Cyprus is an island nation in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia. Every year, crowds of tourists come here to see the beautiful beaches, historical and cultural landmarks, and taste the local cuisine. The island has many resorts and iconic places that you must see. In this article, we will talk about them, as well as what you need for a comfortable trip.
Paphos is a beautiful city on the southwest coast of Cyprus. There are many archaeological sites here, including an ancient city, an amphitheater, mosaic houses, and temples, which have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Paphos is home to the famous Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, where you can see mosaics dating back to the 3rd-5th centuries AD. We recommend visiting Coral Bay Beach, the best and most visited beach in Cyprus. For those who enjoy active leisure, Paphos offers opportunities for water sports, hiking, and cycling.
Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus after the capital, Nicosia. The city is located on the southern coast of the island and is very popular among tourists. It is known for its beautiful beaches, nightlife, historical landmarks, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, and shops. Limassol hosts festivals and events, such as the carnival in February and the wine festival in September. We recommend visiting the Museum of Maritime History, where you can learn about all the maritime activities in Cyprus, as well as the famous Kolossi Castle, one of the largest medieval castles on the island.
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, located in the center of the island. The city is the center of the country’s economy, culture, and politics. Nicosia is famous for its rich history and has preserved numerous historical and cultural landmarks. Among them is the Old City of Nicosia, which is surrounded by walls dating back to the 15th century and is populated with numerous cafes, shops, and restaurants. The city is also home to the Nicosia Museum, where objects from the history of the city are exhibited, as well as the Archbishop’s Palace and the Cyprus National Gallery. In the capital, you can take a walk in the parks, go to the cinema or theater, or go shopping in the malls.
Ayia Napa is a resort town on the southeast coast of Cyprus. It boasts beautiful sandy beaches and crystal-clear warm waters. The city is known for its vibrant nightlife with numerous clubs and bars where you can have fun in the evening. For those who want to relax with the whole family, Ayia Napa has plenty of green areas, parks, and attractions such as water slides, water parks, zoos, and museums.
Troodos is a mountain range in southwestern Cyprus, with peaks reaching over 1900 meters, and it spans across 9 villages. It is the highest point on the island and is known for its beautiful forests, mountain landscapes, and picturesque trails for hiking and trekking. The city is home to pilgrimage sites such as the monasteries of Kykkos, Machairas, and Timios Stavros, dating back to the 12th century. From Troodos, you can enjoy incredible views of the mountains, and in the villages, you can get acquainted with the local culture and traditions.
Larnaca is a major port city located on the southeast coast of Cyprus, known for its beautiful Finikoudes promenade. In addition to this, Larnaca is famous for several historical landmarks, including the medieval castle and the archaeological park of Hala Sultan Tekke with the remains of an ancient mosque. The city is also home to the Church of St. Lazarus, built in the early 18th century above the tomb of St. Lazarus, one of the main Christian saints.
Protaras is a resort village located on the southeast coast of Cyprus, famous for its beautiful beaches and turquoise blue waters. In the vicinity of Protaras, there is the Church of St. George, where the icon of St. Matrona is located, known for its miraculous properties, as well as the Protaras Monastery and the ancient ruins of the city of Ammochostos. For those who enjoy water sports such as kite surfing, windsurfing, and diving, Protaras is an ideal place. Here, you can visit the famous Black Cave and admire the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Lefkara is a beautiful mountain town located in the south of Cyprus near the city of Limassol. In Lefkara, you will see traditional houses made of white stone, adorned with wrought iron elements and wooden windows. This is an example of the island’s traditional architecture. The town has many shops where you can buy lace, embroidery, and other handmade crafts. We recommend visiting the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, where you can find exquisite works by a local artist.
Cape Greco is a natural reserve located in the southeast of Cyprus. It has earned its significance due to its breathtaking beauty and unique ecological environment. Here, you can observe the diversity of marine flora and fauna, including sea turtles, fish, and mollusks. Cape Greco offers unreal landscapes, crystal-clear waters, limestone cliffs, deep ravines, and caves. You can even swim, dive, or snorkel here. The reserve also contains ancient ruins that testify to the island’s rich history.
