Cyprus Guide Books
14th April 2018
So I’ve been spending time with all the guide books of Cyprus I can find. If you’re thinking of buying one before you come, here are my tips. We do also leave some in the houses but I can’t guarantee a previous guest (probably me!!) hasn’t left it somewhere on their travels.
Lonely Planet Cyprus: solid and reliable account of everything you’d expect. Not exciting. Don’t love the pictures and lacks some the colourful details that others include. But it is really good on restaurants and puts them into the area its talking about (unlike most others which bung them into an annex which makes it hard to link where you are with where you might eat lunch).
The Rough Guide to Cyprus: The first page is a picture of the local sea caves (which you should try to visit at sunset to see the lads jumping 12m from the cliffs into the water) so that wins my heart from the off. More detailed and in-depth and more joy. Restaurant recommendations also rather thin on he ground. I would probably choose it over the Lonely Planet but it’s close.
DK Eyewitness Travel: The pictures and layout of this are more accessible that the first two (nice for older kids to have a look themselves, especially when they do a breakout of sites and all the details). The maps are also better. Also a bit low on restaurant recommendations if you do travel out of the area.
AA Passport Guide to Cyprus: The best by miles but sadly not reprinted since 2008. There is one in some villas and I wouldn’t go out and buy such an old travel guide. Brilliant on history and background. Really detailed about sites and colourful in terms of having opinions about things being good or rubbish.
Walk and Eat North Cyprus: Very specific in terms of being a walking guide for the North and good on restaurants (local food suggestions are excellent). Maps also excellent. If you plan to go to the North, you might get a copy to take. I have to say though that, whatever maps are available, we still always pay the data charge and put it into Google maps to reduce stress and wasting time driving through villages.
More insightful in some ways, I would recommend anyone interested in the local history to read one or both of these:
Victoria Hislop’s (yes wife of Ian from Have I Got News For You) The Sunrise. It’s a novel that brings to life the crisis of 1974. Like ‘Titanic’ the first half is a bit anxious with anticipation because you know what’s coming. But it brings to life the glory days of Famagusta (the elegant hotels, balls, bars and parties) and conveys a real sense of the tragedy of the collapse.
And/or Laurence Durrell’s Bitter Lemons of Cyprus (seewhich brings to life the troubles that led to 1974 through his hilarious, quirky and, ultimately, sad first-hand account of the fifties.