For the past few years I’ve been slightly obsessed with the idea of traveling to Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece. And by obsessed, I mean I’ve been pinning white-washed bungalows and electric-blue harbors on Pinterest like it’s going out of style.
I mean, what could possibly be more alluring, more indulgent, more idyllic than swimming in one of those shallow, expansive resort pools – the ones conveniently located right next to a sparkling turquoise ocean – while sipping ouzo and lazily gazing upon stone houses built right into the mountainside?
Southeast Asia is tame. Western Europe is tired. A journey to Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and the like feels impossibly exotic; a chance to brush up against the nucleus of the ancient past, the birthplace of Western civilization, and trace the roots of your own soul back across the millennia.
Besides stepping upon the same soil as the ancient mystics and treading in the footsteps of gods and philosophers, playwrights and poets, mythic creatures and faces that launched a thousand ships, a journey to this part of the world is a journey into the heart of our most passionate modern-day dramas.
The proximity of Syria, of Iraq, or Israel and Egypt makes a journey to Turkey and Greece like buying a ticket to humanity’s fiercest boxing match – you’re not quite inside the ring, but ringside seating is readily available.
Excitement, beauty, conflict, danger, the birthplace of the world and the imminent threat of the death of that world, all in one place. It’s as if this part of the planet is the heart of humanity itself, forever beating in and out as the human race strives to lower its own blood pressure.
But Cyprus! The conflicted island, torn between Turkey and Greece, floating in the Mediterranean sea like a polished jewel. It’s packed with the requisite bars, clubs, and white sand beaches, but the Cyprus holidays you can book offer a much richer experience of the island.
Check out Aphrodite’s Rock, rumored to be the birthplace of the goddess herself, before exploring the Tombs of the Kings in the island’s famed Paphos region. Take in sweeping views of the surrounding sea from Kykkos Monastery, set over 1300 meters high atop the Troödos Mountains. While you’re mountainside, you’ll probably be tempted to check out one of the nine – nine! – UNESCO world heritage sites that dot the foothills and peaks in breathtaking abundance.
Spending holidays in Cyprus is sort of like combining your trip to Turkey and Greece into a single adventure – and not just because the island is disputed by the two countries.
That’s not to say I’ve given up on the white-washed wonder of Santorini, or the blue-domed mosques of Istanbul. I’ve simply found a new starting point from which to begin my exploration of this fascinating region.
If you’re as enamored with Cyprus as I am, check out FirstChoice to book your trip to Cyprus. I really dig this site because it gives you all the info you need, including maps of the area (crucial!), a detailed layout of the different districts on Cyprus, places to go, stuff to do, weather and seasonal tips, and what you can expect to pay for it all. Even better, you can book flights, hotels, and packages without having to navigate away from the page. It’s sort of like Lonely Planet meets TripAdvisor meets WikiTravel.
While many may plan on visiting Cyprus for the nightlife or beautiful beaches, my inner nerd is far more excited to climb upon Aphrodite’s Rock (not sure if you can do that, but still), watch a play in a 2,000-year old outdoor theatre overlooking the sea, and spend my afternoons marveling at the mosaic floors of the House of Achilles.
Have you been to Cyprus? What about Turkey or Greece?
Am I mistaken in my newfound wanderlust for Cyprus?
YE OLDE DISCLAIMER: This post was contributed by FirstChoice because they’re awesome. I never recommend products, services, or websites that I wouldn’t use myself.
1. Cyprus suddenly trumps Turkey and Greece for the top slot on my travel bucket list.
2. You can book Cyprus holidays that combine crystal blue waters and white sand beaches with amazing history and culture.
3. The Troödos Mountains on Cyprus are home to 9 different UNESCO world heritage sites.
4. Cyprus is stupid beautiful and I hope to see you there in 2015!
Want to dig deeper? Go for it!