Why You Need to Add Cyprus to Your Travel Radar: Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

Why You Need to Add Cyprus to Your Travel Radar: Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

Cyprus is an often overlooked destination in Europe as it’s kinda hidden under the radar and overshadowed by the other beautiful islands on the continent. I also think that it may frighten people to see it on a map how close it is to Syria and they question the safety. But let me tell you, Cyprus is SO underrated and actually quite safe! It’s one of those place I kicked myself for not visiting sooner.

Cyprus is a small island, but it really has it all: mountains, hiking, beaches, Ancient ruins, lots of cats, amazing food, and the only divided capital in the entire world (more on that later). Mix that in with a flare of Greek and Turkish culture and you have the magical island of Cyprus!

I rented a car and spent 5 days on the island packing as much stuff as I could in that small amount of time. My only regret is not spending longer there. This article highlights the best places to visit in Cyprus on a 5 day self-drive road trip.


Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Cyprus 5 Day Itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrive in Cyprus and Explore Nicosia

Day 2: Cape Greko | Stone Arch | Konnos Beach | Fig Tree Bay | Nissi Beach

Day 3: Troodos Mountains | Kakopetria | Omodos | Agios Nikolaos Stegis 

Day 4: Baths of Aphrodite | Akamas Peninsula | Blue lagoon | Lara Beach | Avakas Gorge | Coral Bay

Day 5: Paphos | Tomb of the Kings | Ruins of Ancient Kourion | Commanderia Wine Route


Day 1: Arrive in Cyprus and Explore Nicosia

I didn’t arrive to Cyprus until around 3pm so I only had a few hours to explore Nicosia by the time I picked up my car and got to the city from the airport. I really regret not adding an extra here day because Nicosia was such a cool city!

Nicosia is one of the most interesting cities i’ve ever visited mainly due to it’s complicated history.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Nicosia is the world’s ONLY divided capital city. The capital city has been separated into a northern Turkish section and a southern Greek section by a “Green Line” created by the United Nations. You will need a passport to cross over from the Greek to Turkish side, and vice versa.

Once you cross from one side to the other it’s a world of difference instantly. I stayed in the southern Greek part and once I crossed the line into the norther part, it was as if I stepped into Turkey. I have never experienced anything like it! I was able to buy some yummy Turkish delights and admire the gorgeous mosques as I walked through the ornate alleyways. Being able to experience 2 different culture by just stepping over the boundary line was something unique that I will never forget.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if you rent a car in Cyprus, you will NOT be covered by insurance if you drive into the norther Turkish part. I was told you may be able to purchase an additional insurance at the border, but it’s not widely known. This is precisely why I decided to walk over the border instead. Plus, it was more fun that way anyway!

Day 2: Cape Greko | Stone Arch | Konnos Beach | Fig Tree Bay | Nissi Beach

Cape Greko National Park-the most beautiful area of Cyprus that you could spend days exploring. The Cape Greko National Park is filled with nature trails, coastal walks, gorgeous turquoise waters, sea caves, and the best Cyprus beaches.

Ayia Napa Sea Caves-one of the best places to visit in Cyprus and definitely the most picturesque thing I saw in all of Cyprus.Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

The Sea Caves are a natural phenomenon on the east of Cyprus. It’s a popular place to cliff jump, dive, and snorkel. The water is super warm and clear and you could really spend all day swimming and sunbathing on the rocks. Make sure to look for the arched cove to take some epic photos. You have to climb down a few rocks to get to it, but it’s pretty easy. 

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Konnos Beach-a gorgeous bay with soft golden sand and lined with lounge chairs. It has some of the deepest blue/green waters on the island. The beach area is small and get get really busy, so get there early if you want to lounge. 

Kamara Tou Koraka Stone Arch-a natural stone arch formed from erosion. You can quickly stop here as to see it as it’s on the way to Konnos Bay. (Please DO NOT ignore the warning signs and try to take a pic on the arch, it looks likes it’s going to crumble into the sea).

Fig Tree Bay-a busy (but very pretty) sandy beach with lots of water sports and activities. There are some good areas for snorkeling in the coral and the water is pretty crystal clear. There is free parking on the side of Silver Sands Beach Hotel. This is rated as one of the top Cyprus beaches. 

