“There are six major cities in Cyprus, each one of them serving as the capital of the six districts of Cyprus. Each of these cities has its unique character and this is one of the main characteristics of Cyprus: its diversity despite the small size.
There are also some very interesting towns and many villages each with a unique style, well worth a visit. […]
It is impossible to get to know Cyprus in only one visit and this is the reason why people keep visiting the island again and again.
City of Nicosia
The city of Nicosia is the biggest city in Cyprus. It is also the capital city of the Republic of Cyprus, and, of course, the capital of Nicosia district. Nicosia is the only city of Cyprus that is not built by the sea. Instead, it is built in the central plateau of Cyprus, almost in the middle of the island. Its population together with the surrounding urban areas is about 245000.
Nicosia was one of the 12 ancient kingdoms of Cyprus that were created by the ancient Greeks around the 8th century BC. Its ancient name was Ledra. Because of its position in the middle of Cyprus, Nicosia did not have the growth of the coastal cities.
Nicosia became the capital of Cyprus during the Byzantine period, on 647 AC. It followed the destruction of Salamina, which was the capital of Cyprus until then, from the raids of Arab pirates. Since then Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus.
During the centuries, the city had the ups and downs of the turbulent history of Cyprus. Today Nicosia is a modern and very interesting city to visit, with many places to visit.
- Visit the old city of Nicosia within the Venetian walls. The area is very beautiful, with interesting buildings and many shops and restaurants.
- Visit the Archaeological Museum of Nicosia, the biggest in Cyprus. There are many treasures to admire in the museum. Also, the Folk Art Museum of Nicosia is a very interesting museum to visit.
- Explore the monuments, historic buildings and statues scattered everywhere in Nicosia. Of them, I mention the House of HadjiGeorgakis Cornesios, a medieval era manor house, the Eleftherias Square which received a recent, very modern, overhaul, and the Monument of Liberty.
The Nicosia International Festival of performing arts is always very interesting to attend. Nicosia is full of monuments and sights, museums and theaters, galleries and art centers, squares and parks, festivals and events, shopping streets and shopping malls, tradition and modern, waiting for you to explore.
City of Limassol
Limassol is the southernmost city in Europe. A modern, cosmopolitan city, the visitors prefer it for its festive nature, the fantastic hotels, the food, the events, the shopping and all other amenities and opportunities for having a good time. The population of Limassol and the surrounding urban area is about 185000.
Limassol is situated between the ruins of two ancient cities, Amathus to the East and Curium to the west. Despite finding graves from around 2000 BC, the city of Limassol did not flourish until the end of the 12th century AC.
During the Byzantine era of Cyprus, 330 until 1191 AC, Limassol existed only as a small settlement. In 1191 the king of England, Richard the Lionheart, occupied Cyprus from the Byzantine Empire. Since then Limassol started to progress, yet again it followed the fate of Cyprus, with many conquerors changing during the centuries that followed.
Today Limassol is a cosmopolitan city, a financial center especially for marine operations, with the busiest port of Cyprus. It is also a very attractive city, with residents known for their extrovert nature, and hundreds of thousands of visitors who visit it every year and enjoy their holidays.
- The seashore of Limassol that extends for many kilometers, with many beaches to bath and many shops, virtually on the sea, to enjoy.
- The Limassol marina and the nearby promenade have become a hot spot with thousands of visitors every day.
- The old town of Limassol and the nearby castle. Shops with handicrafts, restaurants, bars, live music, this is a lively and very interesting place to visit.
The ruins of ancient Amathus to the east and Kourion, (Curium), with the famous ancient theater, to the west.
Limassol Wine Festival
Among the many festivals that take place every year in Limassol, the wine festival is the one that marks the city. Held every year from the end of August until September, is a celebration of wine with many events happening, and thousands of visitors, locals and tourists alike, visiting it every night. A must-visit if you are in Limassol, or even in Cyprus when the wine festival takes place.
City of Larnaca
Larnaca, with the biggest and busiest airport in Cyprus, is the entry point to the country. Larnaca lies on the south shore of Cyprus, on the eastern part of the island. The population of the city of Larnaca and the surrounding urban area is around 85000.
Historical traces in the region of Larnaca trace back to 10000 BC, the pre-Neolithic era. The history of the city of Larnaca dates back 6000 years, thus history and myth are mixed and lost into ancient times.
Larnaca was first known as Kition. According to the myth, it took its ancient name from Khittim, who was the grandson of Noah. According to this story, Khittim built the first settlement in the area after the cataclysm.
The first city-kingdom of Kition historically established in the 13th century BC, from Greeks after the Troy war. Because of the significant ancient port of Kition, many rulers passed and left behind their traces, like the Mycenaean Cyclopean walls, the Kamares aqueduct, the Basilica Church of Saint Lazarus, the Hala Sultan Tekke, and many others.
Today Larnaca is a modern city with beautiful, clean beaches, many sightseeing and events, good food and nice nightlife.
- The salt lake of Larnaca, famous for its flamingos.
- Finikoudes promenade is the focal point of Larnaca. It took its name from the palm trees in the area (Finikoudes in Greek). A wonderful beach, the nearby Larnaca marina, restaurants, bars, shops, and cultural events attract many people almost every single day.
- Church of Saint Lazarus, devoted to Lazarus who raised from death and was the first Bishop of Larnaca, is a Basilica more than 1000 years old.
