Cyprus is the ideal destination for the avid shopper. From unique pottery to the famous handmade embroidery, Lefkaritika, silverware and textiles, its many and varied street markets and malls hold something for everyone.
There are direct flights from Bahrain to Larnaca, the island’s oldest and third largest city, which sits on the southern coast. Should you decide not to venture further afield, Larnaca offers plenty to see and do. As well as being the home of Lefkaritika, the city is known for Finikoudes Beach, a sandy strip in the centre backed by a palm-lined seaside promenade. Just offshore, the MS Zenobia wreck is a popular scuba diving site. And the ninth-century Church of Saint Lazarus contains the tomb of the saint said to have risen from the dead.
Take a trip to the west of Larnaca to Salt Lake, a complex of four salt lakes with a really interesting ecosystem. The nearby Hala Sultan Tekke historic lakefront mosque is an important Muslim pilgrimage surrounded by a gorgeous garden.
Head to Paphos, on the island’s south west coast, an area steeped in history and tradition. The birthplace of Aphrodite, there are many sites relating to the cult of the goddess. And, as well as the bustling new city and harbour, there are the ancient ruins of tombs, fortresses, theatres and villas at Paphos Archaeological Park.
Eat meze at 7 St Georges Tavern, with the larger-than-life George Demetriades and his sons Ben and Damian at the helm. Avid believers in sourcing locally and seasonally, they grow all their vegetables organically on a small farm nearby.
In truth, there is so much to see and do in Cyprus that a weekend is hardly long enough, the Troodos Mountains, in the centre of the island, are worthy of a trip all by themselves. But, if your stay’s limited and you also want to fit in some beach time, then Larnaca and Paphos are good bets and the island is small enough that it’s possible to explore a good chunk of it in just a few days.
Remember, Cyprus is split between the Turkish-controlled north and the Greek south. Crossing between the two areas should not be a problem for EU passport holders. Other visitors should check advice before going.