TOP-10 must-visit tourist attractions in Cyprus

by Yaroslav Medvedev

Hi, fellow traveler!


This is Yaroslav the CEO and co-founder of TakeAround.me - a service that helps tourists hire a driver for a day for sightseeing - and in this article I’m going to tell you about my second home and my favorite island on the whole planet Earth - Cyprus.


Below I’ve listed the top-10 tourist attractions in Cyprus. Of course, some of you may disagree with me on which sights should be added to the list, and which shouldn’t, but this is just a personal opinion of a person who has been coming to Cyprus every year (and sometimes even more often than that) since early childhood.

10th place - Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou)

Legendary place and, probably, the oldest tourist attraction on my list. Also, arguably, the most popular one - when you arrive at Larnaca airport and exit the Green corridor, you will see a large poster with the Aphrodite's Rock on it welcoming you to Cyprus (well, at least that was the case when the article was written).

According to the legend, as early as the Bronze age Ancient Greek Goddess of Love and Beauty emerged from the sea foam next to the Rock, and then the wind blew her to this particular beach.

It is said that whoever swims around the Aphrodite’s Rock 3 times will be blessed with eternal youth, beauty, and luck… I wish it was so simple, but maybe it will work for you :)

There is also a nature trail nearby, so if you are a fan of hiking you will totally love this place.

Petra tou Romiou is located ~25km away from Paphos and ~42km away from Limassol, and there is no way to get there via public transportation, but our drivers at TakeAround.me will be happy to take you to this legendary scenic spot.
9th place - Blue Lagoon (Paphos)

If you did some research on the top tourist attractions in Cyprus before, you probably already know about the Blue Lagoon. But did you know that there are actually two different Blue Lagoons in Cyprus that are located at the opposite sides of the island?

The one I want to talk about right now is in Paphos in the western part of the island (the other one is in Ayia Napa and I will mention it in this article as well).

The biggest and the most popular lagoon in the Akamas peninsula, the Blue Lagoon is a natural swimming pool with crystal clear turquoise-blue waters.

This area is not-so-easy to get to (unless you use TakeAround.me, of course, then you can just relax and enjoy the views of Cyprus while our driver takes you from one tourist attraction of your choice to another), and thanks to that the Lagoon remains one the most untouched and isolated beaches in Cyprus.

Also, plenty of fish live in the rocks, so if you like snorkeling, a visit to this place definitely should be on your to-do-list.

8th place - Сape Greco

Cape Greco is a rocky headland with a lagoon in the southeast of Cyprus (Ayia Napa), and, yes, I’m talking about that second Blue Lagoon, twin of the one I told you about just now. Needless to say, the waters there are also crystal clear and the shades of blue are truly magnificent.

Apart from the lagoon though, there is also an active lighthouse built by the British, spectacular sea caves that you’ve probably seen in some ads about Cyprus, and 9 nature trails with a total length of 16 kilometers, so I decided that Cape Greco definitely deserves a higher rank in my list, than the Blue Lagoon in Paphos.

Thanks to the submarine ravines and sea caves, whose formations remind of ancient palaces, this spot is also very popular with the divers, and in 2007, some of them helped discover and investigate an ancient wreck of the 2nd century AD in the marine area of Cape Greco.

Actually, according to the findings of the excavations that took place in 1992, Cape Greco is considered to be one of the most ancient settlements on the island. This fact explains why there are so many local legends about this area - you can find there a “Sinners Bridge” that is said to collapse once the greatest sinner on Earth sets foot on it, and the “Smugglers Caves” where, legend has it, pirates of the Mediterranean hid their loot.

Another myth of Cape Greco is that of a sea monster that inhabits the coastal waters and has the upper body of a woman, and a lower body of a dog.

Luckily (or unfortunately) you won’t find any pirates or half-women, half-dogs near Cape Greco, but what you will find is stunning views all around, so make sure you charge your phone or camera before you go there, because you will want to take hundreds of photos.

