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Akrotiri and Dhekelia (UK)

Visit Akrotiri and Dhekelia, the British Overseas Territory nestled on the beautiful island of Cyprus. Explore history, enjoy stunning beaches, and experience a unique blend of cultures.

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Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Aereal view of the Cessac Beach in Dhelekia Bay

The British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia is a unique destination located on the island of Cyprus. Known for its stunning beaches, rich history, and diverse culture, Akrotiri and Dhekelia offer a perfect blend of Mediterranean charm and British influence. With its warm climate, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking landscapes, this hidden gem is a paradise for sun-seekers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Discover a world of natural beauty and historical significance in Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Ready to explore ancient ruins and relax on pristine beaches? Pack your sunscreen and head to Akrotiri and Dhekelia!

Looking for an idyllic beach getaway with a touch of history? Akrotiri and Dhekelia are the perfect destinations for you. Uncover Cyprus’ fascinating past and unwind on picturesque shores.

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Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom): The Hidden Gems of the Mediterranean

Capital There is no official capital in Akrotiri and Dhekelia. It is a British Overseas Territory with military bases, and thus does not have a traditional capital city like other nations
Time in Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) GMT+2 (Eastern European Time)
Language spoken English, with Greek widely spoken by the local population.
Population 15,700 (source: 2021 estimates)
Religion Greek Orthodox (80%)
Anglican (10%)
Other (10%)
Currency Euro (€, EUR)
Airports Larnaca International Airport (Cyprus, 15 mi/24 km)
Paphos International Airport (Cyprus, 20 mi/32 km)

Akrotiri and Dhekelia, formally known as the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (SBA), are two British Overseas Territories situated on the island of Cyprus. These territories, comprised primarily of military bases, are relics of the British Empire and have a profound historical and strategic significance. They were retained by the UK after Cyprus gained its independence in 1960, ensuring Britain’s continued military and strategic presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Historically, these areas have played a pivotal role in regional geopolitics, offering Britain a vantage point close to the Middle East and North Africa. The blend of British and Cypriot cultures is evident, providing a unique fusion of Mediterranean charm with British traditions.

Where is Akrotiri and Dhekelia located?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are located on the southern coast of the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. Akrotiri is to the west, and Dhekelia is to the east of the island’s southern coastline.

What is Akrotiri and Dhekelia famous for?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are primarily known for their strategic military bases representing British interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their unique status and blend of British and Cypriot cultures also make them a point of intrigue for history enthusiasts.


Akrotiri and Dhekelia is a British Overseas Territory located on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. Its history dates back to ancient times, with evidence of human activity in the area as early as the 4th millennium BC. Throughout its history, Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) has been influenced by various civilizations, including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.

Ancient Times to 1878

The ancient city of Kourion, located in present-day Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom), was a major settlement during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. It flourished under Roman rule and was renowned for its impressive theater and other architectural wonders. The area saw numerous invasions and upheavals during the Byzantine era and was later ruled by the Lusignans and the Venetians.


In 1878, following the Russo-Turkish War, Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) came under British control through the Treaty of Cyprus. During this period, the British built military installations in the area to maintain control over the eastern Mediterranean and protect their interests in the region.


In 1960, Cyprus gained independence from British rule, but Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) remained under British sovereignty. The British maintained military presence in the area, which became particularly significant during the period of heightened tensions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.


In 1974, Cyprus experienced a period of political instability following a Greek-backed coup. This led to the intervention of Turkey, resulting in the division of the island. Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) remained under British control and became an important base during the subsequent conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Today, Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) is primarily known for its military presence and strategic importance in the region. It continues to be governed as a British Overseas Territory and serves as a key base for both the Royal Air Force and the British Army.

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What to see and do in Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Akrotiri and Dhekelia offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical sites, and military heritage. Here are some of the top attractions:

  • Explore the ancient city of Kourion, with its well-preserved theater and beautiful mosaics.
  • Visit the Akrotiri Archaeological Site, which reveals the ancient past of the region through its well-preserved ruins.
  • Discover the Hala Sultan Tekke, a stunning mosque located near the salt lake of Larnaca.
  • Take a walk along the picturesque beaches and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Visit the RAF Akrotiri Heritage Centre to learn about the military history of the area and its strategic importance.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or military heritage, Akrotiri and Dhekelia (United Kingdom) has something to offer for everyone.

Events in Akrotiri and Dhekelia

Akrotiri and Dhekelia hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Some of the notable events include:

  • RAF Akrotiri Airshow (April) – A spectacular airshow featuring aircraft displays and demonstrations by the Royal Air Force.
  • Kourion Ancient Festival (June) – A cultural event held at the ancient site of Kourion, showcasing traditional music, dance, and food.
  • Remembrance Day Parade (November) – A solemn commemoration of the sacrifices made by British servicemen and women, held at the military cemeteries in the area.
  • Christmas Festivities (December) – Various festive events and celebrations take place, including carol concerts and traditional markets.