Cyprus will surprise you with its multifaceted nature. Every place on the island has its own peculiarities and unique character. Here, you can relax on the beaches, learn about the local culture and history, enjoy beautiful landscapes, and marvel at the stunning nature. To see as many attractions as possible, we recommend choosing a popular service – car rental in Cyprus. With a rented car, you can explore the entire island and visit numerous restaurants and cafes to try local cuisine. Don’t forget to taste the local wines and liqueurs, famous worldwide. Remember that vineyards are scattered along the entire southwest coast of Cyprus, so a car is essential to get around.
Sights of Cyprus
Every tourist has dreamt at least once of visiting a small island with a paradise climate in the Mediterranean, or returning here again. Yes, on the island with an area of 9251 km², there are many interesting landmarks that hold within them a millennia of history. Here are some of them:
Kolossi is a medieval castle built in the 15th century during the time of the Knights of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. The castle served as a defense against attacks from local tribes and foreign invaders. Kolossi consists of a lower and upper part. The lower part is a fortress with defensive walls, towers, and the entrance to the castle. The upper part is the castle, where there were living quarters and defense equipment. By visiting Kolossi, you will be able to see many interesting exhibits, including medieval armor and weapons.
Limassol Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Cyprus, located 2 km from the city of Limassol. It takes about 10 minutes to get there by car from the city. At the zoo, you can see animals from different parts of the world, such as lions, tigers, zebras, cheetahs, giraffes, kangaroos, monkeys, birds, and reptiles. There is also an aquarium where various species of fish and other marine animals live. To keep visitors entertained, events are held on the territory, such as animal feedings, in which you can participate.
The Temple of Apollo Hylates is an ancient sanctuary built in the 6th century BCE. The temple is named after the god Apollo, who was considered the god of light, art, and music. For many years, the sanctuary was used as a place for cult festivities and rituals. Despite being destroyed multiple times due to earthquakes and invasions by barbarians, today you can see numerous archaeological findings, including statues and frescoes, on the site.
The Paphos Archaeological Park is a vast complex located in the city of Paphos on the western coast of Cyprus. It was founded in 1962 to preserve and study archaeological findings and significant sites related to the ancient cities of Nea Paphos and Palea Paphos. During the tour, you will see ruins and monuments, including ancient houses, theaters, and architectural structures that reflect the island’s history. Additionally, the park houses the remains of Christian and Muslim churches, catacombs, and ancient mosaics.
Larnaca Harbor is one of the main ports of Cyprus, located on the eastern coast of the country. This harbor is an important center for trade and transportation in the region. In addition to that, locals and tourists alike enjoy strolling around, admiring the beautiful yachts and boats, taking in the sea view, and even tasting local delicacies at cafes. Remember that Larnaca Harbor is also the starting point for excursions to nearby islands such as Ayia Napa and Protaras.
The city walls of Nicosia are historical defensive walls built in the 16th century to protect the city from invaders. Today, this historical monument is a major tourist attraction in Nicosia. The city walls are approximately 4.5 kilometers long and include 11 towers and three gates: Famagusta, Kyrenia, and Paphos. The Famagusta Gate is considered a symbol of the capital. Some sections of the walls have been restored and are open for visitation, and many of the towers have been converted into museums and exhibition halls. You can take a walk along the fortress walls and admire this historical landmark.
The Tomb of the King is one of the most significant archaeological finds in Cyprus, located in the city of Paphos. It is a historical monument believed to be the burial place of a king. The tomb was discovered in the 1970s by archaeologist Mark Edem. It is rich in decorations and ornaments in ancient Greek and ancient Eastern styles. Inside the tomb, ceramic vases, golden jewelry, and luxury items were found. Some of these artifacts can be seen at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia. The Tomb of the King is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
For nature lovers and fresh air enthusiasts, a visit to the Troodos Mountains is recommended. It is a mountain range located in the center of Cyprus, spanning an area of over 90 square kilometers. The mountains consist of several peaks, the highest of which is Mount Olympus at 1952 meters. Here, you can enjoy walks, picnics, breathtaking views, and find numerous plants and animals that are not found elsewhere on the island. When in the Troodos Mountains, be sure to visit the monasteries and churches that were built here in the Middle Ages. They are known for their unique architecture and house religious and cultural treasures.
The Temple of Apollo Hylates is an ancient archaeological site located in the Troodos Mountains, on the southwest coast of the island. The temple was built in the 6th century BC and dedicated to Apollo Hylates, the god of music, light, healing, and prophecy. It was built on the spot where a sacred spring was found. It was believed that the water from this spring had healing properties, and therefore, many pilgrims came here to pray and ask Apollo for healing. By visiting this site, you can see interesting exhibits and learn about ancient Greek history and culture with your own eyes.