Signature of a "cypriot Banksy" - Paparazzi

7th place - Finikoudes Beach

Finikoudes promenade is a non-official center of Larnaca - alongside the 600-meter long stretch of the sandy beach you can find dozens of bars, restaurants and cafes, which makes it a perfect place to go out with your friends or your significant other both in summer and winter.
Named after small palm trees planted there back in 1922, this beach has a Blue Flag status and is perfect for swimming, fishing and jet skiing. Its calm and shallow waters are suitable for all types of travelers. The beach is located between the Medieval Castle of Larnaca and the Marina, from where you can go on a boat trip around the coast of Cyprus.

By the way, you won’t see any small palm trees there anymore - they were destroyed by strong sea waves in the first decades of the 20th century - back then the beach was not as wide as it is right now.
Another interesting fact about this area is that the art studio of Paparazzi - the most famous street artist in Cyprus is located just some 300-400 meters away from the Finikoudes beach and you may find some of his works nearby. I won’t tell you where exactly, though - try to find them yourself :)
6th place - Kourion

Located 13km west of Limassol, Kourion once was an important ancient Greek city - Greek settlers from Argos came here back in the 12th century BCE. In the 17th century it suffered from 5 heavy earthquakes, most of the buildings were ruined, and now very little reminds us about the glorious times when this was still a bustling and powerful town.
Today it is a peaceful area famous for its valuable historical monuments, stunning views from the top of the limestone promontory, and a pebble beach that was awarded the Blue Flag status for meeting high environmental and quality standards.
You can start your trip from the top of the hill, take a few breathtaking photos, then visit the archaeological site of Kourion, learn more about the ancient Roman Agora, House of Gladiators, Theater and Public Baths that once stood there, then swim in the sea and finish your trip with a delicious fish meze at one of the tavernas just meters away from the water.
Interesting fact: when you search for Kourion in Google maps, you may be a bit puzzled, because according to the map this territory belongs to the United Kingdom.
“Why so and are there any special requirements for people to get there?” - you may ask yourself.
The thing is that Kourion lies within the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri, military enclave in south-central Cyprus that was retained as a “sovereign base area” by the UK in 1959 under the London Agreement granting the independence of Cyprus.
However, the access to the area is NOT restricted, there are no borders and you won’t even understand when exactly you crossed it - so don’t worry - getting there by car is a piece of cake - especially if it’s a car of a TakeAround.me driver :)
5th place - Kykkos Monastery (Troodos)

You haven’t seen Cyprus, if you haven’t been to Troodos mountains. And you haven’t seen Troodos, if you haven’t been to Kykkos monastery.

It is located so high up in the mountains (1,318 meters!) that you can literally “have your head in the clouds”! Actually, if you go there when the humidity is high, you may find yourself emerged in a fog so thick, it may feel like you are in a hammam. A cold hammam though, because the temperature up there is pretty low, sometimes in winter it may even snow there, so make sure you take warm clothes with you!

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Monastery of Kykkos possesses one of three icons attributed to Apostle Luke the Evangelist. According to the legend, Cypriot hermit Isaiah miraculously healed the daughter of Emperor Alexios I Komnenos (1081-1118 AD). As a reward, Isaiah asked for the icon, and, even though hesitant at first, the emperor sent the sacred relic to Cyprus and ordered to build a monastery where the icon would be kept.
Kykkos now looks very different from what it looked like back then - now it is the wealthiest and the most lavish monastery on the island, probably because that’s where the first president of Cyprus - Archbishop Makarios III began his ecclesiastical career in 1926. His final resting place is also there - his tomb is just 3 km to the west of the Monastery and is open for any visitor.
4th place - Kyrenia

The most remote must-visit tourist attraction on my list - Kyrenia (or Girne in Turkish) - is often called “the jewel in the crown” of North Cyprus.
This city's history dates back to the 10th century BC, and its beautiful horseshoe-shaped harbor once played an important role in the trade of Cyprus with the rest of the world - Kyrenia benefited greatly from its proximity to the Turkish mainland (~65 km).
Unfortunately, this proximity to the Turkish coast also meant that this part of the island was the most vulnerable, and, indeed, that is where the Turkish troops started their intervasion from in 1974.

