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Where to go: Cyprus, Sicily or Sardinia?


There's nothing like planning a holiday to test the most indecisive person to their limits, especially when it comes to the Mediterranean's large islands.

Cyprus, Sicily and Sardinia look quite similar at first glance, but look closer and you'll find each offers a different experience.

Sicily Selinute Temple (Ancient Greek Temple of Hera, aka Temple E) Sicily Selinute ancient Temple of Hera, aka Temple E. Image by © AdiJapan / CC BY 3.0

We've gone through the main selling points of each destination to help you work out which of these to choose for your next getaway.

Cyprus

Best known for: Beaches, History and Food

Head to Cyprus's most well-known destinations - Paphos, Limassol and the party capital that is Agia Napa - and you'll quickly encounter crowds of other Brits. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though holidays in Cyprus are popular for some very good reasons, namely its excellent beaches and wealth of historical sites.

Beach of Agia Napa in Cyprus Beach of Agia Napa in Cyprus. Image by © Paul167 / CC BY-SA 2.5

Beach-wise, Coral Bay is a fantastic stretch of sand and one well worth considering if you intend to spend most of your stay soaking up the sun's rays. If you prefer a quieter experience, head to Pissouri, where you'll be able to get a taste of Cypriot Life at its most authentic at the tiny village here.

Historical sites of note range from the Tombs of the Kings, which are so-named because of the size of the tombs - they don't actually contain any royal remains - to Kykkos Monastery and Kourion, where you'll find a theatre built in the 2nd century BC that has since been restored to its former glory.

When it comes to Cyprus's other main selling point - its Food - you'll be spoilt for choice. The Cypriot diet is very much Greek-influenced, but with touches of the east, too. So, you can choose from some rather good meze, spiced Meat stews, excellent Seafood and Halloumi, the famously squeaky grilling cheese.

Sicily

Best known for: Culture, Volcanoes and the Mafia (but this isn't really a selling point!)

Sicily is an intriguing destination that's perfect for travellers who want a holiday with a little bit of everything. The island's crumbling cities are ideal for romantics looking to relive the good ol' days - as long as they stay away from the seedier parts of town.

Cathedral of Palermo in Sicily, Italy Cathedral of Palermo in Sicily, Italy. Image by © Bjs / CC BY-SA 2.5

Palermo, for example, is packed with attractions telling the story of the various civilisations that have lived here over the centuries, like the cathedral and the Il Capo Arabian-style market, along with the Museum of Islamic Art. You can expect to find similar sights in Sicily's other cities reflecting the fascinating history of the island.

If you want to get away from the urban areas, you can go Hiking through one of Sicily's national parks or trek up one of the Volcanoes on the island - Etna and Stromboli. Or, you could tackle one of the peaks in the Nebrodi or Madonie mountain ranges, or take in the sight of the Alcantara Gorges.

Etna Volcano in Sicily, Catania Etna Volcano in Sicily, Catania (view from the plane). Image by © Castielli / CC BY-SA 2.0

Sardinia

Best known for: Beaches, Luxury, Nuraghis

It's no surprise if you thought of Yachts, white sand beaches and general opulence when you saw the word 'Sardinia', as it's very much a destination for the rich, famous and generally anyone who wants a luxurious holiday.
The island has been graced with the presence of the likes of Steven Spielberg, Heidi Klum, Gwyneth Paltrow and other stars over the years, giving you some idea of its cachet among the wealthy.

Sardinia, the East coast, Italy Sardinia, the East coast (Orosei National Park). Image by © delaere / CC BY 2.0

If celeb-spotting isn't your thing, there are plenty of other things to do here. Around 7,000 nuraghis - fortresses in all shapes and sizes - are strewn across Sardinia, providing a rather eerie experience as you walk past or around them.

The Chia Laguna Resort is the place to go for a Beach Holiday in the south of Sardinia, while Li Coggia and the island of Mortorio are often recommended for holidays in the north.


Traveler's NotesLocation
  • Country: Sicily, Sardinia -Italy, Cyprus - country itself 
  • Monetary unit: Euro, €
  • Time Zone: [It.] UTC +1 (+2 in summer) [Cyprus] UTC +2 (+3)
  • Phone code: +357(Cyprus/ 22 -Nicosia), +39( Italy/ 091-Palermo,  070-Cagliari)   
  • Climat: Mediterranean (mostly)
  • Largest cities: Nicosia, Limmasol, Larnaca -[Cyprus]; Palermo, Catania -[Sicily]; Cagliari, Sassari -[Sardinia]

author: © Joe Johnson
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