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Mention Cyprus, and most peoples thoughts will turn first to the wonderful beaches that are so popular during the summer months. However, if you are looking to experience the ‘real’ Cyprus - the gorgeous byzantine art, the picture-perfect rural villages and the most delicious, authentic local cuisine, then spring is the most perfect time to visit.

Cyprus is a lush and verdant island, with swathes of forest backed by majestic mountains, providing some of the best walking country in all of Europe. Spring is an ideal season to explore the island on foot, as temperatures are lower, there are less tourists and the countryside boasts a positive plethora of wonderful wild flowers, trees in full bloom and rivers in full flow. It is a time when nature is at its very best.

Cyprus off the beaten track is a sight to behold. There are several well signposted walks through the rural heartland that are dotted with stunning natural highlights - including impressive waterfalls and hidden glades full to bursting point of rare wild flowers.

Head inland and you step into the past. There are many well preserved villages that give a real glimpse into the history of the island. A great example is Kakopetria, which is picturesquely situated on the riverside around an hour’s drive Nicosia and is surely one of the most charming of all the villages on Cyprus. Follow the quaint winding streets through the old quarter and take some time to explore the atmospheric 11th century church with its simply stunning Byzantine murals. To go even further back in time, head to Choirokoitia - an ancient site that dates from the 6th century B.C. Acknowledged as one of the most significant prehistoric sites in Europe, this is a fascinating place, and highlights include some reconstructed Neolithic houses.

Many of the oldest stone houses on the island have now been converted into charming boutique hotels, allowing visitors to combine modern comforts with a real taste of traditional Cypriot living. You will find that much of the inland accommodation is family run, and thus you are guaranteed a warm welcome. If you choose to say on the coast, don’t miss the opportunity to explore inland Cyprus. The shady countryside is a world away from the busy coastline, and exploring the area provides a welcome respite from the heat of the day, as well as an insight into the unique charm of traditional Cypriot living.

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