Shopping in Cyprus is a fun experience because it mirrors the fact that the island is such a land of wonderful contrasts. You can find goods and products that are produced in the humblest village workshop, but you can also find the highest fashions in the larger, more sophisticated cities. You can buy everything from folk art souvenirs to locally-made cheeses, (including delicious Halloumi) and local wines and spirits.
The historic folk arts of Cyprus are the inspiration for many of the quality gift and souvenir items you can buy on the island. Among them laces named after the village of Lefkara, embroideries from Pafos — called “Pafitika” fabric — and fine pottery, woodwork, leather and metal work from many places; all deservedly famous.
Fabrics are used in a large number of different items and come in styles to fit every taste. Many have a story to tell.
Lefkaritica lace, for example, was made well before the Venetians came to prize it as an expression of quality folk art. But even though its roots are in history, Lefkaritica is a living tradition, with new designs in table cloths, curtains, placemats and dresser sets being added continually.
One way or another, if you are looking for items that can be worn, or carried, or placed on the table, the wall or the floor, Cyprus is the place for you.
The history of Cyprus also finds expression in its metal wear made from locally-mined materials. Well before the Bronze age, Cyprus was known for its copper pots, saucepans and planters, all of which make wonderful gifts for the practical-minded recipient, or can adorn your own kitchen at home.
Then there is gold and silver jewelry, much of it faithful reproductions of ancient designs, and often exceptional examples of Cyprus folk art skills.
Pottery making has also a long tradition on Cyprus. Look for the terra cotta ware with white decorations, copied from museum pieces. Beautifully decorated gourds are also available, and make surprisingly useful planters , vases, carafes and scoops.
Basket-weaving is a specialty of the village of Mesoyi, which produces brightly ribboned items that make perfect wall hangings. Footstools, wood carvings, pine dowry chests, small boxes and shelves, all are available — some decorated with, birds, flowers, rosettes, trees and religious symbols. The Cyprus Handicraft Service, is a government-run organization that specializes in craft work It has stores in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka, and Pafos.
Shopping in Cyprus is a joy, whether you want that memorable rustic souvenir, want to take advantage of certain local bargains such as contact lenses, frames and other optical items, or whether you take the opportunity to look for that special something, a chic item of clothing from the one of the shops in the big cities, for example.
Traditional hand-made items can be purchased in every corner of the island. At the Handicraft Center in Lefkosia, visitors can see the artisans weaving, basket-making, wood-carving, working with leather; pottery and traditional hand-made copper goods. All items are for sale.