49 Best Sights in Cyprus

Ayios Lazarus

Fodor's choice

In the town center stands one of the island's more important churches, Ayios Lazarus (Church of Lazarus), resplendent with gold icons and unique wood carvings. Constructed in AD 890 by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI and restored to its glory in the 17th century, it is a beautiful example of Byzantine architecture. The church includes a fascinating crypt containing the sarcophagus of the Biblical Lazarus mentioned in Luke; Jesus is said to have resurrected Lazarus four days after his death, after which time Lazarus traveled to Kition (Larnaca's ancient city), where he became a bishop for 30 years.

Cyprus Museum

Fodor's choice

Outside the city walls stands the Cyprus Museum, the world's largest collection of Cypriot antiquities and arguably the most interesting museum on the island. It houses archaeological displays ranging from Neolithic to Roman times, including a fascinating display of 2,000 terra-cotta figures from the 6th and 7th centuries BC, unearthed in Northern Cyprus in 1929, as well as three limestone lions and two sphinxes from approximately 475–400 BC, discovered south of Nicosia in 1997. Other highlights include a famous statue of Aphrodite of Soloi and beautiful mosaics. This stop is essential to an understanding of the island's ancient sites.

Cyprus Wine Museum

Fodor's choice

Located about ten minutes west of Limassol in the village of Erimi, this comprehensive museum succeeds at explaining the history of the grape in Cyprus, one of the oldest wine-making regions in the world. You'll get to view ancient wine jugs and vessels on a short, guided tour of the museum and watch a film before heading downstairs for a sampling of Cyprus wines, including the island's famous sweet Commandaria, accompanied by tasty halloumi cheese.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Kourion Archaeological Site

Fodor's choice

The Kourion (Curium) archaeological site, west of Limassol, has Greek and Roman ruins. Classical and Shakespearean plays are sometimes staged in the impressive amphitheater. Next to the theater is the Villa of Eustolios, a summer house built by a wealthy Christian with interesting mosaic floors from the 5th century AD; nearby is the partially rebuilt Roman stadium.

Kourion Beach

Fodor's choice

Once you gaze down on Kourion beach from the heights of the Kourion amphitheater, you'll certainly want to head down the hills to spend time on its beautiful sands—one of the longest stretches on Cyprus. Though it's easiest to reach Kourion beach by car, you can also take a bus from Limassol, 17 km (10 miles) to the east. If you're making a day of it, rent a sun bed and umbrella from a nearby taverna; the well-regarded Blue Beach Bar & Restaurant makes a pleasant stop for a seafood break. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee). Best for: walking; windsurfing.

Limassol Wine Festival

Fodor's choice

The history of wine-making dates from at least 2000 BC in Cyprus, and many great wines (Madeira, Tokay, and others) are said to have originated from Cyprus grapes. The best-known Cypriot wine is the sweet red Commandaria, known in antiquity as Nama. It so reminded Marc Antony of Cleopatra's kisses that he gave the whole island to his legendary lover because of it. There are dozens of other world-class wines from Cyprus. At the annual 11-day Limassol Wine Festival during the first half of September, local wineries offer free samples and demonstrate traditional grape-pressing methods. There are open-air music and dance performances over a period of nine days in the seaside Municipal Gardens.


Fodor's choice

One of the prettiest villages in Cyprus, Omodos sits on the southern slopes of the Troodos mountains. It's an ancient wine-making town centered around a historic Byzantine monastery, Timios Stavros. As you wander the narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed villas (and plenty of tourist shops), be sure to stop into one of the many wine-tasting stalls for a sample or two of wines made from Cypriot grapes like Xynisteri (white) and Mavro (red); some shops still display old-fashioned grape presses and other wine-making paraphernalia.

Petra tou Romiou

Fodor's choice

The legendary birthplace of Aphrodite—Greek goddess of love and beauty—is a large offshore rock just off the southwest coast of Paphos. Swimming around Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock) three times is purported to bring you eternal love. Whether or not you believe the legend, it's a dramatic place to stop for a snack or picnic lunch and a look at the unquestionably romantic views. Park in the lot and take the passageway under the highway to the large pebble beach, where you may be tempted to swim or stay for sunset. Amenities: food and drink; parking (no fee); toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming.

