Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate with long dry summers starting in mid-May and lasting until mid-October and quite mild winters from December to February. Spring and autumn are effectively short intervals in between.
Cyprus has the warmest climate in the Mediterranean part of the European Union and enjoys about 300 days of sunshine per year. Summer temperatures vary between 25°C and 40°C, while winter temperatures are generally between 15°C and 20°C. Even during winter, the temperature rarely drops below +10°C.
Despite its small size, Cyprus has a vast variety of natural vegetation and is known for its sweet beauty of nature especially during the Winter and Spring months.
The total number of wild flowers growing in Cyprus is around 1.800, of which 140 are endemic. If you bear in mind that the total number of wild flowers in all Europe is 2.900, Cyprus is really a botanical paradise.
Cyprus is also well known for its wild orchids, a number of them being endemic to Cyprus.
Other plants and flowers you may find in nature are for example wild cyclamen, anemones, tulips, mahlab, sage, thyme and many more. In the forests you will find, among others, conifers and broadleaved trees such as Pinus brutia, cedar, cypresses and oaks. Ancient authors write that most of Cyprus, even the Messaoria plains, was heavily forested, and there are still considerable forests on the Troodos and Kyrenia ranges, and locally at lower altitudes. About 17% of the whole island is classified as woodland. Where there is no forest, tall shrub communities of golden oak (Quercus alnifolia), strawberry tree (Arbutus andrachne), terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus), olive (Olea europaea), kermes oak (Quercus coccifera) and styrax (Styrax officinalis) are found, but such maquis is uncommon. Over most of the island untilled ground bears a grazed covering of garrigue, largely composed of low bushes of Cistus, Genista sphacelata, Calycotoime villosa, Lithospermum hispidulum, Phaganalon rupestre and, locally, Pistacia lentiscus.
Cyprus is characterised by its rich and diverse fauna, which includes, among others, 36 species of mammals, 380 bird species, 22 reptile species, 3 amphibian species, 200 fish species and more than 5000 insect species.
Regarding the 36 mammal species that have been recorded in Cyprus, 19 of these are bats, 12 are terrestrial mammals, 4 are dolphins and one is a seal. The largest mammal is the endemic mouflon (Ovis orientalis ophion) [a wild sheep species].
Cyprus is located in one of the eight most important bird migratory routes, extending from Europe to Africa and vice versa. It is also considered as an important area for avifauna in Europe, having high levels of diversity and endemism. So far, the number of bird species recorded in Cyprus is 380. Out of these, more than 50 species are permanent residents of the island.
There are also 22 reptile species living in Cyprus, of which 8 are snakes (one endemic species and two endemic subspecies), 11 are lizards and 3 are turtles (2 sea turtles and 1 freshwater turtle). Three of the snakes found in Cyprus are poisonous, but only one can be harmful to man (Macrovipera lebetina). Three frog species are included in the amphibians.
According to Fauna Europaea, the number of representatives of the insect fauna known to occur in Cyprus is approximately 5000. One of the most important group of insects, are butterflies, which belong to the order Lepidoptera. There are 52 species in Cyprus, 9 of which are endemic butterflies.