The best things to do in Cyprus

written by Andy Turner
updated 7/12/2021
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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

Turtle-watching

Beaches in both the south and the north represent some of the last Mediterranean nesting places of green and loggerhead turtles.

Watch sea turtles in Cyprus Andreas Michael/Shutterstock

Explore the Akamas Peninsula

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.

Akamas Peninsula, Cyprus © f8grapher/Shutterstock

Girne (Kyrenia)

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

.

Beautiful view of the new port of Kyrenia (Girne), North Cyprus © MarinaDa/Shutterstock

Go hiking

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.

Hiking in Cyprus © MoLarjung/Shutterstock

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Eat at Lemesos Restaurants

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.

Marina in Limassol city in Cyprus @ f8grapher/Shutterstock

Relax at Buyuk Han

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.

Buyuk Han, Cyprus © Andriy Markov/Shutterstock

Painted Churches of the Troodos Mountains

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.

The beautiful painted churches of the Troods Mountains © Shutterstock

St Hilarion Castle

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

.

St Hilarion Castle in Cyprus © Steve Allen/Shutterstock

Kykkos Monastery

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.

The Kykkos Monastery © ruzanna/Shutterstock

Ancient Salamis

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.

Romans ruins of the city of Salamis, near Famagusta, Northern Cyprus @ xabi_kls/Shutterstock

Encounter the local Mouflon

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.

Local mouflon © RudiErnst/Shutterstock

Top notch diving

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

.

Cyprus wreck diving © Rostislav Ageev/Shutterstock

Learn local history at the Cyprus Museum

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.

The Cyprus Museum is one of the best things to do in Cyprus @ Shutterstock

Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque

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.

Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque © Shutterstock

Enjoy the local café culture

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.

What to do in Cyprus? Enjoy the local cafe culture © Magicmood/Shutterstock

View the Roman Pafos Mosaics

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.

The beautiful Roman Pafos Mosaics © NORTH DEVON PHOTOGRAPHY/Shutterstock

Gazimagusa (Famagusta)

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.

Gazimagusa, one of the best things to do in Cyprus © Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

Enjoy the north coast beaches

Cyprus has hundreds of beaches, though arguably the finest – such as Golden Sands – are strung along the north coast and Karpaz Peninsula

.

The beautiful north coast beaches © Dmitry Pichugin/Shutterstock

Wine tasting

Follow one of six wine-tasting routes, drop into the Cyprus Wine Museum

or throw yourself into the bacchanal of the Lemesos Wine Festival .

Wine-tasting is one of the best things to do in Cyprus © ElenYrebyata/Shutterstock

Bellapais

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.

The medieval abbey of Bellapais © travelview/Shutterstock

Orthodox Easter Celebrations

Easter is the most important festival in the Greek Orthodox calendar, and it is celebrated across the republic, often with lavish processions.

Easter moments in a small church in Paphos @ Franginos Theodorou/Shutterstock

Omodos

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.

A visit to Omodos is one of the best things to do in Cyprus© leoks/Shutterstock

Where to stay in Cyprus:

There are plenty of fantastic resorts and hotels to stay in Cyprus, here are our top picks:

  • For a room with a view: Elysium Hotel. Located by many great restaurants and attractions and rooms with ocean views.
  • Best for families: Amara. Beachfront hotel with comfortable rooms and a dedicated family wing.
  • For a hotel with character: Apokryfo Traditional Guesthouse. Rooms are contained in stone houses with their own fireplace. Enjoy a candle-lit dinner at the rooftop restaurant.
  • Or, browse hundred of accommodations in Cyprus at any budget.

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 .

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Cyprus without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts

to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Travel advice for Cyprus

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written by Andy Turner
updated 7/12/2021
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