History and wine: contemporary Cyprus as the land of myths and legends

History and wine: contemporary Cyprus as the land of myths and legends


Everyone has heard about Greek gods at least once in their lifetime by the word of mouth or from folklore books and grandma’s stories. Everyone has defiantly imagined that peaceful and prosperous land where the gods lived and dreamt about having to visit this place but never being able to. What if we tell you that you can not only imagine this place but actually go to such a place? Cyprus is the land of old myths and legends in which ancient Greek gods are still alive and do their feats every now and then. So if you have always been dreaming of catching a glimpse of how ancient Greece might have looked like and visiting sacred places, Cyprus is the next stop for you. 

Cyprus is filled with places which, by legends, are connected to Goddess Aphrodite and other essential to Greek mythology features, so this is a perfect place for exploration in terms of not only natural sights but also historic places. One such example could be Aphrodite’s Rock. Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty and love who was born from the depths of the sea, as it is said. The place where Aphrodite came out of the waters as a fully-grown woman located nowhere else but on Cyprus — near a coast of Paphos, to be precise. There you can find Petra tou Romiou which is a naturally shaped peculiar formation of stones which, when washed by crashing waves, resemble the shape of a human body as if mighty Aphrodite is reborn over and over again. There is even a local legend connected to this place: to be blessed by Aphrodite and find true love and happiness in life, one should swim around the rocks. The city of Paphos itself is a great place to venture on following Aphrodite’s traces. Here a temple of Aphrodite can be found which dates back to the 12th century BC when people, inhabiting these lands, worshiped the goddess of love and fertility. 

Cyprus is indeed a place soaked up with history and haunted by the tales of the past in almost its every corner. Cities like Paphos or Nicosia are filled with ancient temples and tombs, architecture dated back to centuries before BC as well as the ruins of the old civilisations. All avid history lovers would be just taken aback by the remains of the past here — and definitely will not be unsatisfied. In the past, Cyprus was conquered and inhabited by numerous civilisations, including such grand ones as  Romans, Assyrians, and Egyptians. No wonder than nowadays Cyprus can serve as a viewpoint onto heritage of the past, as it combines traditions and cultures of so many peoples. 

Apart from being a cradle of gods and legends, Cyprus has many other advantages, making it a desirable for visitors all year round. One of the biggest one is the climate. The weather conditions here make vacations possible almost every month throughout a year because the winters are short and summers are rains free with temperatures being not too high and extreme. The island is always sunny with only 40-45 days of rainfall, however, even on a rainy day the island does not become less attractive due to other entertainment rather than water and beach attractions. 

Thanks to its climate and a beneficial Mediterranean location, Cyprus is gastronomical paradise.  When food is concerned, have no doubts — on Cyprus you will never complain about having to taste uneatable or not delicious dishes. Because of its traditional role as the crossroad of several peoples, it serves different types of cuisine. You can try typical European cuisine, influenced by Italian and Spanish food traditions. You can indulge into Middle Eastern food choices, filled with every oriental delights one can imagine. Or you even can taste Asian and Central Asian menu, as it has also influenced the cooking traditions on the island. The island is, moreover, the place where locals produce their own vegetables and fruit which are absolutely eco-friendly and worth tasting. The Mediterranean region is also famous for its wines — and Cyprus is not an exception either. Grapes are produced here everywhere and used for different purposes. Traditional wine is one of them. If you are on Cyprus, you can enjoy an unforgettable dinner on the coast with a glass of wine and served traditional refinements: on mounds of Halloumi, Sheftalia, or charcoal-grilled meat made in a traditional style of Cyprus. 

Cyprus is, to think about it, a heavenly created island of peace and quiet in the centre of South European region. It is not large, and every sightseeing location is fairly attainable by car or a motorbike. All attractions are within several-hours trip, so travelling on the island is as easy as you can ask for it. This place is, moreover, marked by great safety rules, so no perils can find you there. The biggest advantage of Cyprus is its variety. If you are a party animal, you will find terribly good night clubs here. If you cannot live without your backpack and kilometres of new locations — you can traverse around the island as much as you physically can and still discover new paths laying off the beaten track. If you are travelling with family and kids looking for cheerful and enjoyable vacation, beaches are sandy and the water is warm, so the only thing you will have to care about is not getting sunburnt on particularly hot days. Cyprus is a perfectly fancy European getaway. Do not believe us? Check yourself then.

