Best places to visit in Cyprus. The island country of Cyprus is relatively small, but its multifaceted allure beckons a wide array of travelers. Revelers flock to the mega clubs of Ayia Napa; history buffs travel back in time at the UNESCO-listed Tombs of the Kings; and those enraptured by contemporary politics visit Nicosia (Lefkosia), the Cypriot capital and one of the world’s last divided cities. With so much to see and do, a guided tour means you can hit the top spots without having to arrange for transportation. The historic city of Paphos on the southwest coast—home to Paphos Archaeological Park, St. Paul’s Pillar, and Ayios Neophytos Monastery—teems with culture and serves as a perfect base for day trips to the Troodos Mountains, Kykkos Monastery, and the enchanting Blue Lagoon and Adonis Baths. Meanwhile, Limassol (on the southern coast) offers easy access to Fasouri Watermania, Aphrodite Beach, and the ancient ruins of Kourion. If you’re seeking an alternative sightseeing experience, visit Famagusta, home to an imitable mix of sandy beaches and Gothic monuments. Nature lovers can connect with Cyprus’ wild landscapes on an active excursion to Akamas on the northwest side of the island, where wild flowers, submerged caves, and volcanic peaks abound. And don’t miss out on wine tasting in the rural villages surrounding Larnaca to the south, or a Jeep safari through the Troodos Mountains, in the center of the island, with its peaks that reach more than 6,561 feet (2,000 meters).
In the far reaches of the Mediterranean Basin, where the Greek Aegean gives way to the scorched Levant coast, Cyprus rises from the waters with the promise of ancient legends, timeless Greek and Roman ruins, sleepless party nights, mouth-watering mezze platters, eye-watering backcountry and – of course – picture-perfect beaches. Here, we take a look at the top 15 Best places to visit in Cyprus, ranging from the trodden south coast to the donkey-dotted reaches of the far-flung northern peninsulas.
The eastern most island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is an independent nation with a long and colorful past. Legend has it that Cyprus was the birthplace of Aphrodite, and it’s easy to understand why the ancients chose this appealing island to worship the Greek goddess of love. With its mild climate, beautiful beaches, forested mountains and lush green valleys, Cyprus is the ideal destination for a romantic holiday.nLovers of history will be enchanted by the ancient attractions in Cyprus as well. The isle is peppered with archeological sites, ruins and remnants of past empires, conquerors and civilizations. Mouth-watering cuisine, a modern infrastructure and a welcoming populace make a vacation in Cyprus a pleasurable experience for any traveler. Check out the top list of Best places to visit in Cyprus.
The western tip of Cyprus is an area known as the Akamas Peninsula, and it is one of the least inhabited parts of the island. If you’re eager to get off the beaten track, then this is the place to be: There are literally no paved roads! As a result, it is ideal for hiking or mountain biking. It is also an amazing place for spotting wildlife, just some of which can include sea turtles, reptiles, and native birds.
You can also explore the history of the Akamas Peninsula with a visit to the Agios Andronikos, a former mosque and current church that was constructed in the early 16th century.
Rugged and windswept Akamas Peninsula National Park pokes its way out into the swells of the Med to form the north-western horn of Cyprus Island. It’s hailed by many to be one of the last remaining true wildernesses here; home to oodles of endemic species of flora and fauna.
Today, ecotourism is booming, and travelers can discover wonders like the chiselled ridges of the Avakas Gorge, winding hiking trails that weave past blooming fields of crocuses and gladioli, thick fir forests, the mythical Baths of Aphrodite and truly secluded beaches to boot. There’s also a loggerhead and green turtle sanctuary that draws a crowd on Lara Bay; showcasing one of the more endangered marine species in the Med. Best places to visit in Cyprus is Akamas Peninsula National Park.
Famagusta is a culturally-rich town on the eastern end of Cyprus; a city of more than 40,000 people that boasts a buzzing port and a history that goes back all the way to the time when the rulers of Ptolemaic Egypt held sway in this section of the Med. The spot’s real gem, however, is its medieval heart, now hailed as one of the most enchanting walled cities in southern Europe. another Best places to visit in Cyprus is famagusta.
