10 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Cyprus
Most first-time visitors to Cyprus make for the capital city of Nicosia, which serves as the island's hub for all things historical, archaeological, and cultural. Many tourists choose to stay here for the night before visiting ancient Paphos or breathtaking Vromi. In fact, a few of the world's largest cruise ships dock here.
Once a Greek colony, the island of Cyprus is today a European Union member that looks to both the past and future. The winding market streets are lined with grand churches, traditional villages, and the remains of Roman structures. While many of these ruins provide a glimpse into the island's rich cultural heritage, they are certainly not all, and the sprawling modern cities of the country offer modern amusements, too.
Other top things to see in Cyprus include the sun-drenched beaches and gushing fountains of the Paphos and Karpass sea areas, and the quaint villages and lush green hills of the Troodos range of mountains.
Cyprus is a vacation destination like no other; use this list of the top attractions to help plan your trip.
Paphos, formerly the capital of Cyprus, now in use as a back-up capital for the Mediterranean island's other capital, Nicosia, and as the seat of government for a variety of administrative and local government functions. Like Nicosia, Paphos is an attractive waterfront town with a busy and busy port, fine hotels and restaurants, with beautiful views over the bay and Mount Kythnos to the north. The city has an important archaeological and historic legacy that extends from Byzantine times to the present day, including the important archaeology museum, the G.D.R. Archaeological Museum, and the Church of St John, both on the site of an early Christian basilica, the Pharos of Paphos, the ruins of the Crusader castle of Marashas, the extensive remains of the city walls of Paphos, and the medieval village of Theodosiou. The Bay of Paphos itself, with its sandy beaches and beautiful pine-covered hills, is a notable tourist attraction.
Built by the Venetians on the site of an earlier Byzantine fortress in the early 1600s, Limassol's Old Town lies in the center of the island's capital city, a modern and bustling center full of bars, restaurants and markets. Surrounding it is a warren of cobbled alleyways and whitewashed buildings that make for an easy-to-visit, easy-to-entertain destination. Limassol's Old Town is a nice place to hang out on a cool afternoon, with people drifting about in casual street wear and sunning themselves in cafés by the water. Cafés on the edge of the harbor serve homemade coffee, tea and ice cream, while a handful of excellent seafood restaurants are found along Limassol's main seafront, The Promenade. You'll find the open-air restaurants at the Old Town's entrance, and a small fleet of sailboats moored up by the sea wall. You can visit the archaeological sites at Palea Svolou and Pissouri to get a feel for life on the island when it was under the rule of the Knights of St. John, a Venetian trading post and early Christian site, or have lunch in a taverna serving Cyprus's famous koupes, creamy soups. To round off your time in Limassol, head for Elia, a small and beautifully situated seaside village at the northernmost tip of the island.
Ayia Napa is a popular resort with a young, lively feel in the midst of quiet villages in Cyprus. Known for its beautiful beach and for being one of the best places to party in Europe, this is one of the most popular destinations in the island. One of the main reasons for this popularity is the proximity to Paradise Beach and a host of other beaches along its coastline. The resort features a plethora of bars, restaurants and clubs with dance floors that often house the hottest clubs in the Mediterranean. Other attractions in the area include the island's only golf course, the 19th-century Savoy Hotel, and the Casino Costa Siderion which features a pool, bowling alley, nightclubs, a sports bar and a barber shop. Day trips to the island include a visit to Paphos, which boasts a number of interesting sites. Don't miss the spectacular monasteries at Gonaissos and Maggala, or the pretty villages of Peristera and Kato Paphos.
Kyrenia is a picturesque town located on the northwestern side of Cyprus, in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. The towering walls and defensive towers of the Venetian Castle that once overlooked this city still stand today. With its traditional white houses, cobblestone streets, and shady squares, the heart of Kyrenia is its old town. Located just a few hundred meters from the town center, the Venetian Castle remains one of the greatest buildings of Cyprus and provides some of the best views of the city. Numerous shops selling all types of goods are located in this area, from souvenirs to clothing, antiques, and artwork. If you are staying in a hotel or hostel, local businesses and shops may rent out their space to you, so keep your eyes open and you could be invited to meet with some of the locals and experience Kyrenia in a whole new way. Access to Kyrenia is easy. There are regular buses from the capital, Nicosia.
