What to see in Cyprus in a week: the most interesting attractions and the car travel route on Cyprus.
It so happened that our relationship with this island did not start immediately. Before that, I had been there several times, and for various reasons, the love affair with Cyprus did not work out, which we’ll skip.
But from the second time onwards, our relationship improved, and we had a great time on this wonderful island. Every time after returning, I want to go back again; it’s like a “drug.” I tried to maintain a neutral tone in the narrative to avoid influencing perception.
The trip turned out to be rich; the main goal was to explore interesting new places and gather material for the blog before the beach season. Among other things, I had never been to Northern Cyprus before, so we planned the car route taking that into account.
The post is informative; I will focus on the most interesting points of the route with a short review of each place and coordinates.
At the end of the post, there will be information about our overnight stays – all hotels and apartments that I can recommend for a stopover and rest.
Car Route on Cyprus
Larnaca – Agia Napa – Cape Greco – Konnos Beach – Salamis – Famagusta – Hillarion Castle – Kyrenia – Nicosia – Paphos – Aphrodite Beach – Kolossi Castle – Kourion – Limassol – Governor’s Beach – Zygi – Larnaca
Larnaca — Agia Napa — Cape Greco
A late arrival necessitated an overnight stay in Larnaca, a morning walks through the city we know well, and a departure to Agia Napa, where we planned to spend at least a couple of days.
Agia Napa is the beach capital of Cyprus, essentially consisting of the main street Nissi Avenue and several hundred apartments and hotels of all ranks. In April, the price for good accommodation is 15-20 euros per day for two.
The best beach is Nissi Beach; you can read about it here. However, we belong to that rare type of people who cannot sit even on the best beaches for more than a couple of hours, with a bar, of course. So, we thoroughly explored the beaches of Agia Napa and then headed to Cape Greco.
Cape Greco in April is a place of amazing beauty in Cyprus. The combination of the juicy turquoise color of the water with no less juicy yellow dandelions haunted us for several days. Cape Greco is a natural park, in the far corner of which, closer to Protaras, a cozy beach — Konnos Bay — is nestled.
Protaras at this time of year (April) represented more of theoretical and informational interest — it is the second most popular beach destination in Cyprus. Couples will stroll along the long promenade by early May, while Cypriots tidy up the beaches.
Protaras is suitable for families with children and those who love good sandy beaches with developed infrastructure. There is no vibrant nightlife here, but buses 101/102 go to Agia Napa, taking 20-30 minutes.
The popular beaches in Protaras are the long Sunrise Beach and the iconic Fig Tree Beach (35.01283, 34.05881).
A significant part of our journey in terms of perception, but not in terms of time.
Before Famagusta, immediately after crossing the so-called border, we stop to see the historical ruins of Salamis. I don’t remember how they ended up in our plans; I probably read about them somewhere.
Initially, they were planned as a “checkmark,” but unexpectedly, we liked the ruins – an amphitheater, headless ancient sculptures, all against the backdrop of ubiquitous dandelions, a yellow carpet covering the millennia-old history of Cyprus.
Coordinates of Salamis: 35.18576, 33.90313
Famagusta and the Ghost Town of Varosha
Famagusta is an ancient medina (historic center) and the eerie coast in the Varosha area – a city divided by the UN-mandated neutral territory.
Famagusta’s Medina is a pleasant tourist spot with fortress walls, churches, and a converted Orthodox church of St. Nicholas into a mosque. Against the backdrop of all this, there are cafes and small observation platforms — overall, for a couple of hours at most, though this is a personal perception. I didn’t want to linger here longer.
We go to the Famagusta district — Varosha, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It is a disputed territory between the Turks and the Greek Cypriots. After the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and its division into two parts, the Varosha area remains no man’s land and is guarded by UN forces. The locals left here to return after the conflict settled, leaving apartments and houses with all their household belongings. But more than 40 years have passed, and Varosha remains a ghost town, fenced off with barbed wire and ominous warning signs and guard towers with machine gunners.
The wide strip of the beach, however, is accessible for visiting, but only people with disturbed psyche, in my opinion, can rest and enjoy such a place. Judging by the functioning cafe, such people exist.
Coordinates: 35.11972, 33.95752
Kyrenia (Girne) and Bellapais Monastery
After the heaviness of Famagusta, we try to dilute it with mountains and head to Kyrenia with a visit to the Bellapais Castle-Monastery. The places are beautiful, but every exit from the car is accompanied by stern shouts of Turkish soldiers — No Photo and promises of trouble.
The weather is also not very kind — apparently, we hit one of those 60 cloudy days a year that happen in Cyprus. Neither fog in the mountains nor clouds nor the military can spoil the impression of the beauty of Bellapais Castle and its surroundings. I recommend this place.
We descend to Kyrenia — a beautiful city, an ancient promenade, a castle, a marina, cafes, restaurants, many European tourists even in the low season. Kyrenia is a must-visit place; I will probably have to write more about it.
The capital of both parts of Cyprus, divided by a wall into two parts — the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish one.
To see the wall, it is enough to walk along the beautiful shopping street Ledra. At the end of this street is a checkpoint through which you can enter the Turkish part of Cyprus. To do this, you need to have a passport. On this street, there are many atmospheric cafes and restaurants.
We drive a large piece of Cyprus and head to Paphos, where an overnight stay is planned. We will return to the mountains on the way back to Larnaca.