This is where travelers will find the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and its curious Gothic edifices that belie its erstwhile moniker: the Cathedral of St. Nicholas. There are oodles of other renaissance gems to see in the area too, along with the old bullet holes and cannon craters of a 15th century Ottoman siege.
Scholars believe that the ancient city of Kourion was founded around the 13th century B.C., but it’s the 5th-century Greco-Roman ruins that most attract visitors to the archeological site near the city of Limassol. kourion is most populer and Best places to visit in Cyprus.
Perched on a hill overlooking Episkopi Bay, the tumbled homes, temples and public buildings of the Kourion complex make it easy to imagine what life was like on Cyprus two thousand years ago. Standout sites include the remains of Roman baths, an open Agoura, a temple to Apollo and an amphitheater where classical plays are still performed today.
Nicosia is one of the most amazing cities in the entirety of Cyprus. Being the capital city of Cyprus, this is no surprise, as it is the very cultural center for all of Cyprus. The history of this city dates back more than just mere centuries, with a rich heritage matched by few cities.
It is one of the ideal places to visit in Cyprus in winter. Nicosia is divided between the Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus and the cultural Greek Republic of Cyprus to the South. There are more than a dozen museums in Nicosia, with the top picks being the Cyprus Museum, the Byzantine Museum and the Ledra Observatory Museum, where you can climb to the 11th floor and actually see the island’s national dividing line (known as the “The Green Line”).
If you are in the market for some Cypriot souvenirs, head to either Ledra Street for more traditional items or Laiki Geitonia for affordable souvenir shops catering to tourists.
A quite well known tower establishment, this village is certainly one of the most oldest villages that exist in Cyprus. While its absolutely ancient architecture suggests centuries, in truth this village has been around for millenia and has served a whole host of wide and varied purposes throughout the ages.
Situated near the southern tip of Cyprus, Kolossi Castle is a three-story keep built as a military fortress for the Crusaders of the High Middle Ages. From the 13th to 15th century, the fortress was controlled by the Hospitallers known as the Knights of St.
John and was later taken by their rivals, the Knights Templar. While not much remains of the original complex beyond the sturdy stone walls of the keep, a spiral staircase leads visitors to the roof-top battlements for breathtaking views of the vineyard-covered peninsula and blue Mediterranean Sea.
This is one of the most picturesque villages in Cyprus, and can be found on the outer edges of the forests of Paphos. The village is one of the largest and grandest in the region, and has a multitude of monasteries, basilicas, churches, and cathedrals, with almost all of them being dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
An ideal location for those who are fervent Christians, or are interested in the workings of Christianity, this village has amazed many over the years. This is one of the best places to visit in Paphos Cyprus.
For maximum relaxation and accessible beaches, it is hard to beat the coastal resort of Protaras. The main beach, Fig Leaf Bay, is dotted with sun beds and loungers, and you can choose whether to take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Mediterranean or just sip a cocktail in the sunshine.
The nearby Cape Greco is a protected nature park with a quieter, family-friendly atmosphere. There is also a nearly 10-mile pedestrian trail that lets you hike and soak in the views of the ocean and the town, and the nightlife in Protaras offers plenty of fun until the early hours of the morning.
Something like the sober side of Ayia Napa, Protaras is a package holidayer’s dream. The town shimmers and shines against the deep blue hues of the Mediterranean Sea; its beaches – crowned by the much-lauded Fig Tree Bay – slope softly down to the lapping shores, peppered with sun loungers, volleyball courts and the occasional concession stand.
Meanwhile, luxurious hotels and their crystalline swimming pools line the boardwalk along the coast, bicycles click past and international eateries offer mezze next to pizza and fries. Then there’s the pull of the waters here, with dive outfits operating out the town extolling the fantastic visibility and kaleidoscope of parrot fish, shipwrecks and corals below the surface.
Platres is a village in the Limassol District, and is quite simply the very largest Troodos resort, along with being one of the essential members of the winemaking villages of Cyprus. Featuring many natural and cultural goodies, this village dates back all the way to the Venetian Era.
Located in the Troodos Mountains near the city of Nicosia, Omodos Village is the premier destination for wine aficionados in Cyprus. Wine-tasting stalls offer samples of local varietals like Mavro and Xynisteri, and restaurants and bars serve traditional fare. With its cobbled streets, stone houses and lush gardens, Omodos is well worth visiting for its beauty and charm as well.
