The ultimate Cyprus travel guide

The ultimate Cyprus travel guide

Harita, a native Cypriot, shares all her best recommendations for discovering Cyprus, the island of Aphrodite.

One of the best ways to get to know a destination is by following the advice of someone who lives there. That’s why, to compile our complete guide to Cyprus, we’ve interviewed Harita Limistira. Supply Manager at TUI Musement for Cyprus and Malta for the past year and a half, she currently calls Cyprus home.

Born in Larnaca on the southeast coast of the country, Harita lived in England for several years, where she studied and started her career at TUI. She returned to Cyprus five years ago. What she loves most about Cyprus is its people—friendly, welcoming and easygoing, with a strong sense of family. She describes Cyprus as a relaxed island where stress seems like a distant memory.

Continue reading to discover everything you need to know about this multifaceted country, including the best recommendations from our local expert:

The best things to do in Cyprus

For families

  • WaterWorld in Ayia Napa: With a theme of ancient Greece, this is the country’s largest and most famous water park. It offers numerous slides and attractions for the whole family, with dedicated areas for the little ones.
  • Boat tours: An ideal option for exploring the island in a relaxed way, boat tours are also a great way to enjoy the beautiful Cypriot sea. There are many options available from major tourist ports, including Paphos, Protaras, and Ayia Napa.
  • Parko Paliatso Luna Park: Located in Ayia Napa, this colorful amusement park is open during the summer evenings and is very popular among locals. It offers a wide variety of attractions, from thrilling roller coasters to rides for young children. Excellent dining options are also available.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da PARKO Paliatso LUNA PARK (@parko_paliatso)

For sports enthusiasts:

Thanks to its miles of coastline and crystal-clear sea, Cyprus is a true paradise for water sports enthusiasts. There are also endless options for trekking in nature, especially in the mountainous Troodos region. Here, Harita gives some suggestions for more unique experiences:

  • Snorkeling and diving: In the Larnaca area lies the wreck of the Swedish ship Zenobia, which sank in 1980. Today it’s a popular site for truly exciting dives. Instead in Ayia Napa you can explore MUSAN, Europe’s first underwater sculpture museum. During a snorkeling session admire the 93 artworks created by artist Jason Taylor.
  • Trekking: Among the many trails in Troodos, the most popular is the Caledonia Waterfall Trail, a relatively easy route that takes about 40 minutes to reach the base of Caledonia Falls. For those looking for more of a challenge the Artemis Trail, dedicated to the goddess Artemis, will take you through the forests of Troodos. Finally, the Cape Aspro cliff trail offers a spectacular view of the sea.
  • Skiing and snowboarding: Yes, you read that correctly! In winter you can ski or snowboard in Cyprus. The highest peaks of the Troodos range get snowfall during January and February, and there’s a ski resort as well.

For foodies

“Cypriots live to eat,” declares Harita. With Turkish, Greek, and Middle Eastern influences, Cypriot cuisine is a feast for the taste buds. Here are the best culinary experiences:

  • Have lunch in an inland taverna: The golden rule for finding good, authentic, and traditional food is to venture into the Cypriot inland, stopping in one of the many tavernas in the small mountain villages. Meat dishes are a must. Or, if you’re near a river, enjoy dishes based on trout or freshwater fish.
  • Order meze: This social dining experience opens you up to a world of flavors. With a fixed price (minimum two people), you can order many small dishes to share, allowing you to try various local specialties and products.
  • Visit the wine regions: The Commandaria region in particular is known for its eponymous wine. Sweet and with a history dating back to 800 B.C., it’s the world’s oldest wine still in production.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Travel and Taste 📍 (@travel_and_taste_)

For culture enthusiasts:

If you want to alternate between relaxation and cultural excursions, these are the attractions not to be missed in Cyprus:

  • Kourion theater: Located around 12 miles from Limassol, this Roman theater, built at the end of the 2nd century B.C., is one of the most astonishing archaeological remains in the ancient city-state of Kourion.
  • Kolossi Castle: About 4 miles from the Kourion theater, Kolossi Castle is a beautiful example of military architecture, built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar.
  • Paphos Archaeological Park: This imposing archaeological site has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1980. Highlights include the Tombs of the Kings, which, despite their name, are not those of royalty but of high-ranking officials and aristocrats. The mosaic floors of the four Roman villas are also a marvel.
  • Byzantine monasteries and churches: The numerous monasteries scattered throughout the island of Cyprus attract thousands of visitors every year, as do the painted churches of the Troodos Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located at an altitude of around 4324ft, the Kykkos Monastery is probably the most famous in Cyprus. Inside, it houses an icon attributed to the apostle Luke. The Byzantine frescoes of the Agios Ioannis Lambadistis Monastery are not to be missed, nor is the Machairas Monastery, which houses the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, also attributed to the apostle Luke. The Monastery of the Holy Cross in Omodos is another attraction well worth a visit.
  • Traditional villages: Finally, Harita says that one of the best ways to immerse yourself in local culture is in the picturesque inland villages. Among the most popular are Lefkara, known for lace embroidery and silver craftsmanship, and Omodos, known, among other things for wine production. Other villages to visit in the Troodos Mountains area are Platres and Kalopanagiotis. In the latter you can explore the Agios Ioannis Lambadistis Monastery.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Najpiękniejsze Zamki (@zamkoholicy)

