The island of Cyprus, ideally located in the Eastern Mediterranean, has mild winters and hot summers making making the country year-round holiday destination. There is never a bad time to visit and whenever you go you will find lovely soft sand beaches, 1000 years of history and oodles of culture as well as a fine cuisine.
Also read: Top towns of Cyprus: Ayia Napa, Limassol, Paphos, Nicosia
Here, we reveal some of the island’s seasonal highlights.
You may experience a shower or two in Cyprus at the beginning of spring, but for the most part you’ll be basking in the warm glow of the Mediterranean sun. Daytime temperatures vary from a mild 15 °C to a “perfect” 28 °C in April.
Tip: The tourist season has yet to begin, so you can make the most of the quiet beaches and chilled atmosphere.
The comparatively cooler temperatures are ideal to take part in adventure activities, from kayaking to snorkelling (with wetsuits). The coarse, limestone rock here is a climber’s paradise, and if you are new rock climbing Zephyros Adventure Sports in Paphos organise individual and group courses.
Spring is the best time to experience nature as the landscape is in full bloom. Wild purple orchids make a rare appearance in early April, and the rugged landscape is a painted in every shade of green. Experience nature at its best in one of the island’s National Parks. The Akamas National Park on the West Coast of Cyprus is a protected nature area and overlooks the picturesque Chrysochou Bay.
Spring also marks the largest event in the Greek Orthodox calendar. Friends, families and tourists celebrate Easter, which takes place the first Sunday after the full moon.
As the Easter weekend approaches, Cyprus becomes a hive of festivities and celebrations. On Good Friday, each village organises an Epitaph procession with their own, unique traditions. At Midnight on Saturday, there is a huge party and families return home for a feast to mark the end of 40 days of fasting.
May marks the beginning of peak season and tourists begin to arrive on mass. Throughout the summer temperatures soar to a sweltering 40°C. Nightclubs, bars and restaurants become packed with both locals and tourists enjoying the great weather and party spirit. Cyprus hosts several beer and wine festivals in the summer including the Limassol Wine Festival and Paphos Beer Festival.
Tip: July and August are the best time of year for diving and snorkelling, as the sea is like a bath, reaching temperatures up to 33°C. This attracts a huge array of underwater species, from green turtles to blue spotted manta rays.
As well as spotting sea creatures, you can also dive some impressive shipwrecks. The most famous is the Zenobia, a ferry that sank on her native voyage in 1980, and is ranked as one of the world’s best recreational dive sites.
If you can’t stand the heat, head to the Troodos mountains, home of Mount Olympus. Carpeted with vast swathes of forest, this is one of the few places where you can escape from the blistering heat of the sun. Explore hidden monasteries and quaint villages such as Kakopetria, with its stone paved central square and medieval quarter.
In September the local kids go back to school and tourists return home, so this is the best time to visit if you are looking for some tranquillity. Temperatures continue to be warm and pleasant, and there is little chance of rain. September is also when the baby loggerhead and green turtles hatch from their eggs and take their first tentative steps into the sea. Head to Lara Bay to watch this magical experience for yourself.
October 1 marks they day when Cyprus gained independence from the British. This is a public holiday and the island celebrates with festivals, parades and displays by the army.
As the end of October approaches, the first rains start to fall. The dry, arid landscape becomes rejuvenated and nature enjoys a welcome drink. Businesses start preparing for the winter season, so this is a great time to snap a bargain and enjoy significant discounts on hotels.
In November and December, temperatures rarely drop into single figures and can still reach 18 degrees. Winter storms cause the sea to surge dramatically, which provides the ideal water conditions for hardcore watersports enthusiasts.
This is also a good time to go hiking as the landscape is no longer so dry and crusty, and you will be accompanied by a lovely, warm breeze.
Christmas and New Year are celebrated with the usual joy and enthusiasm in Cyprus. From the end of November the island is adorned with cheerful Christmas trees and street vendors come out in droves to sell gifts and souvenirs, along with syrup-soaked sweet treats and barbequed meat.
January 6 marks another important date in the Orthodox Christian calendar: the festival of Epiphany (“Ta Fota” in Cypriot). The festival culminates in the Bishop throwing the holy cross into the Mediterranean sea, which is then retrieved by eager divers.
More Info: Deputy Ministry of Tourism for Cyprus
By Lucy Woods