Cyprus is where one of the oldest civilizations in Europe started. It’s also an island with a long coast and climate perfect for beach holidays, as well as beautiful and varied landscapes perfect for hiking. In this article we will describe the attractions of Cyprus, dividing them into three categories: historical and cultural wonders, natural wonders, and attractions developed with tourists in mind. Let’s dive in!
Natural wonders of Cyprus
West of the town of Larnaca you will find a network of four interconnected salt lakes, called Larnaca Lakes. The territory around the lake is a nature reserve and an important place for protecting the birds, both during the nesting and migrations. During the winter months you can observe a population of flamingos. Even larger salt lake of similar importance for bird protection is Limassol Salt Lake in British overseas territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Both places are perfect for bird watching. Furthermore, on the coast of Limassol you can admire rocks of unusual, pure white color.
Akamas is a cape in northwest Cyprus that due to its use for military purposes was free from urban development. As the result, the cape has unique wild nature, including two beaches where loggerhead turtles are nesting. There are three picturesque gorges on the cape, Androlykou, Petratis and Avakas. Another national park to visit is Dipkarpaz, protecting wild donkeys of Cyprus.
Adonis Baths is a picturesque waterfall near the village of Koili. You can bathe in beautiful scenery in place said to be the favorite of Aphrodite and Adonis. Equally beautiful Millomeris waterfalls are within walking distance from the village of Platres. If you are a fan of hiking, you can take a trail starting from the Troodos square to Kalidonia waterfalls, surrounded by beautiful mountainous nature.
Cape Greco is a national park located between Agia Napa and Protaras with crystal clean waters and numerous rock formations and sea caves. It’s perfect for both diving and just admiring the nature.
Man-made wonders of Cyprus
Kykkos Monastery is one of the wealthiest and best known monasteries in Cyprus. While the original site dates to 11th century, due to frequent fires the buildings are fairly modern. It is said to hold a miraculous icon that is however never shown to the public, to the point nobody knows how it looks like. It’s located in the mountains so prepare for a hike.
Church of Saint Lazarus in Larnaca is a 19th century building built on the site of a medieval church which in turn was built on the site of rumored grave of Lazarus, friend of Jesus. Inside, you can admire late 18th century iconostasis and pulpit. Also in Lamarca on the west bank of the salt lake you will find Hala Sultan Tekke, a complex composed of a mosque, mausoleum, minaret, cemetery, and living quarters for men and women, built in 1760 over what is considered to be the grave of Mahomet’s aunt.
Paphos is a large town with antic history and multitude of attractions. Since 1980 the town has been an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its ancient architecture, mosaics, and ancient religious importance. While visiting don’t forget to visit Paphos Castle, ruins of Saranta Kolones, Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, Tombs of the Kings, the Byzantine Museum and the District Archaeological Museum, Roman Agora with the temple of Asclepius, and the temple of Aphrodite in the Old Paphos. Near the city you can visit the famous Rock of Aphrodite. In general, Paphos is the must see place in Cyprus.
Cyprus Archeological Museum in the capital of Nicosia is the largest and oldest such museum in Cyprus. It collects objects from the island’s thousands years of history and is a must visit place for everyone interested in the subject. While visiting the capital don’t miss the Byzantine Museum with a rich collection of icons, frescoes and mosaics, Selimiye Mosque, formerly a gothic cathedral, and the Great Inn.
Cyprus for tourists
Of course, there are numerous attractions established specifically for the needs of tourists! In Limassol in addition to earlier mentioned attractions you will find a 17 km long seaside promenade, a zoo with a variety of species and a petting zoo, and numerous beaches. You will find similar promenade and great beaches in Lanarca. Ayia Napa is a tourist resorts where the beaches considered the best on the island are located. These are Nissi and Makronissos. In Paphos, you can visit the Aphrodite Waterpark, while in the village of Skarinou you can visit Golden Donkey Farm, where you can interact with these lovely animals and learn about them and their importance in the history of Cyprus. In Kiti to Mazotos Camel Park you will find not only the titular animals, but also a wide variety of friendly species.
What are your favorite tourist attractions of Cyprus? Let’s talk about them in the comments! And before you leave, check out what the weather in Cyprus is like and how expensive the island is! Finally, check out the official website of the Republic of Cyprus for more information.