20 Amazing Things To Do In Cyprus!

We first visited Cyprus years ago while seeking an escape from the European winter. We landed mid-October, found everyone was still enjoying the sun and beaches, and decided we never wanted to leave. The island nation is rich in culture, closely related to the Greeks, and has no shortage of lovely beaches and delicious places to eat.

Once again, this past year, we found ourselves in Cyprus coincidently in mid-October and enjoyed all the best food, beaches, and views this wonderful country offers. Here are a few of our favorite things to do in Cyprus!

Things To Do In Cyprus

Petra tou Romiou

Petra tou Romiou At Sunset With Beach Goers Leaving

Being a country with a rich and lengthy history, it should come as no surprise that an abundance of lore and myth has worked its way into everyday life here. Petra tou Romiou is an attraction reflecting this. A formidable sea stack formation in Paphos, it is widely known as Aphrodite’s Rock and hailed as the mythological site of the goddess’ birth – largely due to its solidarity in the waters and the foaming sea swell surrounding its base. It has also been described as being a part of Uranus’ lower body, left behind after he was mutilated and overthrown by his son Cronus at the behest of his mother, Gaia.

Though considered one of Cyprus’ top natural attractions, the rough waters don’t make this the best swimming spot in the country, nor can you safely climb the rock. However, for many, it is simple enough to be in the presence of a natural giant and maybe even feel the presence of the ancient gods in every breath of ocean air you take. You can also witness stellar sunsets here.

Cape Greco

An Aerial Shot Of Cape Greco And The Sea Caves

If you’re the kind of traveler drawn to the sea who can’t go more than a few days without a swim, this spot is definitely up your alley. Cape Greco National Park is a protected area particularly noted for the rich blue clarity of its waters and natural rock formations (including caves).

This is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts; it is a popular spot for cycling, hiking, cliff jumping, swimming, and even snorkeling in the rock’s sea caves. There aren’t any sandy beaches here to lounge at, but there are multiple access points into the water. You can also take a jump at the cliff jumping point! You can also follow the two-kilometer-long Aphrodite Trail to return to Petra tou Romiou.

A local fun fact: this is supposedly the home of the Ayia Napa Sea Monster, known colloquially as To Filiko Teras, which translates to The Friendly Monster. According to local legend, if you spot it, you will likely come away unharmed and with a pretty cool story.

Sea Caves, Ayia Napa

Natasha Sits Inside A Sea Cave In Cyprus

Ayia Napa’s incredible coastline is home to more than sandy beaches. Its coastline is scattered with impressive rock formations that stand firmly against the clear blue skyline; sea caves and hidden tunnels lie within these formations. The water depth is perfect for diving, snorkeling, and swimming, with a little protection from the sun. Legend has it that pirates once used these caves as hideouts for stolen booty.

The caves are accessible by land and sea, and many companies will offer transport and tours. In addition to swimming and diving, fishing and cliff jumping are also popular activities; in fact, the area’s local fishermen claim that this is a hotspot for octopus fishing. We’ve been cliff-jumping here on multiple occasions. It’s about a 10-meter jump, and you’ll have to work up the courage to jump, but it’s a thrilling experience for adrenaline lovers.

Nissi Beach

Nissi Beach With Crowds On A Sunny Day
This place is packed pretty much all the time.

Nissi Beach is a beautiful beach in Cyprus and a party-happy resort town. Located in Ayia Napa, the beach is a popular destination for locals and travelers for its musical scene, soapy foam parties, and live DJing. I’m a bit of a lounge on the beach with a book, and far away from other people, so Nissi isn’t my scene. But if you want to spend your day drinking with your friends by a beautiful beach, this is your place.

Nissi Beach is a 500-meter strip of white sand accompanied by crystal-clear water. This means you can spend your day under the hot sun and quickly transition to clubbing mode for the evening. The water is very warm and shallow here. You’ll need to swim a bit to get to the deep part, but it’s calm like most of the Mediterranean.

The beach is named for the tiny islet Nissi, which is just across the water from the coast and easily accessible on foot when tides are low. The islet is not inhabited but is a fun place to spend the day with other travelers before walking back across the water to participate in the evening festivities.

