14 things to do in Nicosia, Cyprus

20 things to do in Cyprus

You can find almost everything in Cyprus! Seems like a hackneyed phrase from a brochure, but the rich history of the island has turned Cyprus into the one place you can admiringly say, “What’s not to be found here!”

In a relatively small area coexist ancient theaters, castles of English kings, Turkish mosques, French Gothic and famous throughout Europe nightclubs. The list of 20 things to do in Cyprus and the local wine will help you not to go mad.

1. Hang out in Ayia Napa.

That’s what you’re all going for, right? During the warm months (and Cyprus has no other months), Ayia Napa becomes one grand party. It is always fun and everyone can find a place to his/her liking – from Russian disco with netlens by Dima Bilan to pathos club with some very fashionable local DJ.

2. Go to another country.

Cyprus is not only the Republic of Cyprus. The island is divided into two parts, one of which is the unrecognized Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. There is a border between the territories, but it is conditional. On the Turkish side, there are a lot of interesting things, everyone understands this very well and tourists are not prevented from traveling almost freely from north to south and back. Just do not forget your passport.

3. To visit a vineyard

The oldest profession in Cyprus is probably the winemaker. This is where the famous wine “Kommandaria”, known since the Middle Ages, comes from. There are many distilleries on the island, and many are willing to let travelers watch their work. One of the best is considered Vouni Panayia Winery.

4. Get into Shakespeare

Shakespeare is loved here if only a little less than in England. For art lovers the “Shakespeare Nights” festival is held every year in the ancient theater of Curion. And in Famagusta there is a whole castle of Othello. Supposedly, the basis of the famous play was the story of the Italian Maurizio Othello, who commanded the troops in Cyprus. No one knows for sure, but Cypriots believe it and are terribly proud that Desdemona was strangled here.

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5. Go to the rock of Aphrodite

Another famous woman associated with Cyprus, according to legend, is the Greek goddess Aphrodite. This is where she emerged from the foam of the sea. Standing alone in the middle of the azure sea, the rock of Petra tou Romiou is supposed to resemble the goddess. If you don’t think so, it’s not our fault.

6. Make friends with a donkey.

Donkeys are a symbol of Cyprus. It even bred its own island breed. At the donkey farm in the village of Skarinou you can talk to these friendly animals (opening hours can be clarified on the website ). And for just €24 a year you can make a good deed and become a guardian of one of the pets of The Donkey Sanctuary, an organisation dedicated to rescuing donkeys all over Cyprus. All details are here.

7. Taste local craft beer

Wine alone will not be enough, the Cypriots decided, and began to brew beer on the island. You can get acquainted with the range at Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery – they can arrange a tour and give you a tasting. You can find the address and sign up for a tour here.

8. Swim to a sunken ferry

The Swedish ferry Zenobia, carrying giant trucks, sank amazingly well: only a mile and a half from the port of Larnaca. No one was injured and divers and their sympathizers from all over the world were left with this gorgeous spot. You can see the artificial reef formed in 1980 from a plane or through the transparent bottom of the boat – or swim there yourself, with the necessary equipment and, if necessary, an instructor.

9. Go to the Museum of Fairy Tales in Nicosia

No, it’s not just for kids (although it’s for kids too). Here books fly under the ceiling and in one of the rooms lives a fairy tale Alice. The space of the recently opened museum resembles in its detail the setting for a quest, which is partly true: quests are also conducted here. If your hearts don’t melt so easily, the museum will be useful at least from an educational point of view: here you can learn a lot about the theoretical basis of the fairy-tale world.

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10. To meet flamingos.

There are several salt lakes in Cyprus, where you can see pink flamingos in their most natural habitat. Most of them in winter, from November to March, but there are flamingo noncomformists who stay on the lake all year round. The two main gathering places for sunset children are Larnaca Lake and Akrotiri Lake.

11. See the ghost town.

One of the popular tourist neighborhoods of Famagusta, Varosha, was abandoned by all inhabitants in one day after the Turkish invasion in 1974. Since then, the area has been in a state of total desolation. The area is fenced and monitored by the military and you have to pay a fine to get in, but even behind the fence you can see the abandoned houses and the empty windows of the hotels and understand what the post-apocalypse is really like.

12. Check out the gravity.

Not far from Paphos is the Anti Gravity Road, an anomalous area where everything is not like people. The main entertainment on site is pouring water down the road that will flow uphill, rolling balls that ignore the visible descent, and shooting video evidence that none of this is fanciful.

13. Visit the ruins of a Gothic abbey

It seems like Cyprus is all ancient temples and ornate medieval forts? Not at all. There are enough Gothic masterpieces left from the times of the Cyprus Kingdom. One of them is Bellapais Abbey. Not that it has survived in its entirety, but what it is, looks like a set of a historical movie.

14. Not to die of gluttony

The famous Cypriot meze is not a dish, but rather a tradition. No one will go hungry, and you have to try hard to leave the table alive: the meze includes 20 or even 30 different dishes! Some of them may be sauces or olives, but others are quite full meat or fish appetizers. All in all, meze is such an express way to get acquainted with Cypriot cuisine in one sitting.

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15. Stroke the sacred seal in the monastery

In Cyprus, an entire monastery is devoted to cats! This is St. Nicholas Convent, and the concentration of cats per square meter here exceeds any norm. They are honored in the monastery (as well as all over the island) for the ancient victory over snakes, and to reward them with goodies. There’s no reason not to join in.

16. Walk through Avakas Gorge.

One of the most unusual natural sites on the island is located 16 kilometers from Paphos. An inconspicuous road leads to the gorge, which is immodestly called the local wonder of the world. Okay, we believe it: the limestone walls with a narrow passageway are really impressive and give the impression of something extraterrestrial.

17. Going to the castle in Limassol

All means are good to attract tourists. This castle, for example, is fascinating by its association with the English King Richard the Lionheart (who is from the legend of Robin Hood). According to legend, there was a basilica on the castle grounds where he was married to his wife Berengaria. Today inside is a museum of the Middle Ages.

18. Walk along the Cape Greco

From the natural “Bridge of Lovers” there is a wonderful view of the bay, which is home to Ayia Napa, the monster that is better known as Scylla in Homer’s “The Odyssey”. From a less mythical point of view, Cape Greco is part of a long coastline. Despite the tourist popularity of the cape, it is much easier to find an empty or almost empty beach here than in the same Ayia Napa.

To see the Tombs of the Kings

Actually, kings were not buried in this necropolis near Paphos: it was used for nobles. But that’s not so important – the main thing is that an impressively sized underground city with houses, galleries, columns and other attributes of a beautiful afterlife has remained here.

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20. Descend into the dungeon of the Church of St. Lazarus

In one of the main churches in Cyprus is the second tomb of St. Lazarus. Why the second? Because this saint was resurrected on the fourth day after his first death. The church, which today is one of the symbols of Larnaca, and had time to be a mosque, and got a Gothic portico, so it is interesting not only as a Christian shrine, but also as a unique architectural object.

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