The narrow streets of the Old Town, fortifications of the Byzantine castle, and ancient port ooze history - so rest assured, if you visit Kyrenia, the experience will be unforgettable. Just make sure you allocate the whole day for this trip, because not only you will have to cross the border to get to the Northern part of the island, but also the road from the border to Kyrenia will take you 45 to 90 minutes, depending on which post you intend to enter from.

Citizens of most of the countries can go to the Northern part of the island with just a passport, but the regulations may change, so it is better if you double-check this information with us before you go. And, of course, if you don’t want to worry about passing through the border, driving there yourself, and just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride, you can always book an experienced local driver through us. In any case, just go to TakeAround.me, and leave your contact information or reach out to us directly through WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram or Messenger - we will be happy to help.

Centaurea akamantis

3rd place - Avakas Gorge

When I saw the photos other tourists took in Avakas Gorge, I thought: “Wow! Is it really in Cyprus?”
Then I went there myself and was surprised even more, because it is a whole different experience when you see it in real life.

As the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Avakas Gorge was created by a stream of water, now so small, that it’s hard to believe it, because in some places the walls reach 30 meters in height! During the winter months, however, the small stream becomes a torrent, which actually makes hiking quite unsafe, so I wouldn’t recommend going there in December, January and February.

Another interesting fact about this place is that it is a home to an extremely rare plant - centaurea akamantis - which can only be found in only one place in the world - the Avakas Gorge.The species is categorized as critically endangered so make sure you take a photo of it once you get there.
Centaurea akamantis is characterized by an extremely long-lasting flowering period (May to November), so chances are you will notice it.
2nd place - Limassol Marina

Limassol Marina is an exclusive waterfront development with a total area of 40.000m2 - a mix of restaurants and bars, luxurious villas with their own berths and heliports, expensive yachts, elegant shops, and specially designed spaces for cultural activities.

According to French Condé Nast magazine Limassol Marina is the most stylish resort of its kind in the Mediterranean, and it is a popular destination with the locals and tourists alike, that attracts on average 3000-4000 visitors daily.

Now add to this an attractive location next to the city center (Limassol Old Town), Molos promenade and a public Limassol Marina Villa’s Beach (a hidden gem that not even all the locals know about), and you will definitely agree that Limassol Marina deserves a high rank on my list.

It could have been the №1 tourist attraction in Cyprus, but there is one place that is so unique and of such high historical importance that it beats everything else I mentioned so far…
1st place - Varosha district, Famagusta

In the 1960s and early 1970s Varosha was once a booming resort and one of the most visited destinations in the world. It was a luxurious getaway for celebrities such as Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Brigitte Bardot, and was worth ~$150B.

Its beaches were considered the best in Cyprus and the streets were packed with glamorous boutiques and high-rise hotels. Also, the town was a hub for intellectual activity and art.

However, it all changed in 1974. That year Turkish troops invaded Cyprus, and the Greek-Cypriot residents of Famagusta evacuated from the city. Varosha was sealed off to civilians and since then everything remained “frozen”, so when you get there you have a feeling that you’ve just traveled 50 years back in time in a time machine.

Over the past decades nature has been slowly taking over, and now the buildings are damaged beyond repair - corroded metal parts, broken windows, and tree roots gradually working their way through the walls give you a weird feeling that everything around you is just a scenery for a post-apocalyptic film. But it is real, and the emotions you feel once you get there are hard to convey - you have to go to Varosha and see everything yourself.

And, once again, you can pass through the border, talk to the Turkish soldiers, and move around the Northern part of Cyprus yourself, however if you don’t want to deal with all this, you can always reach out to us (TakeAround.me) - we will find you a local driver who will pick you up, take you to the Northern side, stay there with you, and then safely take you back home.
Thank you for reading this article to the very end and I wish you a great stay in Cyprus!

Yaroslav Medvedev
CEO & Co-founder of TakeAround.me