My Cyprus Travel Guide

My Cyprus Travel Guide

Cyprus is known as the island of love and the mythical birthplace of the Goddess of Love – Aphrodite. It is no wonder that when people visit Cyprus the first time they fall in love with this beautiful Mediterranean island, just like I did!

There is so much to see and do in Cyprus as it is steeped in history, with influences from many civilisations such as the Romans, Phoenicians, the Byzantine and Ottoman empires. You can see touches of this across the island.

What makes Cyprus ideal as an all year round destination is its glorious weather!  We visited in low season, in November, and we had such amazing weather, making it the perfect destination for winter sun. There is also such a contrast of landscape and you are never far from the sea. If you are a cat lover you are in for a real treat as Cyprus has an abundance of gorgeous friendly cats.

Here are my suggestions of places to see and things to do whilst in Cyprus.

Kourion Archaeological Site

The Kourion Archaeological Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is full of amazing excavated remains and ruins. The area was first discovered in the 1820s, however the main excavations happened between the 1930s and 1950s.

Pictured is the magnificent Greco-Roman theatre, the site’s magnificent centrepiece, which was built in the 2nd century BC and extended in the 2nd century AD. The theatre has now been restored and is used for open-air musical and theatrical performances  during the summer months.

The ancient Mosaics of Paphos

Located in the Kato Paphos region of Cyprus, the ancient floor mosaics are considered amongst the finest in the world, giving a valuable insight into the lives of the Greco-Romans as well as the legends of gods, goddesses, and heroes.

These floor mosaics were discovered by archaeologists as recently as the 1960s, and range from different eras between the second and fourth centuries CE, beginning with the Hellenistic period and extending until the Byzantine era. They are truly a wonder to see!

Tombs of the Kings

The Tombs of the Kings in Paphos, a UNESCO World heritage site, is a set of ancient underground tombs, dating back to the 4th century carved out of the solid rock that surrounds the area. The name refers to the magnificence of the tombs, which were the burial places of wealthy senior government officials and aristocrats.

Fun fact – despite being called The Tombs of the Kings, no actual Kings were buried here. 

The wishing tree of Cyprus

At the entry of the Christian catacombs of Ayia Solomon in Paphos you’ll see a tree adorned with handkerchiefs and ribbons. It is fondly known as the wishing tree. There is a superstition that if you hang a handkerchief in this sacred tree you will see your wishes fulfilled.

Paphos Castle

The Pafos (Paphos) Castle (Medieval Fort) was originally a Byzantine fort built to protect the harbour, and was rebuilt by the Lusignans in the 13th century, but then dismantled by the Venetians. The Ottomans rebuilt it in the 16th century when they conquered the island. What survives today is the 1592 Ottoman restoration of the western Frankish tower with its Venetian additions. An inscription above the only entrance of the castle bears witness to this restoration.

“Sol Alter” by Yiota Ioannidou

As you walk along the coast of Pafos harbour, you will come across  this sculpture called The Sol Alter by Cypriot artist Yiota Ioannidou which represents Aphrodite, the goddess of Love. The bronze was created for the exhibition Signs in Time and Space – Open Air Art Museum for Pafos 2017 European Capital of Culture. It has now become a Paphos landmark.

Jeep Safari 

I highly recommend going on a Jeep excursion, where you will visit Lara Beach, Akamas Peninsula and Laona villages. The scenery is breathtaking and seeing the various landscapes is an amazing experience.

Omodos Village

Omodos is a village in the Troödos Mountains of Cyprus. The village produces a lot of wine, and I recommend a wine tasting at one of the many shops in the quaint streets.

While in Omodos, I recommend a visit to the The Monastery of the Holy Cross , one of the oldest and most historic monasteries of the island.

A stop at George’s Bakery is a must to try the vast range of breads, cakes, halva, nut brittle and the like, most happily available for tasting.

Platres Chocolate Workshop

For any chocolate lover, the Platres Chocolate Workshop, a luxury chocolate workshop and boutique, is a must visit!Every chocolate is crafted by hand on site using premium ingredients sourced globally. The Chocolate workshop is situated in the heart of the Platres village and is a 40-minute drive from Limassol city.

John Adams, an English man, and his Cypriot wife Praxi established the chocolate workshop in 2008. They are both Master chocolatiers trained in France and Venezuela, and have dedicated their chocolate range to the flavours of Cyprus. Each chocolate captures the unique taste of this island with fillings such as provincial liquors, locally preserved fruits, and traditional sweets.

 

The workshop is really interesting where you will learn the rich history of chocolate, taste testing different varieties, and you will be taught how to create your very own chocolate bar.

