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  • Paphos at sunrise

  • The large stone vase at Limassol

  • Kamares Aqueduct

  • Choirokoitia Neolithic settlement

    Image by  on Flickr via CC BY 2.0

  • Mosaic at Kourion

  • St Hilarion Castle

Fitness / Practicalities
Tour Director

  • Delve into Cyprus’s fascinating ancient history with visits to an array of archaeological sites and museums

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

  • Explore the UNESCO-listed southern sector sites of Paphos and Choirokoitia, whilst highlights of the northern sector include the mountaintop St Hilarion Castle and the ancient site of Salamis

“Extremely interesting tour”

– ACE customer on a previous archaeological 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 era. 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, including the exceptional classical remains at Kourion and Paphos, whose Roman mosaics are among the most impressive in the world. All of these are set against a beautiful landscape, including many sandy beaches.


From a base in Limassol, we will explore the site of Amathous, as well as the collections of the Limassol District Archaeological Museum, before making an excursion to Kalavasos-Tenta archaeological site and the neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia. Larnaca contains the Roman-style Ottoman Kamares aqueduct, and is home to the fascinating Kition archaeological site.


We will continue via the archaeological site of Tamassos 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 c 300 BCE). A second excursion to the Turkish-occupied sector will take us to the impressive site of ancient Salamis.


Our first base will be in Paphos, at the four-star Hotel Aquamare, located close to the beachfront. We will then move to the four-star Poseidonia Beach Hotel in Limassol and the comfortable three-star 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 £335.

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