- The Hala Sultan Tekke, or Umm Haram mosque, is considered one of the holiest places of the Muslims in the world.
- The busts of two notable ancient citizens of Larnaca, Kimon the Athenian, a general of the 5th century BC, and Zeno of Citium, one of the greatest ancient philosophers who was born here.
- The Kamares aqueduct
Kataklysmos, the flood day, is celebrated all over Cyprus, but the celebration at Larnaca stands out. Many cultural events take place for a week before and after the Kataklysmos day, which is in early summer.
City of Paphos
Paphos district takes the western part of Cyprus. The city of Paphos is located on the south-west part of Cyprus. As of 2011, Paphos had a population of almost 33000.
Paphos was first built during the ancient years at the place of today’s Kouklia. It was the ancient capital of Cyprus and there was a shrine devoted to Aphrodite, which was renowned in the whole Ancient World.
Nea Paphos, which means New Paphos, was founded by Nikoklis in the 4th century BC, at the place of today’s Kato Paphos.
Paphos was the capital city of Cyprus from the 2nd century BC, until the 4th century AC when the capital transferred to Salamina in Ammochostos district. Since then the importance of Paphos declined. During the turbulent centuries that followed, the position of Paphos declined.
Because of its very long, rich, and old history, Paphos was declared the Cultural Capital of the European Union for the year 2017.
Today, Paphos is the capital of Paphos district. It is a very beautiful, modern city, and it is considered as one of the best holiday resorts in the Mediterranean Sea.
- The small harbor at Kato Paphos with the castle. Enjoy a refreshment just next to the sea and take a stroll on the long promenade, a local tradition for decades.
- The Archaeological Park at Kato Paphos, a World Heritage Site
- Visit the old town and discover many small shops with handicrafts and local produce. During the night, visit the main square of Paphos, with many restaurants and bars, and places with live music.
Paphos is famous for its Paphos Aphrodite Festival. The event is an Open Air Opera, held the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of each September, outside the castle at Kato Paphos, with the castle being part of the stage design
Famagusta and Kyreneia
Awaiting their freedom from the Turkish occupation.
Since 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus and illegally keeps 40% of its territory, both Famagusta and Kyrenia are under occupation.
Famagusta is since then a ghost city as their inhabitants had to leave. Famagusta is on the west part of the southern shore of Cyprus.
Kyrenia on the other hand is on the northern shore of Cyprus. In a few ways, it is similar to Paphos, a small, beautiful city, with its port and a castle at the port.
Interesting towns in Cyprus
Protaras and Agia Napa (Famagusta)
Located one near the other these two touristic towns in Famagusta district are on the south-west shore of Cyprus. They both offer great tourist infrastructure and some of the best sandy beaches not only in Cyprus but in the Mediterranean. Their difference? Agia Napa is a party place (they always try to get rid of this, but this is the fact), while Protaras offers a less noisy holiday, more suitable for couples and families.
Pissouri is a village about half the way between Paphos and Limassol. The village where the locals leave is on a slope about 2-3 km from the touristic place of the area, the Pissouri bay.
At Pissouri bay there are many hotels and other tourism-related infrastructure, while the village of Pissouri itself is well-known for its grapes, their variant of halloumi cheese, called pissourkotiko, and other agricultural products.
A very interesting small town in the mountains of Larnaca district, Lefkara is a very nice, traditional place known for all the good reasons: Its unique Lefkara lace, only produced here, its silversmiths, and the loukoumi of Lefkara (a sweet traditional dessert, created in a unique way only used in Lefkara). There are also many other attractions and activities to do in the area. For accommodation, there are many traditional purpose-rebuilt and renovated houses and a few small hotels as well.
Polis Chrysochous (Paphos)
Polis is a town in the north part of the Paphos district. Together with the beautiful villages near it, it is also a sub-region of the Paphos region. Beautiful nature and beaches, history and tradition, charming villages, fresh local produce at the restaurants make for serene, relaxing holidays.
Pegeia and Coral Bay (Paphos)
Pegeia is the second largest town of Paphos. Its location on a hill slope overlooking the Mediterranean Sea offers beautiful views of the greenery and the sea. Coral Bay is a very touristic area which belongs administratively to Pegeia. With the Coral bay beach, one of the best beaches in Cyprus, and many very good hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related services, Pegeia and Coral Bay are also the entry point to Akamas, the largest national park of Cyprus.
Platres, or Pano Platres (Troodos)
Platres lies at an altitude of about 1200 meters. It is the main mountain resort in Cyprus. Like all the villages in Troodos, it is located in the pine forest, with many streams around it, which form fountains and waterfalls. Platres is one of the wine villages of Cyprus and accepts visitors during the summer for its cool and dry climate. During the winter the visitors come to enjoy something different for Cyprus, a few days in the snow. There are many hotels and traditional houses and cottages in the village and the surrounding area for those who wish to enjoy a different type of holiday in Cyprus.
Agros (Troodos / Nicosia)
Agros lies at an altitude of 1100 meters, in the Pitsillia region of Troodos mountains. Hidden in the pine forest of Troodos, Agros is a very nice traditional village. In addition to the wonderful forest and nature, there are very important historical, religious and cultural sites in and near the village. Agros is also known for its traditional products, like sausages, chiromeri and lountza, made of pork meat, and various traditional sweets and other natural products, based mainly on a variety of roses cultivated locally. Agros is also one of the wine villages of Cyprus. Accommodation is available in hotels and in traditional agrotourism cottages.”