Are you interested in what to see in Cyprus? Which things should you not miss? If you have answered these two questions in the affirmative and you want to read some cool things about this island country, then you are in the right place.
Kyrenia is a Turkish part of Cyprus and the most vibrant city on the island, which for centuries has been the obsession of a large number of rulers. A place full of colours, historical monuments, and home to some of the best beaches on the whole island.
The whole town is in fact like one big museum, starting from a part of the old harbour to the castle rebuilt by the Venetians over a previous Crusader fortification with the incredible view of the whole city. This castle is one of the oldest castles and one of the most recognizable symbols on the island of Cyprus. Within the walls of the fort, there is a chapel from the 12th century, as well as the Shipwreck Museum.
Kyrenia also has a special museum, located within the church dedicated to Archangel Michael, which also houses the 4th-century tombs, as well as the Aga Cafer Pasha Mosque. There are some souvenir shops and a quiet café in the open court of the castle, with outdoor seating in the shadow of large trees, serving warm meals and beverages. Don’t miss visit four fountains from the 19th century as well as the old Orthodox church.
Despite the fact that the city is located in the Turkish part of the island, do not worry. Kyrenia is one of the safest places in the whole of Cyprus, and the spirit of Turkey combined with the moments of Greece has made it one of the most unusual places you do not want to miss.
Larnaca is the third largest city in the country with about 65,000 inhabitants, with the second largest airport in the country.
The city is best known for its kilometre-long palm promenade, known as Foinikoudes, which features a stunning sandy beach. At the end of the Foinikoudes promenade is located a fortress from the 14th century, which was once used as a prison. Now is open as a museum.
In the centre of the town is the church of Saint Lazarus from the 9th century, dedicated to Lazarus of Bethany, who, after Jesus raised him from the dead, came to Cyprus where he lived for more than 30 years. Historically, this is the biggest attraction of Larnaca, and the interior of the church is truly incredible.
The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, located 4 kilometres from the centre of Larnaca, was built at the site of the burial of Umm Haram, which according to the tradition was the nurse of Prophet Muhammad and his wife, Ubada bin al-Samita, his follower.
Right near the mosque is a salt lake, or a flamingos lake. Nearly 10,000 flamingoes inhabit this lake in the period from November to February. It is interesting that during the Middle Ages the lake was used as a salt mine, and that the largest quantities of salt from the island were found in this place.
Larnaca is one of the cheaper cities in Cyprus, and prices are sometimes twice as low as in Aja Navi. The good idea to buy a souvenir is here.
If you are interested in some cultural and historical attractions and sights, skip Varosha, because realistically, you will not find it here. However, this is a very strange place, and in Cyprus, it is known as a ghost town!
Namely, after the Turks occupied Northern Cyprus, the local Greek population fled the city for only a few hours, leaving the city completely unleashed. The Turks then lined the entire district with a wire fence, forbidding the return of residents, so Varosha had become the ghost town since 1974. All that was left in 1974 was the same as today, starting from old cars in the streets, to the kitchen utensils and other things.
For most people, the first association in Cyprus would be sea and beach. Logically, right ?! The beach is on every corner, and the number of sunny days exceeds 330 per year.
But what few people know is that the whole central part of the island is a mountain massive named Mount Trodos, whose highest peak Olimp is 1,950 meters in height, with a winter ski centre and vivid villages on the mountain and at its foot. In translation, you can ski while you are in Cyprus. Although there are only 4 tracks, each of them is for different types of skiers, from beginner to advanced. Also, each ski slope has its own ski lift
Just imagine the next scene …
You are at the top of Mount Trodos. Temperature -2 degrees. You’ve been skiing on pure mountain air for hours. But skiing is an exhausting sport, and it is time to rest. Sit in the car and go the path of Paphos. With every new kilometre you cross, the air temperature slightly increases, and the landscapes you pass through are becoming greener.
You arrive in Paphos for two hours, and you go to one of the nearby beaches. The temperature is now 25 degrees high, and the sea is seductive. Warm. Clean. Ideal for swimming.
Where can something like this come true ?!
If you are interested in some cultural and historical attractions and sights, you will find it here. Many of the Byzantine churches and monasteries are on Mount Trodos.
The nine of them, in 1985, UNESCO declared part of their cultural heritage, and when you visit this place, you will know why. Also, visit the Kykkos Monastery nearby. It was founded by Car Alexei I. Komnen, and from the original monastery today only the icon of the Virgin Mary remained, for which it is said to have amazing power.
If you like fast cars, on the roads around Trodos every year is held the Reli Cyprus Competition, as part of the World Rally Championship.
Aja Napa and Protaras
About 20 years ago, a small fishing village. Today, the number one tourist destination of the island, with a large number of luxury hotels, apartments, bars and clubs. This could briefly describe Aja Napa. However, Aja Napa is not just fencing clubs and cafes. Here is probably the best beach on the whole island, Nissi beach.
Nissi beach is filled with tastes of the most demanding. Clean sea and soft sand. Looks almost like you’re in the Caribbean. Need something else?
Cyprus is generally the country with the cleanest beaches in Europe, and 64 of them can boast a blue flag.
The city also has an interesting museum of ships, an old church in the centre of the city, similar to that in Larnaci, as well as the charming ” I love Ayia Napa ” sculpture.
In the ancient world known as Ledra, Nicosia is probably the strangest European capital. The city is divided into two time zones because Turkish part decided to move the clock for one hour ahead, as in Turkey ?! The ability to move from one time zone to another in just a couple of minutes is a special experience.
