Places of Interest in Cyprus

Being an island with such a varied and interesting history, there are many, many places to explore and delve into the past. There is a wealth of archaeological sites, museums, castles, monasteries and old Cypriot churches, all are well worth the visit. Throughout Cyprus, the typically Mediterranean landscape is still blessed with the timeless beauty of antiquity. There are crusader fortresses framed by tall cypress trees, Greco-Roman theatres carved out of cliffs and Byzantine monasteries perched on mountain tops.

Sophisticated cities successfully balance the ancient and modern. The capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia), is surrounded by Venetian walls with heart-shaped bastions, Larnaka, site of the major international airport, is also home to St. Lazarus Church and the crypt of the eponymous saint resurrected by Christ.

Near the harbour in Paphos are the Roman well preserved floor mosaics of the Houses of Aion, Achilles and Dionysus depicting scenes from mythology.

A visit to local wineries enables you to sample and savour the produce of the islands vineyards which are blessed with plentiful sunshine.

Ayia Napa Situated on the South East Coast of Cyprus, Ayia Napa is not only home for party fanatics but those who are beach lovers and watersport enthusiasts. The rugged coastline has endless Blue Flag beaches with long stretches of sand to relax on or why not hop onto a banana boat or try out parasailing and explore the crystal clear waters.  

Argaka Argaka has a lovely picnic area adjacent to the beach and is a perfect way to spend a day relaxing in the shade of the trees. The original houses in the old part of the village were built with hewed limestone or igneous pebbles from the stream running through the village. Upper Argaka stands upon a slope with excellent views towards the sea and of Paphos forest. The east part of the village has officially been deemed as a region of natural beauty.

Nicosia Nicosia, (Lefkosia) the capital of Cyprus remains a divided city since the Turkish occupation of the north in 1974. The old city within the 400 year old Venetian walls is a maze of narrow pedestrian streets with arts, handicrafts and traditional workshops working alongside modern shopping areas and up-market restaurants. Nicosia is home to many museums, most linked to the distant past but some refer to a more recent history of British rule and of the Turkish invasion. This is a fascinating city to wander and learn more about the island's rich history.

Aphrodite's Rock Aphrodite's Rock is one of the most famous spots in Cyprus. It lies between Paphos and Limassol just off the main highway. The area has been linked to the tale of the Byzantine hero Dighenis who, the legend goes, threw huge rocks at invaders to destroy their ships. According to mythology, Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love and Beauty, rose from the water and was born to the world and this was her place of worship. A visit at sunset is an ideal photo opportunity.

Tombs of the Kings Just on the edge of the town of Paphos are the Tombs of the Kings. These impressive tombs, built in Doric style, form part of a burial ground used from the 3rd century BC up to the 3rd century AD. Persecuted Christians made it a place of refuge, long after. The modern day excavation started in 1977 and has uncovered 3 very large tomb complexes and the investigation of many smaller tombs.

Troodos Mountains When Cyprus reaches its highest temperatures during the hot summer months there is nothing better than a day discovering the Troodos Mountains which rise to 1950 metres. Located towards the western area of Cyprus, the high altitude refreshes with crystal clear air. There are picturesque villages, many with their own specialised local handicraft or even a locally distilled spirit. There are many fascinating churches and monasteries with ten Byzantine churches on the UNESCO list of cultural treasures. The most famous monastery is Kykko with its wealth of gold adorning the walls and high ceilings.

Larnaca On the south east of Cyprus is the fast expanding small city, Larnaca. It hosts the busiest airport on the island and the second largest port. The atmospheric old town is alive and bustling with shoppers. It has a pedestrian area, Zenon Kitieos, with many bars and restaurants. Visit the 17th century church of St.Lazarus with its own Byzantine museum.

Down at the waterfront pay a visit to the medieval museum in the grounds of Larnaka fort and have a leisurely stroll along the palm lined promenade to the marina. Here you will find yachts from all over the Mediterranean. The large pink flamingos return to the salt lake area of Larnaca every year and visitors flock to see them soaring in the sky.

Pissouri Pissouri is in two halves. Pissouri village is set on the side of the hill and has an authentic character, with its cobbled streets and traditional tavernas. Pissouri bay is a golden sand/shingle beach with white stone cliffs and fresh shimmering waters.

Just a short drive down, through the vineyard strewn countryside, from the main Paphos/Limassol highway, it is an ideal place to relax on the beach but be within easy reach of the larger resorts. Tavernas and restaurants set alongside the beach offer a variety of dishes, sea food meze being a favourite. Pissouri is a very short drive from two golf courses and the famous Rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou). Here, it is said, is the place where the goddess of beauty and love emerged from the waves. An "absolute must" spot for the romantics and a perfect evening sunset photograph.

Paphos Mosaics The Paphos mosaics situated close to the Paphos Castle and harbour, the remarkable mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos, Theseus and Aion, are beautifully preserved after 16 centuries under the soil. The mosaic floors of these elite villas dating from the 3rd to the 5th century are among the finest in the Eastern Mediterranean. They mainly depict scenes from Greek mythology. The Paphos Mosaics are one of the most historic sites on the island of Cyprus. They are considered to be the finest mosaics in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Saint Paul's Pillar Saint Paul’s pillar is located at the church of Agia Kyriaki close to the harbour in Paphos. It is built on the site of an ancient Basilica, which dates back to the 4th Century AD. At this time it was a 7 sided church with 2 apses to the east of the central aisle. It is said that Saint Paul came to Paphos along with Mark the Evangelist and was tortured here on what is known as St Paul's Pillar where he received 41 lashes for preaching Christianity.

Ayia Thekla Taking its name from an ancient nearby church, Ayia Thekla is a small coastal village south of Protaras. A nice setting that is still relatively undeveloped, the area has a small sandy beach and a tiny nearby island. Such attractive surroundings, coupled with the close proximity to Protaras, Paralimni and Ayia Napa have seen Ayia Thekla grow in to an up and coming residential area. Ayia Thekla’s synonymously named church is considered one of the oldest landmarks in the region, dating back to the middle ages. According to local records, the monument suffered severe damages over the centuries at the hands of foreign conquerors.

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