by Isabella Perkins
As the third largest island in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is poised with plenty of idyllic sunspots and a rich and insightful past. Scenery and history aside, you’ll quickly find that Cypriots embody a vibrant culture which you’ll never forget.
Culture in Cyprus is often based around strong family values and a mixture of regional traditions. Live like a local and immerse yourself in the customs of the Cypriots, that way you can bring a few home on your return.
Whether at the dinner table or on a makeshift dancefloor, here’s how you can enjoy Cyprus’ culture from your holiday rental’s living room.
Adopt Cypriot values
In Cyprus, social structures centre on the direct and extended family. Grandparents and grandchildren develop strong bonds and spend a lot of time together – usually at mealtimes or weekends.
For the ultimate getaway, bring your extended family with you on your villa holiday and share a larger property together. That way you can spend some real quality time with each other, sharing the secrets of this magical island with your loved ones.
Elders are treated with a great deal of respect in Cyprus and the oldest person in a group is usually served first at a meal. Honour this custom to make parents and grandparents feel extra special and add a real loving touch to dinner times.
Enjoy local delicacies
Heavily influenced by Greek, Turkish and recipes from the Middle East, Cyprus is famed for its succulent cuisine. Households can be found sitting under the burning Mediterranean sun enjoying platters of mezes and sharing a few cold drinks. Trying local food is one of the best ways to experience any culture, but to develop a true understanding, have a shot at cooking dishes yourself.
To bring Cypriot culture to your villa, whip up a variety of meze platters. Similar to tapas, meze is a popular aspect of Cypriot and Greek culture, with groups of locals tending to order a large collection of small, meze plates to share.
Prepare a simple green salad with some plain yogurt on the side, make your own hummus, grill a tasty fish and some halloumi to nibble on the side. Go meatier and serve up homemade kebabs or pork ball keftedes. For a sure-fire addition to the table that everyone will love, buy a loaf of bread and dip slices into olive oil.
…then have a good song and dance!
Thanks to the country’s flourishing arts scene, enjoying traditional Cypriot music and dance is an easy and enjoyable way to bring the country’s culture back to your villa. There’s a huge amount of talented Cypriot musicians – why not buy a compilation album and give it a spin one evening when you’re there?
Better yet, get everybody up and dancing. Learn some new moves to accompany Cypriot dances like the syrtos, ballos and tatsia, or gather everyone in a circle and do your own rendition of the sousta dance.
Ready to embark on your own Cypriot adventure? Have a look at some of the Villa Plus properties in the country.
Isabella Perkins is a freelance travel writer best known for writing about self-catering holidays. Her writing tends to have a family focus, and she is in the middle of writing a new travel guide due to be published next year.