Roman Mosaics

Fodor's choice

Don't miss the elaborate 3rd- to 5th-century AD Roman mosaics in the Roman Villa of Theseus, the House of Dionysos, and the House of Aion—all part of a UNESCO World Heritage protected site. The impressive mosaics are an easy walk from the harbor.

Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis

Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis, or Church of St. Nicholas of the Roof—so named for its steep, pitched roof, built for protection against the weather—is an 11th-century Byzantine church and UNESCO World Heritage Site containing stunning frescoes. The frescoes were painted between the 11th and 17th centuries and depict such iconic scenes as the Crucifixion and the Nativity. You'll need a car to reach the church, which is located in the Troodos Mountain region.

Apollo Hylates

The Apollo Hylates (Sanctuary of Apollo of the Woodlands), an impressive archaeological site, stands about 2.5 km (1½ miles) west of the temple of Apollo at Kourion. It includes a partially restored main sanctuary with enormous Roman columns.

Asinou Church

One of the best preserved painted churches in Cyprus, Asinou Church (also known as Panagia Forviotissa) was built in the early 12th century; it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about 3 km (2 miles) south of Nikitari village. The church's brightly colored frescoes—which cover the entire inside of the structure—date from the 12th to the 17th centuries. If there isn't a church caretaker around to let you in, you'll need to stop by Nikitari village to ask for the priest to escort you; he can usually be found at the local kafeneio (coffeehouse).

Ayios Ioannis

Old City

Don't miss Ayios Ioannis (St. John's Cathedral), built in 1662 within the courtyard of the archiepiscopal palace (Archbishop's Palace). Look for the 18th-century murals illustrating important moments in Cypriot religious history, including a depiction of the tomb of St. Barnabas.

Ayios Neophytos Monastery

In 1159 the hermit and scholar Neophytos settled at what's now referred to as the Ayios Neophytos Monastery, carving a home for himself out of the rock. Known in his time as the leading critic of Richard the Lionheart and the Byzantine tax collectors, today he is best known for what became a series of grottoes hewn from the hillside rock and the evocative religious frescoes—some actually painted by Neophytos—they contain. The monastery itself, with no more than a half-dozen or so monks, is situated below the grottoes.

Baths of Aphrodite

Just past the town's fishing harbor of Latchi and 48 km (30 miles) north of Paphos, are the Baths of Aphrodite, a natural pool where the goddess is said to have seduced her swains. The wild, undeveloped Akamas peninsula is perfect for a hike or Jeep excursion (make inquiries for the latter in Paphos).

Pólis, Pafos, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free

Byzantine Museum

The Byzantine Museum houses notable mosaics, icons, and sacred books and artifacts collected from churches and monasteries throughout Paphos and dating from the 7th through the 18th centuries. The collection includes one of the oldest icons discovered in Cyprus, the Agia Marina, thought to be from the 8th or 9th century. Though it's on the small side, the museum provides a good introduction to the rich Byzantine history of the Paphos region and is well worth a stop.

Byzantine Museum

Old City

In a 1960 neo-Byzantine-style wing of the archiepiscopal palace, the Archbishop Makarios III Cultural Foundation houses the Byzantine Museum. Its fine displays of icons span 1,000 years, and another six sections of the museum showcase the 6th-century Kanakaria Mosaics stolen from Northern Cyprus following the Turkish invasion in 1974, which were not returned until 1991.

Ethnographic Museum

The Ethnographic Museum, located in the 14th-century part of the archiepiscopal palace, has demonstrations of ancient weaving techniques and displays of ceramics and olive and wine presses.

Archbishop Kyprianou Sq., inside the Archbishop's Palace, Nicosia, Lefkosia, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: €2

Famagusta Gate

Old City

Otherwise known as Pyli Ammochostou, the Famagusta Gate is now also used as a cultural center,for screenings and exhibitions, as a lecture hall, and as a theater.

Leoforos Athinon, Nicosia, Lefkosia, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: Free, Oct.–Apr., Mon.–Fri. 10–1 and 4–7; May–Sept., Mon.–Fri. 10–1 and 5–8, Closed weekends

Fikardou Rural Museum: The Houses of Katsinioros and Achilleas Dimitri

In this museum village, 22 miles south of Nicosia, two rural 16th-century houses with exceptional woodwork and folk architecture are open for visits. They contain the household furnishings used a century ago, including tools and utensils. The House of Dimitri has been converted into a weaver's workshop and is also used as a scholars' guesthouse. Fikardou village in its entirety has been declared an Ancient Monument.

