Cyprus is a great place to visit
10 sights you should definitely experience in Cyprus
Holidays in Cyprus | 16 comments Last updated on 09/28/2019
Heavenly landscapes, an impressive history and brilliant food - the island of Aphrodite has many treasures to discover! In this article I would like to recommend ten sights in Cyprus that you should not miss on your Cyprus vacation.
1. Discover the millennia-old cultural history of Cyprus
The third largest island in the Mediterranean has a lot to offer, especially for those interested in history. Located between the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus has had a turbulent history and some peoples have already left their mark here. Today you can explore Greek temples on the island, admire Roman mosaics and marvel at countless ancient buildings. Go back in time and discover ancient castles and ruins. The areas around Paphos and Limassol in particular have exciting archaeological parks that are definitely worth a visit.
Three archaeological sites that will take you back in time:
- The Paphos Archaeological Park
- The royal tombs of Nea Paphos
- The ancient city of Kourion near Limassol
2. Visit the historical monasteries, churches and mosques
In addition to the archaeological sights, the island is also home to many other buildings that are well worth seeing. The Kykkos Monastery, for example, is considered to be the richest Greek Orthodox monastery. In the mountains of Troodos you can discover the famous barn churches. The ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites are characterized by their high shingle roofs, colorful wall frescoes and the lack of bell towers. In contrast to the interior, they look very simple from the outside like old barns.
Three monasteries and churches that we can recommend:
- Stavrovouni Monastery: Women are not allowed to enter the monastery, but the drive up the mountain is worthwhile for the gigantic view alone!
- Agios Nikolaos Tis Stegis: One of the ten barn churches that we looked at
- Timios Stavros Monastery: A beautiful monastery in the middle of Omodos
3. Walk through lonely forests in the Troodos Mountains
You can perfectly combine a visit to the churches and monasteries with a trip to the forests of the Troodos Mountains. Cyprus is a real hiking paradise! Everywhere there are wonderful hiking trails through wooded mountain landscapes, along small rivers and past waterfalls. Again and again you will be surprised by beautiful viewpoints from which you get a wonderful panorama over the island.
Three hiking areas that we can recommend to you:
- Nature trail to the Venetian bridges (e.g. the Tzelefos and Elia bridges)
- Avakas George: A spectacular, narrow gorge north of Paphos
- Hiking trail to the Kaledonia waterfalls
4. Explore the traditional villages
In the interior of the country, apart from the hustle and bustle of the cities, you will also find many rustic villages that have hardly changed for generations. Life between the old stone houses is much slower here. Often surrounded by picturesque vineyards, you can stroll through the narrow streets, buy local handicrafts and visit lovely churches.
Three villages that we can recommend:
- Omodos: Considered the most beautiful village in Cyprus
- Pentakomo: We had our first accommodation in this quiet, small village
- Kathikas: We went to this cute village for dinner several times. In the authentic family restaurant To Stekki Tou Panai you will find delicious food at a good price.
5. Relax on one of the heavenly beaches
I have not yet visited any other island in Europe that has as many different types of beach to offer as Cyprus. Regardless of whether it is a fine sandy beach, a stony pebble beach, beaches in hidden bays, idyllic natural beaches or the typical package holiday beaches with lined up loungers and parasols: everyone will find the perfect place for themselves to relax by the sea on Cyprus.
Three beautiful beaches where we could have lingered forever:
- Lara Beach: Natural, not so touristy beach
- Aphrodite Beach: Rocky beach with pebbles, but wonderfully clear water
- Konnos Beach: Beautiful sandy beach, not quite as touristy as the larger beaches around Agia Napa
6. Discover the colorful underwater world of Cyprus
Once you have arrived at the beautiful beaches, you will probably not be able to refuse to jump into the turquoise-blue water. The water around Cyprus is mostly crystal clear and perfect for snorkeling and diving. The many cave systems and the old shipwreck Zenobia off the coast of Larnaka, which sank in 1980 with its expensive cargo on various vehicles, are particularly popular with divers. Unfortunately we don't have a diving license yet and had to save this experience for a later trip to Cyprus.
7. Discover the wild side of Cyprus on the Akamas Peninsula
In addition to the wonderful mountain landscapes in the interior of the island, there is a corner in the north-west of Cyprus, which is considered to be one of the last natural places in the country. On the Akamas Peninsula you can discover the diversity of the Cypriot landscape and wildlife. The vast nature of forests, cliffs and small bays is an area that you should definitely see!
To the south is the steep Avakas Gorge. Sometimes there are places where the crevice is so narrow that sunlight can never shine in. A little further north you will find the wonderful Lara Beach with a turtle protection station and in the far north the beautiful, small bays with turquoise-blue shining water.
We rented an off-road vehicle for one day and drove it across the peninsula. You can find our travel report here.
8. Rent a car and explore Cyprus on your own
If you want to dive deeper into the culture of Cyprus and also visit places off the beaten path, you should definitely rent a car in Cyprus. The road network in Cyprus is really well developed. The distances between the archaeological sites, the lonely dream beaches and the small mountain villages in the Troodos Mountains are quite short. A toll-free motorway runs along the south coast, so you can get really quickly between Larnaka and Paphos. Only when driving on the left should you be careful that you are driving on the right side.
9. Celebrate with the locals
No, under this point I don't mean the countless bars in Agia Napa, which is often referred to as Cyprus’s Ballermann. Cypriots love socializing just like the Greeks. A wide variety of festivals are celebrated throughout the year, regardless of whether they are religious holidays, state holidays, carnivals or various folk festivals. Here you can find a small selection:
- January 24th: Folk festival in honor of St. Neófytos
- End of February / beginning of March: Limassol Carnival (50 days before Orthodox Easter)
- 25th March: Greek Independence Day
- April 1st: Cypriot National Day & Resistance Fighters Remembrance Day
- May: Flower festival Anthestiria with parade and flower markets in Larnaka, Limassol and Paphos
- June: Shakespeare Festival at the ancient theater of Kourion
- 50 days after the Orthodox Easter: Kataklysmos Festival (Festival of the Flood) in Larnaka with a fair and performances, at which the story of Noah's Ark is re-enacted
- 14./15. August: Church consecrations in many cities and celebration of the Blessed Virgin with a fair in the Kykko monastery
- September: big wine festival in Limassol
- September October: Kypria, a music festival with various performances by local and international artists
We were in Cyprus in November. Unfortunately, this is exactly the month when there are fewer popular festivals in Cyprus. But even so we were able to get to know the sociable side of the Cypriots in the taverns.
10. Enjoy a traditional meze
At the end of the day we can recommend a visit to a traditional restaurant that offers Cypriot cuisine. The best way to taste most of the seasonal specialties is the meze. If you order this, you will be served a colorful mix of many small portions of dishes. It usually starts with a large bowl of village salad, traditional dips and bread. Afterwards, depending on your order, delicious fresh fresh or different, sizzling meat and other seasonal vegetables are served. In total we had about 15 bowls and plates with excellent food on our table. After that you are definitely full!
Three restaurants where you will be served excellent, traditional food:
- Moustakallis Tavern in Polis
- To Stekki Tou Panai in Kathikas
- Ithaki restaurant in Larnaca
Especially for you: our map with the most important places
I have marked the most exciting sights in Cyprus, our favorite restaurants and all other important places on this map:
Our tip: If you mark the map with the star, you will have it with you everywhere in your GoogleMaps app!
Have you already been to Cyprus? What do you think you shouldn't miss on the dream island in the Mediterranean? We look forward to your comment!
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