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The island of Cyprus is visited by nearly a million British visitors every year. Amazing scenery, delicious cuisine, 326 days of sunshine a year and just a four hour flight from the UK are just a few of the things that attract British holidaymakers on their package holidays to visit Cyprus. Other attractions include the Paphos Mosaics which are regarded as the finest mosaic in the Eastern Mediterranean and ten UNESCO listed churches. There are many events that take place on the island; the following are just a few of the ones not to be missed.
Annual Cyprus Marathon
This event takes place every March in Paphos. The varied terrain and temperate climate attract athletes and sports people who use the island as a training base, even Team GB have been using the island for their training since the 2004 Athens Olympics. This event is made-up of three different distances: the marathon, the half-marathon and a 10km road race and is open to professional and non-professional athletes from all over the world. The race starts at Petra tou Rominou, believed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, and proceeds along the rugged coastline and along the Paphos seafront.
The Easter week celebrations start late in March and continue for two weeks. With temperature highs of around 18C and a rich cultural heritage, this is a great time to visit the island. During these two weeks the whole of Cyprus celebrates both the old and the new with ancient ceremonies dominating the celebrations. The celebrations include exciting ceremonies, flower processions and amazing mouth-watering feasts on religious days. Food served at these feasts includes delicious spit-roast lamb, traditional cheesecake and a variety of different breads.
Celebrated in June every year, Kataklymos (the Water Festival) indicates the start of the summer season. Celebrated 50 days after the Orthodox Easter, Kataklymos takes place on the ‘Day of the Holy Spirit’. All of towns along the coast from Larnaca to Paphos celebrate with traditional chatista contests (witty off-the-cuff rhyming songs in Cypriot dialect), performances by Cypriot and Greek singers and dancers, boat races, swimming contests and the most important of all, throwing water at one another.
Organised by the Performing Arts for Cyprus Charities, the annual Shakespeare Festival takes place at the amazing Kourion Theatre. Daily performances take place on this stunning stage which has a spectacular backdrop of the Mediterranean Sea.
Limassol Wine Festival
This year’s annual Limassol Wine Festival, which has been celebrated for over 50 years, takes place from 30th August to 9th September. Wine has been produced on the island for over 5000 years, hence this celebration. Local people and visitors gather for wine tastings, to take part in the traditional treading of the grapes, concerts and theatrical performances. This is also a great opportunity to sample some local cuisine, especially the fasolia yiahni which is haricot beans in a delicious tomato sauce and onions, accompanied by fresh homemade bread to soak up all the tasty juices.
Ayia Napa International Festival
This annual festival takes place every September in the Plateia Seferi (monastery square) which is located right in the heart of the town. This gathering of the community includes many different concerts, traditional music and dancing and art exhibitions of Greek legends, mythology and archaeology.
Looking for an exciting destination for your family holidays? There is something for everyone on the beautiful island of Cyprus including family resorts, crystal clear warm waters for diving and watersports, marinas, award winning golf courses, spas, wine and food trails and amazing hiking opportunities.
write by Michael Riemann