & HOT WEATHER
Cyprus is one of the hottest places in Europe to visit in the winter when pretty much all of the rest of the continent is freezing or chilly. Of course, like anywhere, there can be patches of stormy and not-so-good weather but generally, it’s the perfect getaway destination for tourists year-round. The summer is scorching hot with endless days of clear blue skies best enjoyed with a swim in the sea.
There are countless amounts of serene beaches with many close to major cities, where most tourists end up staying. Even during the winter the weather can be warm enough for a swim, which makes the country’s beaches even more ideal as a year-round tourist destination. It’s all very convenient despite the fact that Cyprus doesn’t have a functioning train system, everywhere must be reached by car or bus. So if you’re thinking of visiting beaches or towns that are far away, start preparing now!
Ayia Napa is known for having the best beaches in all of Cyprus, it’s buzzing during the summer but is relatively calm during the winter season. One of the most scenic, and well-known, beaches in the Ayia Napa area is Makronissos Beach. It’s a fifteen-minute car ride from the town centre to the beach, so getting there is pretty easy. Likewise, the nearby Nissi Beach is a popular sunbathing spot due to its natural beauty and ideal location. There are many other beaches all around the country that should be visited, but based on word-of-mouth and research it seems Ayia Napa is the place to be for the best of the best. It stands up to other hotspots in the Mediterranean Sea like Cannes (South of France), Sicily and the many Greek islands like Crete.
The capital city of Cyprus is Nicosia, Europe’s only divided capital. Half of Nicosia is governed by Northern Cyprus, while the other half is in the Republic of Cyprus, but Nicosia is regarded by the international community as part of the Republic of Cyprus. Thus, it’s a fascinating city stuck in an unusual predicament that will call to people who take an interest in history. Just imagine stepping on one side of the division line, thinking about life on the other side. It’s inherently intriguing.
The country’s second biggest city, by population, is Limassol. When visiting Limassol, a relatively quieter city than the rest, go for a peaceful walk along the Molos promenade day or night. Take in a beautiful sunrise or sunset here, by the sea, for the perfect way to start or end your day. Then head on down the promenade to reach the Limassol Marina, which is full of great Mediterranean restaurants to get your fill of the local cuisine. Nearby, visit the Limassol Castle, which is mere minutes away from the seaside, to take in Limassol’s long history. If the weather is hot and the beach is calling your name head over to Lady’s Mile Beach for a relaxing time. Kourion is a big tourist attraction, today you can visit the remains of the Kourion archaeological site to explore the remains of ancient Cyprus’ biggest city-states. This is a must for all who want to take in Cyprus’ age-old history while visiting Limassol.
THE BEST HIDDEN GETAWAY LOCATION
Although not a part of the Republic of Cyprus’ territory, the neighbouring British Overseas Territory Akrotiri has a lot to offer, despite being a military base the public can visit its towns and the coast. The walk to the Akrotiri dunes is unlike any other place in Europe, its barren, untouched desert-like landscape is a fascinating and beautiful site to behold. Also, poking out of the sea, off the coast of the sand dunes is the Akrotiri shipwreck, a famous attraction for divers staying in the Limassol area. However, it must be said, be prepared for a lot of walking as there are very few roads that go near the beach.
Parallel to the Lady’s Mile Beach in Cyprus is the Akrotiri salt lake, which at certain times of the year is home to hundreds of wild flamingos. It’s a wonderful sight to see, although seeing them in the summer is rare. The best time to see them is November – March every year. Akrotiri isn’t the only place to see the flamingos though, the Larnaca salt lake is another place that the Cypriot flamingos frequent.
There are endless reasons to visit Cyprus, the hottest European country, in winter and at all times during the year. It has so much to offer, including meeting huge amounts of friendly cats who frequent the beaches and towns of Cyprus.