10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus: A Guide by a Local Expat

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If you’re researching ideas for your holiday and things to do in Cyprus, you will find plenty of advice online. And guess what?

Most of it repeats the tips in all the other guides you’ve just read.

This guide is a little different – it’s been written by a local expat.

No, I’m not Cypriot but I’ve spent over 6 years on the island and have seen what it has to offer, both the glorious side and the not so camera friendly.

I got burned on the most common tourist traps and tested questionable places just so I can report back here and help you warn of the same mistakes I made!

I’m personally not a huge fan of these roundups because I don’t believe to experience a country you have to tick off some artificially created list.

The reason I’m writing one of these guides is that I’ve received numerous emails asking the same questions, so I thought people might find it helpful to summarize some of the highlights in one handy guide.

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus

So here we go, 12 cool experiences, beautiful places to visit, things to experience and things to do in Cyprus!

They are in completely random order and showcase some of the coolest experiences I had on the island in my 6 years. Pick & choose what tickles your fancy and don’t feel obliged to follow any guides!

PS: This guide does not feature any places in Northern Cyprus.

1. Views from Stavrovouni Monastery

If you find yourself staying in either Larnaca or Limassol, Stavrovouni Monastery lies somewhere in between and is well worth the trip just for the views.

On a clear evening, the jaw-dropping views will be even more rewarding when you remember you didn’t have to climb any tall mountains. You can drive all the way to the top with your car.

For an upgraded experience, consider taking some snacks with you and a bottle of bubbly. Time your arrival for sunset and soak in the glorious surroundings.

More in the original blog post here. Check the location of the monastery here.

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
View from outside the monastery at sunset
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Life at its best!
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Little chapel outside the monastery

2. Mezze at Kolios Winery

I’ve probably written too many glorious things about Kolios, but this list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning them.

It’s my favourite local winery and their wines have been a company to my nights out and home meals for over 6 years (I even requested them on our wedding).

Sure, you can have mezze at any local taverna, but this one is special. First of all, the views are to die for. It’s the highest located winery on the island and while you enjoy your food you can admire the stunning views of the valley and Troodos on the other side.

The food is grown & prepared by the owner’s wife and you can really taste the difference. If you book your lunch for 1pm, arrive earlier and you will also be give a tour of the winery and a free wine tasting.

What’s not to like?

More in a blog post here. Location of the winery here. PS: they now also offer an option for a vegetarian mezze too and recently opened a new summer terrace with even better views!

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Meat mezze at Kolios
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
My most beloved wines
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
More delicious food
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
A glance from the views from the restaurant
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Large windows allow you to really take in the views.

3. Enjoy a Glass of Champagne at Sunset Picnic

I can’t count the number of picnics I’ve done over the years. After living in London, I swapped the picnics in Hyde Park for the sunset picnics at the nearest beach and I have to say, what a major upgrade!

Finding a picnic spot with good sunset view has become something of an obsession.

Especially in Paphos where you get treated to some of the most beautiful sunsets on the island. The best ones I found were in Akamas Peninsula and also in the Sea Caves area of Paphos.

Unfortunately, the sunsets are hard to see from Limassol & Larnaca due to location of the cities, so if you’re spending a holiday in Paphos, or fancy a trip for a night or two, a gorgeous sunset is almost guaranteed.

Most of the beaches or the rocky areas in Akamas are easy to sit on, so you don’t need a proper picnic blanket to get comfy.

For more inspiration, here is a picnic post from Sea Caves (closer to Coral Bay), one of many in Akamas Peninsula (also here), and a December picnic near Petra tou Romiou.

Lots of the local supermarkets and cafes offer ready made sandwiches, so drop in a bottle of bubbly and you’re all set!

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Random stretch of rocky beach in Coral Bay
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Views from Akamas
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Another one from Akamas
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Our usual food set up for picnics

4. Swim at Blue Lagoon

This is one of the more touristy places you will find on the list.

Blue Lagoon has been becoming more and more popular over the last few years and in addition to the local chartered tourist trips, there are now also a lot of rented boats of all sizes and shapes.

Blue Lagoon is on the Northside of Akamas Peninsula, with the best access from Latchi where you can rent a boat or take one of the Blue Lagoon cruises which will set you back 18 eur per person (includes a drink and fruit on board).

Some of the cruises also come with an option for freshly cooked BBQ lunch on the boat.

If you want to beat the crowds, rent a boat from Latchi early in the morning and late in the afternoon before the tourist boats arrive.

Blue Lagoon is also accessible from the south of Akamas, you can cross only with quadbikes and even that is a bit of an extreme ride (but so much fun!).

If you’re accessing Blue Lagoon from the coast, not water, bear in mind that access to water is not easy and not recommended to undertake in flip flops.

Location on map here, and recommended boat rental here. You can check the cruise options here. Please keep in mind its best to take them from Latchi Harbour, if you go all the way from Paphos you will end up paying a lot more.

View towards the blue lagoon from the top of the coastal cliffs
blue lagoon
Crystal clear waters
blue lagoon
blue lagoon

5. Go Wild with a Quad-Bike

Every time we had family or friends visiting, for me it meant one thing – the greatest excuse to rent a quad-bike and go wild in Akamas.

