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Lying adjacent to the coastlines of Turkey and Syria in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus has always been coloured with a touch of the Middle East, in spite of its intrinsically Greek character. Whilst considered idyllic as a summer destination, attracting thousands of sunseekers to enjoy its fine sandy beaches and cosmopolitan holiday atmosphere, it's also very much an island for all seasons.
Snowy winters in the central Troodos Mountains melt into springs that see carpets of yellow oilseed rape and hazel trees blossom into pink and white. Baking summers here mellow into balmy autumn days resplendent with wild poinsettia and buttercup and it's all lit by plenty of great quality sunshine all year round. Meanwhile, the island's traditional villages enhance the unspoilt interior landscape with their charming character, traditional architecture and friendly locals who consider it an honour to welcome visitors to their shores, whatever the time of year.
The coastline of Cyprus spans 650kms and packs in every type of beach from sunbed and parasol to wild and deserted sand dunes, straight strip seafronts to cosy clifftop coves. The island's west coast, stretching from Paphos to the northern most tip of the Akamas peninsula, has a particular draw on visitors seeking the more unspoilt, natural face of Cyprus. The resort of Chlorakas is ideal for laid-back family holidays and is well placed to take advantage of this region, being centrally located with the vibrancy of Paphos to the south and the peace of Coral Bay to the north. One of the larger resorts on this stretch of coastline, Chlorakas benefits from the amenities of two distinct areas, its shops, tavernas, bars and restaurants crawling gently up the hillside.
This is where much of life centres in Chlorakas, particularly in the evenings, with stunning views from the pavement terraces stretching out across the bay and towards the mountains. Down below beside the beach, it is much more quiet and residential with a widespread area of luxury villas and a selection of bars. Beyond the beach, out at sea, a marooned shipwreck lies stranded upon the rocks, its silhouette dark against the striking Chlorakas sunsets. As the story goes, the cargo ship ran aground in rough seas in 1998 on its voyage to Syria.
How ever much you enjoy wiling away the hours on the beach or unwinding in the local tavernas, the time will come to venture off and visit the local attractions. Fortunately the town of Paphos can be easily reached by bus or taxi and is filled with significant landmarks that give an interesting insight into its history.
Highlights include the famous Tombs of the Kings, an ancient underground necropolis carved out of solid rock and the House of Dionysus, a restored Roman villa with a set of fine mosaics depicting images from Greek Mythology. The old capital of Cyprus in Roman times, Paphos has now become a popular and attractive resort combining ancient and modern, so when you have covered the culture, there's a good selection of independent boutiques and shops selling craft items and jewellery and even a Debenhams department store. Many visitors enjoy a leisurely walk around the town's picturesque harbour, which is the perfect place to sit in the evening and admire the view from a pavement cafe. By night, there's something for everyone here, with several clubs and bars staying open until the early hours.
The best holidays in Chlorakas are all about freedom and independence, taking off into the surrounding areas at your own pace and discovering what makes this island so special. Cypriots drive on the left hand side, the roads around western Cyprus are in good condition and all are well-signposted in English, making car hire a great choice for getting around without being restricted by tour itineraries.
Venturing out from Chlorakas village into the surrounding Ktima lowlands, you will discover a complete contrast to life in the beach resorts, with an unhurried pace of life that is infectious. Villages such as Tala, Koili and Tremithousa entice visitors with a real old- ashioned sense of community. Venture on from here and you will eventually reach Cedar Valley, gateway to the Troodos Mountains, with many more charming villages to discover along the way. Taking the old coast road towards Limassol, your senses will be rewarded with stunning views and a host of historical attractions including the ancient Curium ruins and Kolossi Castle.
If on the other hand you are too active to spend too much time behind a steering wheel, the landscapes of the Troodos Mountains lend themselves to every conceivable outdoor pursuit, including paragliding, cycling and rock-climbing. With a multitude of excellent walking trails winding their way through villages and valleys, it's little wonder most active visitors choose to explore the area on foot, passing through breathtaking landscapes with views that great photos are made of.
Those who take enough time to explore this breathtaking region of Cyprus will find a surprise around every corner, with the chance to see Medieval fortresses, Byzantine Churches and Roman ruins sitting nonchalantly beside ancient Cedar forests and chestnut orchards.