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Top 10 Things to do in Cyprus

Updated on July 23, 2012

See the best Cyprus has to offer!

Cyprus is known as the year-round island, and indeed it is. Whether you are looking for a family trip, seeking adventure, an archaeological buff or looking for one of the hottest spots for clubbing in the Mediterranean, Cyprus is the answer.

As Europe meets the Middle East, Cyprus exceeds expectations when it comes to a beach vacation, a skiing holiday, an adventure weekend or a memorable honeymoon.

Have a look at the 10 most interesting things to do in Cyprus. We bet that you had no idea that you could ski in Cyprus! Did you know that Cyprus is a very popular cycling and diving destination? Go through our list and see what the island of love has to offer. There is no particular order to this list, however you are free to try them all!

Photo Credit: Cyprus Tourism Organisation

The Essential Travel Companion - I recommend this guide book for travelling in Cyprus.

The Rough Guide to Cyprus explores every corner of Cyprus, from the fine, sandy beaches and wooded hillsides to the ancient churches and buzzing bars. It offers a guide to Cyprus’s hearty traditional cuisine and its rich artistic and religious architecture. There are dozens of reviews from the best restaurants, nightlife and hotels in Cyprus to the top shopping spots, entertainment and outdoor activities, as well as all the essential information you need for the trip of a lifetime. It covers both North and South of this divided country with an insider’s eye.

The Rough Guide to Cyprus 6 (Rough Guide Travel Guides)
The Rough Guide to Cyprus 6 (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

I chose this book to keep as a travel companion since it gives detailed yet practical tips and information about everything you need in Cyprus. It also provides a history of the island's cultural and politics which sets the first time traveller in the scene.

 

Where on earth is Cyprus?

A markerCyprus -
Cyprus
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Cyprus Beach Wedding
Cyprus Beach Wedding

1. Weddings and Honeymoons

Exchange Wedding vows or Spend a Blissful Honeymon on the island of love, Cyprus

It is no wonder that Cyprus is known as the island of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty. Cyprus has been connected with romance since ancient times. Today, Cyprus is one of the most sought after destinations for weddings and honeymoons.

There are various reasons why Cyprus is so popular with couples who would like to exchange vows or spend the first days of their married life together. One of the main reasons is the superb climate since the island enjoys warm sunny days throughout most of the year. This complements the exquisite wedding venues, the picturesque sandy beaches and the different types of activities available throughout the island such as water sports, cycling and even skiing.

Love Cyprus! - Around Cyprus in 1 mins

Troodos Cyprus Ski Resort
Troodos Cyprus Ski Resort

2. Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and Snowboarding on Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains

Yes you read right, skiing and snowboarding in Cyprus. On the island of Cyprus, it is literally possible to ski in the morning and enjoy a swim in the afternoon. The Troodos Skiing Resort is situated on Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus is the highest point of the Troodos Mountains.

Skiing season is usually open between January and March. There are 4 slopes which include ski lifts and an equipment rental station. These slopes cater for all levels and ages. You can also find cross country tracks or opt for snowboarding instead. Lessons are also available for both skiing and snowboarding.

Battle of the Snow Sports!

Skiing or Snowboarding?

Cycling Cyprus
Cycling Cyprus

3. Cycling and Hiking

Take advantage of the various Nature Trails Cyprus has to offer

With sunshine almost all the year round, Cyprus is an ideal location to plan a cycling or a trekking trip. The island has been described as a biker’s paradise because of year round excellent weather conditions and the low prevalence of strong headwinds. Cyprus offers to the cyclist frequent changes of terrain and scenery even on the shortest of cycling trails.

Troodos Mountains is a cooler alternative to the coast during the hot summer months. Its highest peak reaches 2,000 metres. During the winter the mountain tops are covered in snow. Various walking and cycling trails take you through scented pine forests, waterfalls and panoramic views of the whole island. If you are really lucky, you may get to spot the shy Cyprus mouflon. The mouflon is a kind of wild sheep particular to Cyprus which roams free in the Troodos forests. For a romantic setting, why not try the 2km countryside ramble in Platres to reach the breathtaking Caledonian Waterfall.