The most interesting thing about the Greek part is ” Laiki Getonia “, with a large number of shops, cafes, ateliers hidden in the narrow alleys. Most of the old houses have been restored, and within the old town there is also the Ethnographic Museum, St. Jovan’s Cathedral and the grand palace of Arhiepiskop Makarios III, the first and lifelong president of the republic. There is also the Famagusta Gate which was once used to enter the city, where exhibitions, lectures and concerts are held today. Nearby is the largest bank in Cyprus.
In Turkey part, most impressed is Büyük Han, the best-preserved specimen of the caravan architecture, built in 1572 by Lal Mustafa Paša. However, during the years the site suffered major damage and was renovated in 1990. In the yard of Büyük Han, there are several cafés, as well as a large number of workshops where locals produce traditional items and souvenirs.
During the Ottoman period, Han served as a kind of hotel for travellers and traders, and the central part of the facility was once used as a horsemanship and warehouse.
Nicosia is not beautiful in the eyes, but it’s a very weird and complicated city, so looking strange and complicated, it’s ok for a mini-tour.
Limassol and Kurion
The second largest city in Cyprus is also the most modern city in this country and, in the opinion of locals, the best place to live. Limassol is also the most important port on the island and one of the most important ports in the Mediterranean, so it could be said that it is slowly pretending to be the economic centre of the island.
But the city also has a beautiful seafront promenade, plenty of cafes and restaurants, and certainly provides the locals with a pleasant and decent life.
From the city’s attractions, the Byzantine Fortress, built in the XII century, is particularly interesting. It is interesting that the famous King Richard of “The Heart of Lions” here married Berengari from Navarre and made it England’s Queen of England in 1191. Today there is a Medieval Museum here.
A few kilometres from Limassol, there is another crucible fortress, known as the Kolosi castle, which has in fact renewed the fortress of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.
It is a place where once knights grow grapes and sugar cane here, and they also established their Commandery, whereby the famous Scorpio sweet wine ” Commandaria ” (Commandaria) got its name.
Half an hour drive from the city centre, there is a fantastic ancient Kurion town. Situated on a cliff on the coast, the view over the sea and the surrounding places combined with the amount of history here will make Kurion quickly become one of your favourite places in Cyprus.
All this place is like an open-air museum, and what you should not miss is the ancient amphitheatre and Eustolius House, where there are several well-preserved mosaics.
Cape Greco is definitely something you should not miss. This protected nature park is between Aja Nape and Protaras, and according to the sculpture legend, it was once the home of a mythical monster. The incredible turquoise water, shapes of various shapes and hands on the heart perhaps the best view you ever see will make you instantly fall in love this little oasis of peace.
Paphos is simply the most perfect place in Cyprus with the greatest number of attractions. Suffice it to say that the entire city was put under the protection of UNESCO. Also, from all places in Cyprus, Paphos has the best climate. Winters are moderate and mild, and summer is not too hot.
Although it is smaller than Nicosia and Limassol, Paphos has made great progress in recent years, and today it is one of the most attractive cities in the island. Starting from the shining Kato Pafos archaeological park, where there is the Tomb of Kings and a large number of incredible mosaics, St. Paul’s Church, a medieval fortress and the Archaeological Museum, Paphos is for sure the most complete city on the whole island.
The city contains many catacomb sites dating back to the early Christian period. The most famous is Saint Solomoni Church, originally a Christian catacomb retaining some of its 12th-century frescoes. A sacred tree at the entrance is believed to cure the ailments of those who hang a personal offering on its branches and many people, both locals and visitors, do so even today.
A few miles outside the city, the rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou, “Stone of the Greek”) emerges from the sea. According to legend, Aphrodite rose from the waves in this strikingly beautiful spot. The Greek name, Petra tou Romiou is associated with the legendary frontier-guard of Byzantine times, Digenis Acritas, who kept the marauding Saracens at bay. It is said that to repel one attack he heaved a large rock (Petra), at his enemy.
If you like animals, do not miss a visit to Lari Beach, where you can see the turtles that lay eggs during the fall of May.
Paphos is also popular for its festivals and annual events. The Cyprus Open Studios is an annual event that affords the visitor the opportunity to interact with individual artists and artisans, who live and work in Cyprus, in their own studios.
In addition to Open Studios Cyprus, there are a number of privately owned galleries and exhibition spaces. Many religious festivals such as the Agia Paraskevi Traditional Fair, Paphos Aphrodite Festival and the Green Monday, along with popular festivals like Paphos wine festival, Beer Festival, Paradise Jazz Festival, Ancient Greek Drama, Anthestiria or Flower Festival symbolizes the rich legacy of the city.
Delicious traditional dishes
The Cypriot cuisine due to its Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern influences offers some unique dishes and culinary experiences. Synonymous with Cypriot cuisine is the ‘meze’ – a variety of small dishes that combine to create a feast, and a good starting point to become acquainted with the local dishes, such as moreish dips, braised, stewed and clay-cooked meats; local, freshly caught fish; pulses and legumes in various sauces; speciality cheeses and delicatessen cuts, all authentically prepared.
In addition to the dishes, do not forget to try the sweet dessert wine Commandaria, which goes great with hard cheeses. Strong drinks such as Cypriot brandy, Zivania, Ouzo are definitely worth tasting. Popular for its local wines, Paphos has a number of wineries, including SODAP and Sterna Winery. Visitors are always welcome at these venues to sample the local wines they have on offer.