Towns and villages
The towns of Cyprus present a modern cosmopolitan atmosphere blended with historic buildings and ancient monuments. Well-designed contemporary hotels, apartment blocks and attractive shopping streets, some narrow and quaint, others thoroughly modern are included in the towns. By contrast, life in the villages follows a slower pace, reflecting the importance of agriculture, cottage industry and family ties. Traditional flat roofed village houses made of mud brick are a common sight, while stone-built houses with tiled roofs can be seen in the mountains. Many village houses feature delightful vine-shaded court-yards.
In the gastronomic pleasures of Cyprus, you should discover new flavors and many traditional dishes. And what better way to learn than to follow local custom with a typical ‘mezes’- meaning mixture which is usually a little of everything that is available that day in that tavern or restaurant. Normally ‘mezes’ starting with dips, salads and vegetables, advancing to hot dishes and finishing with sweets like Baklava and loukoumades. Cyprus wines, inexpensive and plentiful, make a good accompaniment to this exotic repast, and a Cyprus coffee in a tiny cup is a fitting finale.There are plenty of charming fish taverns by the sea and numerous restaurants serving Chinese, Arabic, European and Indian food.
Wines and Local Drinks
Cyprus has a long tradition in winemaking that goes back over 4,000 years. In ancient times wine was a major source of wealth for the island. Wines, brandies and liqueurs, which have been enjoyed through the centuries, will compliment any meal all at very reasonable prices.
- One very old sweet wine, Commandaria, is acknowledged to be one of the oldest named wines in the world, which according to legend, was originally made for Richard the Lionheart and the Crusaders.
- Zivania, Cyprus famous firewater, made from highly-distilled grape juice, is almost pure alcohol and packs a neat punch.
- A cool, refreshing long drink is the local Brandy Sour, a cocktail that goes down remarkably well and tends to have addictive qualities.
- Others prefer the clean taste of Ouzo, which turns white and cloudy when mixed with water.
- At any opportunity order a Cyprus coffee. This strong coffee is ordered ‘sketo’ (no sugar), ‘metrio’ (medium) or ‘glyko’ (sweet) and always served with a glass of cold water.