The town’s 17th-century monastery is home to several museums, including an icon museum that features extraordinary wood carvings as well as an extensive collection of icons.
The elongated finger of land that stretches out from the north-eastern edge of Cyprus is something of an untrodden gem. It’s only visited by a few tourists each year and as such comes totally undeveloped, wild and rugged. Travelers who do come can expect to find a glorious montage of craggy rocks and salt-sprayed cliffs, secluded coves decorated with blooms of sand lily, and curious wild donkeys roaming between the heaths.
Other must-sees in the region include the 10th-century Byzantine castle of Kantara, which sits at the very base of the peninsula, and the Apostolos Andreas Monastery – a pilgrimage destination for many a local.
One of the largest and most grand Greek temples built on this island, the Temple of Aphrodite has stood tall for millennia, and has, over the years, been accentuated and built up by many different governments, such as the Roman Empire, which not only built up the temple after the ruin of the Greek Empire, but added lots of touches, finishes and buildings that were Roman in nature.
The Temple features large highlights of both Greek and Roman culture, and also is home to a small museum, which houses artifacts recovered from the Greek and Roman periods of its influence.
The northern section of the island is under Turkish control, rather than the cultural Greek Republic of Cyprus. Kyrenia is a harbor town in Turkish Cyprus that boasts a stunning backdrop made up of the Pentadaktylos Mountains, architecture that is more than 1,300 years old and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation.
The best museums in Kyrenia include the Museum of Decorative Arts, the seventh century Byzantine Kyrenia Castle and the Shipwreck Museum, where some artifacts date back 2,300 years. Kyrenia is also the place to spot turtles in their natural habitats, tee off on a local golf course in view of the Mediterranean Sea or hike along the coast.
This site housed one of the greatest Roman settlements the island has seen. Complete with markets, bath houses and so on and so forth, Salamis is a perfect example of a great Roman city, complete with all the luxuries and comforts one would find in the capital of Roma itself. Now being a ruined city, it still has most of the buildings left intact. It is definitely one of the best places to visit in Cyprus.
In 1980, the Swedish ferry Zenobia began listing to port during her maiden voyage off the coast of Cyprus, eventually capsizing outside Larnaca Harbor. The ship sank slowly, coming to rest on her port side in one piece. Today, the wreck of the Zenobia is ranked as one of the world’s best diving sites.
Easy accessibility, mild currents and temperate water temperatures bring around 45,000 divers to the wreck each year. Although the ship’s many intact rooms are open for exploration, inexperienced divers are encouraged to confine their dive to the outside of the ship where they can view sea life from groupers to barracudas.
This is by far one of the most well known and popular sights in Cyprus. One of several important architectural sites in Cyprus, this site was discovered all the way back in the 1950s. Originally a Christian settlement that dates back all the way to the 6th Century,
this historical village was not a simple one, as the village contains 3 large Basilicas, which were the original buildings to be discovered, along with a bath. It is one of the best places to visit in Cyprus.
Historical evidence shows that Larnaca is likely the oldest city in Cyprus, boasting a history that dates back more than 6,000 years. Many visitors today pass through Larnaca because the city is home to the largest international airport on the island. However, you won’t just want to pass through, because Larnaca has a lot to offer.
History enthusiasts should tour the ninth century Church of St. Lazarus or the impressive Faneromeni Church. For an adventure, head to the Larnaca Salt Lake to spot pink flamingos, or dive down to explore the incredible wreck of the Zenobia, a major attraction for scuba divers in Cyprus.
UNESCO-attested and officially a part of the Paphos Archaeological Park, the mighty Tombs of the Kings are certainly worth a mention in their own right. They date back as far as the 4th century BC and offer an insight into the great mixing of architectural traditions and cultural heritage that took place on Cyprus in antiquity.
Note the monolithic construction, and how the dusty colonnades of the various sepulchres emerge almost organically from the sandstone and windswept cliffs here on the edge of Kato Paphos.
Curiously it’s Egyptian and Greek styles that dominate, with excavations revealing Doric colonnades and subterranean crevices where the bodies of Hellenistic and Roman noblemen were stowed.
