Crashing waves, ancient history, and stunning scenery: if there’s one Mediterranean Island you make sure to add to your bucket list this year, make it Cyprus! After all, once there you’ll soon discover a myriad of traditional taverns, incredible wildlife, and a variety of historical and cultural experiences to enjoy. Here’s your Cyprus travel guide to the ten most breathtakingly beautiful places to visit in Cyprus…
#1 Paphos Mosaics
Situated on the fringes of the historic port city of Paphos, the Pafós Mosaics are now designated a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to their incredible historic importance. Dating from between the 4th-century BCE to the 4th-Century CE, the mosaics are now one of the top tourist attractions on the Mediterranean island. Of particular note includes the mosaic of Scylla (a sea monster), as well as a series of mosaics depicting the labours of Hercules and other ancient myths.
#2 Tombs of the Kings
On the fringes of the windswept coastline, surrounded by lush palm trees and around 2 km from the city of Paphos, the Tombs of the Kings is easily one of the best things to do in Paphos. Dating back to the 4th-century BCE, this archaeological site features a large series of ancient tombs, carved straight out of solid rock.
Though these final resting places were never really ‘lost’ in the same way as other historical burials (meaning that they’ve been by and largely looted), they were only truly excavated during the latter part of the 20th-century, and many are still being explored to this day. Now designated a UNESCO world heritage site, the necropolis is thought to have been for the Paphitic aristocrats.
#3 Kourion Amphitheatre
For a true glimpse into Cyprus of old, you need to look no further than the Kourion Amphitheatre, an ancient space situated within the Ancient Kingdom of Kourion, a civilization dating back to around 1000 BCE and overlooking the azure blue sea.
The amphitheatre itself dates back to the 2nd Century BCE and is the centrepiece of the sprawling archaeological site that you can now visit for a small fee. In order to make the most of a trip to the Kourion archaeological site, you’ll need to set aside at least half a day. During the summer months, evening performances still take place in the theatre, which is often said to have some of the best acoustics in the world.
Best-known for its glittering and incredibly modern marina, Limassol can be found on the Southern Coast of Cyrpus. Highlights of the stunning city include the Limassol Castle (that has since been transformed into the Cyprus Medieval Museum) and the Prokymea (Molos) Sculpture Park.
Also known as Λεμεσός, if you’re a fan of all things seafood, be sure to head to one of the city’s many restaurants for a freshly caught catch of the day! And for those who are fans of cycling, the seaside boardwalk is shaded by palm trees and filled with sprinkling fountains. If you choose to base yourself in Limassol during your Cyprus adventure, then you may well want to book a trip to the countryside like this one.
Home to a stunning monastery, wine tasting opportunities, and plenty of traditional bars serving local fare (think cheeses, cold cuts, vine wraps, and more!), Omodos is easily one of the prettiest places to visit in Cyprus. While you’re in town, be sure to head to the 16th-century founded Timios Stavros Monastery, as well as the part-museum, part wine-vendor, part-wine-tasting Linos Tou Charilaou.
Perched high on the hillside, the picture-perfect village of Choirokoitia can be found in the Larnaca district of Cyprus and has a population of well under a thousand residents. If you get the opportunity to visit during your time in the Mediterranean Island, be sure to book a workshop in traditional basketweaving and halloumi cheese making with Petros Nikolaou (more details can be found here!)
#7 Elysium Hotel
For those looking for a taste of luxury while in Cyprus, the Elysium Hotel is an all-inclusive complex with multiple restaurants, pools, and stunning seaside views. This five-star accommodation is easily one of the most beautiful places to stay in during your visit to Cyprus and is inspired by plenty of different architectural styles; Byzantine, Greek, and Roman among others.
#8 Pano Lefkara
All cobbled lanes, quaint architecture, and beautiful views from the village’s hilltop position, the pretty settlement of Pano Lefkara is even alleged to have been visited by Leonardo Da Vinci in the late 15th-century. Filigree silver is just one of the many crafts that’s still undertaken in a traditional manner throughout Lefkara and you can buy authentic creations in many of the workshops today.
Yet another local tradition is Lefkaritiko, a type of needlecraft lace that’s been practised in the area for centuries and is so culturally important to the region that it’s since been listed on the UNESCO Intangible World Heritage list. Plan a trip to this beautiful Cyrpus location in the late winter/ early spring and you’ll even find the almond trees in bloom!
#9 Laona wine villages
Situated in the mountains and overlooking the surrounding landscape as far as the eye can see, the Laona wine villages are a must-see for all oenophiles. The wine route through Cyrpus can predominantly be found along the Akamas peninsula, within which plenty of vineyards and little hamlets can be found.
Stretching from Paphos to Pegeia, this route is not just for wine drinkers, but also for the discerning foodie who wishes to taste traditional Cypriot dishes in the taverns dotted across the region. When it comes to food in Cyrpus, dishes you simply must try include kolokasi (root vegetables), souvlaki (a meat dish), and plenty of squeaky halloumi cheese.
Situated in Southwest Cyprus and nestled in the Troödos Mountains, the village of Agros (Αγρός in Greek) is named for an ancient monastery by the name of Megalos Agros. Today, the population hovers around 1000 and the entire area is populated by many hiking trails. Other highlights of Agros include several churches and two museums; one dedicated to olive milling in the area and the other for the Painter Frangoulides.