Cyprus is one of the most popular islands in the Mediterranean, where a year-round pleasant climate, wealth of heritage attractions and friendly ambience all make for the perfect holiday destination. Whether you’re after buzzing nightlife and sizzling beaches or adrenaline-fuelled water sports and a laid-back café culture, the abundance of cheap flights to Cyprus brings it all within easy reach of UK travellers. While the well-established resorts in the southern Greek-speaking part of the island have been welcoming tourists for decades, the Turkish-speaking northern part remains relatively undiscovered. That said, wherever you choose to lay your towel, you’ll soon feel at home in this former British colony where English is still widely spoken.
Thanks to its location in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus enjoys a subtropical climate that guarantees mild winter temperatures even on the coast, making it a popular choice for winter sun breaks. If you’re flexible – or brave – enough to leave your booking until the last minute, you can pick up some great-value bargains on flights at this time of year. Summer is peak season, especially in the more popular resorts of the south coast, when the island’s legendary nightlife is a major draw; Limassol’s world-famous carnival festival, which takes place over 10 days before Lent each year, also brings a big hike in demand. You’re less likely to find cheap tickets to Cyprus during peak times unless you book well in advance, but healthy competition from airlines and tour operators means there’s usually plenty of choice. If you’re not tied to the school calendar, try late spring or early autumn to enjoy a relaxing beach break without the crowds.
Thanks to its status as a major holiday destination, direct flights to Cyprus from the UK are plentiful in high season. Low-cost champion Ryanair jets from London Stansted to Paphos, while easyJet flies to the same destination from London Gatwick, Edinburgh and Manchester. Jet2, meanwhile, operates routes to Larnaca from a range of UK hubs, including Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds Bradford. There are no direct connections from the UK to North Cyprus, so the options are to fly to Nicosia’s Ercan International Airport via the Turkish mainland, or else book a flight to either Paphos or Larnaca and cross the border, which is usually a formality for UK passport holders.
Travellers landing at Paphos will find a range of public-transport options for onward travel. The Limassol Airport Express provides hassle-free transfers to Limassol, while the Kapnos Airport Shuttle connects the terminal with the cities of Nicosia and Larnaca. For shorter journeys or door-to-door convenience, taxis are on hand 24/7 at the rank outside the arrivals hall. The Limassol Airport Express and Kapnos Airport Shuttle also operate from Larnaca Airport, as well as public buses that travel to central Larnaca and the surrounding district. Both airports have onsite car rental offices too, giving you the freedom to explore independently – if you’re planning to cross the border into North Cyprus, be sure to check if your company imposes additional charges. If you choose to fly into Ercan, you can pick up a taxi or hire a car from the airport terminal.
Tempting as it may be to collapse on the beach with the latest bestseller and a tall glass of something cool, you’ll be missing out on so much that Cyprus has to offer if you don’t explore beyond your chosen resort. Salamis is the island’s most important archaeological treasure, its restored amphitheatre and beautifully preserved mosaics chronicling centuries of Roman civilisation, while Kourion’s acropolis and theatre are heritage highlights on the dramatic coastline of Episkopi Bay. A hike in the beautiful Troodos Mountains provides a refreshing remedy for the summer heat, while in winter the highest peak, Mount Olympus, comes into its own as a popular ski resort, adding to the country’s year-round appeal.
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