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  • Ancient stone vase at Amathus archaeological site

  • Ruins of ancient Kourion, Limassol District

  • St. Hilarion Castle, Kyrenia mountain range

  • Tombs of the Kings, Paphos

  • Mosaics at Kouklia

    Photo by wiseguy71 licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

  • Ruins at the site of Salamis

    Photo by Mike McBey licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Examine the island’s historic role in the interaction between the cultures of Europe and the Middle East

  • Explore the UNESCO-listed southern sector sites of Paphos, Choirokoitia and the painted churches of the Troodos Mountains

  • Visit highlights of the northern sector including the mountaintop St Hilarion Castle, the beautiful Bellapais Abbey and the ancient site of Salamis

“Extremely interesting tour”

- ACE customer on a previous tour to Cyprus

From prehistoric times onwards, Cyprus has either been contested by invaders or influenced by traders from Anatolia, Greece, Syria, Phoenicia and Egypt. The activities of collectors and archaeologists have filled museums (both in Cyprus and elsewhere) with a rich array of artefacts that reflect the island’s diverse history.


During the classical period, the settlement of Cyprus was essentially Greek in character, and so it remained throughout the Roman and Byzantine eras. With the advent of Islam, Cyprus became a contested border zone, and today a wide range of archaeological sites, monuments and museum collections represent the island’s varied heritage.


Our journey will begin in the southern (Greek) sector, which holds some outstanding sites, from the exceptional classical remains at Kourion and Paphos (whose Roman mosaics are among the most impressive in the world), to medieval castles and painted churches of many different periods. All of these are set against a beautiful landscape, from sandy beaches to the luxuriant Troodos Mountains.


We will continue to the divided capital Nicosia, enclosed in its ring of 16th century walls, to explore both its monuments and its museums. As we venture further into the northern territories, we will discover the mountaintop St Hilarion Castle; the beautiful Bellapais Abbey, made famous by the writing of Lawrence Durrell; and the fortified Kyrenia Castle on the island’s northern seafront (which also houses the famous Kyrenia ship of c300 BC). A second day in the Turkish-occupied sector will take us to medieval Famagusta and the impressive nearby site of ancient Salamis.


Our first base will be in Paphos, at the Hotel Aquamare, located close to the beachfront. We will then move to the Poseidonia Beach Hotel in Limassol and the Centrum Hotel in Nicosia.


This tour will be led by Gillian Hovell, BA (Hons), an ancient historian and archaeologist with expertise spanning the Neolithic to Roman Britain and the Greek and Roman Mediterranean. Gillian actively digs at major sites in the UK and Europe, from Orkney to Pompeii, and is also an experienced tour leader and lecturer, regularly delivering talks for the Arts Society and at museums including the British Museum and the Ashmolean. An award-winning writer, she has given several TV, radio and podcast interviews and also runs online courses in archaeology, ancient history and Latin as ‘The Muddy Archaeologist’. Gillian’s guide to the archaeological sites of the Mediterranean is due for publication in 2024.

Tour Code

Included: return airfare, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, ten breakfasts, eight lunches, ten dinners with wine, water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities & all taxes.

Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £295.

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