The Akamas Peninsula is an area of natural wilderness on the north-western side of the island. The stunning views in this area alternate between rocky shores and sandy beaches. The sandy beaches are important breeding grounds for the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle. The nature trails in this area are ideal to experience the various species of trees and plants found on this island. During spring and autumn, one can also notice the different kinds of migrating birds passing by. Akamas also boasts interesting geological formation within its region. The Avakas gorge is a definite must-see when in the area.

The Perfect Travel Buddy for any Cycling Trip

The Edge 800 is a touch screen GPS bike computer. helps you make the most out of every cycling trip. It provides navigation and performance monitoring. It is ideal for any kind of cycling you want to do, whether it is commuting or mountain biking. It tracks distance, speed, location and ascent/descent.

Zenobia Dive Site in Larnaca Cyprus
Zenobia Dive Site in Larnaca Cyprus

4. Swimming and Diving

Cyprus is most renowned for golden sandy beaches and the Zenobia dive site

Warm sea temperatures, crystal clear waters and sandy beaches makes Cyprus ideal for swimming and diving for a major part of the year. The eastern coast is popular for its white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Here you can find lively resorts and enjoy water sports. On the other hand, the secluded coves of the western coast set the perfect setting for a peaceful swim with few people around.

While diving in Cyprus you can experience underwater coastal reefs, a variety of colourful fish, sponges, octopus and if you are lucky even a sea turtle! Spotting a sea turtle is not so rare nowadays thanks to turtle conservations projects around the island. In several dive sites you can also find remains of ancient amphorae and stone anchors.There are numerous diving schools all around the island. Diving sites like Green Bay in Protaras are excellent for beginner divers.

In Larnaca, you will find one of the most popular dive sites in the Mediterranean. The Zenobia dive site consists in the wreck of the ferry M.S. Zenobia which sank during its maiden voyage from Sweden to Syria. The Zenobia lies on her port side at 42 metres but the starboard side lies at only 18 metres. The ferry is still intact save from some internal structural damage. The lorry decks holding over 100 lorries, industrial machinery as well as the accommodation and restaurant area make this an incredible site to visit. In addition, plenty of marine life can be seen in this dive site. The enchanting Zenobia will capture your heart no matter how many times you visit it.

Dive into the Zenobia wreck!

Detailed footage about diving in itself and going down into the Zenobia. Very interesting to watch for both beginners and professionals. Especially if you have never been on this dive site!

Cyprus Cuisine Meze
Cyprus Cuisine Meze

5. Indulge in a Meze

Taste Cypriot cuisine as its best in a local taverna

Cypriot food is largely Mediterranean with influences from Greece and the Middle East. The meze is a multi-plate platter excellent for having a taste of the widest range possible of Cypriot cuisine. The meze consists of a lot of dishes containing a small helping of one of Cyprus’s delicacies. One sitting can include up to 30 different dishes served with warm pitta bread and fresh salad.

Food is traditionally accompanied by wine or Zivania, a strong grape spirit. Finally, for a sweet aftertaste, glyko (traditionally preserved fruit) is served together with a glass of water and Cypriot coffee.

Bring Mediterranean Cuisine to your Table!

Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond
Olives and Oranges: Recipes and Flavor Secrets from Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and Beyond

In Olives & Oranges, Jenkins shares the simple, striking dishes she learned at the source. Many, like Peppery Braised Short Ribs and Classic Tuscan Eggplant Parmesan, are favorites from childhood. Others, like Short Pasta with Mushrooms and Mint and Spicy Lemon–Chocolate Ganache Tart, have a contemporary sensibility. Jenkins shows how understanding the Mediterranean “language of flavor” can help you follow your instincts and make your own great meals based on what you have, too. You’ll see how salt and lemon juice bring out the natural sugar in Carrot Salad with Lemon, Sea Salt, Parsley, and Olive Oil, and how to use the same technique with lime, salt, and a Moroccan condiment called harissa for a completely different effect in Tunisian Raw Turnip Salad.

 
Cypriot Barbecue Delights and Side Dishes
Cypriot Barbecue Delights and Side Dishes

The taste of culture is perhaps what shapes our society today with ethnic food continuously tingling our taste buds, but how well do you really know Mediterranean food? Does it stop with the occasional visit to a restaurant in order to try something new? Yes, I thought so... and with the help of my book you can bring these restaurant visits to your fingertips, making your kitchen the ultimate chefs playground whilst discovering the Turkish Cypriot taste. Are you always making that typical barbecue food in order to play it safe? I say that being adventurous and creative is the new playing it safe and with Cypriot barbecue delights and side dishes you can also experience a slice of the Mediterranean.

