Thanks to its pleasant weather, affordable prices, and excellent connections with the rest of the continent, Cyprus is one of the most visited destinations in southern Europe. Tourists flock here all year round to escape winter and to enjoy a break surrounded by stunning natural scenery, and a vibrant cultural scene.

According to the National Tourist Board, more than 2 million people visit this beautiful Mediterranean island every year. Cyprus is a particularly popular holiday destination among holidaymakers from the UK, as the latest statistics show that during August 2014 more than 135,000 British residents visited Cyprus.

The very name of Cyprus evokes images of never-ending sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, fantastic food, and non-stop entertainment. Of course, there is much more to Cyprus than just that, so we have put together a vast array of useful information to help you have the best possible introduction to Cyprus, the jewel of the Mediterranean.

What you need to know about tourism in Cyprus

There is a very good reason why Cyprus is the favourite destination for thousands of UK holidaymakers. In 2011, the country ranked first in the world's index in terms of tourist infrastructure and competitiveness. This is clearly a big achievement for such a small country. In practical terms, this also means that you can expect to find every amenity you may need during your holiday in Cyprus.

Getting around Cyprus as a tourist is easy, and not only because of the country's excellent infrastructure. Although Greek and Turkish are the island's official languages, English is widely spoken all over Cyprus, as the island was under British rule for nearly 100 years. According to a Eurostat report, approximately 80 per cent of the local population has a working command of English.

The Euro is Cyprus' official currency since 2008. Currency exchange is easily available everywhere on the island.

There is good news on the weather front too, as Cyprus has the warmest average temperatures in southern Europe. Average annual temperatures are 24°C, and the summer season can last up to 8 months. Winters are mild (except for the mountainous Troodos region), with average daytime temperatures ranging between 16 and 19°C.

Getting to Cyprus is easy and hassle-free. The main airport is in Larnaca, although some airlines also run charter flights to Paphos. There are eight airlines that serve the UK-Cyprus route.

Best of Cyprus

Travel to Cyprus and you are guaranteed to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime. The island caters to everyone's preferences, so whether you are after a relaxing break on the beach or an active holiday in the mountains, you can be sure that your holiday in Cyprus will be unforgettable. Here's a list of some of Cyprus' main attractions:

Beach life in Cyprus - There are nearly 50 Blue Flag beaches in Cyprus, most of which are clustered around the island's most popular resorts (Larnaca, Paphos, and Ayia Napa). This means that there's a beach to suit everyone in Cyprus. For a family day out by the sea, head to Protaras beach or to Coral Bay. If non-stop partying is your thing, Nisi beach in Ayia Napa is the place to go. Swimming and snorkelling are superb in Rock beach, near Paphos. To get away from the crowds and enjoy some refreshing moments of solitude by the sea, head to the Limassol area, where Governor's beach and Curium beach come highly recommended.

Countryside walks in the Avakas Gorge - This is the place to go for the best hiking in Cyprus.

Skiing in the Troodos - Visit the Troodos Mountains in January and enjoy a holiday on the slopes.

Vineyard tours - Explore Cyprus' wineries: there are 48 to choose from!

Golfing in Cyprus - Polish your golfing skills at Cyprus' 6 golf courses, some of which offer excellent accommodation packages too.

Watersports and active holidays in Cyprus - Scuba diving, sailing, jet skiing, wake boarding, kitesurfing, paragliding, mountain biking, and rock climbing are just some of the sports available in Cyprus.

Events in Cyprus - Cyprus' cultural richness and long history are evident at every turn. This is good news for visitors and holidaymakers, because it also means that the island's annual events calendar is packed with interesting activities that suit all kinds of people, from solo travellers to couples and including families with children or those travelling as a group.

Here's a brief summary of the most important events that take place in Cyprus every year:
Cyprus' Carnival
The Flower Festival
The Festival of the Flood
Larnaca Festival
Cyprus' Shakespearean Nights
Ayia Napa Festival
The Cyprus Rally
Cyprus' Beer Festival
Cyprus' Wine Festival
Paphos Opera Festival