Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine all year round. Long dry summers and mild winters are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is a time of high temperatures with cloudless skies, but the sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas. Winters are mild, with some rain and snow on Troodos Mountains.
One of the benefits of being a Mediterranean island is plentiful sunshine throughout the year, and Cyprus is no exception. In fact, Cyprus epitomizes the ideal weather of the region with sunny days and fine temperatures almost every day. Extremes of temperatures are rare, meaning Cyprus has something to offer every month of the year, whether it's swimming (as late as November) or enjoying cultural sites and festivals (all year long). While seasonal fluctuations are not drastic, however, they are different. Here's what to expect:
For just about Summer stretches from mid-May to mid-October and means high temperatures, cloudless skies and cooling breezes from the sea. It's the ideal season for swimming, sunbathing and a whole range of watersports from sailing to scuba diving. At this time of year, explore the archaeological sites early in the morning or in late afternoon, avoiding the hottest part of the day. It's always a good idea to bring along sun protection, such as sunscreen and a broad-brimmed hat. Even in the height of summer when it's 32C(90F) degrees at the beach (and warmer inland), temperatures are refreshingly cooler in the Troodos, making the mountains ideal for hiking or simply relaxing.
The days of September and October are still sunny and the water warm enough for comfortable swimming. Basically, it's still summer. In Lemesos, the first ten days of September bring the annual Wine Festival, a buoyant period not to be missed.
Toward the end of October evenings do tend to get cooler, however. In October and through November the leaves change color in the Troodos and vineyards take on gold and crimson hues against a backdrop of crystal clear sunlight. In Cyprus even mid-November can feel like summer, but by month's end medium-weight apparel for the late afternoons and evenings will enhance the traveller's experience. It is still possible to enjoy swimming, while inland excursions to villages and vineyards for wine tastings can be very enjoyable. Fall also brings with it the annual Kypria festival, with prestigious local and international musical and dramatic performances at venues throughout Cyprus.
December and January are the months of Mediterranean winter, bringing the possibility of rain, but still an average of six hours of bright sunshine a day. This is the time of year when smaller Mediterranean destinations shut down for the season, but not so Cyprus. The island is a major business centre and has many important heritage sites and museums, all at their least crowded in winter. The cultural calendar is also alive and well throughout the winter, with new events coming all the time. The summer resort of Agia Napa, for example, offers a 'Cultural Winter' with classical music concerts and modern and folkloric dance performances. Into early February there is occasional rain, and often snow in the Troodos - ideal for skiing!
The first orchids bloom in January in Cyprus, and by mid-February the countryside is already alive with fresh green meadows and almond trees in bloom. March days can still be cool (daytime temperatures around 19C or 65F, 9C or 40F at night) but steadily moderate. Early spring is a wonderful time to visit to Cyprus, with pleasant daytime temperatures and many of the ancient ruins framed by a carpet of red anemones and other wildflowers.
In April and into the middle of May spring is in full force. This is an ideal time for nature hikes and off-road adventures in the pristine Akamas Peninsula. Cyprus has 1,950 species of flowering plants, 140 of which grow nowhere else but on the island, and in the Akamas alone, there are 700 plant species, of which 40 are endemic. From February to April, pink cyclamen sprouts up from rocky foothills and thickets and forms a riveting adornment to the Baths of Aphrodite. From March to April, the pink wavy-leaved monkey orchid (Orchis italica) grows in dense patches around Pafos. If in summer Cyprus is the place to bask in the sun, then spring is the time to savor the natural beauty of the island in bloom.