I used Golden Ride rentals in Coral Bay, but you will find plenty of rental places around the island. You can book either a guided tour where you go in a group, or book just the bike and go on your own. I prefer the second option.

The bikes comes in different models, some small & slower than others. We always opted for the most expensive model (below), which will set you back 100 eur, but shared between a couple it’s not that big deal. These ones comes with storage at the back and feel more like a tiny car with 4×4.

A security deposit is required upon reservation, usually around 200 eur. Don’t be surprised if a lot of the rental places only accept cash, no cards.

A word of advice – wear a scarf over your mouth as it gets dusty, whether it’s Akamas or Cape Greco. No white clothes or loose dress that might get stuck in the wheel.

For the journey, the guys at the shop will advice you what are the best routes to take and what places to avoid. From my side of the island (Paphos) we usually headed towards Lara beach, further along the coast towards the peak of Akamas or the Blue Lagoon.

Driving on road with these is also fine as the model we had goes around 80km/h.

Now all you have to do is settle who will be the driver and when will you take turns =)

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Arriving at Lara beach with our bikes
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Even a pony needs a break.
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Crossing Akamas from Lara Beach and heading towards Blue Lagoon

6. Pick the Cool Historic Places

Cyprus is full of historic sites and ancient relics. If you wanted to explore them all, I think you would get a little bored.

Luckily, some of these come with stunning views and a gorgeous beach nearby, so I picked the best ones to visit that tick more than just one box.

Kourion near Limassol – short drive from Limassol, this large historic site is actually also an event place – in summer the amphitheater is home to classical music concerts and performances. In addition to the stunning sprawling views, there is also a long stretch of beach right under the hill, with restaurants and the usual beach indemnities.

Paphos Archeological Park – another one which is large, but has great views and super convenient location. Best visited in spring or autumn when the temperatures are a bit lower, as there is no place to hide here and no refreshments.

Once you’ve seen enough, you can simply stroll out and enjoy a lunch in one of the restaurants in Paphos Harbour. In summer the park tends to get overcrowded with buses of tourists arriving frequently, so just a warning that you might get stuck in a queue getting tickets into the park.

Both of the above sights are large enough that even in summer when the island gets crowded, you don’t feel overwhelmed when visiting them.

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Kourion main site view
Kourion Amphitheater
Paphos Archaeological Park
Paphos Archaeological Park
Paphos Archaeological Park
Lighthouse at the Archaeological Park
Tombs of The Kings, Paphos - Cyprus
Tombs of the Kings – also worth a mention
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus

7. Visit Troodos Villages

Escape the heat in summer and enjoy a bit of fresh mountain air.

The picturesque villages in Troodos are just the perfect escape plan for a day or two. As an added bonus, a lot of these are part of the wine routes, so you can stop in a local winery for a tasting on your way there.

Some of my favourites are Kakopetria, Omodos and Kalopanayiotis.

Kakopetria is the popular summer escape for all locals who come to cool off in here during the summer heat. The village has a gorgeous old centre, is surrounded by beautiful nature (check out the nature trails) and if you’re looking for a place to stay, the Mill is a hotel like no other!

Omodos is most famous for their monastery and wines. It’s fairly popular so you can expect a bit of a crowd in a summer. Kalopanayiotis is a less known village that’s deeper inside the Troodos mountain range and the drive is a little longer.

The village has a new resort which brought some of the old traditional houses to life and made them into luxury accommodation. The village has sulfur springs, and you guessed it – also a monastery. There are charming cafes and beautiful streets all around. I visited in November and it was magical!

In autumn or winter, head to Troodos square to enjoy a bit of snow & winter festivities.

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Winding old streets of Kakopetria, one of the most popular summer destinations for locals.
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
View from the Mill Restaurant in Kakopetria – highly recommended for food.
omodos village
On the courtyars of Monastery in Omodos village
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Omodos Monastery
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Charming little village a bit deeper inside the mountains – Kalopanayiotis
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus

8. Book Wine Tasting

My favourite exploration activity, of course it involves wine.

Cyprus has an abundances of amazing local wineries that will introduce you to the ingenious wine grapes only found on the island (Maratheftiko, Xynisteri etc).

You can check the wine routes and book it as an experience with a group, or find a victim that will be happy to drive you around without feeling sorry for not tasting any wines.

My favourite wineries are Kolios – mentioned above, and also Vouni Panayia winery, which is not far from there and also offers amazing views. You can also book a mezze lunch in Vouni winery. Close to the winery is the beginning of the village where you will find another monastery and gorgeous old town.

Another one I was impressed with was Tsangarides Winery which is the only one that produces organic Cypriot wines.

Most of the wineries are concentrated short drive away from Paphos, with lots more available on the edge of Troodos mountains short drive away from Limassol. In most places, no booking is required for the wine tasting.

More of my wine adventures available here.