Tuscany: the land from the pages of Decameron

Tuscany: the land from the pages of Decameron

Have you ever dreamt of travelling back in time? Would you like to contemplate the stunning era of unsullied natural beauty, roaring medieval tournaments, and strangely-dressed people in embellished dresses and wigs? Then your next stop is Tuscany — a small Italian piece of Renaissance. 

What do we know about this region? Tuscany lies to the west of the Italian peninsula next to Tyrrhenian and Ligurian seas. Its landscape is truly virginal, comprised by greenish hills and mountains such as Mount Pratomagno or Metallifere Mountains as well as fields sowed with olives and grapes. This combination is separated by interior valleys which lead to white sandy shores. The history of Tuscany is tangled into Roman conquests and rivalry between its own cities. Florence, the whitest pearl of Italy, won this fight, the area started to flourish with scientific developments and cultural masterpieces. It became the centre of Renaissance culture which gave birth to such geniuses as Dante Alighieri, Giovanni Boccaccio, and Leonardo da Vinci. Tuscany was in its prime under the rule of the Medici family in 1430s. At this point the economy of the region bloomed and the region became forever known for its culture. Though the consolidation of power under Medici was solid, the Tuscany came in decline by the beginning of the 16th century as the family was crumbling down. The region even gained some French charm when Napoleon Bonaparte tried to set up his authority there, and it has been carrying elements of French reforms and legacies till now. 

In the contemporary period, Tuscany remains the cultural and agricultural centre of the Italian peninsula. It is famous for its red wine and olive oil, and it serves as the exporter of numerous fruit and vegetables to other Italian districts and European countries. It is, moreover, prosperous with touristic attention, thanks to its resorts and artisan peculiarities. Its historical and cultural centres include Florence, Pisa, Siena, and many more others. So the logical question stays the following: how to plan one’s vacation in a place like this, so not to miss anything worth one’s heed and as well go off the beaten track? The next tips are for you to guide your through Tuscany never-ending past. 

  1. Walk the narrow shady streets of Florence to soak up the artistic heritage. 

Florence is famously known as the white pearl of Italy due to the colours of its buildings with tiled roofs and the grand Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Even if you never was in Italy, hardly would you confuse the Dome with anything else. The Cathedral is constructed in the Gothic style and ornamented with bricks in herringbone pattern. It is open for tourists and presents a clear perspective at Florence itself and the surrounding lands. Apart from churches and cathedrals, you could hide from the hot sun under the roofs of Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti that offer a wide selection of artistic and architectural legacies. The city itself is a museum under the open sky with street artists copying pictures of Da Vince on the roads and monuments filling up every piazza (square) in the city. Michelangelo hill is perfect for unhurried sunset walks and wine sips with a panoramic view of Florence in the shades of Tuscany vegetation. 

2. Tuscany is not only famous for its cultural and historical legacy but also its local colour. And there is no better place to discover it rather than in Ghizzano village. The village carries a sense of strong national identity. Each house is planted in colours of surroundings from green and all its shades for evergreen valleys and hills to blue for the crystal clear sky. Local artists turned the village into a unique place where traditional Italian architecture comes close to contemporary times by installing modern art installations around the place. This village, moreover, is widely known on Instagram, thanks to it easily recognised houses and buildings. 

3. Moving on your own can be quite exhausting, especially considering strong heat during the Italian summer. If you, nevertheless, are looking forward to explore the true Italian taste and traditions, you can always catch the Nature Train — an unforgettable experience through locations of Siena. The train consists of several carriages made in 1930s and runs across the most attractive and wondrous sights and has its mission in preserving the cultural and historical heritage and promoting it to the younger generations. Vintage wagons take you in comfort through vineyards and sloppy mountains, offering attractions to a whole family. It terminates at different locations, so travellers might seize the chance to venture off the train and take  memorable pictures.

