Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean, often stands in the shadow of well-known neighbouring Greek islands. However, the various regions of the country offer a wide variety of differing activities (foodie’s paradise, water activities, historical sights, night life, etc.) that suit every type of traveller.
Fly into Larnaca International Airport (LCA), rent a car and drive about 40 minutes to Limassol.
Check into Sir Paul Hotel (5, Ifigeneias Str, Limassol 3036; +357 25 755454), an upscale boutique hotel located in the heart of the historic town.
DAY 1: LIMASSOL
Start your day with a traditional Cypriot coffee at Angel’s Cup (Kanari 20, Limassol). Exceptional coffee is brewed here with a daily delivery by a Greek company. Pair your cup of coffee with a homemade pastry. Gluten-free items can be found here as well.
Now you’ll have energy to explore the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town Limassol.
Be sure to learn some history at the Limassol Castle.
Craving a meal? You’re in for some luck as Limassol is the gastronomic capital of Cyprus.
Sit down for traditional Greek meze at a family run restaurant in Old Town Limassol – Meze Taverna (209 Agiou Andreou St).
If you’re in the mood to spend a little, check out Makarios Avenue for boutique shopping.
Head back to the hotel to rest and change before heading to dinner at Pier One Café Restobar (Old Port, Limassol) in the marina. The restaurant has stunning views and is designed to make you feel as if you’re sitting on a super yacht.
To keep the night going, Guaba Beach Bar (Amathountos 7) is quite lively if you fancy concert-style dancing with well-known DJs.
DAY 2: PAPHOS
After indulging in Sir Paul Hotel’s delicious breakfast, start your travels to Paphos.
Paphos has a mix of fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites, incredible diving spots and beautiful nature.
Some places not to be missed:
•Aphrodite’s Rock: The mythical birthplace of the Greek goddess of love and beauty and one of Cyprus’ most photographed beaches.
•Tombs of the Kings: A UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This was the burial place used for local nobility from the 4th century onwards. There are a maze of caves and sandstone chambers.
•Sea Caves of Peyia: The beautiful dramatic coastline of Cyprus paired with the country’s crystal-clear blue waters can be seen from this spot.
Don’t forget to schedule in a lunch break at Psarou (Psarou Aristarchou 1 Anania And Aristarchou Corner, Paphos).
After a day of exploration, check into Leonardo Plaza Cypria Maris Beach Hotel & Spa (10 Theas Afroditis Avenue, Geroskipou, Paphos 8042; +357269641111) to freshen up before heading to a trendy dinner at Alea Lounge Bar (Poseidonos Ave 4, Paphos 8042).
DAY 3: TROODOS MOUNTAINS & KYRENIA
Make your way across the island to the Turkish occupied side of Kyrenia. It’s a leisurely drive through the Troodos Mountains. Make frequent stops at the various stunning scenic spots and quaint churches and monasteries. Explore the 10 UNESCO-listed monasteries scattered throughout. Along the route, you’ll most likely encounter ‘mouflon’ – a wild sheep native to Cyprus.
Some places that I highly recommend stopping at along the way:
•Omodos Village: The countryside in Cyprus has an abundant historical heritage. Its natural environment is complemented by traditional villages and architecture that give it a charming character. The villagers offer traditional warmth and hospitality, the Cypriot way. This is a good place to stop for lunch at Katoi Restaurant (25 Linou Street, Omodos 4760).
•Mount Olympus: Cyprus’ highest peak with an altitude of 1,952 meters. There’s an observation deck that offers majestic views of the rolling green mountains of Troodos, as well as a panoramic view of the Bay of Morphou.
•Caledonia Waterfall: The lush, cool forest at the bottom of the Troodos Mountains is ideal for nature lovers. Journey into the hills to the village of Platres, where you’ll set off on a 3km hike along the stream to the Caledonia Falls.
Once you’ve reached Kyrenia, you’ll need to leave your vehicle on the Cypriot occupied side and walk across the border. Have your passport ready as it’ll need to be stamped since you’re walking into Turkish territory. The Turks have occupied this city since 1974. Kyrenia’s history is fairly impressive, as it was built up by various empires, although always stalled in conflict. The port town was noted for its strategic position on the north coast, allowing for trade with Asia.
The Greeks, Romans, Venetians, Turks and the Brits all occupied this city at one point in time.
After walking around the markets at the border, head to Nicosia, the divided capital, for the night. Have dinner at Sexy Fish (Onasagorou 45-47, Nicosia 1011). Stay at The 3 Rooms (Onasagorou 16, 3 Stoa Klokkari, Nicosia 1011; +357 99312590).
DAY 4: NICOSIA
Nicosia is the world’s last divided capital. A UN buffer zone, the Green Line, divides the North and South of the island in two: the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Republic of Cyprus.
The main sights to see in Nicosia:
•Walk around the Old City and explore the mosques, churches and old colonial buildings scattered throughout.
•Check out the Cyprus Museum for a detailed history of the island.
•Relax at Hammam Omerye, a restored 14th-century Turkish bath that offers various spa packages.
Drive to Ayia Napa (in Famagusta) for dinner and to sleep. Eat at The Deck Terrace at your hotel (Kryou Nerou 38, 5343 Ayia Napa). Stay at Alion Beach Hotel (Kryou Nerou 38, 5343 Ayia Napa). Play on Louka Louka Street.
DAY 5: AYIA NAPA
Known for its water sports and nightlife, Ayia Napa is the hippest place to be on the island. Once a fishing village, it is now a trendy seaside getaway.
•Cape Greco National Forest Park: This national park has numerous trails and cycling paths, sitting areas, cliffs and sea views. Be sure to swim at Agioi Anargyroi Dive Site.
•The Bridge of Loved Ones: Legend has it that if you kiss your loved one on this beautiful natural bridge and make a wish while standing in the middle of the arch, it is guaranteed to come true. It has become a tradition for newlyweds and couples to come here. Wedding ceremonies have even been held on this bridge!
•Nissi Beach: This popular beach was awarded the blue flag designation for having such clean waters. The beach stretches 500 meters and hosts a number of water activities and beach parties.
PLACES TO EAT:
•Feast on Cypriot cuisine at En-Yevo Tavernaki (Dionysiou Solomou 16 Famagusta, Ayia Napa 5330).
•Have a delicious pizza at Quadro Italian Restaurant (Odos Kryou Nerou, 7, Ayia Napa 5330).
•Try unique dishes at Fiji Polynesian Cuisine (Makarios Avenue 23, Ayia Napa 5340).
DAY 6: LARNACA
Drive to Larnaca International Airport (LCA), return your car and depart Cyprus.