The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus has two distinct personalities, divided as it is between its Greek Cypriot territory (in the south) and the Turkish Cypriot land (in the north). Closest to Turkey, Syria, and Egypt, Cyprus nevertheless feels – and purports to be, on both sides – distinctly European. Offering everything from luxurious mountain resorts to scenic fishing villages, and being the reputed birthplace of Aphrodite, it is much lauded as one of the best charter destinations in the Mediterranean. The sub-tropical climate does mean this is one of the hottest places in the Med, and the island enjoys more than double the sunshine hours of northern Europe, so there’s no better way of exploring than on a yacht.
The island’s capital Nicosia is a buzzing centre of commerce and culture and certainly worth a visit. Partake in a local Hammam steam bath, visit museums displaying ancient artefacts, get lost in bustling markets and bring back bags of local produce to create a meze on board your yacht. The town is full of friendly corner cafés and restaurants where the waiters and chefs love nothing more than to lean against the table and regale visitors with stories: from tales of lore to football scores. The pristine sands and shallow water at Coral Bay are ideal for families, while divers head to Protaras to find prolific marine life. To burn off steam, kayaking is the perfect way to see Cyprus, especially along the coastline of Cape Greco and the Palaces sea caves – these natural limestone arches created refuge for Jewish refugees fleeing the Romans. Kitesurfing aficionados should head to the 2km beach at Paramali in Limossol for the best adrenaline filled fun. There are three notable nature reserves on Cyprus. For hiking and biking in the summer, head to the Troodos National Forest Park – which in the winter (Jan-March) doubles as a low key ski resort. Scenic trails weave through the densely forested landscapes of the Akamas Nature Reserve; while White Rocks is where you can discover the island’s most secluded beaches. The young contingent will enjoy the bars and clubs that line Ayia Napa, while elsewhere, the sophisticated dining scene is ubiquitous. Combining ancient cultures and modern amenities, Cyprus is an ideal destination for a yachting holiday all year round.