There are so many amazing places to see in Cyprus, the list seems endless. The following are just a few of the many wonderful places that we think are worth a visit on your holidays to the beautiful island of Cyprus.
Visitors flock to Paphos harbour for the excellent views out to sea and the brightly painted fishing boats which frequent the harbour. Enjoy relaxing and watching the world pass by at one of the fish restaurants, tavernas or cafes which line the harbour side. To explore the areas coastline and beaches you can take a boat tour from the harbour.
Demolished by the Venetians, the castle is all that remains of a castle dating back to 1391. The Ottomans used it as dungeons and the British used it as a warehouse for salt. The castle, reached by a small bridge over a moat, is worth a visit for the great views it offers from the top.
The Paphos Mosaics
Whilst visiting the harbour and castle in Paphos don’t forget to see the colourful Roman mosaics which were discovered by accident in the 1960’s. After discovering the first mosaics more excavations were carried out, revealing a number of Roman houses which contained amazing mosaics depicting scenes from ancient mythology. These mosaics give an insight into the wealth and flamboyant lives of some of the Roman Paphiots. The main mosaics are found at the House of Dionysos, the House of Aion and the House of Thesus which are all situated near the lighthouse and fortress of Saranda Kolones, close to the harbour.
Located in Limassol, the ruins at Curium date from the 2nd century AD. There are two sites here, the old city of Kolossi and the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates which are very close to each other. With breathtaking scenery which overlooks the sea and a museum in the nearby village of Episkopi, these ruins are not to be missed.
Whilst visiting the ruins at Curium you should also visit nearby Kolossi Castle. The castle was the commanderie of the Knights Hospitallers (the name which was later given to the Commanderia dessert wine) and despite the castle changing ownership a number of times it is mainly linked with the Hospitallers and wine making.
A visit to the walled city of Nicosia should not be missed when visiting Cyprus. Built by the Venetians in the 1500’s, the walls and the eleven bastions surround most of the city’s most historic monuments. Visit the restaurants and shops along the winding streets of Laiki Yitoniak which is found inside the city’s ancient walls. To view the old and new city you can get an excellent view from the Ledra Museum and Observatory of the Shakolas Tower.
The House of Hadigeorgakis Kornesios (House of the Dragoman)
Also in the old part of Nicosia is the beautiful House of Hadigeorgakis Kornesios which can be found near the Omeriye mosque. Built in the 15th century it is a fine example of combined Venetian and Ottoman architecture. The dragoman was a powerful man who served as a translator to the Turkish governor and liaised between the Ottoman authorities and the orthodox Christians but was unfortunately beheaded in 1808!
If you love nature, you must visit the secluded Cedar Valley in Tilliryan Troodos. Full of indigenous Cyprus cedar (cedrus brevifolia), the valley is ideal if you are looking for some peace and quiet in a beautiful setting. Cedar Valley is also the home the moufflon (wild sheep which are native to Cyprus). These shy creatures can be seen, if you are lucky, wandering in the valley or at the enclosure at Stavros tis Psokas.
Panayia tou Araka
Throughout the Troodos there are many painted churches set in breathtaking scenery. A fine example is the Church of Our Lady of the Pea (Panayia tou Araka) which is one of ten painted churches on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Found near the village of Lagoudera, this tiny church sits amongst the trees and wild peas from which it takes its name and offers beautiful views down the valley. Dating from the 12th century, the newly cleaned frescoes inside the church are a marvel to be seen.
Dating back to the 6th/7th century, the remains of the stone-age settlements at Chirokitia are some of the best preserved Neolithic sites in the eastern Mediterranean. Discovered in 1936 and excavated in the 1970’s, this is one of the earliest settlements on the island of Cyprus and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The inhabitants of the settlements lived in single storey beehive-shaped houses; more than 50 of these houses can be seen at the site, along with the original streets and a large mansion.
Lefkara is actually made up of two villages, Pano (upper) and Kato (lower) Lefkara. As you wander along the streets of the village you will come across many shops selling beautiful local lace. This exquisite lace is one of the islands most famous exports, it is said that Leonardo da Vinci purchased some of this lace and took it back to Italy! To find out more before you buy you will need to visit the Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silver-smithing which is located in the house of Patsalos in Pano Lefkara.