This is one of the more interesting villages in the entirety of Cyprus. A popular tourist sight, this village stands at an elevation of more than 1,100 meters, high up in the tall Troodos Mountains. The village originally grew up around a landmark called the Monastery of Great Agros, a large as life monastery that housed 40 some monks, and was a great sight for pilgrimages back in the day.
While this incredible sight was destroyed back in the 1890s, the Church of Panagia of Agros was built in its place. This place is definitely among the top places to visit in Cyprus Mountains.
As we have said, more than a lot of villages have flourished in the land of Cyrus. One of these is the village of Kakopetria, a village that not only makes you want to stay for a few days, but take up permanent residence, as it has a climate that few deny as the best they have seen.
The village is also a great destination for fruit lovers, as its orchards produce the best apples for miles around. Vineyards sot the fields, and beautiful bottles of homemade wine is sold in the village very cheaply. This village is a worthwhile addition to the top 10 Places to visit in Cyprus.
The most popular of the many beaches that grace the shores of the resort city of Ayia Napa, Nissi is best known for its lively beach party scene. Young people flock to its powder-white sands to sip libations at the famous Nissi Bay Beach bar where DJs play music day and night. Like all the beaches in Ayia Napa, there’s a water sports center in Nissi where visitors can enjoy everything from paragliding and windsurfing to water-skiing and pedal boating.
Shallow crystal-clear water makes Nissi Beach perfect for wading and swimming as well. The beach takes its name from the small islet located close to the coast. The uninhabited island can be easily reached on foot through the shallow waters and provides good shelter.
In the southwest of the island, the towering Troodos Mountains stand as a major destination for outdoor recreation in Cyprus. You can hike to the rushing waters of the Caledonia Falls, hike over the Milia Medieval Bridge or rent a mountain bike and explore the miles of trails up the mountains as well as around the foothills.
There are also many small, traditional villages in the Troodos Mountains, and you may wish to visit charming landmarks like the Byzantine Timios Stavros Church in Pelendri or the Archangel Michael Church in Pedoulas.
Nestled on the panhandle where the rugged wilds of the Akamas Peninsula bend into the northern coast, Polis is a laid-back, sun-splashed seaside town that draws visitors (mainly domestic ones) with the promise of an authentic and unhurried holiday.
It’s enfolded by sweeping ridges of eucalyptus trees and dusty coastal rocks, and offers an old town centre of low-rise buildings clad in stone, where small beer bars rub shoulders with the ubiquitous souvenir stalls. Other draws include the string of secluded beaches that run along the coast to the west, and the interesting array of Attic ceramics at the Polis Archaeological Museum.
If nightlife is what you’re after, then the resort destination of Ayia Napa is the perfect spot to visit. The Square is the hub for what happens after sunset, and there are countless bars and clubs located there that stay open until dawn. This is the place to be for live music, great drinks and a vibrant, youthful atmosphere.
During the day, be sure to check out Ayia Napa’s wonderful beaches like Nissi Beach, Grecian Bay and Makronissos Beach. For some history and local culture, take time to visit the 16th century Ayia Napa Monastery as well as the Thalassa Museum, which boasts a unique collection of exhibits explaining the importance of the sea to the development of the region
Tiny little Troodos and its rustic array of half-timbered, dry-stone houses sits high up in the middle of the rugged northern reaches of Cyprus Island. It’s famed as the namesake of the great Troodos mountain range that dominates this section of the land, rising to a top with the snow-mantled (at least by winter) summits of Mount Olympos, where – believe it or not – two ski fields operate during the colder months of the year!
A haven for hikers and outdoorsy types, this beautiful swathe of undulating peaks comes dressed in calabrian pines and golden oaks, soaring cypress trees and colourful orchid beds, peppered with UNESCO-attested Byzantine churches and crisscrossed by oodles of marked trails.
Spread over the top of a rocky crag near the city of Girne off the northern coast of Cyprus, St. Hilarion Castle is the best preserved of the island’s 11th-century fortifications. Originally a monastery, the fortress gets its name from a local ascetic and hermit known as Hilarion, who attracted a group of devout followers during the 4th century.
