The enchanting island of Cyprus enjoys the essential ingredients of a holiday destination. But 8,000 years of turbulent history ensure that there is much more to the third largest island in the Mediterranean than just sun, sea and sand.
The beautiful island of Corfu is rich in spellbinding delights. In the east, olive groves covered in cypress trees stretch down to unspoilt fishing villages and picturesque coves. Dramatic mountains with pine trees dominate the sandy beaches of the west. And everywhere you turn, another blue sky disappears into the crystal blue water.
Corfu Town, the attractive old Venetian capital, is dominated by two ancient fortresses. As a testament to the slow passage of time on the island, the New Fortress was built in 1576. British and French cultures happily co-exist with Venetian and Greek in the capital. So don't be surprised to see a cricket match unfolding in the afternoon sun.
Narrow alleyways open into squares full of brightly coloured flowers. And old meets new as traditional tavernas and 'ouzeries' jostle for space between smart boutiques and elegant pavement cafés. Hunt out handmade lace, pottery and leatherware, and enjoy a friendly haggle with the amiable vendors.
Everywhere, the bywords are slow and steady. When life is this relaxed, there is no need to hurry. Bask in the heat, bathe in the sea, and breath in the wonderful smells of the flowers and shrubs. Nightlife is centred around waterside tavernas, feasting on the day's catch, moussaka, or sofrito, veal in a tomato sauce, with local wines like retsina.
The wild landscape of the Akamas peninsula in the west has remained largely unspoiled. To the north, Polis offers candlelit tavernas and presents an image of modest prosperity. Head west from Polis to the so-called Baths of Aphrodite, where it is said that the goddess fell in love with Akamas.
Further south, the Paphos region is full of scenic beauty. From the pine forest clad slopes of the Troodos mountains, down to the rocky coastline, and crystal clear water. Taste wonderful fish in the harbour area of Kato (Lower) Paphos. Saturday is market day in the upper part of the city.
The enviable year round climate produces a rich variety of fruit and vegetables. The wide selection of local wines offer reasonable value, and local brandy is very good. Above all, try fish 'meze' - literally, a mixture of the day's catch. The perfect way to sample Cypriot cuisine.
To say "Cyprus has it all" would be a bold claim, but few people visit the island only once.