After a few days spent relaxing by the sea or traipsing through the island’s fine rural landscape, it may be high time to indulge in a spot of retail therapy. With the main towns around the country packed with designer boutiques and accessory shops sandwiched beside high-street stores, there are also modern malls crammed with all things desirable beckoning attention. That’s not to forget the craft shops and antique stores set to spark your curiosity.
Wherever you choose to stay in Cyprus, chances are there will be a dizzying array of shops in close proximity. Head to any town centre and you’ll spot a great number of European high street favourites including Mango and Zara sitting alongside British favourites Top Shop, Marks & Spencer and the ever-popular Debenhams department stores. And if beauty products are your thing, be sure to nip in to the closest Beautyline to get your fill of a wide range of goodies that should prove ideal for a post-holiday pampering session.
For something really special, there’s a whole array of fine boutiques to visit including top fashion houses like Fendi, Versace, Armani and Gucci, as well as slightly cheaper ranges to enjoy from Massimo Dutti and MaxMara to Longchamp, Diesel and Pinko.
If it’s leather shoes and good quality leather handbags that you’re after, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a plethora of boutiques in each of the major shopping centres boasting fine collections of accessories and footwear by Greek, Italian and other European designers. It goes without saying that sunglass shops are also a big thing around the island, with just about everyone protecting their eyes with a pair of the latest must-have designer shades. From aviators to wayfarers, you can protect your peepers in true style.
Moving away from mainstream fashion, what many visitors are unaware of is that Cyprus is also home to great local and independent designers, many of which have also made waves abroad with names including Fani Xenophontos, Joanna Louca and Anna Koumoushi to name a few. From quirky bags and accessories, to gorgeous dresses and tailored trouser suits, grabbing a cool designer find is the perfect way to update your wardrobe in the most unique way, with something you can proudly show off as a one-off holiday buy once you get back home.
The best way to experience what Cyprus has to offer is to take a good wander through backstreets and the older parts of town, particularly in the major cities of Nicosia and Limassol. Curious shoppers will be delighted with the variety on offer with hidden gems often found in the most random spots as young designers busy themselves in workshops that give way to lovely shops and showrooms.
All things handmade are also a big thing in Cyprus and you’ll no doubt be tempted to fill your cases with a range of unique souvenirs to take back home. From beautiful handcraft lace to gorgeous hand painted backgammon sets, there is much to get your mitts on. If you’re in the capital, head to the Cyprus Handicraft Centre where you’ll get to spot artisans hard at work. From weaving and wood carving, to pottery and traditional basket making, you’ll be able to get hold of all sorts of crafts at decent prices.
Have a good wander around old Nicosia, the old town of Limassol and the backstreets of Larnaca and you’ll come across some wonderful antique shops. And if you really have a good look round Paphos, there are also plenty of old bric-a-brac to be found. Once inside, you may need to do a little digging through the piles of random knick knacks and memorabilia, but there’s often a real treat to be had once the dust subsides. Remember that it’s always best to avoid the main tourist strips and head for the back streets to make the most of your shopping experience in each town.
Villages are usually the best place to get hold of prize purchases, made locally with love and care by the inhabitants. With many rural communities often specialising in a given craft, Lefkara particularly famous for its intricate handmade lace, while the village of Phini boasts an extensive tradition in pottery. Once you get to the villages, you’ll spot locals busy at work, often sitting outside the open doors of their homes and workshops where they are more than happy to engage in a little natter about the tricks of their trade that have been proudly passed on from generation to generation.
MAIN SHOPPING AREAS AROUND THE ISLAND
Nicosia: Makarios Avenue, Stasikratous St and Ledra Street
Limassol: Anexartisias St, Makarios Avenue and Georgiou A seaside road
Paphos: Posidonos Avenue, Apostolou Pavlou St and Makarios Avenue
Ayia Napa: Nissi Avenue, Kriou Nerou St and Protaras Avenue