What you need for a comfortable trip to Cyprus
Cyprus is rich in history, culture, and beautiful natural landscapes, attracting tourists from all over the world. Before choosing your travel itinerary, keep in mind that the island is divided into zones of influence of two states. Therefore, decide in advance which attractions you want to visit and plan your trip accordingly. To make your stay on the island comfortable and safe, we have prepared some important advice:
- Obtaining a visa and document preparation
To travel to Cyprus, you may need to obtain a visa depending on your country of origin. Contact the consulate or embassy of Cyprus or another country that represents the interests of the island. Even for countries that do not require a visa, it is still necessary to have documents confirming the purpose of your trip, place of residence, and financial stability. Before your trip, check if you have a valid passport, which must be valid for at least 3 months after the end of your trip to the island, as well as medical insurance covering the costs of treatment and emergency medical assistance.
- Accommodation Booking
You can select and book accommodation online through special booking services, contact a real estate agency, or directly with the owner through advertising listings. When choosing accommodation options, pay attention to the legality of the offer, booking and cancellation conditions to avoid any confusion. If you are not renting a car on the island, consider the location of the accommodation and the availability of public transportation.
- Transportation Organization
Choosing transportation on the island is one of the most important parts of your trip. We recommend renting a car right away, as it will save you time and money. Just imagine how many places you can visit and how many landmarks you can see if you move around in your own car, instead of waiting for buses or spending money on taxis. Cars in Cyprus can be rented on the website of LocalCarRents. There you will find cars for every budget and taste. Just keep in mind that driving is on the left-hand side of the road on the island, and it may take some time to get used to it. The rental car company will assist you in obtaining insurance for it.
- Local Currency
The local currency in Cyprus is the euro. In some places, you may also be able to pay in cash with US dollars, but an additional fee for conversion may be charged. We recommend exchanging cash to euros at a bank or exchange office to avoid high fees. And be sure to bring a credit or debit card for cash withdrawals if needed.
- Clothing and Footwear
Keep in mind that Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. During the summer months from May to September, the average temperature reaches 30 degrees Celsius. Choose lightweight clothing and footwear made of natural materials, as well as a hat for sun protection. If you plan to visit the island in winter, bring warm clothing, including a jacket, sweater or cardigan, and comfortable footwear for long walks. The same applies to clothing for mountain trips.
- Medical Insurance
Medical insurance is not mandatory in Cyprus, but it is recommended for tourists, especially if you plan to engage in active sports or stay on the island for an extended period of time. In case of illness or injury on the island, you can seek medical assistance at public or private medical facilities. Public medical services are free for citizens of the EU and other countries with a social security agreement with Cyprus. However, if you do not have medical insurance, you will need to pay for part or all of the treatment expenses, including hospitalization and medications.
- Language Knowledge
In Cyprus, the official languages are Greek and Turkish. Greek is particularly widespread in the southern part of the island, while Turkish is spoken in the northern part. Most residents speak English, but if you know basic phrases in Greek and Turkish, it will be a huge advantage.
- Route Planning
To make your trip to Cyprus more productive and comfortable, it is recommended to plan your route in advance. Take into consideration the duration of your stay on the island, your budget, and the planned attractions. Another factor that plays an important role in route planning is the availability of a car, as it allows you to see more popular places. Planning your route will help you not to miss the most interesting points on the island and make the most efficient use of your time.
Cypriot cuisine is a true paradise for food lovers. It offers a variety of dishes that reflect the influences of Greek, Turkish, and Mediterranean cultures. Cypriot cuisine includes a wide range of fish, meat, and vegetable dishes, as well as delicious local wines. For coffee lovers, the island is known for its strong and robust coffee, served in small cups and called “serraz”. To try famous dishes, we recommend choosing restaurants and cafes with a good reputation.
Cyprus is considered a relatively safe travel destination. However, like in any other country, there are risks. Do not leave your valuables unattended, lock the doors and windows in your hotel room, and keep an eye on your personal belongings when visiting beaches and other attractions. Road conditions in Cyprus can be challenging, especially in urban areas. Drivers can be aggressive, so be cautious when crossing streets and intersections.
Traveling in Cyprus can be an unforgettable experience, but it does require some planning and preparation. Take into account all our advice to make your trip more comfortable and memorable.