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They’re as multifaceted as the country itself.

March 10, 2016

With its ancient ruins, museums, and monuments, Cyprus is a country steeped in rich history. Territorial disputes and more than 50 years of conflicts between the Greeks and Turks have left the island split into two distinctly different populations. Visitors can easily cross the UN operated "green line" buffer zone between the north and south to experience them both. But, for many people, the island’s striking landscape and gorgeous beaches are what inspire them to book a trip. Hiking trails, windsurfing, scuba diving: the sandy stretches offer something for everyone—don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of cocktails and lounge chairs, too. Here are Travel + Leisure’s picks.

Coral Bay Beach

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Tucked in a cove  surrounded by cliffs, the water at this beach stays relatively calm and is popular with families. The shallow shore is perfect for children to wade in, and the variety of watersports like diving and waterskiing will keep any athlete entertained. During the summer months, the beach can get quite crowded, so be sure to stake out a spot away from the beach bars.

Konnos Beach

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Konnos is a hikers dream. The beach, sheltered by a bay, offers fine golden sand and wonderful nature trails. After a long trek through the Cape Greco National Forest Park—not to mention some stunning photos—you can take a dip in the crystal clear water. Those less adventurous can choose to lounge under an umbrella while enjoying the stunning view.

Lara Beach

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Wildlife lovers are in for quite the treat at this beach hidden on the island’s western coast. Loggerhead and green turtles use it for nesting and monk seals tend to hang out in the sea caves nearby. The beach itself is hard to get to (you’ll want a four-wheeler), but you’ll encounter fewer crowds—which makes the drive all the more rewarding.

Latchi Beach

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Located next to a port and marina, the restaurants surrounding this pristine beach offer some of the best seafood in Cyprus. Grab a bite to eat while watching as the sun sets behind the peninsula.

Mackenzie Beach

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This beach is popular with locals, and has a lively party scene. It’s located so close to the airport that you can practically wave to passengers as they takeoff and land. The restaurants lining the sand provide your drink of choice while beachgoers play a variety of music while they lounge.

Nissi Beach

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The water at Nissi Beach is incredibly clear and shallow during the months when the tide is low. When tide is a bit higher, gutsy visitors can swim to the island across from the beach where locals jump from the cliffs into the sea.

Pissouri Beach

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Windsurfing and snorkeling are popular pastimes at this gorgeous stretch where you can rent equipment from an outfitter on the beach. Be sure to pack a pair of water shoes, as you’ll find rocks and pebbles mixed into the sand. 

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