Holidays to Cyprus tick all the right boxes, from beautiful beaches and ancient history to a serious party scene.

Cyprus is the holiday gift that keeps on giving, no matter what kind of trip you’re after. Solid sunshine? Sorted. Nightlife? No problem. History and culture? Heaps of both. And the island’s a firm fav for fly-and-flopping thanks to its beaches, with 64 Blue Flag wavers to its name. The sandy stretches are split between the lively towns that dot the coastline – you’ve got Paphos on one end, Ayia Napa on the other, and Limassol and Larnaca in between. And if you head inland, it’s all pretty villages and churches nestled in the valleys of the towering Troodos Mountains.

Why pick Cyprus

Rich roots

Known as the ‘Pearl of the Mediterranean’, Cyprus has passed through many hands over the years. The Greeks, Romans, and Ottomans have all left their mark here, so you’ll find a real mish-mash of cultures across the cities, from the cuisine to the architecture.

Ancient wonders

The island’s home to some seriously old stuff, like the age-old ruins of Kourion in Limassol. Built by the Greeks and later refurbed by the Romans, this complex of crumbling columns and stones was a bustling city in its hey-day. Still standing today are the open-air theatre, temple and bathhouse, as well a few surviving mosaics in the House of the Gladiators. Over in Paphos, you can visit the Tombs of the Kings, an underground network of burial sites that date all the way back to the 4th century BC. Not only are the fancy frescoes fit for a royal, but they’ve since been given UNESCO status.

Good enough for a goddess

Another big historical win for Paphos is Aphrodite’s Rock. Legend has it, the goddess of love walked right out of the sea here. Whether you believe it or not, the bluey-green waters and perfectly placed rocks definitely give off mythical vibes, so it’s as good a spot as any for a few holiday snaps.

Battle of the beaches

Coves, lagoons, bays – Cyprus’ beaches come in all shapes and sizes. Larnaca’s home to Nissi Beach’s white sweeps, though if you prefer gold, Coral Bay in Paphos tops the podium. Or, pick Pissouri’s pebbly shores and skip the sand altogether.

Party playground

After a proper party? look no further. Ayia Napa doesn’t need introducing – it’s been huge name in Europe’s nightlife game for decades thanks to its mega clubs, beach bars and foam parties. But if a craft beer or a cocktail at sunset’s more your speed, the town’s got a more chilled side away from the booming basslines, too.

Our pick

Take it from someone that's been there – here’s a top tip from our team:

“Paphos’ old town has lovely jewellery shops, and you can do a mosaic class if you’re feeling crafty. It’s also definitely worth doing a boat trip to the Blue Lagoon from Latchi Port. I’d recommend doing an Akamas Peninsula buggy tour, too – it’s a good idea to bring a scarf or goggles, though, as it can be super dusty!”Jess Houtby

The non-touristy pick

Instead of grabbing lunch on the beachfront in Coral Bay, hop in a taxi to Viklari Peyia, AKA The Last Castle. Built up on a hill in crumbling limestone ruins, this simple restaurant serves up traditional Cypriot dishes with a side of stunning views. You’ll sit under shady grapevines overlooking rolling vineyards and the sea. Bear in mind that taxis won’t take you the whole way, so you’ll have a 15-minute uphill walk from where they drop you off, but it’s so worth it for the scenery and it’s pretty cheap, too.

Best places to stay


The main attraction on the west coast is the ancient town of Paphos, with its textbook beaches and centuries-old sites. Starting up at the top, you’ve got the hilly old town packed with pretty streets, cute shops and charming restaurants. Head down towards the beach and you’ll find a harbour lined with cafés and bars – it’s liveliest here in the evening, so stop by at sunset. You can catch boats out to the Blue Lagoon from here, or stick to dry land and explore the Akamas Peninsula on a quad bike instead.


Limassol was the island’s largest port back in the day, and all eyes are still on its lovely marina, shared by colourful fishing boats and swanky catamarans. The city also has its fair share of history, with not one, but two castles. One’s named after the city, and the 13th-century Kolossi castle stands strong on the outskirts. Limassol might also ring a bell if you’re partial to a glass of the good stuff, as vino-lovers flock here every August for the Wine Festival of Cyprus.

Nissi Beach

It might only be a stone’s throw from Ayia Napa, but Nissi Beach is also a popular pick for families. Its dreamy beaches are on the shallow side so it’s ideal if you’ve got little ones, and WaterWorld is nearby with its super-sized waterslides. The Cape Greco National Park is 15 minutes’ drive from here, too. This easy-on-the-eye nature spot is covered in walking trails through pine woods and has hidden sea caves if you’re up for an under-the-radar dip.


Not far from Napa’s neon lights, Larnaca offers a more laid-back vibe. The focus is on Finikoudes Beach, which dominates the waterfront with bars, restaurants and huge hotels running alongside it. When it comes to culture, the city’s a bit of a melting pot. Check out the sand-coloured Saint Lazarus Church, the handiwork of the Greeks back in the ninth century. Then there’s the golden Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque, built right on the edge of the Salt Lake by the Ottomans. And depending on when you visit, you may spot a flamingo chilling out near the water.


Further to the east, Protaras is a big slice of zen. The six beaches here have more of a natural look with patches of rock and grass peppered along the coastline, and the star of the show is the tranquil Fig Tree Bay. Spend days out on the sand, popping into the cafés and restaurants along the main strip for some lunchtime meze or an ice cream. And to get your fill of scenic snaps, climb up to Profitis Ilias above the town – a sweet stone chapel with a seriously stunning sea view.

Picks that don’t cost a penny

Near the Akamas Peninsula in Paphos, it’s hard to miss the shipwreck EDRO III sat at an angle near the shore. The story goes that the ship hit the rocks here in 2011 while travelling from Limassol to Rhodes. It’s definitely worth stopping for a snap if you’re at the sea caves nearby, and it makes for a pretty dramatic pic at sunset.

Getting around

Whether you bus it between towns or go straight from A to B in a taxi, getting about in Cyprus is pretty easy.


If you're looking to explore on a budget, the island’s bus system is a reliable way to zip from one end of the coast to the other. If you’re travelling about on weekends or public holidays, it’s worth just checking the schedules are running as normal.

Car hire

For max freedom getting about, hiring a car is the way to go. The driving in Cyprus is on the left, so it's a breeze for UK drivers. The pocket-sized island means you can go from coast to coast in a flash, and makes it easy-peasy to check out all those secret spots. You’ll just need a valid driving licence, then it’s time to the road.


Taxi services are helpful for getting about on the fly, like those late-night finishers or when public transport isn’t cutting it. Make sure you agree on the fare upfront to avoid any surprises. They also have Bolt here too, which is like Uber and can be cheaper than standards cabs, so download the app and you’re good to go.

At a Glance

  • Get comfy on Nissi Beach’s white sand
  • Poke around ancient tombs in Paphos
  • Party in Ayia Napa’s mega clubs

Top Destinations