 

6. Clubbing in Ayia Napa

Enjoy clubbing at one of the hottest nightspots of the Mediterranean

Ayia Napa, located in the far south-east of the island, is a Mediterranean clubbing destination second only to Ibiza. Thousands of clubbers arrive every year from all over the world. Stag and hen nights and weekends are becoming increasingly popular in this hot spot.

It is the most vivacious summer spot on the island. Clubbers simply cannot resist the vast array of nightclubs and parties held during the summer months coupled with idyllic sandy beaches to dip into during the day.

7. Volunteer with Sea Turtles

Experience one of the last nesting spots for sea turtles in the Mediterranean and help with their conservation

In Cyprus you will find a few of the last nesting grounds of green and loggerhead turtles in the Mediterranean. In South Cyprus green and loggerhead turtles nest in the west coast of Paphos. In North Cyprus, loggerhead turtles nest in Alagadi beach and the Karpaz Peninsula. Here you can find a few green turtles as well.

Sea turtles in Cyprus nest between late May and mid-August. After hatchlings start emerging from their nest, there are numerous threats to the life of these majestic creatures. One such threat is light pollution since it disrupts the female sea turtle from laying her eggs and it also distracts the hatchlings from making their way to the water. Shockingly, only around one in a thousand hatchlings survives to adulthood.

Volunteers at the Lara Turtle Beach Conservation Project in Paphos locate nests and protect them from foxes and other predators. In North Cyprus, the Society for the Protection of Turtles (SPOT) was founded. They have managed to persuade builders not to remove sand from nesting beaches, tag turtles so that their movements can be followed and studied and protected nests from predators.

Kyrenia Harbour
Kyrenia Harbour

8. Fall in love with Kyrenia's old harbour

Go back in time in Kyrenia's Old Harbour in the North of Cyprus

Kyrenia Harbour is located in the historic town of Kyrenia in North Cyprus. The charming old harbour is small but it does not lack in character. The sea breeze and the cool mountain air make this also a welcoming respite in the hot summer months.

Amidst the stunning views, numerous yachts and fishing boats seek refuge in this harbour. The domineering Kyrenia Castle together with the breathtaking mountain backdrop make Kyrenia Harbour one of the most picturesque areas in all of Cyprus. You can also find a number of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants where you can sit and soak in the views while you eat. These alluring shops and eateries are housed in what were once carob storage warehouses. Cruise boats departing from the harbour are also available for trips to sandy beaches.

Hala Tekke Sultan next to Larnaca Salt Lake
Hala Tekke Sultan next to Larnaca Salt Lake

9. Wander in the exotic paradise of the Hala Sultan Tekke complex

Get lost in the spectacular garden of Hala Sultan Tekke in Larnaca with views of the Salt Lake

Hala Sultan Tekke is located next to the Salt Lake in Larnaca, just outside the old airport. Legend states that Islamic prophet Muhammed’s paternal aunt was attacked by Byzantine forces in Larnaca in 649. She was accompanying her husband on an Arab raid. She died on the spot and was buried in this location.

A mosque was built around her grave and it is the 4th most important holy place in the world for Muslims. The complex today consists of a mausoleum, a mosque, a minaret, a cemetery and living quarters. The complex is open to all and lies in a tranquil setting of the spectacular surrounding garden against the backdrop of the Salt Lake. During the winter months, thousands of flamingos decorate the Salt Lake with their romantic pink hues adding to the feel of an exotic paradise of the complex.

House of Dionysius Paphos
House of Dionysius Paphos

10. Amaze yourself at the spectacular Roman mosaic relics in Paphos

Go back to the second century A.D. in the House of Dionysius

The House of Dionysius in Paphos is a restored Roman villa. The main characteristics of this villa are the mosaic decorations and mythological compositions. The name of the house refers to the representations of Dionysius, the god of wine, within the house. The mosaics are excellently preserved and among the finest in the Mediterranean region.

The House of Dionysius is part of the Archaeological Park. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cyprus. Its elaborate floor is surrounded by eight Doric columns. Originally, it would have had an upper floor although today this has collapsed. The villa was built in a Greco-Roman style. It had been abandoned since the fourth century A.D. after a series of earthquakes.