The most beautiful beaches in Cyprus

  • On the east coast (Ayia Napa and Protaras): If you’ve chosen Ayia Napa or Protaras as your holiday destination, you won’t regret it because some of the best beaches on the island are on the east coast, such as Fig Tree Bay, Konnos Bay, Sunrise Beach, and Nissi Beach. The latter is very close to the center of Ayia Napa and is one of the busiest beaches in July and August. Another experience not to be missed is taking a dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Blue Lagoon, near Cape Greco.
  • In the Larnaca area: One of the most popular beaches in the area is Mackenzie Beach, located very close to Larnaca Airport. The beach is fully equipped with rental sunbeds and umbrellas and has been awarded the Blue Flag, as has Finikoudes Beach.
  • In the Limassol area: Lady’s Mile Beach is a beautiful untouched beach over 3 miles long, with dark gray sand and crystal-clear water. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a day by the sea.
  • In the Paphos area: Blue Lagoon Beach on the Akamas Peninsula is not only one of the most beautiful beaches in the Paphos area but also one of the most popular attractions in Cyprus. It can be reached by boat from Latsi or by 4×4 or buggy. Coral Bay Beach also has a picture-perfect setting.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Cyprus Passion ❤️ (@cypruspassion)

Where to admire the best views

  • From above: The best panorama is without a doubt from the summit of Troodos, which you can access via trekking trails of various difficulty levels.
  • For the sunset: Beautiful sunsets can be enjoyed on the west coast. In Paphos, the Rock of Aphrodite is unmissable. It’s a wonderful place said to be the birthplace of the goddess of beauty. The view of the Edro III shipwreck area with marine caves is also striking. Finally, by ferry from Latsi you can reach the Blue Lagoon in the Akamas National Park. It’s a magical place to enjoy an unforgettable sunset.
  • For the sunrise: Head to the east coast, particularly the Ayia Napa area. Here, you’ll find Cape Greco, a protected natural area famous for its marine caves, turquoise water, and cliffs. Climbing up to the lighthouse, you can enjoy a beautiful panorama, made even more special at sunrise.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Evgeni Fab (@evgeni.fab)

Gastronomy and traditional dishes

  • Typical dishes: Cypriot cuisine is delicious, and there are many dishes you should try during your vacation on this beautiful island, such as kleftiko (slow-cooked lamb), sheftalia (traditional Cypriot sausage), souvlaki (spit-roasted meat served with pita bread), makaronia tou fournou (Cypriot version of Greek pastitsio), koupepia and gemista (stuffed vine leaves or vegetables), afelia (pork stew marinated in red wine with coriander), keftedes (meatballs) with pourgouri (a very popular side dish in Cyprus), snails, koupa (a bulgur wheat snack filled with minced meat), and lountza (pork loin sausage). Halloumi cheese as well as sauces and creams such as taramosalata and tzatziki are also delicious.
  • Bakeries: Many bakeries in Cyprus are open 24/7, so you can enjoy their goods at any time of the day. Don’t miss the savory cakes with halloumi, cheese, or olives, and bourekia, a delicious phyllo pastry filled with cheese. Among the traditional pastries are rizogalo (rice pudding), mahalepi (popular in summer because it’s very refreshing), kataifi (kataifi phyllo pastry filled with nuts and dipped in honey or sugar syrup), mpaklavas, and galatopourekko, just to name a few.
  • Desserts: Two must-try desserts in Cyprus are loukoumades (fried doughnuts soaked in honey-based syrup) and shoushoukko (made with grape juice).


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Visit Cyprus (@visitcypruscom)

Best time to travel:

  • Cyprus is one of the sunniest destinations in Europe, and the water temperature from April to October is perfect for a swim. July and August are quite hot, with temperatures reaching 40 °C, so if you want an active vacation, it’s best to choose another period.
  • Remember that in addition to beautiful beaches, Cyprus offers a wide range of cultural, gastronomic and leisure activities. That’s why it can be visited at any time of the year without the risk of getting bored.

Unmissable events and festivals

  • Limassol Wine Festival: A wine festival held every year since 1961, it usually takes place in September and lasts for two weeks. It’s a chance to celebrate and discover Cypriot wine and the tradition behind it. The event often includes free wine tastings and concerts with folk music.
  • Kataklysmos Fair in Larnaca: Literally translated as the ‘flood festival’, this week-long event is held 50 days after Easter, usually in late May or June. It’s full of concerts, activities and other happenings on the city’s waterfront. The event is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
  • Village festivals: Each village organizes a festival dedicated to the dish or ingredient for which it’s most famous. An example is the rose festival in the mountain village of Agros, where you can taste many different dishes based on this fragrant flower. It’s easily one of the most authentic and enjoyable experiences during the summer.

Maybe you didn’t know…

  • The Limassol Carnival is one of the largest and most important in Europe. The city organizes 11 days of celebration with parades, masked competitions, dance performances, exhibitions, and more.
  • If you dine in a traditional taverna, you might come across a very particular dance. The datsia, generally performed by a man, is a dance that includes balancing wine glasses on the head—a tradition that’s entered the Guinness World Records.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Michalis Ppalis (@michalisppalis)

Practical tips:

  • Don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a hat, a fan, lightweight clothes, a swimsuit, and a sweater for the evening.
  • Tips are accepted (and appreciated), but there’s no general rule about it.
  • If you plan to visit monasteries and churches, remember to cover your shoulders and legs.
  • Interact as much as possible with the locals to get a glimpse inside the culture.
  • If you rent a car, remember that Cyprus drives on the left.
  • Learn a few words in Greek. The Cypriots will certainly appreciate it.
  • It’s usually easy to communicate in English and there’s always an English menu available.
  • In addition to going to the beach, find the time to discover the most authentic side of Cyprus by visiting the inland and the mountains.


Visualizza questo post su Instagram


Un post condiviso da Visit Cyprus (@visitcypruscom)

Cyprus is among the best Mediterranean islands for summer vacations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.