The Republic of Cyprus is an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, with the northern division of the island belonging to Turkey.
A member of the EU, Cyprus gained independence from the UK in 1960 and has been divided since 1974 when, following a military coup, Turkey invaded the north. Though now peaceful, a symbolic UN peacekeeping force still controls the buffer zone between the two regions, although new peace talks in 2017 seem to promise a resolution.
Tourism is a huge industry on Cyprus. The island has an average of 340 days of sunshine a year, beautiful beaches and impressive archaeological sites, all of which attract around 2 million tourists each year.
Cyprus is divided into 6 major areas: Nicosia, Famagusta, Kyrenia, Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos.
Nicosia is the capital city and the last ‘divided capital’ in the world. A “Green Line” cuts the city in two. To the north is the capital of Northern Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey). To the south is the capital of the Republic of Cyprus.
Cyprus is a gay-popular destination, although island’s LGBT community and gay scene may come a bit short of expectation. The island has one gay sauna, Vinci Sauna. Other LGBT-friendly and gay-owned establishments can be found all over the island.
The port city of Larnaca has a lively bar & nightlife scene along Mackenzie Beach. Limassol is home to The Elysium Bar Complex, located 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre (off the road towards Germasogeia).
The capital city of Nicosia has some gay venues and an open-air cruising spot in the National Gardens frequented by Turkish Cypriots. The beautiful beaches in Paphos are popular with gay sunbathers and nudists.
Whilst socially conservative, Cyprus has enacted LGBT laws to comply with EU requirements. Same-sex activity is legal and there are limited anti-discrimination laws.
Similar anti-discrimination protection came into force in Northern Cyprus in 2014, although gay life continues to be discreet with very few openly gay venues.
There are some great hotel choices throughout the island, more so in Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. For a list of the latest hotel deals in Cyprus, visit the Cyprus Hotels page.
Cyprus is a member of Schengen but has not yet fully implemented it. For citizens of EU and EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland, an approved ID card (or passport) can be used to enter. Others will generally need a passport for entry.
International travellers are expected to go through regular immigration, except those travelling from an EU country. If Cyprus normally requires a visa for your nationality, then this may be waived if you already have a valid Schengen visa.
Between May and October, you can swim and sunbathe on one of Cyprus’ gay beaches.
The easiest to get to is at Pissouri, on the west of the island, halfway on the road between Paphos and Limassol. You can reach it by driving to Columbia Pissouri Hotel carpark and then walking down on the path to the left.
The best known gay beach is in the south of the island, at White Rocks (Aspra Vrahia) at Governor’s Beach, between Limassol and Larnaca. Drive out of Limassol for twenty minutes until you reach Governor’s Beach. Drive through the carpark and go to the right. This is where the gay section is situated.
The final, smaller beach, Kermia, is by Ayia Napa, in the east of the island by Hotel Kermia Beach, and is almost exclusively gay.
If you find yourself with straight friends on holiday in Ayia Napa, don’t think you are there alone. The resort has its own gay cruising area: the garden path behind the monastery after 2am.
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