Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and attracts more than 2,000,000 visitors each year. The island has something for everyone, including friendly people, an incredible coastline, a stunning mountain village, family-friendly resorts, marinas, a booming agritourism scene, world-class spas, and award-winning golf courses designed by golf legends. On your budget Cyprus vacation, sample traditional Cypriot cuisine and follow the islands’ new wine routes to celebrate the 40 new wineries that have developed on the island in recent years. Six wine routes traverse the island and run through some of the best boutique wineries. Cypriot wine production dates back almost 5,000 years. The warm waters of Cyprus are perfect for scuba diving and waterskiing, while adventure seekers can explore this beautiful island on hiking or bird watching excursions.

So why go to Cyprus for your winter sun vacation? In addition to vacation packages being the lowest priced at this time of year, the following are just some of the reasons why Cyprus is the perfect choice for your vacation during the winter season.

1. Average daytime winter temperatures throughout Cyprus rarely drop below 20 ° C, making this the ideal time to explore the island and all it has to offer. With 340 days of sunshine a year, you can be sure to catch some rays during December and January. The magnificent beaches of the blue flag island enjoy teenage sea temperatures during the winter months, making it possible to take a dip on Christmas Day.

2. Christmas is an amazing time in Cyprus with ancient traditions and lots of delicious Cypriot food. Unique to the region is the habit of hanging crosses wrapped in basil and sprinkled with holy water on the front door of a house to scare away the kallikantzari (goblin spirits), who are said to engage in mischief during the twelve days of Christmas. The towns and cities of the island celebrate Christmas with magical processions accompanied by kalanda (Christmas carols) that are handed down from generation to generation since Byzantine times. The main festival on Christmas Day takes place in Eleftheria (Freedom) Square Nicosia. Larnaca hosts one of the most dramatic services on January 5, when young swimmers dive for a cross and return it to the priest.

3. Winter is not excluded from the colorful cultural scene of the islands throughout the year. Concerts and events take place all over Cyprus, from local bands, choirs, orchestras, dancers and groups to Viva Verdi – New Moscow Opera in Rialto, Limassol. Eleftheria Square in Nicosia is the ideal place to see live acts with performances every day during the last two weeks of December with free entertainment every Sunday at the entrance to Pafos Mosaics near the harbor.

4. The Cypriot people love their food, which plays an important role in their Christmas celebrations. Christopsomo (Christ Bread) accompanied by dried figs, walnuts and honey is eaten on Christmas Eve with stuffed turkey, roast chicken and roast lamb traditionally served on Christmas Day. If you have a sweet tooth, you will love traditional cakes such as kourabiedes (a small almond cake covered with icing sugar), melomakarona (traditional honey cake) and finikia (walnut cake). If you crave a traditional British Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, you won’t be disappointed as most hotels observe UK traditions with traditional British dishes and festive decorations.

5. The New Year is an important date for families in Cyprus, January 1 marks the Feast of Saint Basil, the regions equivalent to Saint Nicholas. This is the main day for gift giving. Downtown Limassol plays host to some of the best New Year’s Eve parties, but most hotels celebrate in style. Visitors should celebrate the New Year in Cyprus with a piece of Vassilopitta (St Basils Cake) that is baked with a silver or gold coin to bring good luck to the person who finds it.

6. Visit Cyprus to pamper yourself and relax. In recent years, the island has seen the opening of a number of high-quality spas and health farms which, combined with the year-round good weather and varied terrain, offer a great way to recharge your batteries. Intense yoga stays and relaxing spa breaks, along with indigenous Cyprus treatments, such as the chance to soak in the healing waters of Ayii Anargyri, will leave you feeling totally relaxed and revitalized.

7. Car rental is exceptionally cheap at this time of year, giving visitors the opportunity to explore this incredible island on their own. The Cyprus Tourism Organization has partnered with the Travel Foundation to create 6 self-driving routes that will guide you to some of the most beautiful and special parts of the hidden interior of the island.

Just a four-hour flight from the UK, December holidays in Cyprus remain a popular winter sun holiday option among visitors from the UK and elsewhere – 136,000 Britons who visited the island last year did not! they may be wrong!