10 Top Tourist Attractions in Cyprus

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10 Top Tourist Attractions in Cyprus

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Category : Cyprus , Europe

The easternmost island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is an independent nation with a long and colorful past. Legend has it that Cyprus was the birthplace of Aphrodite, and it’s easy to understand why the ancients chose this appealing island to worship the Greek goddess of love. With its mild climate, beautiful beaches, forested mountains and lush green valleys, Cyprus is the ideal destination for a romantic holiday.

Lovers of history will be enchanted by the ancient attractions in Cyprus as well. The isle is peppered with archeological sites, ruins and remnants of past empires, conquerors and civilizations. Mouth-watering cuisine, a modern infrastructure and a welcoming populace make a vacation in Cyprus a pleasurable experience for any traveler.

10. Kourion

Kourion

 

Scholars believe that the ancient city of Kourion was founded around the 13th century B.C., but it’s the 5th-century Greco-Roman ruins that most attract visitors to the archeological site near the city of Limassol. Perched on a hill overlooking Episkopi Bay, the tumbled homes, temples and public buildings of the Kourion complex make it easy to imagine what life was like on Cyprus two thousand years ago. Standout sites include the remains of Roman baths, an open Agoura, a temple to Apollo and an amphitheater where classical plays are still performed today.

9. Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle

 

Situated near the southern tip of Cyprus, Kolossi Castle is a three-story keep built as a military fortress for the Crusaders of the High Middle Ages. From the 13th to 15th century, the fortress was controlled by the Hospitallers known as the Knights of St. John and was later taken by their rivals, the Knights Templar. While not much remains of the original complex beyond the sturdy stone walls of the keep, a spiral staircase leads visitors to the roof-top battlements for breathtaking views of the vineyard-covered peninsula and blue Mediterranean Sea.

8. Omodos Village

Omodos Village

 

Located in the Troodos Mountains near the city of Nicosia, Omodos Village is the premier destination for wine aficionados in Cyprus. Wine-tasting stalls offer samples of local varietals like Mavro and Xynisteri, and restaurants and bars serve traditional fare. With its cobbled streets, stone houses and lush gardens, Omodos is well worth visiting for its beauty and charm as well. The town’s 17th-century monastery is home to several museums, including an icon museum that features extraordinary wood carvings as well as an extensive collection of icons.

7. Zenobia Wreck Diving

Zenobia Wreck Diving

 

In 1980, the Swedish ferry Zenobia began listing to port during her maiden voyage off the coast of Cyprus, eventually capsizing outside Larnaca Harbor. The ship sank slowly, coming to rest on her port side in one piece. Today, the wreck of the Zenobia is ranked as one of the world’s best diving sites. Easy accessibility, mild currents and temperate water temperatures bring around 45,000 divers to the wreck each year. Although the ship’s many intact rooms are open for exploration, inexperienced divers are encouraged to confine their dive to the outside of the ship where they can view sea life from groupers to barracudas.

6. Tomb of the Kings

Tomb of the Kings

 

The Tombs of the Kings near Paphos is a large necropolis dating back to the 4th century BC. The tombs are carved out of the solid rock and decorated with Doric columns. Despite the name there is no evidence of any royalty buried here. Instead the site was the final resting place of Ptolemaic aristocrats and high officials. The tombs are unique in Cyprus, being heavily influenced by ancient Egyptian tradition, when it was believed that tombs for the dead should resemble houses for the living. The 7 excavated tombs are scattered over a wide area. The most impressive is No 3, which has an open atrium below ground level, surrounded by columns.

5. Nissi Beach

Nissi Beach

 

The most popular of the many beaches that grace the shores of the resort city of Ayia Napa, Nissi is best known for its lively beach party scene. Young people flock to its powder-white sands to sip libations at the famous Nissi Bay Beach bar where DJs play music day and night. Like all the beaches in Ayia Napa, there’s a water sports center in Nissi where visitors can enjoy everything from paragliding and windsurfing to water-skiing and pedal boating. Shallow crystal-clear water makes Nissi Beach perfect for wading and swimming as well. The beach takes its name from the small islet located close to the coast. The uninhabited island can be easily reached on foot through the shallow waters and provides good shelter.