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, and, with a population of 150,000, is the largest city on the island. Originally built as a Turkish military outpost and capital in the late 18th century, it has some attractive sights and historical architecture, the best being its Venetian, castlelike walled city, and the many Byzantine churches. There are also several attractive beaches, from the attractive seafront area of Ayia Paraskevi on the south-western side of the city to the serene, historical Paralimni beach on the northern coast. Places to visit in Nicosia include the wonderfully preserved Cypriot antiquities museum, and the city's many churches, ranging from 14th-century Orthodox and Russian Orthodox to 20th-century Venetian Gothic. The city has two newspapers, the British The Cyprus Mail and the French monthly L'Union. There is a foreign embassy at Cialyapa, Ayios Neophytos, on the west coast, which also serves as the president's residence. Air services are available from Nicosia's apron to many cities in Cyprus and Europe. Nicosia has an airport, Larnaca International Airport, 12 miles away.
A tiny island off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Larnaca, known for its laid-back atmosphere, is an oasis of peace with some cool, fun stuff to do. Be sure to visit the site of the former Turkish military base here, the Dhekelia Rehana. In 2005 a series of tunnels were discovered in the base; there's now a good museum about this and how Cyprus has made its way through its unresolved conflicts. Larnaca has a small airport and ferries run to the island of Cyprus on a daily basis. Be sure to visit the beautiful historic Turkish-Cypriot city of Limassol.
Home to a number of famous landmarks and ancient archaeological sites, Cyprus is a popular tourist destination. The island is divided in two parts, the main northern part being the Troodos Mountains with ancient ruins and landmarks like the temple of Nea Nikomedeia and the Saint Takis Monastery. The top of the mountain, which features a car park, is usually the best place to view the sea and the mountains, both of which are popular destinations. In the eastern part of the island, south of the capital city of Nicosia, is Limassol, a relaxed seaside resort with beaches, a number of historical sights, and facilities for visitors and the popular Kiparis Hotel.
Ancient Kition, on the southern tip of Cyprus, is a walled city surrounded by an imposing moat that looks as if it could be a ghost town. Begun by the early Cypriot settlers, it was later expanded by the Trojans, then Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It's now a small town of just under 13,000 people and an attraction for tourists to Cyprus. The site offers archaeological museum and ruined fortifications and churches. Stop in the Ionic period Hall of the Parliament (to the left as you enter the site) and the Small Hall of the Potters' Guild (near the ticket desk). The picturesque town of Kition overlooks Kephalonia, the most western Greek island of the Dodecanese archipelago. It's a favorite among the Greek elite because of its sandy beaches and low humidity. One of the most unusual features of the ancient city is the Urimi, a tall, sculpted stone that stands in a traditional temple and is believed to be a link to the divine.
Washed by the Mediterranean on both sides, the island of Cyprus (formerly known as Famagusta) boasts white-sand beaches and brilliant sunsets. The views of the clear blue sea from the waters of the three beautiful bays are not to be missed. The high cliffs surrounding each bay provide the backdrop for tavernas and hotels with dramatic views. Cyprus's main attraction is Aphrodite's Rock, a series of cliffs on the eastern coast with three different beaches. Once it was a flamingo colony, but today the area is a well-known nesting place for migrating birds. And since 2006 it is also a strictly protected UNESCO World Heritage site.
Named for the Greek god of the sky, Olympus is a mountain range in the east of the Greek island of Cyprus that runs parallel to the Mediterranean. Cyprus' tallest mountain, Olympus is steeped in history with temples and remains of palaces from the ages of antiquity. Located about 22km southwest of Larnaca on the island's southern coast, the natural springs of Akamas Waterfalls, especially at their eastern end, have been a source of mineral water for millennia. Hiking in the park and nearby in the Mavrovali Forest National Park is the primary activity, with more than 15 hiking routes and trails crisscrossing the 2,000-acre park. The Platanias Waterfall Trail is one of the best starting points, with beautiful mountain vistas, gentle rainforest trails and stops at impressive natural pools.