10 Incredible Sights and Attractions in Cyprus
10 Iconic Landmarks in Cyprus
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea after Sicily and Sardinia. Though geographically it is part of Asia, it is politically a European country and even part of the EU. Cyprus is basically divided into 6 administrative regions each named after its administrative capital. While the Republic of Cyprus administers the Paphos, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Famagusta district, districts like Kyrenia, most of the Famagusta and the northern tip of Nicosia district are controlled by the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, since 1974.
The best and the most convenient way to explore Cyprus, at your own pace, is by renting a self drive car. And if you are looking where to stay in Cyprus, you can always check out some amazing properties on Booking.com, however, we recommend booking your own Cyprus Villa, especially if you are travelling with your family or friends.
And while you might be inclined to just spend time lazing on the beach, there are a plethora of activities that you can do in Cyprus, and a couple of amazing sights and attractions in Cyprus that you can visit during your tips in Cyprus.
Having said that, scroll down, and find 10 such landmarks in Cyprus that you should definitely have on your Cyprus Travel Bucket List.
Petra tou Romiou / Aphrodite’s Rock
Popularly known as the Aphrodite’s Rock, Petra tou Romiou, is one of the most iconic Instagrammable landmarks in Cyprus, and the perfect go to destination for a swim in the waters on a sunny summer afternoon.
The legend says that it was here, where the goddess Aphrodite was born out of seafoam. However, it’s not only this link to Greek Mythology that attracts tourists to Petra tou Romiou, it’s also the beauty of the place, specially the giant rock formation that protrudes out of the sea, that acts as the main crowd puller.
Legend has it that Aphrodite – the Goddess of love and Adonis – the God of beauty and desire were madly in love, and the waterfall near Krya Vrysi and Lakkos tou Fragkou that is today known as Adonis Bath, was one of their favourite hangout spots back then.
It is also said that the citizens of Paphos are descendants of the two lovers.
If you love adventure, you can even go hiking on the picturesque hiking trail here.
One of the most iconic and easily recognizable monasteries in Cyprus, perched at a height of 1,318 m in the Troodos Mountains, Kykkos Monastery is definitely something that you should be visiting on your first trip to Cyprus.
The monastery is dedicated to Virgin Mary, and entry to Kykkos Monastery is free of charge.
However, be advised that, as Kykkos Monastery is perched in the mountains, you need to hike your way up. So prepare accordingly.
Dating back to the early 4th century, the Stavrovouni Monastery sits on top of the hill of Stavrovouni, 750 meters above sea level. The monastery was founded by the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, St. Helena, who left a piece of the Holy Cross in the monastery.
Today, Stavrovouni Monastery is one of the only places in the world where such a relic can be seen, which is one of the main reasons why Stavrovouni Monastery should be on your Cyprus Bucket List, apart from the picturesque location.
PS – There is no entry charge to enter the monastery.
One of the most interesting and unique sights in Cyprus are the Paphos Mosaics, dating back to the period between the 3rd and 5th century A.D., covering the Hellenistic period to the Byzantine period.
Located near the Paphos harbor, these are some of the most beautiful and well-preserved mosaic floors in the world as of today.
Kato Paphos Archaeological Park
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1980, Kato Paphos Archaeological Park is a blend of ancient Greek and Roman social and cultural life, and encompasses most of an ancient city that was the capital of Cyprus between the 2nd century B.C. and the 4th century A.D.
While most of the ruins date back to the Roman period, there are also monuments that span the history of the area from the prehistoric era to the Middle Ages, and even though the highlights include four Roman villas, a theater, the Forty Columns Castle, and the ruins of an early Christian basilica, one of the most remarkable discoveries however, in the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park includes four villas from the Roman period with striking mosaic floors still intact.
The park is open every day of the year and there is a small admission fee.
The Troodos Mountains in the southwest of Cyprus, are home to some of the prettiest churches and monasteries in Cyprus holding vibrant paintings and frescoes dating back to the medieval times, and dotted with quaint instagrammable villages full of traditional stone cut houses and cobblestone alleyways.
It’s no surprise that 9 of these churches have also been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites, which is a compelling reason in itself to have the Troodos Mountains on your bucket list, and the best way to explore is by having Limassol or Nicosia as your base. However, there are some quaint boutique properties in the villages in the Troodos Mountains that you can also check out.
Located in the Troodos Mountains, standing at 1952 m (6404 ft), Mount Olympus, located in the center of the island, is the highest point in Cyprus.
If you love adventure, you should definitely have Mount Olympus on your Cyprus travel itinerary, irrespective of what time of the year you go. In the summers, you can go for some hiking, and in the winters you can indulge in activities such as mountain skiing.
Overlooking the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea, the views are spectacular throughout the year.
Kyrenia is without a doubt, one of the prettiest towns in North Cyprus, which still reeks of the Old Ottoman character of its harborside old district.
Not only can you find plenty of Instagrammable spots in Kyrenia, it also makes for an excellent place to just stroll and soak in the timeless atmosphere and vibes. There are also plenty of quaint cafes overlooking the harbor, where you can have a sumptuous meal with a glass of wine, overlooking the vast blue sea.
Larnaca Salt Lake
Located southwest of Larnaka town ( just 4 kms from Larnaca International Airport) and east of the villages of Meneou and Dromolaxia, the Salt Lake – known locally as ‘Alyki’ — is one of four lakes in Larnaka. Together, with Lake Orphani, Lake Soros and Airport Lake, the lakes collectively cover a total area of 1761 hectares.
Larnaka Salt Lake, which is home to several migrating bird species, including the flamingoes, is also the second largest salt-lake in Cyprus and measures 2.2 square kilometres.
In winter, the lakes are inhabited by flamingos, while in summer, high temperatures cause the water to evaporate, leaving salt crusts.
According to legend, the lake’s saltiness stems from Agios Lazaros (Saint Lazarus) request of an old woman for food and drink. She refused, claiming her vines had dried up, to which Lazarus replied ‘may your vines be dry and be a salt lake forever more’. A more scientific explanation, however, is that the salt water penetrates the porous rock between the lake and the sea, making the water very salty, and Earlier, this salt was harvested and was one of the major exports of the island.
If you are an adventure lover and prefer the outdoors more, then you might want to check out these cycling trails and nature trails too:
PS – If you like staying in Villas with your friends and family, then do check out Villa Empire, where some amazing villas from around the world have been listed.
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