Cyprus has been a crossroads between continents and civilizations for millenia. The allure of its ivory-white beaches, glinting blue seas, pine forests and historically strategic location have drawn countless powers, from Egyptians and Persians to Romans and Venetians. The capital of Nicosia, through which the dividing ‘Green Line’ runs, exhibits a rich and absorbing history. Enter the Greek side through the ancient Famagusta Gate, as the Venetians did before they built the enormous fortified walls that still encircle the city. On the Turkish side, explore the thriving art markets of Buyak Han, and the wonderfully all-embracing Selimiye Mosque, with its mix of Gothic and Ottoman architecture. In the west, the ancient city of Paphos captivates visitors with its intricate floor mosaics in the superb Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, while in the south, Limassol buzzes with cafés, bars and restaurants amidst historic ramparts. The roads that lead to these historic cities meet in the most dramatic of locations. The Troodos mountains are packed with hiking trails, wildlife and lonely Byzantine churches, famed for their fresco-filled interiors. In Northern Cyprus, the slow pace of life is best appreciated in Kyrenia’s horseshoe-shaped Old Harbour, or the isolated castle ruins of St. Hilarion. No matter which half of the island you find yourself in, a warm welcome and relaxed yet vibrant culture is always guaranteed. There’s no shortage of accommodation options around the coast, with a wide range of luxury villas, hotel resorts and private apartments to choose from. Options are more limited in the inland area of the north.