Machairas Alicosia road, Fikardou, Lefkosia, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: €2,50; included in Dept. of Antiquities 1-, 3-, and 7-day entry cards, Apr. 15–Oct., daily: 9:30–5; Nov.–Apr. 15, daily 8:30–4

Hala Sultan Tekke

On the edge of Larnaca Salt Lake, a mosque stands in an oasis of palm trees guarding the Hala Sultan Tekke—burial place of the prophet Muhammad's foster mother, Umm Haram, and an important Muslim shrine.


The old Larnaca of biblical times, Kition was one of the most important ancient city-kingdoms where the Mycenaeans originally settled in the 13th century BC. Though most of the ruins are still buried beneath the modern city, you can still see the architectural remains of the Temple of Aphrodite-Astarte, built by Phoenician masons.

Leoforos Archiepiskopou Kyprianou, Larnaca, Larnaka, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: €2.50 (included in 1-, 3-, and 7-day Department of Antiquities pass), Closed weekends, Sept. 16–Apr. 15, Mon.–Fri. 8:30–4; Apr. 16–Sept. 15, Mon.–Fri. 9:30–5

Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle, a Crusader fortress of the Knights of the Order of St. John, was constructed in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 15th. Though there's not much left of the castle to see, it's worth a visit for the views from the rooftop of the surrounding vineyards, many of which produce Commandaria, the famous sweet wine of Cyprus.

Limassol, Limassol, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: €2.50 (included in 1-, 3-, and 7-day Department of Antiquities entry cards), Sept. 16--Apr. 15, daily 8:30--5; Apr. 16--Sept. 15, daily 8:30--7:30

Kykkos Monastery

At the Kykkos Monastery, founded in 1100, the prized icon of the Virgin is reputed to have been painted by St. Luke; you can view the icon enclosed in a shrine, and the museum also includes other icons, wood carvings, and embroidery. The monastery has been repeatedly destroyed by fire, and the current structure dates from 1831.

Troodos Mountains, Limassol, Cyprus
sights Details
Rate Includes: €5, Nov.–May, daily 10–4; June–Oct., daily 10–6

Lady's Mile Beach

The closest beach to Limassol's cruise ship port, Lady's Mile is a 7-km (4-mile) hard sand and pebble beach about a 15-minute drive from the center of town. Its shallow waters are popular with locals, especially on weekends. Bring your own umbrella if you'd like some shade, as well as insect repellent in the evenings. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; water sports. Best for: swimming.

Laiki Yitonia

Old City

In the Greek sector Laiki Yitonia, at the southern edge of the Old City, is an area of winding alleys and traditional architecture that underwent a renovation to restore its historic charm. Among its important sites is the Archbishopric, which has several museums. Tavernas, cafés, and craft workshops line the shaded, cobbled streets. Just to the west lies Ledra street, where modern shops alternate with yet more crafts shops. Parallel to this is Onasagorou street, which has come alive with the opening of a number of eclectic bars and bistro-type restaurants and cafés, creating a vibrant old-world atmosphere.

Larnaca District Archaeological Museum

The Larnaca District Archaeological Museum displays treasures, including outstanding sculptures, pottery, and other architectural fragments from prehistoric times through to the Roman period.

Larnaca Fort

The Larnaca Fort was originally built in the late 1300s and then rebuilt in 1625; during British colonial rule, it was used as a prison. Today it's mainly worth visiting for the lovely views of the sea. The small Medieval Museum is inside the fort and has finds from Hala Sultan Tekke and Kition.

Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia

Old City

This museum traces the city's history from 3000 BC to the present, with exhibits on crafts and daily life. The permanent exhibition includes important artifacts, as well as an impressive collection of medieval and modern maps illustrating Nicosia's progression, dating from the birth of the region to now.

Limassol Castle

The 14th-century Limassol Castle was built on the site of a Byzantine fortification. Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen of England here in 1191. The Cyprus Medieval Museum in the castle displays medieval armor and relics.