Nissi Beach-during low tide there is a sand bar that splits the beach in 2 crescent shapes. There is a little hill you can climb up to get the best views. Unfortunately I was there during high tide so the sand bar was under water. The water at Nissi Beach was incredibly clear and gorgeous and probably the prettiest waters I saw after the sea caves. It’s a very busy beach with many people, restaurants and bars lining the beach, and lots of beach chairs. It’s definitely not a place to go to relax, but it’s still worth a visit because it’s so damn pretty! It’s also a good place to drink a cocktail right on the beach. 

Day 3: Troodos Mountains | Kakopetria | Omodos | Agios Nikolaos Stegis 

Troodos-There are several hikes you can do in this mountainous region. Also in this area is Caledonia waterfalls, one of the highest water falls in Cyprus. (it started storming when I got to the mountains so I didn’t get to complete any of the hikes unfortunately. 

Kakopetria-a small little village at the foothills of the Troodos Mountains where I stopped to get coffee at the Old Mill Restaurant, a family run restaurant. The Old Mill has an amazing view over the village and mountains and is also a hotel you can stay in. 

Omodos-the cutest little village with tiny alleys, lots of local music, a pretty monastery, restaurants, and many wine tastings around town. They even have an old wine press you can go see. This was the most adorable and charming little town I saw in all of Cyprus. 

Agios Nikolaos Stegis– One of the 10 UNESCO churches in Cyprus located close to Kakopetria. It is surrounded by a beautiful peaceful setting with the mountains in the background. Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Stop in Vavla, a tiny traditional Cypriot village with narrow streets and cute little alleys. But make sure you have a small car to go through the narrow streets!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Day 4: Baths of Aphrodite | Akamas Peninsula | Blue lagoon | Lara Beach | Avakas Gorge | Coral Bay

Baths of Aphrodite-you can go see the baths where Aphrodite supposedly met Adonis. It’s a little mystical cove with a small spring and vine and a fig tree adorning it. It’s fun to use your imagine and open your mind to what happened many many years ago at this same spot. If you’re into Greek mythology, it’s cool to see.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Akamas Peninsula-a rugged National Park on the north west of Cyprus accessible by 4-wheel drive or by boat only. There are gorgeous bays and beaches to swim in and admire in a natural area. 

Blue Lagoon-a gorgeous bay with crystal waters and popular with boat and snorkeling tours. DO NOT try to attempt to drive this road with a regular car. An off road vehicle is necessary. The road is on the cliffside with no railing and is very steep in some areas. There are huge potholes and rocks on the road so make sure to have experience driving in places like this as it can be very dangerous.

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

There is a company called Aphrodite Safari Bus Tours that has a little kiosk before the entry that will take you there in a big 4-wheel drive safari keep. It takes 30 minutes to get there and the driver drives very slow and safely. The cost is €15 roundtrip per 2 people. 

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Exploring the rugged landscape near the Blue Lagoon. No people in sight!

Lara beach-contains protected areas for turtle nesting. If you’re lucky enough to be there when they hatch, you can watch the newborn turtles make their way to the sea. Unfortunately I didn’t see any turtles while I was there but this would have been awesome to experience. The road leading to Lara beach is very rugged so drive very slow so you don’t damage your car. 

Avakas Gorge-on the way to Lara beach is an impressive canyon/gorge that requires a 15 minute walk. It’s a beautiful walk through the limestone cliffs where you will pass numerous fauna and flora as well as some streams. The gorge is huge and very nice to photograph and is definitely worth a stop. It’s also a nice cool place to escape the Cyprus heat. I would rank this as one of the best places to visit in Cyprus. 

Note: when you see the sign for the gorge, make sure not to park in that lot and go up the hill with your car. You can actually ride all the way down to the footpath and then walk the 15 mins from there. I didn’t know this and ended up waking the whole way which took 35 minutes each way. 

Coral bay-a sandy crescent-shaped beach that is great for water sports and sunbathing on sunbeds. 

Day 5: Paphos | Tomb of the Kings | Ruins of Ancient Kourion | Commanderia Wine Route 

Paphos Archeological Site-this park is still under excavation and contains ancient Greek and Roman ruins as well as beautiful mosaic floors. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1980. Entrance fee is €4.50

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

Tomb of the Kings-a huge necropolis that is part of the Archaeological Park of Paphos. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Tomb of Kings are actually tombs of the rich aristocrats and high ranking officials, but not actually of kings. They gained the name due to their grandiose appearance. Nonetheless, the tombs are worth a visit. Entrance fee is €2.50.