These events provide visitors with the opportunity to experience the cultural and military traditions of Akrotiri and Dhekelia throughout the year.

Best time to visit Akrotiri and Dhekelia

The best time to visit Akrotiri and Dhekelia is during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) seasons when the weather is mild and pleasant. These seasons offer comfortable temperatures for outdoor activities and sightseeing. Summers can be hot, with temperatures often exceeding 30°C, while winters are generally mild.

Is Akrotiri and Dhekelia worth visiting?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia is worth visiting for those interested in military history and unique cultural experiences. The territory offers a fascinating blend of ancient ruins, stunning natural beauty, and a rich military heritage. Visitors can explore archaeological sites, relax on beautiful beaches, and learn about the strategic importance of the area. However, it’s important to note that Akrotiri and Dhekelia is primarily a military base, and some areas may be restricted to the public. If you’re looking for a traditional tourist destination with a wide range of attractions and amenities, there may be other places that better suit your preferences.

Common questions

What are the top attractions in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia, part of the British Overseas Territory, are known for their beautiful beaches, historical sites, and natural landscapes. Some of the top attractions in the area include Cape Gata, Lady’s Mile Beach, Akrotiri Salt Lake, and the Akrotiri Archaeological Site.

What are the best beaches in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia offer stunning beaches that are popular among locals and tourists. Some of the best beaches in the area include Lady’s Mile Beach, Kourion Beach, Fig Tree Bay, and Nissi Beach. These beaches feature crystal-clear waters, soft sands, and excellent amenities.

What historical sites can I visit in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are home to several fascinating historical sites. The Akrotiri Archaeological Site is a major attraction, showcasing a well-preserved ancient city buried under volcanic ash. Hala Sultan Tekke, an important Islamic pilgrimage site, and the Dhekelia Power Station, a landmark of industrial heritage, are worth visiting as well.

Are there any hiking trails in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Yes, Akrotiri and Dhekelia offer various hiking trails for nature enthusiasts. The Akrotiri Peninsula Nature Trail is a popular choice, taking you through diverse landscapes, including wetlands, salt marshes, and sandy beaches. The Episkopi Nature Trail and the Cape Gata Trail are also great options for exploring the natural beauty of the region.

What wildlife can I see in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. The salt lake areas attract a wide range of bird species, including flamingos, herons, and various migratory birds. The region is also known for its reptiles, such as turtles and lizards. Keep an eye out for unique plant species, like sea daffodils and prickly pears.

Where can I go snorkeling or diving in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia offer excellent opportunities for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Cape Gata is a popular spot for snorkeling, with its clear waters and abundant marine life. Dhekelia Beach and Lady’s Mile Beach also have underwater wonders waiting to be discovered. Numerous diving centers and clubs in the area can provide equipment and guidance.

Where can I enjoy water sports in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia are ideal destinations for water sports enthusiasts. Lady’s Mile Beach is a hub for various activities including windsurfing, kiteboarding, and jet skiing. The Fig Tree Bay area offers opportunities for paddleboarding and kayaking. Many beaches have water sports facilities and rental services that cater to both beginners and experienced adventurers.

What are some family-friendly activities in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia have plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy. The Cyprus Historic & Classic Motor Museum is a great option for car enthusiasts of all ages. The Fasouri Watermania Water Park provides a fun-filled day with various water slides and pools. Exploring the ancient ruins of the Akrotiri Archaeological Site can also be exciting for children.

Can I visit Akrotiri and Dhekelia on a day trip from Cyprus?

Yes, it is possible to visit Akrotiri and Dhekelia on a day trip from Cyprus. The area can be easily reached by car or public transportation from major cities like Limassol or Larnaca. Plan your visit in advance and allocate enough time to explore the attractions and enjoy the natural beauty of the region.

What are the local customs and traditions in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia share many customs and traditions with Cyprus. Cypriots value hospitality and respect towards guests. It is common to greet others with a handshake, and it is polite to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home. The traditional music, dance, and food of Cyprus are celebrated across the island, including Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Are there any shopping opportunities in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia offer limited shopping options, mainly catering to basic needs and essentials. You can find small grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores in the area. For a wider range of shopping choices, you may consider visiting the nearby cities of Limassol or Larnaca, where shopping malls, boutiques, and markets are more abundant.

What are the best dining options in Akrotiri and Dhekelia?

Akrotiri and Dhekelia boast a variety of dining options, ranging from traditional Cypriot taverns to international cuisines. Sample local specialties like souvlaki, village salad, and halloumi cheese. Paphos and Limassol, located nearby, offer a wider range of dining choices, including seafood restaurants, fine dining establishments, and trendy cafes.