4. Tuscany presents an explorer with a dozen of opportunities to discover and immerse oneself into its true lifestyle. Every year more and more festivals, open markets, and fairs are hold in the region. The most famous are Siena’s Palio (takes place in Siena twice a year in June and August) and Cavalcata Dei Magi (takes place in Florence in January) This is the time when local people come out onto the streets to sell their products, share their skills and knowledge, or just tell stories to anyone who is willing to listen to. This is an amazing possibility to try the best of local cuisine and only fresh and natural products as well as blend in with the locals and learn genuine Tuscany not from the pages of some tour guides but through the words of its dwellers. 

Go bananas: why everyone adores Mallorca?

Go bananas: why everyone adores Mallorca?


What is your first thought when you hear Mallorca? Do you imagine crazy all-night parties with cocktails and recent music hits? Or you start dreaming about your next vacation, as you are lying on a sandy beach? Thousands of Europeans and people from all over the world come to Mallorca every year to forget about their routinous jobs, try new water entertainments, and visit places of natural beauty. Despite many other places having similar qualities and characteristics, people still choose to go back over and over again to Mallorca. What makes this happen? Why everyone prefer Mallorca to go bananas?

Reason No1.
Looking for a place without prejudices and biases but with every imaginable entertainment possible? Welcome to Mallorca — a place for everyone. It is children tolerant and control free. If you are a student form Germany, you will find craziest and noisiest night clubs on Mallorca to spend sleepless nights at. Palma de Mallorca, the capital city of an island, is a party place in the heart of the Mediterranean region. Each night club in Palma is different and has its own charm. BCM Planet Dance, for example, is the largest of all and nominated as the 5th best club in the world. It has a huge terrace for partying under the starry sky as well as it hosts best worldwide known DJs. Tito’s Nightclub is famous for its history. It is the oldest nightclub on the island — and, still, one of the most popularly ones.

If you arrive on holidays with kids, you will not miss the whole fun either. The island is rich with aqua parks and active attractions, say karting and stand up puddle, which would be favoured by all family members. Mallorca, moreover, offers a number of unique excursions to the caves which carry the name of “Caves of the Dragon” or to a Rancho Grand park, so kids will always be as entertained as their parents happy and content.

Reason No2.
Agile backpackers and experienced travellers definitely find Palma to be quite curious to visit. It contains a number of historical sights, such as Cathedral de Mallorca which stand at the Old Harbour. The interior of the cathedral lights up with thousands of peculiar shapes and ornaments thanks to stained-glass windows which date back to 14th century. Away from the city center one can also be surprised by historic sights on Mallorca. Castillo de Bellver was founded in the 13th century as a protecting tower and served as royal courtyard for several centuries. This place is a

genuine example of medieval European architecture, having elements of Gothic and Roman ornaments and arcades. All historic sights are open for the public and,

definitely, worth visiting. The sense of good old days charm the visitors this much, so they return to these places again — now to sip the glory of the former Spanish kingdom and reminiscent about feats from the distant past.

Reason No3.
The city is not only colourful and historical — the capital also has many beautiful beaches to lounge by the sea — Cala Major, Playa de Palma, and Playa del Arenal. All of them are sandy and perfect on a hot summer day. The island even holds its own seaside resort called Puerto Portals which is dearly loved by the Spanish royal family and other celebrities coming to Mallorca. Even experienced travellers would be taken aback, in a good way, by the natural beauty of this area which can only compare to the luxury of numerous yachts and posh restaurants. From the marina away to the open sea — fishing is a popular pastime here. Boat trips are also a splendid way to soak up the traditional atmosphere of the Mediterranean region and examine Mallorca with its peculiar natural shapes from a relative distance.

Mesmerising turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, captivating summits of green mountains filled with succulent fruit and olives, poignant colours of the past heritage and keen nightlife — all of this makes Mallorca a desirable destination for thousands. And if you are really happy somewhere, why not to return there again?