The birthplace of Aphrodite and the crossroads between three continents, Cyprus has seduced and inspired generations of travellers for hundreds of years. And it continues to do so today. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Cyprus.
This article is inspired by the Rough Guide to Cyprus — your essential guide to travelling to Cyprus.
Also, check out our video guide to Northern Cyprus
Beaches in both the south and the north represent some of the last Mediterranean nesting places of green and loggerhead turtles.
With no main roads, few people and a spectacular coastline, the Akamas Peninsula is a pleasant contrast to the more developed and crowded parts of the island. This rugged coastline attracts walkers, mountain bikers, and off-road drivers.
Girne is Undoubtedly the most picturesque port on the island, with a perfect harbour backed by the majestic Kyrenia Mountains. People watch while sitting in one of its many cafés and restaurants.
Ready to explore the Mediterranean further? Read our guide to the best Greek islands .
Cyprus has some top-quality hiking trails, particularly in the Troodos Massif – even in high summer, the altitude makes for a pleasant walking climate. The foothills offer an opportunity to get away from the brashness and heat of the city and the coast.
The south’s great multicultural port Lemesos is developing a reputation as the gourmet capital of the island. Unquestionably the best place to eat in Cyprus, this year-round city is a multicultural culinary hub.
This beautifully renovated Buyuk Han “Great Inn” at the heart of Lefkosa ’s old town is a great place to shop or simply unwind. It is a graceful and harmonious building which is somehow more affecting because it was not built to glorify God or the power of princes but as practical lodgings for traders and merchants.
These beautifully painted wooden churches in the Troodos Mountains have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status. You can come across these little gems across the region, especially on the north slopes of the region.
A fantastical castle with crumbling walls, meandering steps and ruined buildings that blend into the craggy heights upon which it is built, St Hilarion offers spectacular views of the coast and mountains. Clamber around this fairy-tale Byzantine castle while imagining the medieval courtly life it played host to.
Dreaming of seeing the great lost ruins of the world? Don't miss our guide to the great lost cities of the world .
Of the dozens of monasteries in Cyprus, Kykkos is the most captivating. It is a fine example of a modern Greek-Cypriot monastery, with the added interest of its links with Archbishop Makarios III. It is easily one of the best things to do in Cyprus.
In an idyllic setting lapped by the sea, ruined Salamis is at once one of the most impressive and most significant archaeological sites anywhere on the island. Notable not only for the richness and extent of its remains but also for its agreeable beachside setting.
The handsomely horned and increasingly rare mouflon, a subspecies of a wild sheep found across the Middle East, can be seen at Stavros tis Psokas in the Tilirian forest.
The wreck of the Zenobia, a modern car ferry which sank in mysterious circumstances off Larnaka , is one of the Mediterranean’s premier dive sites. The story of its sinking remains something of a mystery.
Ready to hit the water? Read our list of the best diving spots in the world .
The best museum in Cyprus , just outside the walls of Lefkosia, containing treasures from across the island and the ages. Here you’ll find a trove of archeological treasures representing the many cultures which have inhabited the island.
A perfectly proportioned mosque, Hala Sultan Tekke sits among elegant palm trees on the edge of Larnaka ’s blinding-white salt lake. The mosque is extremely atmospheric, only slightly marred by the distracting wind turbines located on the hillside behind.
From small village kafenions occupied by old men sipping strong coffee to smart Nicosia establishments are packed with the young and stylish, café culture that flourishes across the island.
These stunningly vivid mosaics at Pafos give an insight into the life of the Roman elite on the island. There is no doubt that the jewel in the crown of the Pafos mosaics is the House of Dionysos. This represents the central public area of a rich man’s home, clustered around an atrium. The mosaics here are stunning and a visit is one of the best things to do in Cyprus.
One of Cyprus’s great cities, in Gazimagusa modern life takes place among ruins generated by the Ottoman siege of the city over four centuries ago.
Cyprus has hundreds of beaches, though arguably the finest – such as Golden Sands – are strung along the north coast and Karpaz Peninsula .
Almost exactly halfway between St Hilarion and Buffavento is the flower-bedecked village of Bellapais, a tangle of narrow lanes and steep hills, with fine views down to Girne’s modern harbour. The village is synonymous with its medieval abbey, one of the most beautiful in the eastern Mediterranean.
Easter is the most important festival in the Greek Orthodox calendar, and it is celebrated across the republic, often with lavish processions.
Visit this wonderful hill village and enjoy the local winery. While here, take a stroll through the beautiful cobbled central square and visit the nearby venerable monastery. You'll find here a fantastic range of restaurants and shops.
There are plenty of fantastic resorts and hotels to stay in Cyprus, here are our top picks:
Ready for a trip to the Balearic Islands in Cyprus? Check out our Rough Guide to Cyprus . Learn more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Cyprus .
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