Pack your Bags!

High Sierra AT3 Drop-Bottom Wheeled Duffle
High Sierra AT3 Drop-Bottom Wheeled Duffle

This 32-inch High Sierra Drop-Bottom Wheeled Duffrite carry-on bag is actually three bags in one--use it as a wheeled upright, a duffel or as a backpack. Its smart organizing features and cargo-friendly expandability will keep you going and geared-up no matter where you are. The molded foot allows duffel to stand upright and also acts as a handle for easy lifting. It travels easily using the corner-mounted, inline skate-style wheels and recessed, telescoping handle with exclusive Soft-Grip, and it offers hidden padded backpack straps stored behind the zippered padded back panel for quick airport trekking.

 
Samsonite 5 Piece Nested Luggage Set
Samsonite 5 Piece Nested Luggage Set

The Samsonite 5-Piece Travel Set is a comprehensive luggage set that even includes a toiletry kit. There's room for everything in the four luggage styles: boarding tote, duffel, 22 wheeled carry-on, and 26 wheeled packing case. The exterior is made of a durable 1200 denier polyester and the interiors are fully lined.

 
Rockland Luggage Four-Piece Luggage Set
Rockland Luggage Four-Piece Luggage Set

This beautiful deluxe 4-piece expandable luggage set is manufactured with the very best heavy duty polyester and pvc backing. It is designed for the traveller on the go and comes with three expandable uprights and a flight tote bag.

 

Some more travel guides to help you on your trip to Cyprus.

Have you ever been to Cyprus? - Tell us about your holiday in Cyprus! Have you tried anything in this list?

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    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 5 years ago

      I came to Cyprus about 7 years ago and I stayed. This beautiful island has so many wonderful things to offer, so much history to tell and so many activities to do. And after a busy day you enjoy a Meze with friends or a wine in a taverna close to the sea.

    • dave-sutton profile image

      dave-sutton 5 years ago

      Sadly they seem to have overdeveloped the tourist areas and places like Paphos have totally lost that Greek flavour. Venture out into some of the more remote places up in the hills and you would think that you are in paradise.

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 5 years ago from McLaughlin

      I have been to Greece--but not Cyprus! What a wonderful, beautiful place. Thanks for this great article!

    • Mark Shearman profile image

      Mark Shearman 5 years ago from Alicante Spain

      No but after reading this fantastic lens, I will be, thanks!

    • profile image

      Squidoo-Freak 5 years ago

      I love Cyprus. I spent my honeymoon there - and have been back for more a couple of times since then. One of the more memorable things we have done while there was to go on a jeep safari round the island, taking you to many of the sites above. Great lens!

    • aksem profile image

      aksem 5 years ago

      I have been to Cyprus in 1995. Lovely place.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed the virtual tour through Cyprus. I've never been there. The closest I've come to Cyprus is when I visited Istanbul, Turkey. Looks like a great vacation spot and well located too. I'd love to visit someday! :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 5 years ago from Australia

      I visited Cyprus many times in the 90s and loved every visit. Blessings for a beautiful lens and for bringing back beautiful memories.

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Cyprus is a place I've never been to, but it sure looks nice. Thanks for a great travel lens!

    • PTurner56 profile image

      PTurner56 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens! Looks like a great place to go!

    • greenmind profile image

      GreenMind 5 years ago from USA

      Cyprus? Why not! That's one place I've never been, but now it's on my list, thanks...

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      I would love to got there, especially the garden at Hala Sultan Tekke. Very nice lens.

    • profile image

      grega85 5 years ago

      nice lens :)

    • profile image

      pigeonisland 5 years ago

      I've heard about this country but i never been.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Lovely place to visit. I will definitely love to go to Cyprus after reading this lens.

    • serendipity831 profile image

      Drake McSherry 5 years ago from Milwaukee, WI

      Wow! Looks like a beautiful place. I'll have to add it to my list of places I must go to.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love seeing lenses about new travel spots. Yours is beautiful. Must add Cyprus to the bucket list. Thanks.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      I have never been to Cyprus, but it certainly looks like a fascinating place to visit.

    • JEMArtistry profile image

      JEMArtistry 5 years ago

      I've never been but I would love to. It looks beautiful!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

      I have never been but you have made me want to go to Cyprus.