Coral Bay

GoPro Selfie Of Cameron And Natasha Kissing In Front Of Coral Bay

It’s hard to come to a place like Cyprus and not find a myriad of beaches at which to lounge away your days. Coral Bay is another one that deserves a mention among the endless list of things to do in Cyprus, for many of the same reasons as others: warm, crystal clear water perfect for a dip and bright white sand. Also offered here are various water sports and beach massages for as much adrenaline or relaxation as you want (depending on your preferred method of decompressing).

If you’re interested in history and archeology, there is a ruin site on one of the limestone headland rocks that marks the edges of the beach. The Maa Palaiokastro site marks a late Bronze Age settlement, including a variety of smaller buildings within it that show evidence of structures such as fireplaces, communal rooms, and even food prep areas. A 20th-century excavation discovered that the settlement was destroyed by fire, and its subsequent reconstruction was poorly done. The settlement was abandoned in 1150 BC, but its foundations remain a fascinating piece of the Early Chalcolithic period.

Kykkos Monastery

The Walkway Of Kykkos Monastery With Arches

The Kykkos Monastery isn’t exactly a historical building; its original structures burned down several times since it was constructed in the 11th century by a Byzantine emperor. However, it is still an impressive religious and historical site. Though the monastery’s history is lengthy, its main claim to fame today is the artifacts it houses – most notably, the golden mosaic icon of the Virgin Mary, to which much good fortune has been attributed throughout history (the ebbing of a locust invasion, for one).

Though the icon is probably the most famous element of the Kykkos Monastery, interestingly, no one can see it in its entirety; it remains partially covered and tucked behind a protective layer due to the legend that whoever looks upon it will be blinded. I would suggest venturing around the small town of Kykkos and taking your time in the Troödos Mountains.


A Photo From The Cliffsid Over Akamas Cyprus

Sometimes, the places that are the least accessible are the best experiences. Akamas is a mountainous cape northwest of Cyprus with a thick brush-like environment and very few paved roads, making navigation difficult; thus, it is a well-preserved region. It’s remote enough that until 2000, it was used by the British army for military exercises.

Despite its accessibility and roads, many attractions remain for visitors. The Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station is a loggerhead turtle sanctuary where you can observe, from a distance, the caged-off nests where these sea creatures have laid their eggs. If you pass through here between August and mid-September, you may catch the conservationists releasing the baby turtles into the sea.

If you’re up for a seven-kilometer walk, you can also visit the Baths of Aphrodite, where the goddess is said to have bathed. Akamas is peaceful, devoid of crowds, and a unique experience no matter how you spend your time here.

Church of St Lazarus, Larnaca

Steeple Of Church of St Lazarus, Larnaca

If the Kykkos Monastery structure isn’t quite old enough to satisfy your need for an ancient structure, the Church of St Lazarus is another worthy stop. Built in the 9th century, the church is named for Lazarus of Bethany, a man Jesus supposedly raised from the dead as one of his miracles.

He became the region’s bishop and was said to be buried there after his (second) death 30 years later; the church is supposedly built over his tomb. The church is located in the town square and was restored in the 17th century, so it is still in excellent condition today. It is open to visitors year-round and has no entrance fee.

Tombs of the Kings

Natasha And Kelsey Stand In The Tomb Of Kings

The Tombs of the Kings lie on the island’s western coast, close to Paphos. The ancient necropolis is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’re not already fascinated by tombs, then at the very least, you’ll want to visit for the structure and impressive architecture; though simple, the tombs were carved into the solid rock.

The tombs show many parallels with Egyptian death ideology in that the tombs of the dead should resemble the houses of the living, which is apparent in the pillars carved into the rock. Despite its name, no kings are buried here; rather, it is believed to have been the burial site of high-ranking officials and nobles as far back as the 4th century BC. Excavation began here in the 1970s, and discoveries of stamping on the different Rhodian amphora clay pots are helping to establish the chronology of various burials.

Mount Olympus

View From Mount Olympus On Cyprus

If you’re a hiker, adventurer, or someone who loves views, make a point to visit Mount Olympus. The highest point in Cyprus means the views won’t be too shabby. It’s even high enough that there is a ski resort with four ski runs covering a range of skill levels.

