Fancy a holiday in Cyprus? With its clever mix of UNESCO-rated sights, charming history, traditional cuisine, and a whole portfolio of stunning beaches, we’re not surprised it’s one of the best places to visit in the Med right now. Now all that’s left to do is decide whether you’re Team Paphos or Team Larnaca…
Wander around World Heritage Sites
Cyprus and World Heritage Sites go together like halloumi and tzatziki. Thanks to its long timeline of history, there are more than just a few top-rated sights that’ll tempt you away from the infinity pool and those obligatory All-Inclusive cocktails.
In Paphos, you can spend the day exploring sights like Aphrodite’s Rock – AKA the birthplace of the goddess of love – and Tomb of The Kings. These underground tombs date back as far as the 4th century, and are marked by amazing frescoed walls and impressive Doric columns. And although the name might suggest otherwise, no kings were actually buried here – the frescoed tombs, which were carved straight into the rock, were reserved for ancient aristocrats.
Larnaca certainly isn’t short of impressive historical sights, either. Topping the list is the 9th-century Church of Saint Lazarus. It’s one of the most important Byzantine monuments in Cyprus, and was built to house the tomb of Agios Lazaros. This place is considered the most photographed attraction on the island, thanks to its beautiful, honey-coloured stonework that’s sure to give your Instagram followers major holiday FOMO.
Experience Ayia Napa’s legendary nightlife
Whether you’re after casual cocktails or a fully-fledged night out on the town, you can bet that both sides of Cyprus pull out all the stops.
Some of Paphos’ most sought-after pubs and bars reside in Ayiou Antoniou. One of the best places to sample local tipples is at Gina’s Place, where the menu offers 300 different wines, so it’s the perfect place to start your evening. And for when it’s time to hit the dancefloor, the Old Town is just 10 minutes’ taxi ride away. Here, you’ll find a mixture of Cypriot tavernas and trendy bars, where local DJs take to the decks in flower-covered courtyards until the early hours.
While Larnaca is most famous for its gorgeous strips of sand and laid back atmosphere, its party animal neighbour, Ayia Napa, is just 40 minutes’ drive away. In fact, its huge selection of up-all-night-clubs rivals the White Isle’s, so it’s one not to be missed. We suggest going for a drink or two at the main square, where lively bars and those all-important 2-4-1 cocktails are just part of the deal. Then, you can wander over to the huge nightclubs, like The Castle Club and Soho, where garage, dance, and R ‘n’ B music are all on the agenda. Wherever you choose to go, we guarantee you’ll be dancing ‘til sunrise…
Take a dip in bath-warm waters
Thanks to Cyprus’ gorgeous scenery, excellent weather, and prime position in the eastern Mediterranean, it’s the perfect place to unwind outside. And with plenty of sun-soaked stretches of sand up its sleeve, it’s a real-life haven for sun worshippers. Need we say more?
Holidays in Paphos mean you’ll have easy access to Coral Bay, which is just 30 minutes’ bus ride away from the old town. Here, the main Blue Flag beach is fringed by limestone cliffs, and plays host to a couple of bars and tavernas that’ll keep you fuelled up throughout the day. When it comes to activities, you can sign up for watersports, like windsurfing, catamaran trips and scuba diving, so the kids and adults alike will never be bored. And for when you fancy some peace and quiet, Corallia Beach is just a few minutes’ stroll away. This place is well-known for its shallow, bath-warm waters that are perfect for families with little ones.
Over in Larnaca, everyone’s raving about secluded Konnos Bay. This stretch of sand is the perfect place to relax if you’re looking for solitude as it’s currently a hidden gem that only the locals know of. On top of that, because it’s backed by steep hills, it’s really well sheltered, so the water is practically wave-free. Don’t be surprised if you spot starfish in the sea, either – they’re a frequent visitor in this part of the island.
Explore Cyprus’ wilderness
At first glance, Cyprus’s calling card may look like its picture-perfect beaches, but there’s so much exploring to be done away from the bright-blue seas – we’re talking mountainous national parks and wildlife-filled forests, to name a few.
In Paphos, you can swap days by the pool for exploring the Akamas peninsula. This nature reserve is covered in a blanket of citrus orchards and bright-green forests, so it’s the perfect way to keep cool in the day when temperatures can reach up to 33 degrees. You can also sign up to an off-road adventure of the Akamas peninsula, which will take you on a bumpy ride through the wildlife-rich Avagas Gorge and Lara Bay, where you’ll visit Port Latchi and the mythical Baths of Aphrodite.
It wouldn’t be a holiday to Larnaca if you didn’t visit the Troodos Mountains, which are set in Troodos National Forest Park. It’s the largest (and most beautiful) mountain range in Cyprus, and aside from jaw-dropping views, you’ll also have access to pine forests and tiny hidden villages. We think the 4×4 Troodos Safari is the ideal way to soak up all the nature this place has to offer. On this tour, you’ll hop onto a 4×4 and be whisked around the national park’s bumpy terrain, ticking off vast meadows and bird-filled forests as you go.