AT A GLANCE: 5-7 DAYS
Best time to visit – July through September is peak season,
in spring and winter the sea is still warm
Weather – hot, dry Mediterranean climate
Getting around – rental car, points of interest are usually within an hour drive
Currency – Euros
Languages – English, Greek and Turkish
Photos left to right from top: doors in Omodos; Ayia Napa sea caves; a kitten in Pano Lefkara; colorful walls in Pano Lefkara.
Cyprus is a great destination if you are looking for a diverse island to explore. Cypriot cities have all the amenities you need, and there are beaches for every taste. It’s affordable, and easily accessible from Greece or Turkey.
Though this Cyprus guide highlights small villages and beach towns, there are large cities to visit as well. In my opinion, the perfect Cyprus itinerary starts with where you stay. Opt for a boutique hotel experience outside of a main city, like Anassa Hotel, or a modern Airbnb (here’s $40 off if you’ve never used Airbnb before). Rent a car so you can make day trips to Ayia Napa (beautiful blue water and beaches), Paphos (local attractions and picturesque coastlines), and inland to the Troodos mountains (picturesque villages with local shops and restaurants). If you want to see the larger cities, add on Limassol, Larnaca or Nicosia. Read on for our mini travel guide highlighting some the best spots around Cyprus…
Photos: Cape Greco & Ayia Napa Sea Caves
Protaras – known for its outdoor seafood restaurants, family-friendly beaches and views.
Photos: Paphos Archaelogical Park
Blue Lagoon – located north in Akamas, this is another spot with incredible blue water and small caves. If you go early you can also rent a boat at the docks to see the lagoon on your own, as it gets busy with tour groups later in the day.
Avakas Gorge – a 2-3 hour hike through the gorge with canyon views. Bring shoes that you don’t mind getting wet.
Paphos Archealogical Park – worth a visit to see preserved mosaics, ancient ruins, and great views of the sea. Try not to go mid-day, as it involves a fair amount of walking and gets hot.
Troodos Mountain Villages
Photos: Pano Lefkara & Omodos Village
Omodos – located within the wine-making villages in the mountains. There was an outdoor market here when we visited on the weekend. It’s also known for having one of the oldest monasteries in Cyprus.
Pano Lefkara – one of my favorite stops on the trip, an old town with cobblestone streets, handicraft shops, local restaurants, and lots of charm.
Other Cities To Visit in Cyprus
Euphoria Art Land – located about 15 minutes outside of Limassol, this sculpture garden / café / boutique hotel is a work of art. You have to go to experience it in person! Make sure to visit during weekends (5pm to 11pm) and sit for a drink. Visit their website for more information.
Karatello Taverna – where my Greek family took me – so you know it’s good! Reserve a table outside and make sure to explore the area.
Kipriakon – a perfect restaurant on the old port of Cyprus. Tasty food, great wine, and huge portions.
Larnaca Salt Lake – if you’re visiting in spring or autumn, you can usually see pink flamingos here.
Church of Saint Lazarus – there are plenty of historic Greek orthodox churches around the island, but if you find yourself in Larnaca I’d recommend checking out this 9th-century stone church.
Foinikoudes promenade – for shopping, restaurants, and more along the ocean.
Tips for visiting Cyprus:
- Stay: Opt for a boutique hotel like Anassa hotel or check out other hotels in the Paphos area. If you want to be in a large city, I suggest Limassol’s Four Seasons Hotel or other hotels in Limassol. For family-friendly beaches, browse hotels and homes in Ayia Napa.
- Swim: The best swimming spots are accessible by boat. Don’t miss the Ayia Napa sea caves and the blue lagoon in Akamas, which are both known for the clearest water around.
- Eat: Try the local food! Sheftalia (Cypriot sausages), Souvlaki (skewers, usually chicken, pork or lamb) and pastries from any Cypriot bakery. You’ll find some amazing local food in the mountain villages of Cyprus.
- Pack: light clothing, swimsuits, sandals, and shoes that are comfortable for walking. Visit this post for more inspiration and recommendations on what to pack.
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Half-day trips and activities in Cyprus:
If you don’t plan on renting a car, or are interested in learning more about the history of Cyprus while visiting local villages, it’s worth booking a local tour on the island. You’ll cover a lot more ground, and avoid a lot of driving! This is also the best way to explore the major cities, including the best parts of Nicosia.
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For more inspiration to visit this beautiful country, check out this post about the sea caves and villages in Cyprus. And don’t forget to leave me a note in the comments if you plan on visiting!