East to west: highlights from my Cyprus road trip
The public transport in Cyprus consists of an inexpensive network of bus routes (for example: it costs €3 per person to travel from the airport in Larnaca to a hotel in Protaras). Although the bus network is sizeable, the most convenient way to get around Cyprus is to hire a car. Here are my top picks of sights not to be missed on a road trip through Cyprus.
1. Ayia Napa Monastery, Ayia Napa
The more than 600 year old structure is no longer a functional monastery, but provides a place of peace and rest despite being surrounded by buzzing clubs and pubs in the heart of Ayia Napa. The buildings are beautiful, the grounds are well maintained and the lavender planted in the gardens creates a serene atmosphere.
2. Church of Saint Lazarus, Larnaca
The church is probably one of the main attractions in the capital city of Cyprus, a must see for everybody, but particularly for believers of the Christian faith. The 9th century church was built on the tomb of Lazarus, the final resting place of the man whom Jesus resurrected in the New Testament. The church is beautiful, but what I liked most was the history attached to the building.
3. Khirokitia Archaeological Site
The site dates back thousands of years and is one of the best preserved archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Although interesting, be prepared to see a lot of rocks, the only remnants left of an ancient society. But whilst you are there, dig into your imagination to visualise what the site might have looked like centuries ago!
4. Molos Promenade, Limassol
For me, this is the highlight in Limassol! The palm tree lined promenade runs right next to the ocean and is filled with beautiful gardens, interesting artworks, fountains and sculptures. Enjoy the stunning views and the activities that will keep you busy. If your feet get tired, dip then in the cool waters of one of the many swimming pools along the promenade.
5. Kykkos Monastery
It’s a winding, slightly scary road up the mountains to reach this monastery. It’s very commercial, so expect lots of tourists and pricey merchandise. But it’s beautiful inside though. Artworks adorn the walls and the monastery houses incredible treasures. It remains one of my highlights due to the interior, but stay away from the wine! I purchased a bottle of wine there, but sadly, the wine tasted like vinegar.
6. Medieval Castle of Paphos
Located right on the water, this used be a magnificent castle originally built to protect the harbour centuries ago. A lot of archeological excavations have been carried out here. It is one of the most distinctive landmarks of Paphos and definitely worth a visit.
7. Aphrodite’s Rock
Just outside of Paphos is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty. To reach the beach you walk through a tunnel underneath the main road. A lot of tourists visit the spot because of it’s beauty and the connection to Greek mythology.
8. Akamas Peninsula National Park
The Akamas Peninsula is home to the baths of Aphrodite, one of the top tourist attractions in Cyprus. The real beauty however is in the park itself. Hiking trails criss-cross the mountains with stunning views of the sea below. The highlight for me was the ice blue waters of the Blue Lagoon.