Cyprus


Overview

Cyprus travel guide, including map and photos of Cyprus, top Cyprus travel experiences, food, drink and tips for travel in Cyprus

The Greek south of Cyprus has sat uncomfortably alongside Turkish North Cyprus since 1973, when the Mediterranean island was divided. This situation, possibly on the verge of resolution, makes an intriguing backdrop to any exploration of Cyprus, where modern history merges with some of the oldest relics in the region – just take a look at Kourion, where remains date back to the 13th century BC.

Cyprus can be extremely touristy – coastal hotspots such as Agia Napa, Lemesos and Larnaca are brash and over developed. But move away from these resorts and you’ll find Cyprus has a mountainous interior, great for hiking and cycling, and small villages clustered around Orthodox churches, the perfect place to hole up in a taverna and relax.

Wanderlust recommends

  • Stroll through no man's land – Walk through the no man’s land between the Greek and Turkish halves of Nicosia/Lefkosa, Cyprus’s divided capital
  • Hike up Troödos Mountains – Wander the undevelopedine countryside and Byzantine churches
  • Explore the traditional villages – Stick your toes into the stunning sands on the Akamas Peninsula
  • Get up early – wander around the ancient, coastal ruins of Kourion without the crowds
  • Pack a picnic – Spend a day at Petra tou Romiou, the picturesque place where Aphrodite allegedly rose from the sea
  • Find a local fisherman – And ask them nicely to zip you to the sea caves at Cape Greco, then jump in for a swim 

Wanderlust tips

  • Be wary when talking politics to the locals in Cyprus – the subject of the Turkish/Greek conflict is still too raw for some.
  • Do visit Cyprus’s turtle beaches, but tread carefully and do not interfere with the animals.
  • Cyprus is a strongly Greek Orthodox society; many shops don’t open on Sundays.
  • Remember to take your passport if you want to walk across to the Turkish side of Nicosia.

Further Reading

Travel in Cyprus: vital stats

  • Capital of Cyprus: Nicosia
  • Population of Cyprus: 789,300
  • Languages in Cyprus: Greek
  • Time in Cyprus: GMT+2 (GMT+3 Mar-Oct)
  • International dialling code in Cyprus: +357
  • Voltage in Cyprus: 220/240 volts, 50 Hz
  • Visas for Cyprus: Visas for Cyprus
  • Money in Cyprus: Euro. ATMs are easy to find and credit cards widely accepted. Tipping is appreciated.
  • Cyprus travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
    Cyprus tourist board: Visit Cyprus

When to go to Cyprus

Summer (June-August) is hot in Cyprus, with temperatures over 30°C. It’s also peak holiday season; Cyprus’s resorts are packed. Spring and autumn are more pleasant, and good for walking; April and May see the Cyprus hills covered in wildflowers.

Turtles can be seen on Cyprus’s beaches: females come ashore to lay in May, with eggs hatching a month or two later. Winter, from December to March can be cold, especially in the mountains.

Cyprus international airports

Larnaca International (LCA) 4km from Larnaca, Paphos International (PFO) 6.5km from Paphos

Getting around in Cyprus

Roads are generally good and distances short, so getting around Cyprus is easy. It’s best to hire a car, so you can explore Cyprus properly, especially for getting into the Troödos Mountains where there is no public transport.

Buses in Cyprus are frequent and well timed and good for getting around less rural areas, though do not run on Sundays. There are no trains.

Cyprus accommodation

There are plenty of villas and package-hotel options in Cyprus – most of the mid-range options will have swimming pools; these will get booked up quickly in July/August.

B&Bs in Cyprus are known as agrotourism; these are often renovated Cypriot village houses in rural locations with self-catering facilities – you will need a car.

At the extreme ends of the scale, Cyprus has a few hostels and campsites, as well as some luxurious five-star properties.

Cyprus food & drink

Food in Cyprus is delicious, with lots of fresh vegetables, fresh fish and tasty dips. Cyprus’s taverna-style restaurants are usually laid-back and welcoming, offering a range of typically Greek dishes: souvlaki (skewered meat), haloumi (squeaky cheese), dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), calamari.

Other Cyprus favourites include trahana (a yoghurty soup) and tava (lamb and beef stew). Vegetarians will find enough meat-free meze dishes to fill them up.

Coffee is generally black and strong – ask for it ‘glykos’ if you want sugar. KEO beer is the local brew, or try the palatable Cypriot wines.

Health & safety in Cyprus

 

No specific jabs are required for Cyprus. Take sunscreen and a hat to combat the summer sun.

If walking in the countryside, be wary of snakes (there are three poisonous types on Cyprus) – wear boots and socks, and don’t put your hands into crevices.

Tick-borne diseases can be caught in Cyprus – wear repellent and check your body for ticks after your walk.