Cyprus may not be top of your bucket list of places to see in Europe – but you might be interested to know that this island nation offers up secluded beaches, gorgeous canyons and ancient ruins.
If you’re looking for an island to enjoy some sunshine and beach vibes with fewer crowds than nearby Greece, then Cyprus may be the answer. Read on to find out what you can see and do in Cyprus.
Go on a road trip
Cyprus is the perfect road trip destination. With great roads, spectacular coastal and mountain scenery sprinkled with historical monuments, Cyprus offers something for everyone.
Hire a car at Larnaca International Airport, and then hit the road. In just a week, you’re sure to see most of the island, as well as enjoy some rest and relaxation.
Remember that you drive on the left in Cyprus – but it’s very easy to drive on the island and you’ll find you’re on the highways for a fair chunk of time before heading inland.
Visit the west coast of Cyprus for great ocean views such as at the Petra Tou Romiou (Aphrodite’s Rock); head inland up to 1952m Mt Olympus; or you can drive to the border of the Turkish side of Cyprus and then walk in.
Visit a secluded beach
There’s plenty of options for some beach time in Cyprus – the hard part is choosing which beach to go to.
The beach of choice on my road trip was Lara Beach on the west coast of Cyprus, north west of Avakas Gorge.
This beach offered the chance for a swim, as well as sweeping ocean views from the top of the cliffs above the beach.
There’s many options however if you’re seeking some beach time – and if you have your own wheels you’ll have no problem finding your own secluded beach.
Hike in a canyon
Avakas Gorge is hidden in the west of Cyprus and the hike in offers up views and adventure.
To reach the gorge, you’ll first hike down a trail to the river and then the easiest way through the gorge is by rockhopping down the river.
After a short hike, you’ll be surrounded by the high, steep walls of the gorge and a pretty river. This is one spot in Cyprus not to be missed!
Make sure you wear study shoes due to often muddy trail and slippery rocks and bring a hat and sunscreen.
The carpark to the trailhead of the gorge is along a dirt road but it’s accessible by a 2WD if you take it slow.
Roam the Tombs of the Kings
The Tombs of the Kings is located in Paphos, on the west side of Cyprus. The underground tombs were carved from rock, and many are believed to date as far back as the 4th century BC.
Despite the name, the underground tombs were not in fact the burial sites of kings, but instead were for high ranking officials or the rich.
You’re sure to be exploring the fascinating tombs for a few hours while enjoying the adjacent ocean views. Cost of entry to the ruins is €2.50.
Work up a sweat for panoramic ocean views
The Akamas Peninsula on the north western tip of Cyprus offers up some fabulous ocean views from the multitude of hiking trails in the park. The Adonis and Aphrodite trails are the most popular hiking trails on the peninsula, offering up a workout as well as views.
The Maps.me app is a good reference to ensure you are staying on track.
Wander the old town of Nicosia
The Old Town of Nicosia is located in Northern Cyprus. This part of the island is under Turkish occupation, with Nicosia the only divided capital in the world.
If you hired the car on the Greek side, you will either have to pay insurance to enter the Turkish side, or you can park your car on the Greek side and walk into the Turkish side. Don’t forget your passport as you’ll need it to enter and exit.
The northern part of Nicosia offers up a pretty old town with some history detailed on information boards such as outside a church turned into a mosque. The best way to explore Nicosia is simply to wander – but make sure you don’t take any photos at the border wall.
Seek out sea caves
There’s sea caves in the cliffs along much of the Cyprus coastline. One of the most accessible spots to see the sea caves is in the cliffs near the village of Coral Bay.
It’s also possible to go on a boat tour to see some of the island’s sea caves and also go to the Blue Lagoon.
Bet you didn’t know you could go skiing in Cyprus.
In the winter months, a small ski resort is located on the slopes of Mt Olympus near the town of Troodos.
If winter sports is not your thing, Mt Olympus is still a nice place to see some winter wonderland views. In the summer, Mt Olympus offers up multiple hiking trails to the summit from Troodos.
9. Watch a sunset
Prepare a picnic of wine and cheese, find a beach and settle down for an ocean sunset. The sunsets from the west coast of Cyprus are spectacular so make sure you catch at least one during your trip.
10. Visit Aphrodite’s Rock
Petra Tou Romiou or Aphrodite’s Rock is located on the south west coastline of Cyprus . You’re sure to see this unique rock formation jutting out from the ocean as you drive towards Paphos.
In the summer months, Aphrodite’s Rock offers up a beautiful but crowded spot to swim, and in the winter months, it provides a beautiful panorama from the viewpoint.
Things You Should Know
- The best way to get around Cyprus is by hiring a car. You drive on the left in Cyprus. Public buses do operate across the island but are not very convenient.
- Cyprus is split into two sides and you will enter on the Greek side. Many international flights land at Larnaca International Airport.
- It’s easy for most nationalities to cross into Northern Cyprus via Nicosia, but check before you go. You’ll need your passport to enter and exit.
- The currency in Cyprus (Greek side) is the Euro. Northern Cyprus uses the Turkish Lira, but in some places Euros may be accepted. There are money changers in Nicosia.
- Cyprus was occupied by the British for many years so English is widely spoken.