We hadn’t exactly been planning to include Cyprus in our European itinerary, but when searching for a budget airline connection between Belgium and Crete (Greece), we found that we could get a great fare by passing through Cyprus. And why just pass through, when we could stop and have a bit of an explore.
So suddenly we found ourselves with a week to spend on the island of Cyprus.
We love history, culture, and road trips. This itinerary will take you to all of the main sights on the island and then some. You could easily spend longer in Cyprus – this itinerary is fairly fast paced. I would not recommend cutting your time any thinner than a week though, especially if you are interested in doing all or most of the items on this list.
Arrival, Day 1 and Day 2
Most likely you will fly into the airport at Paphos, which makes this city the best place to start your adventure. The airport is located pretty near to the city, and we picked up our hire car directly from the airport.
You will want to spend a minimum of two days in Paphos. Its a great little city to get your bearings, and some fantastic archeological sites are located here. Also the weather is fantastic and there are some great beaches nearby as well.
if you are interested in history and archeology, then do not miss the Paphos archeological site and the Tombs of the Kings. You can read more about what to do in Paphos in our post here.
Limassol and Ancient Kourion
On Day 3, pack up and head to a new hotel in Limassol, the commercial heart of Cyprus. But Limassol isn’t really your destination. While the city is nice, it’s not really a tourist destination. However, the drive from Paphos to Limassol is not to be missed, and our favourite archeological site, Ancient Kourion, is located along the way.
Even though the straight driving distance between Paphos and Limassol is just over an hour, it actually took us all day to reach our destination due to all the great stops between. You can read more about our road trip from Paphos to Limassol here.
Troodos Region and the UNESCO Byzantine Painted Churches
Day 4 and 5
This was my favorite part of Cyprus. I loved the fresh mountain air, the quaint little villages perched along the hills and in the valleys, and the adventure of visiting all ten of the UNESCO Byzantine painted churches.
The churches are really unique and unlike anything else I have yet seen during my travels, but again, most of the fun was actually traveling between churches and trying to locate the tiny hidden away historical gems at each location. You can read more about the Painted Churches of Troodos here.
Even if you don’t intend to visit all ten churches, I still recommend spending a minimum of two days in the region.
On our last day we decided to do something a little different, so we drove from Troodos to the capitol of Nicossia and crossing the disputed border into the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. This is probably the most peaceful and straightforward disputed border crossing in the world, and once you get to the other side, it really is like crossing into a different world. We stocked up on Turkish delight and Baklava, and wired ourselves on Turkish coffee. You can read about how to spend a day in Northern Cyprus here.
After Nicossia, make your way back to Paphos to catch your outward flight.