Paphos is a popular resort in Cyprus. Modest fortress, rocky or sandy beaches, a cozy promenade with quite expensive restaurants.
Near Paphos, we inspect the well-known Coral Bay Beach (34.85441, 32.36904) and Corallia Beach (34.85802, 32.35977). The car allows you to reach these places from our apartments in 15 minutes. There is also a semi-sunken ship and beautiful sea caves (34.88337, 32.33267), which can also be seen from the shore.
Details about Paphos will also be discussed, and it turns out to be a voluminous description of the route.
There are places that are purely touristy, and there are those where the tourism level is several times higher. Ordinary rocks, a pebble beach – there are millions of such places in Crimea, plus one with a pebble beach trampled by package tourists. Next to it is a bus stop and an underground pedestrian crossing to the beach through the highway. Of course, a market and a souvenir shop.
In the season, you can visit only if you pass by. Specifically, coming here is only recommended in the low season when there are fewer people.
Limassol and Surroundings
There are many beaches in Limassol, and in addition, there is a beautiful new marina with a promenade, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a long seafront.
In the vicinity of Limassol, we have come across several interesting locations, including Kolossi Castle, ancient Kourion, Governor’s Beach, and the village of Zygi, which is discussed below.
Kolossi — the ruins of a castle, restored and fairly well-preserved, did not make a strong impression, but according to reviews, many people like it there. Next to the castle is a good confectionery with Cypriot sweet delicacies — a recommendation from our local friend.
Coordinates of the Kolossi confectionery — 34.67071, 32.93438
If you are coming from Paphos, Kourion is not far from Limassol, on the way. The same ruins as Salamis in Northern Cyprus.
Coordinates: (34.66537, 32.88588).
After wandering among the columns and amphitheaters with a view of the Mediterranean Sea, it eased a bit. I can recommend this place.
Kourion, in addition to its ancient and historical significance, is an excellent viewing platform and a place where it is just pleasant to wander, especially in the low season. From here, you have views of the beach and the Mediterranean Sea. Due to the lack of greenery and summer heat, it is unlikely to be more interesting than in spring.
A fresh and new place for us, which our Cypriot friend also recommended. A fishing village that now serves as a weekend getaway for residents of Limassol and Larnaca.
A cozy marina with fishing boats and many fish taverns, just don’t come here on weekends – very crowded with locals (34.729, 33.33802).
Many, including reputable online publications, call Governor’s Beach one of the best beaches in Cyprus. To say it mildly, it’s not quite true, but the beach is small and cozy, even in the season, there are fewer people here than in popular places.
From the infrastructure — sun loungers, stone steps to the beach, a beautiful restaurant above the sea. Next to Governor’s Beach are White Stones, a beautiful place with white chalk-like stones.
There are several parking lots — near Governor’s Beach and above White Stones. The place is beautiful — worth a visit on the route. Here are the coordinates of this beach (34.71826, 33.27564).
In the mountains of Cyprus, we visited several villages. I will focus on Lefkara because the place is very popular with both tourist groups and independent travelers. It is located not far from Larnaca and Nicosia, so you can include it in the route from both Larnaca and after Nicosia, for example.
Lefkara is famous for its beautiful stone architecture in the Greek style, as well as jewelry and lace artisans. It is a must-visit, especially if you are in Cyprus for the first time and want something more than just beaches.
Upper Lefkara and Lower Lefkara are distinguished; you need Pano Lefkara (upper) — it is more beautiful (34.86736, 33.30556).
This time, we did not go to the Troodos Mountains, but I have been there before. It’s worth including in the route if you have a couple of extra days or sacrificing something from the route.
We return to Larnaca — here is the palm-lined Finikoudes promenade, Cypriot wine, and local taverns.
I can recommend Valia’s Souvlaki tavern (34.9015, 33.63644) — budget places to eat. It nesstled in the same area as the recently renovated and popular Best Western Plus Larco Hotel, on the outskirts of Larnaca at the end of the pedestrian promenade towards the airport. The hotel’s highlight is a heated pool in the winter months, from November to April.
Mothers with children love Larnaca Bay — expensive villas and a small beach; adults will find it boring here, but it’s just right for children.
Hotels Where We Stayed in Cyprus
Ayia Napa — Myriama Apartments, a wonderful budget place for any length of stay. The sea is 15 to 30 minutes away, depending on the beach. But if the goal is to travel and see Cyprus, it is an excellent budget and comfortable choice.
Paphos — Panklitos Tourist Apartments — a bit far from the sea, suitable for an active travel program. Rododafni Beach Apartments — an excellent choice for a beach holiday in Paphos, if you manage to book it — the place is one of the best in Paphos in terms of price-quality, so it is very popular. Highly recommend it.
How to Find a Budget and Comfortable Hotel
We use only Booking.com; we love it for its good selection, predictability, reliability, and prices, as well as flexible booking conditions. We have tried no less than a dozen booking systems.
How to Buy a Cheap Flight to Cyprus
I use the Aviasales service. Here, there are cheap tickets, a map of low prices that helps plan vacations, convenient and reliable.
How to Book a Car in Cyprus
In the past 10 years, our trips to Cyprus have become regular, almost every year, sometimes twice a year, we fly like to a summer cottage. In 90% of cases, we rent a car, use the LocalRent website – here are the best car rental companies in Cyprus