Cyprus is very small in size, but there is plenty to see and do in this island country in the Mediterranean. Cyprus has a diverse landscape which makes it a great destination for families. The island has long stretches of sunny beaches, secluded coves and bays, sailing and fishing adventures, and rich history. Go inland, and you will find dense forests and the Troodos Mountains. There is the Akrotiri Salt Lake on the southern side, the Eastern Mediterranean’s most important wetlands. There are 52 walking trails and cycling routes. Here you have the best things that you can’t miss visiting when traveling to Cyprus.
Visit Cyprus for its historical attractions, seafood, nightlife, and water sports, or just spend a few relaxing days in this Mediterranean paradise.
Where is Cyprus?
Cyprus is a beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea between the Middle East and Europe. The third-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea has a land area of 9,251 km². With a population of around 1.2 million, and almost 22% of the island’s population being foreign nationals or ex-pats, it’s clear that Cyprus has a lot to offer. People roam around here to seek out the island’s beaches, rather than to gain power and glory. Visitors can enjoy various archaeological sites, or settle for other plentiful outdoor activities including annual festivals, hiking, and water games. Out of tons of places that you can visit in Cyprus, here are a few that you absolutely can’t miss while exploring this part of Europe.
Top Places to Visit in Cyprus
Kourion is an old city-state located in the southwestern end of the island. It goes back hundreds of years when the Greeks arrived from Argos and settled here. It is a vast site full of many archeological remains. See the Hellenistic and the late Cypro-Classical remains, aqueducts, ancient theater, house of the gladiators, the forum, baths, and the amphitheater. Look out for the wonderful mosaic flooring and tumbled flooring at many sites. You can easily spend half a day or more at ancient Kourion. You can also spend some time at the beautiful beach nearby.
There’s no deficiency of ancient sites in Cyprus yet Kourion is the pick of the bundle. Romantically arranged across a coastal cliff with tumbling views of the countryside and Mediterranean below, it’s a mystical spot. The whole site is huge, yet the most famous spots to visit here are the theater and the House of Eustolios, which holds a clutch of fine, well-preserved mosaics.
Ruins of a castle close to Nicosia. It is an old crusader bastion with many myths and legends. It is believed that a fairy queen who lived with shepherds built this castle. A rocky path leads to the top, from where you will get a stunning view of the sea and the island. It is very popular with hikers and photographers. Visit St. Hilarion if you have time to see only one castle.
A port city in the south, Larnaca is a wonderful choice for a laid-back holiday in Cyprus. It has the wonderful Finikoudes Beach with a palm-lined seaside promenade, a crumbling Turkish quarter, the ornate St. Lazarus church, and buzzing bars lining the waterfront. There is even the shipwreck of MS Zenobia for diving enthusiasts. It is now a modern city, but has managed to maintain its old-world charm and local soul.
The Rock, a famous landmark of this island country, is close to the city of Paphos. The myth of the Greek goddess of beauty and love attracts many visitors here. Spend a summer afternoon here. Visitors enjoy swimming in the cool waters, with some of them even hoping to regain their youth. In any case, you will enjoy the natural beauty. Also, visit the nearby Aphrodite Hills and the golf course here, and also the Tombs of the Kings, a famous historical landmark.
Stay in a private villa for rent in Cyprus. There are many luxury villas in the cities of Protaras and Proteras, in the buzzing south of the island, and close to major tourist attractions. A villa vacation can be the best way to enjoy the island. A villa offers complete privacy and safety. Choose from a clifftop retreat, beachside location, or stay in a picturesque village.
Tombs of the Kings
This UNESCO World Heritage site is only 2 kilometers north of Paphos. This underground monument was carved from solid rock and used as the burial ground of the high officials. It goes back to the 4th century BC. Admire how the ancient workers carved the hills to create the tombs and the beauty of the wide columns. You will get beautiful views from the top. There are snack and souvenir shops.
Drive north from the Tombs of the Kings and you will reach the Avakas Gorge is only a few minutes. See some of the island’s most stunning landscapes here. A river used to flow through the gorge once. It has created spectacular limestone formations. There is a 2.5 kilometer trail that takes you deep into the crevices. In some places, the canyon becomes very narrow. Hikers will see wild buckthorn bushes, juniper trees, and the rare Centaurea akamantis flower, which grows only in Cyprus. Wear good shoes and carry enough water.
The island’s highest point, Mount Olympus, stands at 6,404 feet or 1,950 meters. It is close to the Paphos Forest. Olympus looks over huge rugged lands and the sea at a distance. Hike up to the top for a stunning panoramic view. But be careful as there can be snakes in the summer. There is mountain skiing in the winter.