4. St. Hilarion Castle

St. Hilarion Castle

 

Spread over the top of a rocky crag near the city of Girne off the northern coast of Cyprus, St. Hilarion Castle is the best preserved of the island’s 11th-century fortifications. Originally a monastery, the fortress gets its name from a local ascetic and hermit known as Hilarion, who attracted a group of devout followers during the 4th century. A 20-minute hike from Girne takes visitors up past the castle’s stables and soldiers’ quarters to the royal residence and church. A restored staircase leads to a hilltop guard tower where visitors can enjoy a panoramic vista of the mountains, valleys and shoreline.

3. Agios Lazaros Church

Agios Lazaros Church

 

Situated in the town center of the southern city of Larnaca, the Church of Saint Lazarus is a 9th-century monument to the man that Christians believe Jesus raised from the dead. According to tradition, Lazarus fled to Cyprus to escape persecution and served as the city’s first bishop for thirty years. Built over Lazarus’ second tomb, the Byzantine church was refurbished in the Baroque style during the 1800s with Greek Orthodox ornamentation. Although the tomb now stands empty, renovations made after a fire occurred in 1970 found relics of the saint in a marble sarcophagus located under the altar.

2. Kykkos Monastery

Kykkos Monastery

 

Nestled in the hills west of the inland city of Pedoulas stands the Kykkos Monastery, a gorgeous Byzantine complex founded in the late 11th century. While all of the original structures were destroyed by fire, a no-expense-spared renovation begun in 1831 restoring the monastery to its original glory. Each building, particularly the chapel, is heavily ornamented in the Greek Orthodox style with murals lining the walls, indoors and out. The most prized artifact in the wealthiest monastery in Cyprus is a portrait of the Virgin Mary believed to have been painted by St. Luke.

1. Paphos Archaeological Park

#1 of Tourist Attractions In Cyprus

With artifacts dating back to the Prehistoric Era, the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park located in the southwestern city of Paphos is an archeological treasure trove of ancient monuments, villas and underground tombs. The most impressive sites include Roman villas built around the 3rd century A.D. The ancient homes are named after their preserved mosaic floors, which feature pictorial narratives of Greek and Roman mythology. Nearby in the Agora is the Odeion, a recently restored 2nd-century theater. With its granite columns, thick walls and corner towers, the Saranta Kolones fortress constructed in the 7th century is worth a visit as well.

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10 Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

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Category : Cyprus , Nicosia

Just south of Turkey, and in the far eastern corner of the Mediterranean Sea, is the island of Cyprus. The island is a mixing pot of cultures that is technically geographically located in Asia but has clear ties to Europe. Cyprus is well known for its warm weather and scenic beaches, but that isn’t everything the island has to offer. You’ll also find quaint historic villages, ancient ruins, incredible mountains and wonderful, vibrant cities. See it all by incorporating as many of the best places to visit in Cyprus into your next vacation itinerary.

10. Famagusta 

Famagusta

 

In eastern Cyprus is the city of Famagusta, where the deepest harbor on the island is located. As a result, this is where many of the cruise ships dock when visiting Cyprus. In addition to a thriving port, Famagusta is home to a traditional walled city, which still stands to this day. Two of the most iconic landmarks that still remain in Famagusta include the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque and the St. Barnabas Monastery. Immediately to the south lies the ghost town of Varosha, once the heart of Famagusta’s tourist trade, now isolated by the Turkish invasion of 1974.

9. Akamas Peninsula

Akamas Peninsula

 

The western tip of Cyprus is an area known as the Akamas Peninsula, and it is one of the least-inhabited parts of the island. If you’re eager to get off the beaten track, then this is the place to be: There are literally no paved roads! As a result, it is ideal for hiking or mountain biking. It is also an amazing place for spotting wildlife, just some of which can include sea turtles, reptiles and native birds. You can also explore the history of the Akamas Peninsula with a visit to the Agios Andronikos, a former mosque and current church that was constructed in the early 16th century.

8. Nicosia 

Nicosia

 

Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus, but it is unlike any other capital. Nicosia is divided between the Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus and the cultural Greek Republic of Cyprus to the South. There are more than a dozen museums in Nicosia, with the top picks being the Cyprus Museum, the Byzantine Museum and the Ledra Observatory Museum, where you can climb to the 11th floor and actually see the island’s national dividing line (known as the “The Green Line”). If you are in the market for some Cypriot souvenirs, head to either Ledra Street for more traditional items or Laiki Geitonia for affordable souvenir shops catering to tourists.

