Cyprus: Greece's Sister Island
Cyprus, while often referred to as Greece’s sister island is a diverse island with a culture and history all its own. While a famed resort destination popular with visitors in summer months from all over the world, Cyprus also has a rich archaeological and geological history, a prolific wine region, as well as a strong culture and a dynamic political and economic history; half the island is still under contested occupation by Turkey.
International arrivals typically arrive into the Larnaca International Airport. Limassol, on the southern coast, can be a good base for groups with many destinations within a 1-2 hour drive such as the city of Pafos in Cyprus was appointed the title of the European Capital of Culture for 2017, the village of Platres in the Troodos Mountains, the wine route of Koumandaria, and more.
The interior of the island still holds onto a more traditional feel, with a lot of agricultural land and small villages as well as some of the popular wine routes. The Cypriot wine industry ranks 37th in the world for production and much higher on a per capita basis. Archaeological evidence of wine making on Cyprus dates back more than 6000 years. The islands interior mountains are also often of interest to programs focusing on geology.
Cyprus can easily be combined with other European and Middle Eastern destinations, with direct flights from Greece, Israel, and many other European hubs it is easy to incorporate into a longer itinerary. Also, if you can avoid the peak summer months (Jul & Aug), the country still offers relatively good value for travel and accommodations for groups compared to similar European destinations.