Fig Tree Bay
The sandy beach in Protaras is one more Blue Flag holder with clear waters and brilliant sands for that ideal summer occasion. You can bask with a book in one hand and a drink in the other, or you can enroll in an activity, for example, water skiing, parasailing or windsurfing. On the off chance that you have kids, have confidence that the shallow waters make it an ideal destination for families with small children.
Cape Greco is the south-easternmost point of Cyprus. It ends at a rocky headland with a picturesque lagoon. The south of the island is buzzing. But you will still find serene places here to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. The National Forest Park has many walking trails where you can spot many endemic wild orchids, especially if you are visiting in early spring. Most of the trails have many viewpoints of the coastal scenery. Nearby is The Blue Lagoon, a stunning rocky beachside location with a turquoise lagoon. There is a lighthouse too close to the rocky headland.
The western tip of Cyprus is a region known as the Akamas Peninsula, and it is one of the least-inhabited pieces of the island. In the event that you’re anxious to get off the beaten track, then this is the place to be: There are no paved streets here! That’s why it is ideal for hiking or mountain biking. It is also an astonishing spot for spotting natural life, only some of which can incorporate sea turtles, reptiles and native birds.
The Troodos Mountains where Mount Olympus is located also have several pretty villages where you can see cobblestone alleys and stone-cut traditional houses. You can also see some of the most amazing monasteries and churches here, with beautiful wall paintings and frescos that go back to medieval times. Nine of these churches are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Church of Archangelos Michail in the village of Pedoulas is the most beautiful. There are pottery centers and many taverns. Hike up to the Caledonia Waterfall, which is inside a thick forest.
Larnaca Salt Lake
Close to the city of Larnaca and Cape Greco. There are four salt lakes here that are home to many migrating birds, including flamingos in the winter. The water evaporates in the summer, leaving salt crusts. The salt used to be harvested and exported once. Larnaca has a small harbor. You can take a sailboat from here. The Finikoudes Beach in the city center has a palm-lined seaside promenade.
The city of Famagusta is in eastern Cyprus, where the most profound harbor on the island is found. Thus, this is the place where a significant number of cruise ships dock when visiting Cyprus. Notwithstanding a flourishing port, Famagusta is home to a customary walled city, which still stands to this day. Two of the most notorious tourist spots that still remain in Famagusta incorporate the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the St. Barnabas Monastery.
For that night or early morning beach strolls, you need to check out Nissi beach. Flaunting a 500-meter stretch covered with the best white sand, and turquoise blue waters, you will end up among water skiers, windsurfers, and other water children appreciating everything from beach volleyball to foam parties.
Ways to Get Around Cyprus
Rent a Car
Renting a car in Cyprus is easier than you may think. If you are a UK or EU citizen, you don’t even need any special certifications. Your driver’s license from your home country will suffice.
Make sure that you are aware of the driving regulations in the country. The most important is that people in Cyprus drive on the left side of the road. Also, phone usage is illegal if you are behind the wheel.
As long as you abide by the rules, driving in Cyprus can be a wonderful experience. It gives you so much more freedom to explore than trying to rely on public transportation. Indeed, driving your own car is the most efficient way to get around.
Utilize Public Buses
Public transportation is the most cost-effective way to get around this Mediterranean island. However, the cost savings can come with its setbacks.
During the summer months, tourism is high, so buses tend to be reliable and punctual. However, in the off-season and in more rural areas, the buses will likely be less dependable. You will probably have much more luck with the bus system in the South than in the North.
Buses are best for exploring popular destinations such as Ancient Kourion and the Kolossi Castle. Getting to the more remote areas via public transport, places like Troodos Mountains can be a little tricky so perhaps plan an alternative.
Hail a Taxi
While using a taxi in the bigger towns is inexpensive, taking this form of transportation in the surrounding areas can be more costly. It is important to note that many taxis in the country do not contain meters. Be sure to negotiate a good price that both you and the driver agree on before setting off. While you can hail taxis off the street, it may be easier to pick one up at designated taxi stands.
Rent a Bike
Biking around Cyprus is a great way to take in the breathtaking scenery. However, you may want to rethink this mode of transportation in the summer months when temperatures tend to skyrocket.
While bike rental companies are much more prevalent in the South, your hotel in the North will likely be able to help you arrange this service. Rates are fairly reasonable, running around 50 euros for a whole day of riding. If you’re interested in getting your exercise and sightseeing done at the same time, this may be the transportation method for you.
So, give the Island a visit, and you might want to bargain property in Cyprus. As a tourer, this island will definitely give you the pleasure you were looking for and as a resident, you won’t be disappointed either. Because the island has so much to offer; good climate, growing community, rich culture, low tax, great cuisine, and the whole package of other required facilities. Moreover, the crime rate is very low, and it’s one of the safest countries in the world.
Almost 4 million tourists visited Cyprus in 2019. This Mediterranean island country is offering strong competition to Greece.