7. Protaras 

Protaras

 

For maximum relaxation and accessible beaches, it is hard to beat the coastal resort of Protaras. The main beach, Fig Leaf Bay, is dotted with sun beds and loungers, and you can choose whether to take a dip in the refreshing waters of the Mediterranean or just sip a cocktail in the sunshine. The nearby Cape Greco is a protected nature park with a quieter, family-friendly atmosphere. There is also a nearly 10-mile pedestrian trail that lets you hike and soak in the views of the ocean and the town, and the nightlife in Protaras offers plenty of fun until the early hours of the morning.

6. Kyrenia 

Kyrenia

 

The northern section of the island is under Turkish control, rather than the cultural Greek Republic of Cyprus. Kyrenia is a harbor town in Turkish Cyprus that boasts a stunning backdrop made up of the Pentadaktylos Mountains, architecture that is more than 1,300 years old and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. The best museums in Kyrenia include the Museum of Decorative Arts, the seventh century Byzantine Kyrenia Castle and the Shipwreck Museum, where some artifacts date back 2,300 years. Kyrenia is also the place to spot turtles in their natural habitats, tee off on a local golf course in view of the Mediterranean Sea or hike along the coast.

5. Larnaca

Larnaca

 

Historical evidence shows that Larnaca is likely the oldest city in Cyprus, boasting a history that dates back more than 6,000 years. Many visitors today pass through Larnaca because the city is home to the largest international airport on the island. However, you won’t just want to pass through, because Larnaca has a lot to offer. History enthusiasts should tour the ninth century Church of St. Lazarus or the impressive Faneromeni Church. For an adventure, head to the Larnaca Salt Lake to spot pink flamingos, or dive down to explore the incredible wreck of the Zenobia, a major attraction for scuba divers in Cyprus.

4. Troodos Mountains 

Troodos Mountains

 

In the southwest of the island, the towering Troodos Mountains stand as a major destination for outdoor recreation in Cyprus. You can hike to the rushing waters of the Caledonia Falls, hike over the Milia Medieval Bridge or rent a mountain bike and explore the miles of trails up the mountains as well as around the foothills. There are also many small, traditional villages in the Troodos Mountains, and you may wish to visit charming landmarks like the Byzantine Timios Stavros Church in Pelendri or the Archangel Michael Church in Pedoulas.

3. Ayia Napa

Ayia Napa

 

If nightlife is what you’re after, then the resort destination of Ayia Napa is the perfect spot to visit. The Square is the hub for what happens after sunset, and there are countless bars and clubs located there that stay open until dawn. This is the place to be for live music, great drinks and a vibrant, youthful atmosphere. During the day, be sure to check out Ayia Napa’s wonderful beaches like Nissi Beach, Grecian Bay and Makronissos Beach. For some history and local culture, take time to visit the 16th century Ayia Napa Monastery as well as the Thalassa Museum, which boasts a unique collection of exhibits explaining the importance of the sea to the development of the region.

2. Limassol

Limassol

 

After the capital city, Limassol is the largest urban destination on the island of Cyprus. It is a major sea port, and over the last few decades it has become a major tourism destination for those in search of sun and sand. The Old Town of Limassol is the best place to start your time in the city, and you won’t want to miss a tour of the impressive Limassol Castle. Also in the Old Town is Anexartisias Street, a major shopping venue, and Saripolou Square, which serves as a nightlife hub for locals and visitors alike. Don’t leave without admiring the luxury yachts docked in the Limassol Marina or strolling along the beachfront Akti Olympion path.

1. Paphos

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Cyprus

 

On the southwestern tip of the island is the coastal town of Paphos, commonly referred to as the birthplace of Aphrodite. Today, Paphos is split into two parts. The lower section is known as Kato Paphos, and it is where many of the hotels and archeological landmarks can be found. The upper destination is the commercial area where you can find shops and eateries. Ruins and archeology are the main attractions in Paphos, and you won’t want to miss the Roman ruins called the House of Dionysus and the House of Theseus, the 16th century Paphos Fort built by the Turkish, the Tombs of the Kings or the Odeon, a classic Greek amphitheater where plays and other live performances are still offered.