The views are supposedly better in the winter, with a dusting of snow on the hills and peaks below, making for some spectacular scenery. There is a chair lift to take you to the top but be prepared for a moderate walk of approximately seven kilometers across terrain that isn’t overly difficult but can be challenging at times.

There is a British long-range radar at the highest peak, but despite this, there are still lookout areas perfect for the just-climbed-a-mountain view. A geographer even wrote that one of the mountain’s promontories had a temple dedicated to Aphrodite that women were forbidden to enter.

Kato Paphos Archaeological Park

 Kato Paphos Archaeological Park

Kato Paphos Archaeological Park is one of the most fascinating things to do in Cyprus, whether you are a history buff or not. Located in Paphos, it is the site of many critical Greek and Roman city discoveries, ranging in time from the prehistoric period to the Middle Ages.

Among the most notable discoveries are four villas: The Houses of Dionysus, Theseus, Aion, and Orpheus. Many have grandiose atriums in the center and tremendously preserved mosaic flooring depicting scenes of hunting and mythology. Additional discoveries have been made of theatres and the nearby necropolis of the Tombs of the Kings.

Fig Tree Bay

Once classified as one of the best beaches in Europe, Fig Tree Bay is a pristine paradise with soft white sand, clear water (which earned it the Blue Flag award), and plump fig trees that line the coast. Incidentally, that’s how the beach got its name. Unlike many beaches in the area, which can get rowdy, Fig Tree Bay is popular with families and has a more laid-back atmosphere.

During high season, the beach offers a multitude of water sports, such as parasailing, windsurfing, and waterskiing, to name a few. Whether you decide to get your heart rate up or rest under the sun on the warm sand, this is a perfect spot for a kick-back beach day. Umbrellas and chairs line the beach in the high season and are available for rent for €5. Get here early for the best spot this beach can get packed.

Kolossi Castle

The Kolossi Castle On A Sunny Day

Formerly a stronghold for the Crusaders on their mission, the castle was originally built sometime in the 1200s, though it is not certain who built it. During the Medieval period, when the Crusades were at their height, the castle was particularly important for its partial use in producing cane sugar, an important and profitable export of Cyprus at the time. Today, the sugar mill’s aqueduct is visible.

The region is also well known for its sweet dessert wine, Commandaria, named after the Knights Templar commander during their religious persecution age. Produced today exactly as it was at its conception, it is believed to be among the oldest continually produced wines anywhere in the world.

Machairas Monastery

An Aerial View Of Machairas Monastery

The Machairas Monastery has a history as fascinating as the Kykkos Monastery. The monastery’s origins are steeped in legend; it is said that a hermit smuggled one of Luke the Apostle’s 70 icons into his cave. It remained undiscovered until after his death when two other hermits had to knife their way into the cave to retrieve it. Afterward, the monastery built on this now-holy site was named after the Greek word for knife, makhaira.

The monastery houses a collection of manuscripts and religious artifacts and can be visited year-round. Today, a brotherhood of monks live here and practice an extremely devout lifestyle. Though open to the public, no photography or videography is permitted on site.

Agios Neophytos Monastery

Agios Neophytos Monastery

Another monastery for the list, but it’s hard not to include them when they’re as breathtaking as this. The Agios Neophytos Monastery is located west of Paphos and was founded in the 12th century. Originally a cave that was carved into the rock, the cave was then decorated with Byzantine frescoes and icons; a steep stair climb down will take you straight there to see the original structure and the pillars that were carved from the rock.

The main building today is a Venetian-inspired basilica dating from the 16th century. Originally, it housed its own religious artwork, though little survived the passage of time. The site is inexpensive to visit—only 2 Euros—and the caves can be explored for an extra small fee.

Konnos Bay

Konnos Bay On A Sunny Day

Have you ever imagined soaking up the sun on a moon-shaped beach at the bottom of a forested hill? At Konnos Bay, that dream can become a reality. It is a picturesque beach that has quickly gained the attention of tourists and locals. It’s perfect for a day at the beach with family or loved ones.

