In the vast tapestry that is the Mediterranean, there’s one idyllic island that’s often overshadowed by its flashier, better-known neighbors.
However, 2023 has brought on a new wave of popularity to this often-overlooked nation, with travelers indulging in the ultimate experience, one that promises sunny skies, historical wonders, and jaw-dropping views.
From January to September of this year, Cyprus welcomed over 3.1 million tourists, a 23.4% increase from last year’s 2.5 million, and the visits don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon.
Here’s why so many travelers are flocking to the gorgeous Mediterranean island:
There’s A Lot To See And Do
While it’s hard to pinpoint just one factor that’s contributing to Cyprus’ remarkable rise in popularity these past few months, it’s not too far-fetched to argue that the many attractions and events that always leave visitors coming back for more are finally stirring up enough curiosity among travelers.
History enthusiasts, for example, can’t seem to get enough of the island’s fascinating past.
From ancient Greek and Roman ruins to medieval castles and Byzantine churches, Cyprus is a living museum that tells the story of a strong, principled nation.
Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders, of which the Tombs of the Kings and the House of Dionysus are not to be missed.
Curious minds will also love exploring the Alexandria, Cricket, Liberty, and Zenobia wrecks, which are open to divers all year long, though during the winter, there’s a good chance that the only people on site will be you and your instructor.
If you’re in Cyprus, though, it would be a shame to miss out on the country’s world-renowned beaches (e.g., Nissi, Fig Tree Bay, Makronissos) – while you might not be able to tan or go in for a mid-day swim right now, you can still feel the warm sand underneath your toes and take in the spectacular views.
While Cyprus isn’t what you’d call an expensive destination, it isn’t particularly cheap either – the prices here are generally comparable to other mid-range destinations in Europe, think Greece or Spain.
This means that choosing the right time to travel can help you plan the budget-friendly vacation of your dreams, and, as it happens, now is one of the best times to take advantage of the off-peak season deals.
According to Skyscanner, December and January are the cheapest months to fly from the U.S. to Cyprus, with airfare starting at $486 and $432, respectively.
In comparison, flying in September would set you back a whopping $1217, so the timing of your visit can greatly impact how much of your travel budget you’ll be able to spend on accommodation and experiences (which should also be at least somewhat discounted this time of year).
Beyond the major savings, those who are choosing to visit Cyprus now are also benefitting from less-crowded flights and attractions, which makes the overall experience that much more pleasant.
A true Mediterranean hotspot, Cyprus is characterized by hot, dry summers and pleasant, mild winters, which explains why so many travelers are choosing the European island as their warm escape this time of year.
Daytime temperatures range between 59°F and 68°F (and 15°C and 20°C), which, while not really appropriate for swimming, are perfect for long sightseeing excursions that won’t leave you overheated within 10 minutes.
It’s important to note, though, that temperatures can drop down to 50°F (10°C) once the sun sets, so if you’re going out to dinner or for a nighttime stroll make sure to bring a jacket with you.
Don’t let the mild weather fool you, though, the locals are still big on celebrating the holidays, so you won’t have to worry about feeling left out of the year-end festivities if that’s when you’re planning the trip.
Here, you’ll find a plethora of Christmas markets and New Year’s-themed events – Cypriots take their holidays seriously.
Considering the rich cultural influences that have shaped Cyprus’ culinary scene (both Mediterranean and Middle Eastern) the fact that the food here is in a league of its own should come as no surprise.
From meze feasts featuring an array of small dishes (cheese, olives, dips, bread, babaganoush, falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, and vegetables) to the world-famous halloumi cheese and succulent souvlaki, Cyprus offers the gastronomic journey of a lifetime.
Local tavernas, nestled in narrow streets or overlooking the sea, invite visitors to savor all that and more while getting to experience the warm hospitality that has now become synonymous with the island.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.