Makarounas winery letympou
Boutique winery – Makarounas Winery
vouni panayia winery wine tasting cyprus
Gorgeous terrace at Vouni Panayia winery
Tsangarides Winery Cyprus
wine tasting Tsangarides Winery
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Ayia Mavri Winery close to Limassol
Tsangarides Winery Cyprus
Views from Tsangarides Winery, one of the smaller ones on the island

9. Have a Night Out in Ayia Napa

Admittedly, due to my grand old age, I haven’t done this as much as you guys who would come here for a holiday.

Ayia Napa is the ultimate place for nightlife, stag dos and hen parties. There is a decent size amusement park, plenty of affordable accommodation and bars that line up both sides of the main street.

It has some of the most know beaches (Nissi Beach) and you’re only short drive away from Protaras, where you would be treated to pretty beach clubs and gorgeous beaches (Fig Tree Bay).

Prepare for lots of live shows and entertainment in bars and restaurants, and loud youngsters speeding down the roads on quad-bikes and scooters (there, I already write like I’m 60!).

If you’re coming with family or young kids, Ayia Napa is generally place I would avoid, or at least book accommodation at the edge of the town where it’s a bit more quiet.

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Strolling from the monastery in the center of Ayia Napa
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Streets full of colour
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Atlantica All White Hotel in Ayia Napa
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Main strip in Ayia Napa
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus

10. See the Waterfalls

For those who love the mountains as much as they love a sandy beach, a hike to see the waterfalls will be another highlight of your holiday.

The easiest to find & approach are Caledonia Falls, which can be found after very easy and beautiful hike that leads along a small stream. Drive to Troodos Mountains and the direction to Caledonia Trail are well marked. I also marked the location on map here.

The other ones are mentioned and marked in the blog post I linked above. The last one that got on the list, even with a little hesitation, was Adonis Waterfalls. It’s not really a nature site like the rest of them, but a bit of a tourist trap, in all honesty.

The waterfall is located under an old mills which is 20 minutes drive away from Coral Bay on a very bad road.

You need to pay something like 8 eur to get in to access the little pool & waterfall. In a hot summer day it’s great because the water is ice cold and super refreshing.

At the same time, you will have to wait to take a picture as there might be 20 other tourists trying to take a selfie or Instagram shot.

If you’re going there, it’s still good enough if you adjust your expectations and prepare that it’s not the hidden gem anymore.

waterfalls in Cyprus
Waterfalls in Troodos
waterfalls in Cyprus
Caledonia Falls
waterfalls in Cyprus
Beautiful waterfall with no crowds in sight
adonis baths waterfalls paphos
Bridge over the little lake in Adonis Baths
adonis baths waterfalls paphos
One of the two small waterfalls in Adonis Baths
adonis baths waterfalls paphos
Lake & Waterfall at Adonis Baths – photo taken start of the year when there are generally less tourists on the island

11. Visit the Last Divided Capital in the World

Nicosia is full of contrast and culinary experiences.

It’s the last divided capital in the world, and if you’re interested in getting a little taste of Northern Cyprus without driving there, there is a pedestrian crossing at Ledra Street. You will need your passport to get through there.

In the old town, you can still see the evidence of the unrest and occupation fights from the 70s (photography not allowed). There are museums, historic buildings and plenty of interesting culinary experiences to enjoy for a few days.

One word of warning – Nicosia can be extremely hot in the summer, so bear that in mind if you plan your trip.

In all honesty, I’ve never been a huge fan of Nicosia because it feels like a hot concrete jungle, but it has also a really charming side that’s best explored in spring or autumn.

nicosia cyprus
Ledra street in Nicosia
nicosia cyprus
One of the places you’re not supposed to photograph =)
nicosia cyprus
nicosia cyprus
Charming old town in Nicosia
10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Gym Concept Restaurant / Bar in Nicosia
nicosia cyprus

12. Get Off the Beaten Path

The best for the last – no matter what any guide tells you, the best adventures come from venturing off the beaten path.

Cyprus is not the smallest island, but it feels wonderful to get lost, follow the coastline and see where it takes you. No matter which way you drive, you will find stunning views, friendly people and the smell of fresh Mediterranean air.

Be adventurous and don’t be afraid to explore. Forget about visiting museum & historic sights if all you want to experience is the most gorgeous sunset with that special person.

If you happen to get lost, all locals speak English and will happily guide you.

One of my favourite places to get lost was on the least crowded North side of the island in Pomos – the drive towards Kato Pyrgos is simply beyond words!

PS: Article on driving in Cyprus here (in case you would want to rent a car, there is a little practical advice)

10+ Cool Things to Do in Cyprus
Stop over at Koulas Sandwiches
kato pyrgos cyprus
Not a bad view for a random road stop right?
grape by the sea
Grape by the Sea in Kato Pyrgos
grape by the sea
koullas sandwiches pyrgos

I hope this gives you plenty of ideas to get excited about for your holiday!

As always, if you have any questions, just drop a comment below! Happy Holiday!

Photo of author
Lucia has spent 6.5 years living in Cyprus, and writing about all the local gems and beautiful places the island has to offer. On Cyprus Escapes, she shares her discoveries to help travellers plan an unforgettable trip to Cyprus.

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