By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: I wanted to travel somewhere different and I'm giving thought to Cyprus. Can you please tell me the best time of year to visit and whether there is any political unrest I should be aware of? Also, some indication of tour operators would be really helpful as I consider my travel plans.

A: This Mediterranean island country south of Turkey basks in the glow of history, and like so many ancient civilizations, the relics of the past can be seen in their full splendor.

The Mediterranean climate is enjoyed year round with summer averages of 32C and winter temperatures of 17C. Typically, Cyprus has long dry summers and mild winters which are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. During December and January, the best bet with the cooler temperatures and rain is to pack winter clothing but not a heavy winter coat.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade reports that Cyprus which is recognized as an independent country continues to be divided into two autonomous areas, the less developed tourist area of the north, which is under an autonomous Turkish-Cypriot administration and the more developed tourist facilities in the south which is recognized as The Government of the Republic of Cyprus, and thus exercises control only in the Greek Cypriot southern part of the island.

"A United Nations peacekeeping force patrols the Green Line between the two areas. It is not possible to visit the south from the north, although day excursions into the north are possible from the south," reports the DFAIT. The DFAIT has travel advisory reports available online at

According to the Cyprus Tourism Office all police officers speak English and crime is at a low level. However, petty crime is prevalent especially in urban areas. Like always, exercise caution if traveling alone.

The Cyprus Tourism Office recommends the following Canadian-based tour operators: Avila Tours Inc (800) 661-2221, Canadian Travel Abroad, (800) 387-1876; Carriers Travel International (800) 363-8181; Maltours Ltd (800) 886 2374; and Olympic Holidays (800) 665-1981. For a full list of Canadian tour operators visit the Cyprus Tourism Organization's official web site, Click on Travel Planner.


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All text & photos 2004.