Cyprus’s manageable size and good road network make it an ideal destination for a flydrive holiday, and it’s particularly attractive to Brits who appreciate the English road signs and driving on the left. and enjoy a slower pace of life in country’s rural interior.
“Tourists like to visit the villages to try the wine and authentic food such as fresh bread and halloumi cheese in Cypriot tavernas,” said Cyprus Tourism Organisation director Orestis Rossides.
Operators such as Sunvil, Cyplon and Explore are offering accommodation in village houses as part of tailor-made options.
The CTO has launched a project to promote the island’s rural areas, running workshops to educate operators and agents about off-the-beaten-track destinations.
This will be aided by European Union funding worth €28 million, granted to the island for investment in projects to support the sustainable development of the countryside. Work includes building cycle routes and handicraft centres as well as developing a marketing plan for the promotion of rural tourism.
So why not leave the coast and see what else the island has to offer?
Our guide shows you how to make the most out of unexplored Cyprus in seven days.
Days one and two: set offAfter flying into Larnaca, pick up your hire car and drive for 30 minutes towards the village of Kalavasos, near Limassol.
Visit a mill such as Oleastro the ‘house of the olive’ to watch olive oil being processed and see halloumi cheese being made at a farm in Choirokoitia.
Zygi fishing village is a five-minute drive away, which has some great seafood restaurants.
Keen riders can get in the saddle at horse-riding centre Drapia Farm, just outside the village. The farm offers one to two-hour trails for beginners, riding lessons and half or full-day tours.
The small town of Tochni, with a population of just 400, is also worth exploring. Activities include olive picking, grape and orange harvesting, fishing and cookery courses.
Days three and four: Troodos MountainsDelve deeper into Cyprus’s picturesque interior with a visit to the Troodos mountains.
Anyone looking to get away from it all should stay in Kakopetria. Walkers and independent travellers can explore the outstanding scenery and culture of the village that dates back to the 5th century BC.There’s a stunning central square and a historic quarter filled with restored buildings.
Nestled on the terraced hillsides are ancient monasteries and streams, and during the winter months you can ski there. The opulent Kykkos Monastery and museum, near Pedoulas, was founded around the end of the 11th century by the emperor at the time. It’s one of the most famous monasteries on the island and is filled with colourful mosaics.
Days five and six: PolisHead west to the tranquil seaside resort of Polis, which has an array of tavernas, cafes, bars and shops as well as churches and museums.
Outside Polis are miles of rolling grasslands and orange groves giving off a rich citrus aroma.
Spend a few nights in Villa Conde, which sleeps up to nine people and is ideal for a large family. It’s just a few minutes’ drive from Polis and nearby you can eat a fish supper or laze on the beach in the quaint fishing village of Latchi.
A stone’s throw from Polis is the Akamas Peninsula, a protected nature reserve, and the Baths of Aphrodite, where the goddess of love was said to meet her lover Adonis.
Day seven: Anassa Hotel, PolisFinish the holiday in style at the swish five-star Anassa Hotel in Polis. Recover from the week’s sightseeing by indulging at the extensive spa that offers revitalising body treatments including reflexology, shiatsu and algae wraps. Guests can enjoy sea views, spacious villas and suites with private plunge pools on the terraces.
Fly home from Paphos airport.