We're planning to visit Ammochostos in Cyprus for a week during the summer. We're going on a proper beach holiday, but would like to take in the cultural sights of the area. What do you suggest? If it's golden sandy beaches you are after, then Cyprus's east coast region is the perfect choice. But the area also has more than its fair share of interesting monuments, including monasteries, museums, centres of culture and churches.
The ancient buildings of the Agia Napa Monastery, in Sepheris Square, stand in the middle of a high-wall enclosure, insulated from the party town outside its walls. The 16th century church lies partially underground, carved into the bedrock. The monastery also has a guesthouse. Don't forget to check out the sycamore tree that stands guard at the gates - it is believed to be more than 600 years old.
Thalassa Marine Museum (00 357 2381 6366; entrance fee Dh7) showcases Cyprus's marine heritage, from prehistoric times to the present. One of the most famous exhibits is a functioning life-size replica of a 4th century BC Greek trading vessel (the original was discovered off the coast of Keryneia). The Deryneia Folk Art Museum (00 357 2374 0353; entrance fee Dh5), situated in a beautiful restored house, has a fine collection that dates back several hundred years. Its beautiful architecture makes it very popular as a venue for civil marriages.
The Cultural Centre (00 357 2374 0860; free entrance) hosts regular presentations, photographic exhibitions and a handicraft shop selling traditional items. If you want to stretch your legs and enjoy the region's stunning landscape, go on a trek in Cape Gkreko National Park, which offers majestic cliff formations, more than 36 species of orchid and plenty of nature trails, one of which links the area with the Aphrodite Cultural Route - legend has it that a temple dedicated to Aphrodite once existed in this area.
Make it a point to visit the small township of Paralimni (www.paralimni.org.cy) for its many old and interesting churches, the most famous of which is the church of Agios Georgios, dating to the 17th century. The nearby village of Sotira is home to five Byzantine-era churches, known for their architecture, murals and art. The Ecclesiastical Museum (00 357 2382 3932; free entrance) was once an old chapel. It is now home to a modest collection of ecclesiastical artefacts and sculptures.
Return flights on Etihad Airways (www.etihadairways.com) to Larnaca cost from US$513 (Dh1,885) including taxes. Do you have travel questions or queries? If so, e-mail them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org