The water in the photo? It is that color – you don’t need to spend a fortune on a vacation in the Maldives or French Polynesia to enjoy this. However, during the summer season and UK holidays, this is another Cyprus beach that gets horrendously packed. Finding space in the sand to set your towel on will be hard. Or you can fork over the €3 for a beach chair. The café overlooking the beach is also a must; it’s a terrific place to enjoy a nice cold Frappe.

Avakas Gorge

Cameron Does A Handstand In Avakas Gorge

Avakas Gorge is a beautiful piece of nature on the Avakas peninsula. If you love walking, hiking, and being in nature, this is for you! Here, you’ll find walls 30 meters high, amazing rock formations, and rare megafauna and flora.

The hike is pretty straightforward and easy, but I recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes and watching your step, as it can get slippery. The best way to get here is with a 4×4 car, although we made it in a sedan by driving carefully and slowly.

Edro III Shipwreck

Edro III Shipwreck At Sunset

If you’re into seeing shipwrecks and getting some cool photos, head to the Edro III shipwreck. The Edro met an unfortunate fate not long ago, in 2011 when a storm swept it into the rocks. Thankfully, no one died, and fuel was removed from the wreck quickly so that pollution was avoided. Now, it’s becoming a popular tourist attraction for those wanting to see a relatively new shipwreck. It’s well worth the journey and is nearby the Paphos sea caves!

Get Soaked at a Waterpark!

Kelsey, Cameron, and Natasha With A GoPro Selfie On Water Slide

That’s what we did when we found ourselves in need of some adventure. A few waterparks are scattered throughout the country, and they make for a great trip if you’re looking for something to do with kids in Cyprus.

The Waterworld waterpark near Ayia Napa provided us (three grown adults) with a lot of fun for the day. It’s well-managed, clean, and has plenty of rides. With the Mediterranean climate, waterparks in Cyprus generally stay open until the end of October. Come during the week or in the offseason for fewer crowds.

Enjoy the Food!

Tzatziki And Pita

Most Cypriots are Greek by heritage, and it is evident in their food and culture. Meze is a big deal here, and so are all of the typical dishes that come with it. You have savory kleftiko if you’re a meat eater, cool tzatziki, creamy hummus, and doughy pita bread.

We found meze at a good tavern to cost around €20 a person, and the average entrée cost €15 (our favorite was Kambana Restaurant in Paphos). You can also easily get a good pita for €5; a real Greek frozen yogurt will cost €3.50. Groceries can also be very cheap if you have a kitchen.

Great feta, halloumi, pita, olives, cucumbers, yogurt, pomegranates, and whatever else is in season are cheap at places like Lidl and Metro. We ate for about €10 a person, with a nice spread of food: hummus, olives, tzatziki, cheeses, meat, and pita. If you’re a coffee fan like us, head to Coffee Island and enjoy a Frappe for €3.50—nobody makes coffee like the Greeks and Turks!

Get Around Cyprus

A Cute Cat in Cyprus

Getting to Cyprus from mainland Europe has never been cheaper, with budget airlines like RyanAir servicing the island. Paphos city buses run €1.50 one-way. Long-distance buses to other cities typically cost around €7. An automatic rental car can go for €15 a day in the low season up to €35 a day in the higher seasons (automatic) and will ensure you get to all the best places in Cyprus.

Knowing how to drive a manual car will get you better prices in Europe. If you’re traveling as a group, hiring a car for your trip is worth your while. We traveled around Cyprus for one week last time and paid about €25 a day in the high season, which was a pretty decent deal, in my opinion!

About Natasha Alden

Natasha is the co-founder of The World Pursuit. She is an expert in travel, budgeting, and finding unique experiences. She loves to be outside, hiking in the mountains, playing in the snow on her snowboard, and biking. She has been traveling for over 10 years, across 7 continents, experiencing unique cultures, new food, and meeting fantastic people. She strives to make travel planning and traveling easier for all. Her advice about international travel, outdoor sports, and African safari has been featured on Lonely Planet, Business Insider, and Reader’s Digest.

Learn more about Natasha Alden on The World Pursuit About Us Page.

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