Malta or Cyprus – which is better for your summer vacation?
Paphos and Larnaca airports attract British visitors in the summer. British Airways flies to both, from Heathrow and Gatwick; easyJet delivers the same double act from Bristol, Gatwick and Luton, while also flying to Larnaca from Liverpool and Paphos from Edinburgh and Manchester. Jet2 offers Paphos and Larnaca from Birmingham, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle – and flies Belfast to Paphos. Tui Airways (020 3451 2716; tui.co.uk) serves both airports from Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, East Midlands, Gatwick, Manchester and Newcastle – and offers additional flights to Paphos from Bournemouth, Doncaster-Sheffield, Exeter, Glasgow, Stansted and Norwich. Ryanair only operates to Paphos from Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle. Wizz Air (0330 977 0444; wizzair.com) only goes down to Larnaca, from Cardiff, Gatwick and Luton.
While Nicosia doesn’t quite have the barbed wire vibe of Cold War Berlin, it’s the most obvious representation of the island’s divided status: the “Green Line” that bisects the Republic of Northern Cyprus ( recognized only by Turkey) from the rest of the country passes through it. But there is plenty to please visitors to the south side of the Schism. The Cyprus Museum (mcw.gov.cy) has archaeological wonders from the ninth millennium BC. For lunch near the “border”, go to To Anamma (toanamma.com), a classic Cypriot tavern with outdoor tables and meze platters.
It is on Ledra Street, which also has the city’s main passage to the north. You can walk around with a British passport (unvaccinated tourists need a negative PCR test result), to glimpse a Cyprus that exists a decade or two behind the rest of the country. The Selimiye Mosque is, however, glorious, retaining much of the soul of Saint Sophia Cathedral – the building’s original identity (13th century). A four-night mini-getaway to the five-star Hilton Nicosia – departing from Gatwick on July 13 – costs from £682 pp, via Expedia (020 3024 8211; expedia.com).