Ruins of Ancient Kourion-I actually thought these were much more impressive than Paphos with the dramatic ocean cliffs in the backdrop. I would definitely stop here if you have time! Entrance fee is €4.50.

Commanderia Wine Route-driving this route you will pass through beautiful tiny little local villages and green hills. I passed through 14 villages and 4 wineries on the route and the drive was breathtaking.  

Karseras Winerya small family winery that I highly recommend. One of the family members gave me the presentation and then let me loose for my own free tasting. He literally left me all the bottles and said that I could have as much as I wanted. That could have been dangerous if I wasn’t driving!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

How to Get to Cyprus

There are 3 airports you have the option of flying into: Larnaca, Paphos, and Ercan (North Cyprus). Most of the cheapest flights fly in and out of Larnaca (LCA) and secondly Paphos (PFO).

If you’re already in Europe or the Middle East, its pretty easy and inexpensive due to its strategic location.

From Athens, Greece you can fly direct to Larnaca for around $35. The flight is about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

From Amman, Jordan you can fly direct to Paphos for as little as $17. The flight is about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

From Beirut, Lebanon you can fly direct to Larnaca for about $75. The flight is about 45 minutes.

From London, England you can fly direct to Larnaca for about $65. The flight is about 5 hours.

I always use Skyscanner to find my tickets because they are usually the cheapest and it’s super easy to use. I use Skyscanner for about 95% of the flights I book.

Where to Stay in Cyprus

I stayed in the best Airbnb in a small town called Tala right outside of Paphos. It was a little one bedroom apartment on the bottom of my host’s house and had the best views over the coast. The host is an expat form the US and super accommodating and kind. She rescues cats so you will see many on the property. The location was great as you could reach all the great sites in the area in less than 45 minutes maximum. It was only $30/night so you can’t beat that!

Best Places to Visit in Cyprus

View from my lovely Airbnb in Tala, Cyprus. Only $30 per night!

You can check out the listing HERE. And if you’re new to Airbnb, you can use by coupon for $40 OFF HERE.

I also stayed briefly in Nicosia to explore the Cape Greko area and just rented a basic room for $28 in an Airbnb. You can check the listing HERE.

How to Get Around in Cyprus

Renting a Car in Cyprus

Fun Fact: They drive on the LEFT side of the road in Cyprus! I’m an idiot and almost drove off the lot on the right side until the rental dude said “you know we drive on the left here?”.

I rented an automatic car from a local company called Stevens Car Rentals. I really liked this company because you can either rent from the airport or they will pick you up and drop you off from your location at no extra charge! And even when you rent from the airport, you don’t have to take a shuttle or anything. They send someone there to personally escort you to the car. I loved it! The prices were super affordable and they were very responsive over chat. I highly recommend them!

I paid $175 for 5 days for an automatic car. It’s definitely cheaper if you can drive a manual (as is most of Europe). Note: I have NO affiliation with this company, I just really liked them!

Travel Insurance for Cyprus Island 

I would never travel without travel insurance anymore. I learned my lesson. Too many bad things can happen (and they have unfortunately). Travel insurance is especially important when traveling to islands, as you may need to be air-lifted to the mainland in the worst case scenario. Do you know how much air-lifting costs? Think at least 5 digits (I.e. Expensive AF!).

My favorite travel insurance that I have been using for the past 4 years is World Nomads. I have made 3 claims so far and have been fully reimbursed for all 3 without any hassle. I highly recommend them. They might not be the cheapest, but they have the BEST coverage, especially for emergency medical!

If you liked this post, PIN it for later ♥

Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep my site ad free (I hate ads!). I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love ♥

4 Comments

  1. I visited Larnaca and the beaches nearby! It was a perfect vacation!

    Reply
    • the beaches there are amazing!

      Reply
  2. I would love to visit Cyprus! Those crystal blue waters are incredible. I can imagine the food was amazing as well. That’s so interesting that Nicosia is a divided city! That’s helpful to understand before planning a visit. With my luck, I’d drive across the line and crash my vehicle 🙂

    Reply
    • Oh yes the food was so yummy! And the waters were SO blue and warm! I loved Cyprus, I wish I had more time to explore!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: