Ideal driving getaway for GCC travellers

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Steeped in history and natural beauty, the idyllic European island of Cyprus boasts a number of scenic drives weaving across the country, making for a memorable and picture-perfect self-drive holiday, or long weekend break.

Travellers from across the GCC can reach Cyprus in three-four hours, starting their driving tour of the island’s iconic landmarks and historical sites from the moment they reach Larnaca International Airport, the gateway to the Cypriot escape.

Whether looking to explore remote villages perched on the mountain top, or ancient ruins scattered across a rugged coastline, Cyprus’ winding roads lend for the perfect road trip no matter your interests. Here are five of the Mediterranean island’s most scenic drives to choose from:

Driving the mountain peaks

Dotted across the panoramic peaks and rolling valleys of the Troodos Mountains lie quaint villages and scenic viewpoints like no other. Follow the twisting roads as they climb to Troodos square, standing at more than 1,700 metres above sea level, providing numerous hiking routes in the summer and skiing during the winter months. Be sure to stop at the villages of Kalopanayiotis and its UNESCO World Heritage listed Agios Ioannis Lampadistis Monastery, and Omodos, steeped in a history of grape.

Exploring the rugged coastline

Boasting 57 Blue Flag beaches, and countless hidden coves, Cyprus’ shoreline is as beautiful as it is dramatic. A popular scenic drive takes you from the popular town of Ayia Napa to Protaras taking in the majestic views from Cape Greco. A popular stop after exploring the sea caves and the golden sand beaches of Konnos Bay is Fig Tree Bay, named the third best beach in Europe by TripAdvisor in 2011.

Fall in love with Aphrodite

Famed as being the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite, Cyprus has a number of sites associated with her love and beauty, known more so than Petra tou Romiou – Aphrodite’s Rock. This scenic coastal drive offers one of the island’s most scenic ocean drives with a dramatic view from its peak. The

The rural east

Take a journey through the picturesque rural areas of the eastern part of the island, where traditional charm has been retained – and continues to defy the hands of time. Begin your journey in the Ammochostos (Famagusta) area to visit the farming villages that are collectively known as ‘Kokkinochoria’. Heading further towards Larnaka (Larnaca), the Greek Orthodox monastery of Stavrovouni sits perched up high on a mountain peak, breathtakingly isolated and straight out of a classic painting. Savour the view before exploring mountainous villages.

The rugged wilderness

Discover a winding labyrinth of villages dotted across the Laona Plateau, including Kathikas, Kritou Terra and Arodes. Taking to its winding roads, drivers can experience the sprawling, untamed natural beauty of Akamas National Forest Park, which stretches all the way to the serene area of Pomos. There, the stunning Avakas Gorge leaves visitors in awe as it etches its way through the rugged countryside. The natural blessings of the area continue still with untouched beaches, whose pristine sands are secluded and far from the noise and the crowds with the deserted Lara Bay and the Baths of Aphrodite a must when in the area.

For more information about what to see and do in Cyprus, visit: www.visitcyprus.com

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