Limassol Marina

Limassol Marina is Cyprus’s exclusive waterfront development, and perfect for a coffee, or dining in one of the alfresco restaurants, or drinks at the bars dotted around the marina, with super yachts all docked for your view.

Basket weaving

I highly recommend visiting the village of Choirokoitia, which is already well-known for its invaluable Neolithic settlement, and going to the workshop of a local artist called Petros Nicolaou, which is also his family home and is a beautiful 1903 building made from traditional Tochni stone and wood.  Inside the home there is a small museum where you can see furniture and artefacts preserved to depict the olden day village life.

Petros demonstrates the art of Basketry, or basket weaving, a craft that he learned from his grandparents here, and it is really fascinating to see.

Halloumi Production

Whilst at Petros’s lovely home, he will also be able to demonstrate how he makes Halloumi cheese the traditional way and you will be able to try some of this delicious cheese, which is so versatile!

Lace making

The Larnaka village of Lefkara, which is surrounded by the Troodos mountains and overlooks the sea,  is best-known for its traditional embroidery techniques called ‘Lefkaritika.’ As you wander the cobbled streets you will come across women working on this embroidery technique and who are deeply passionate about it, having learned it form the previous generation.

Silversmithing

In  the Larnaka village of Lefkara you will also find the delicate craft of filigree or ‘trifouri’ whereby fine silver wire is twisted into beautiful hand-made jewellery such as earrings, pendants and brooches, as well as decorative cutlery and tableware, with a resulting ‘spider web’ effect.

Loukoumi – Cyprus Delights

Cyprus is famous for its delicious sweets known as ‘delights’, which have been produced on the island for centuries. These soft, chewy sweets are made without the use of preservatives and simply with sugar, cornstarch and flavouring or nuts, and then dusted with icing sugar to prevent them from sticking together.

I recommend visiting a delightful little sweet factory and shop called Arsinoe Delights, where you can see the production of these sweets, and also get to try lots of different flavours. A fabulous experience!

Where to eat in Cyprus

Hondros Tavern

A traditional style taverna with both inside and outside seating. I highly recommend the Moussaka here.

Petradaki Taverna

Excellent food in a gorgeous setting, highly recommend!

Ristorante Bacco

The Italian food here is out of this world and presented beautifully and the restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. Highlight was the Chocolate Ravioli for dinner.

Muse café Kitchen Bar

Muse café kitchen bar is found in an area of the old town and boasts spectacular panoramic views across both Paphos and the coastline. Cocktails and food are really good and ambience is awesome.

Where to stay in Cyprus

Elysium Resort and Spa


The Elysium Resort Hotel, Paphos is a superb five star  resort. It is spacious, elegantly designed with magnificent gardens and a massive pool complex that transcends across the property, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here.

The hotel has a vast range of dining choices from Italian (which is amazing), a buffet restaurant and a Japanese restaurant. My favourite spots were the terrace where you could have drinks and breakfast is not to be missed! The waffles are a must.

The location is amazing, sandwiched between between Paphos’ beach and the Tomb of the Kings, a 4th century BC-site that like much in this historic city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and within easy reach of the Elysium are the historic harbour and the resort’s lively centre.

Highlights included the pillow menu in the room, with the aroma pillow being absolutely divine!

Find out more about the hotel here: https://www.jet2holidays.com/cyprus/paphos- area/paphos-resort/elysium

My trip and flights to Cyprus was organised by Jet2 and we flew to Paphos direct from Manchester. You can find the full range of flights from Manchester here.

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I was hosted by Jet2 and Visit Cyprus but all views and photos are my own.
Binita Shah-Patel

Hi, I’m Binny – a writer, dreamer, serial wanderluster and travel addict. I am originally from Kenya but now live in London. I set up this blog to share my experiences eating out as well as travelling.

I love packing my bags and going off on adventures as one of the best things about travelling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries and just see where the road takes you, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way.

It’s my goal to get swept off my feet as often as possible.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

5 Comments

  1. December 3, 2018 / 8:43 am

    I have never been to Cyprus but always loved Halloumi, so that’s a good reason to go right? It looks beautiful and lots to do too.

  2. December 3, 2018 / 1:03 pm

    Cyprus is so beautiful, there is so much to see and do there and the food is fantastic!

  3. December 4, 2018 / 12:00 am

    Absolutely love the picture of the cat asleep next to the wine! The trip was so fun, I wish we could all go back! 😀

  4. December 5, 2018 / 10:06 am

    This is such an excellent guide and you have me keen to revisit Cyprus now!!

  5. December 6, 2018 / 10:42 am

    Such a foodie trip. I’d love to watch the halloumi process, but then would just want to eat it all – not good! A great guide, made me want to book another trip.

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