A 20-minute hike from Girne takes visitors up past the castle’s stables and soldiers’ quarters to the royal residence and church. A restored staircase leads to a hilltop guard tower where visitors can enjoy a panoramic vista of the mountains, valleys and shoreline.
After the capital city, Limassol is the largest urban destination on the island of Cyprus. It is a major sea port, and over the last few decades it has become a major tourism destination for those in search of sun and sand. The Old Town of Limassol is the best place to start your time in the city, and you won’t want to miss a tour of the impressive Limassol Castle is Best places to visit in Cyprus.
Also in the Old Town is Anexartisias Street, a major shopping venue, and Saripolou Square, which serves as a nightlife hub for locals and visitors alike. Don’t leave without admiring the luxury yachts docked in the Limassol Marina or strolling along the beachfront Akti Olympion path.
Touting an enchanting Old Town area of rustic low-rise bungalows, a terrific Byzantine castle, a vivacious seaside esplanade that weaves between the shore and the pretty palm-dotted gardens of the Akti Olympion Park, and one of the busiest ports in the entire eastern Mediterranean, Limassol strikes a fine balance between laid-back holidaying, culture-packed sightseeing and modern, Cypriot energy.
And while Lady’s and Governor’s Beach dominate the line-up in the day and the fish eateries pull with fresh swordfish in the evening, it’s the clubs and pubs that take centre stage in Limassol after dark, pumping with chart hits, Europop and house between the buzzing strips of Potamos Yermasoyia.
Situated in the town center of the southern city of Larnaca, the Church of Saint Lazarus is a 9th-century monument to the man that Christians believe Jesus raised from the dead. According to tradition, Lazarus fled to Cyprus to escape persecution and served as the city’s first bishop for thirty years.
Built over Lazarus’ second tomb, the Byzantine church was refurbished in the Baroque style during the 1800s with Greek Orthodox ornamentation. Although the tomb now stands empty, renovations made after a fire occurred in 1970 found relics of the saint in a marble sarcophagus located under the altar.
On the south western tip of the island is the coastal town of Paphos, commonly referred to as the birthplace of Aphrodite. Today, Paphos is split into two parts. The lower section is known as Kato Paphos, and it is where many of the hotels and archeological landmarks can be found. The upper destination is the commercial area where you can find shops and eateries.
Ruins and archeology are the main attractions in Paphos, and you won’t want to miss the Roman ruins called the House of Dionysus and the House of Theseus, the 16th century Paphos Fort built by the Turkish, the Tombs of the Kings or the Odeon, a classic Greek amphitheater where plays and other live performances are still offered.
With artifacts dating back to the Prehistoric Era, the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park located in the southwestern city of Paphos is an archeological treasure trove of ancient monuments, villas and underground tombs. The most impressive sites include Roman villas built around the 3rd century A.D. The ancient homes are named after their preserved mosaic floors, which feature pictorial narratives of Greek and Roman mythology.
Nearby in the Agora is the Odeion, a recently restored 2nd-century theater. With its granite columns, thick walls and corner towers, the Saranta Kolones fortress constructed in the 7th century is worth a visit as well.
Nestled neatly between two half-baked, scrub-clad headlands midway between the much-trodden towns of Limassol and Paphos, Pissouri oozes laid-back Mediterranean vibes and authentic Cypriot character from its small clutch of tavernas and rustic whitewashed homes. Still largely untouched by the onset of mass tourism, the terracotta-topped village is host to local farmers and wine makers, and boasts one sun-splashed central plaza (Pissouri Square) and regular celebrations of island heritage.
And there’s a beach too – a half-pebble, half-sand stretch that arches its way below the rugged cliffs of the south coast just a short jaunt from the town proper.
Nestled in the hills west of the inland city of Pedoulas stands the Kykkos Monastery, a gorgeous Byzantine complex founded in the late 11th century. While all of the original structures were destroyed by fire, a no-expense-spared renovation begun in 1831 restoring the monastery to its original glory. Each building, particularly the chapel, is heavily ornamented in the Greek Orthodox style with murals lining the walls, indoors and out. The most prized artifact in the wealthiest monastery in Cyprus is a portrait of the Virgin Mary believed to have been painted by St. Luke. another Best places to visit in Cyprus.