With some of the best beaches in Europe and one of the warmest climates on the Med, Cyprus is the perfect holiday destination for long days in the sun. Home to fascinating historical sights, great food, and legendary hospitality, you’ll be planning your next visit the moment you leave.
From Roman ruins and ancient tombs, to caves, coves and hidden bays, this idyllic island has it all. Here you can spend you days partying, exploring or soaking up the rays.
We’re put together 6 of the best places in Cyprus for any kind of vacation. We’ve chosen carefully to cover families, couples and nightlife lovers, so you’re bound to find inspiration for your next holiday escape.
1. Ayia Napa
There’s no doubting Ayia Napa’s credentials when it comes to partying. Home to some top-class DJs in the summer months, things start to get lively in the afternoons, and don’t wind down until dawn. A mecca for music lovers, you’ll find bars and clubs pumping out everything from house and electronica to rock, reggae and 80’s classics. There are even a number of low-key bars for chilled-out evenings, and trendy cocktail lounges for upmarket nights out.
Life’s a beach
Ayia Napa is tailor-made for top beach holidays. Crystalline waters offer up some of the best snorkelling on the island, while the calm and shallow ocean is ideal for little ones to splash about in safety. Check out Nissi Beach, with its powder-soft white sand and beautiful azure water.
Despite the impressive array of fast food joints and international restaurants, there are plenty of traditional Cypriot eateries in Ayia Napa. One must-try is meze – a platter of tapas-style dishes designed for sharing. Favourites include fried halloumi, keftedes (roast pork belly) and ravani (a traditional cake).
Protaras is home to a host of beautiful beaches for couples, families and friends looking to unwind. The pick of the bunch is Fig Tree Bay, an idyllic stretch of white sand with clear blue water. The shallow bay is safe for little ones, while bigger kids and adults can zip across the water on a jet ski or parasail.
Hotels for happy holidays
For fun family holidays and romantic escapes, the hotels and resorts in Protaras are at the top of their game.
For couples, we recommend Hotel Grecian Park. The resort’s charming gardens and terraces are the perfect place to admire views of the bay over a glass of wine, while the large outdoor pool is ideal for cooling off after a day in the Cypriot sun. The up-to-the-minute spa features a range of holistic treatments, sauna, and steam room.
For families, Malama Beach Holiday Village offers an excellent mix of entertainment and relaxation for children and adults. Kids will love exploring the hotel pools, beach and playground, while organized activities ensure they’re happy all day long. Parents can take advantage of the spa and fitness centre, enjoy a drink at one of 4 bars, or chill out by the pool. In the evenings, dancers, singers and magicians put on an exciting show for the whole family.
With 30 miles of coastline, exciting historical sites and fabulous food, Paphos is one of the top destinations in Cyprus. For families, friends and couples, the island’s cultural capital offers plenty to see and do, whether its basking on a Blue Flag beach or exploring the charming streets of Paphos Old Town.
A top Cyprus attraction, Archaeological Park is a fascinating day out for all ages. This UNESCO World Heritage site features monuments dating back to the 4th century BCE, along with the intricate mosaic floors of four Roman villas. You’ll discover the impressive Tombs of the Kings, an elaborate burial ground built for nobility, as well as the ruins of an early Christian basilica.
Paphos is one of the top places for an authentic dining experience in Cyprus. Tavernas dish up generous portions of afelia (pork in red wine) and koupepia (stuffed vine leaves) that go best with a glass or two of locally-produced wine. For seafood lovers, you’ll find a number of restaurants along the waterfront serving freshly-caught fish, including tuna, swordfish, seabass, and shrimp.
4. Coral Bay Area
An ocean of fun
A short distance from Paphos, the lively resort town of Coral Bay boasts a beautiful beach for safe swimming. With shallow, warm water, Coral Bay Beach is ideal for couples and those holidaying with kids. Snorkellers get to see colourful fish swim in the enchanting pink coral, while experienced divers can take a trip out to the Zenobia, one of the world’s most famous wrecks.
Just north of Coral Bay lies Avakas Gorge, a stunning 3km hike through steep limestone cliffs. As you leap over the rocks, you’re sure to get a bit wet, so it’s best to swap out the flip flops for proper shoes! It’s worth it though, as this remarkable ramble takes you along rivers, through canyons and past wild goats. There’s even a deep pool at the end for a rewarding dip.
Take on the kids and sink a hole in one at Ithaka Amusement Park & Mini Golf! The 18-hole crazy golf course will take you over meandering streams and ravines as you put your way to victory. The park also offers bumper cars and arcades to round off an afternoon of fun away from the beach.
Sand, sun & style
With palm-tree lined bays and clean blue waters, Larnaca is a beach-lover’s paradise. Here you’ll find Finikoudes Beach, one of the most famous stretches of sand on the island, just a short walk from town. This Blue Flag-awarded beach is ideal for families with small children, as the shallow water makes for safe paddling. A promenade separates the bay from a myriad of boutiques, bars, and cafes.
The second of Larnaca’s beaches, Mackenzie Beach is a great all-rounder, with kid-friendly swims, water sports and bouji beachside bars all part of the set up. At the back of the beach, you’ll find an attractive promenade lined with palm trees and a scattering of stylish cafes for afternoon refreshments.
Take me to church
The beautiful Church of Saint Lazarus makes for a fascinating visit. According to the Old Testament, Jesus raised Lazarus of Bethany from the dead at this location. During renovation work around 50 years ago, human remains thought to be those of Lazarus were discovered in a marble sarcophagus, now on display to the public. The church dates back to the 9th century and is one of the oldest on the island.
The second biggest city on the island, Limassol has some fantastic beaches within easy reach. Lady’s Mile Beach, at nearly 5 miles long is the most impressive, and it’s easy to find your own stretch of sand away from the crowds.
For something more compact, hop over to Pissouri, where you’ll find a beautiful bay with steep cliffs at one end. The water here is clean and clear, with sun loungers and water sports available.
Behind the beach, there’s a charming village to explore, with a number of traditional tavernas, churches and shops. Head to the town square with its ornate central fountain surrounded by restaurants, where you can dine al-fresco in an authentic setting.
Families, friends and couples: you can’t leave Limassol without a day at Fasouri Watermania, one of the best water parks in the world! For young children, there are paddle boats, swings and shallow pools, all designed for maximum fun and safety. Bigger kids and adults get any number of adrenaline-pumping rides including kamikaze and extreme black hole slides, aqua tubes and mat racers.