Each year a healthy lifestyle, in which sports play a major role, is becoming more and more popular all over the world. And Cyprus is no exception, especially as this sun-blessed island has all the necessary facilities for the successful development of a variety of sports. Yachting, tennis, water polo, football, athletics and golf are loved and practiced by locals and visitors alike. What are the most popular sports in Cyprus? When did they begin to develop on the island? What are the special features of the popular sports in Cyprus? Find out more below in our article.
Sports in Cyprus: TOP 5 sports on the island
- Football. It comes as no surprise that football is the most popular sport on the island. Everyone - adults and children alike - loves to watch and play football in Cyprus. During world championships one can watch football matches in the various tavernas, restaurants and cafes around the island. Football in Cyprus began to be encouraged by the English in the early twentieth century, eventually taking root in schools across the island. Gradually football clubs started to be established on the island, amateur and professional matches were organised and football stadiums built. In 1934 the Cyprus Football Association was formed, which still governs professional football in Cyprus today. Fourteen years later it became a FIFA member, and 28 years later a UEFA member. There are currently 7 major football stadiums in Cyprus - Ammostochos, Antonios Papadopoulos and Neo GZS in Larnaca, Paralimni and Dasaki in Paralimni town, Tsirion Athletic Centre in Limassol and Pankiprio Stadium in the island's capital.
- Basketball. Also a very popular sport in Cyprus. The most famous sporting event in Cyprus is the Cyprus Women's Basketball Championship, which first took place on the island back in 1988 and has since been held every year. The women's basketball team from Limassol has been the most successful throughout the years.
- Tennis. This sport has been popular in Cyprus for more than 10 years. Locals and tourists love to play tennis, both professionally and just for fun. There are clubs all over the island teaching the game to players of all ages and levels. It's also one of the most popular sporting activities among school-age children. Most of the luxury hotels in Cyprus have tennis courts on their territory. And those who choose to rent a property in Cyprus during their holiday can visit the mentioned clubs, where they can buy a club card or a special season ticket.
- Rally. Car rallies are very popular in Cyprus, and the first ever held on the island dates back to 1970. Rallies have been held annually since then. There is an organisation in Cyprus which deals with all matters relating to the sport - the Cyprus Automobile Association. Most rallies in Cyprus are held in the Troodos area near Limassol. Rallying in Cyprus tends to take place in summer and is therefore a very popular sport with the many tourists that visit the island in this season. It is important to note that the European Rally Championship often takes place in Cyprus. The island hotels are booked to host rally enthusiasts from all over the world during the Championships.
- Water polo. Undeniably on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea a range of water sports and water activities are enjoying great popularity. The most popular of these is water polo. Water polo is played both at sea and in the special pools. Water polo tournaments in Cyprus are held in the towns of Limassol and Pafos. Apart from tournaments, training camps are organised for men's and women's water polo teams from all over the world. A water polo training camp in Cyprus includes accommodation for teams at a hotel complex set up for water polo, sports catering, training in different pools, team meetings, master classes and other themed activities. Two international water polo tournaments were held in Cyprus in 2018, the last one in Pafos with more than twenty teams from different countries taking part. According to the organiser, the main aim of the event is to popularise water polo among the entire world population, especially among school-age children.
Of course, this is by no means a complete list of the most popular sports in Cyprus, but only a small part of it. The most important thing is that sport as such is popular on the island in all its manifestations. It doesn't matter what sport you and your children play, as long as you enjoy it, and if you can do it in Cyprus, the health benefits are even greater. With plenty of sun, mild climate, salty sea and a healthy Mediterranean diet, Cyprus is a haven for sportsmen and health enthusiasts. Discover the special characteristics of Cyprus's climate, flora and fauna here.