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How to Make the Most of A One Week in Cyprus Road Trip

Discover the best places in Cyprus. Learn about things to do on a Cyprus road trip. Explore reasons to visit Cyprus. Spend one week in Cyprus exploring Greek and Roman history, beautiful beaches, and amazing Cyprus food. Take a day trip to North Cyprus.
Why visit Cyprus? Cyprus is a tiny island member of the European Union situated just below Turkey on the map with a rich history dating back to antiquity. 

My brother married a girl from Nicosia and their engagement party and wedding were the perfect excuses to spend one week in Cyprus. We decided to drive in Cyprus to maximize what we would see. 

How many days in Cyprus are necessary? We embarked on a one week in Cyprus itinerary to give us enough time to explore Cyprus' Greek and Roman history, beautiful beaches and amazing food. 

Read on for recommendations of things to do in Cyprus and how to make the most of a Cyprus road trip.

One Week in Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Aphrodite's Rock

Getting to Cyprus

Aegean Air flies from London direct to Larnaca Airport in Cyprus. Easyjet also flies from London to Larnaca and Paphos Airports.

First Impressions of Cyprus

The first thing that we learned about Cyprus is that it is a laid back country. We were greeted at the airport by my brother's fiancee and her family. 

They took us to a nearby beach in Larnaca to relax and watch the sunset. A friendly stray cat approached looking for scraps. 

We tried our first frappe, an iced coffee drink and Cyprus specialty. Our frappe tasted amazing especially given the heat. Others opted for beer and nuts, also quite refreshing. 
One week in Cyprus road trip: our first frappe near Larnaca

Where to Stay in Cyprus

Rather than jumping from hotel to hotel each night, I recommend staying in Nicosia for part of your trip and Limassol for the rest. Most of the best places in Cyprus are accessible as day trips from these two locations.

The Classic Hotel in Nicosia

The Classic Hotel in Nicosia is a great place to unwind after a tiring day of travel. The hotel has a modern, minimalist lobby decorated with colorful art. 

We enjoyed the comfortable room which featured a back-lit picture of purple flowers above the bed. Very cool.

Lordos Hotel Apartments in Limassol

Lordos Hotel Apartments in Limassol is simple, clean, comfortable, and has a kitchen so you can make some meals for ourselves. See if you can catch a glimpse of the sea from your balcony. 

The lobby was covered in dark carved wood and was quite dramatic. The owner and staff were incredibly helpful making sure we had lots of recommendations on things to do and places to go in the area. 

Lordos Hotel Apartments is affordably priced and a great home base for a Cyprus road trip.

Best Places in Cyprus for a One Week Road Trip Itinerary

Let me start by summarizing the best places in Cyprus that are included in this 7 day Cyprus road trip itinerary. 
  • Day 1: Old Town Nicosia
  • Day 2: North Cyprus including St. Hilarion Castle and Kyrenia
  • Day 3: In transit from Nicosia to Limassol
  • Day 4: Visit the hill towns of Cyprus near the Troodos Mountains for wine tasting
  • Day 5: Explore the UNESCO World Heritage recognized ancient ruins at Paphos
  • Day 6: Check out the Roman ruins at Ancient Kourion
  • Day 7: Stop at Zygi fishing village for fresh seafood on the way to the airport
Now let's explore this Cyprus road trip itinerary in detail day-by-day.

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 1 - Explore Nicosia, Cyprus' Capital City

Old Town Nicosia (aka Lefkosia)

Get an early start and take a walk around Old Town Nicosia (aka Lefkosia). Even though it was early, we could tell it was going to be a scorcher when we visited! 

Admire the Greek writing on the buildings in the old town. Steep in the atmosphere and keep an eye out for quirky scenes and characters. We spotted a colorful parrot outside a local coffee shop. 

Wind your way through the streets and let yourself get a little lost. Be careful to stay on the shady side so you don't get exhausted by the heat. Discover pedestrianized alleys lined with shops. 

Some of the buildings are decorated with striking street art.
 Things to do in Nicosia: find street art on your Cyprus itineraryThings to do in Cyprus: check out the Venetian Walls on a Cyprus itinerary

Nicosia Architecture

Some of Nicosia's local architecture is ornate and opulent. The Byzantine Museum is a good example of this. 

We also appreciated the heavy columned entrance of Pancyprian Gymnasium and The Bell Tower of John Evangelist Church. 

You'll also see more modest buildings that are a bit sun-baked and faded but still put to good use. We passed a modest mosque in the center of Nicosia. 

The Walls of Nicosia

Nicosia is a walled city. Follow spotted plaques in the sidewalk offering a self-guided tour of the Cyprus capital. 

We continued past single-story homes on a curving street and skirted along a wall covered with more imaginative graffiti. 

We soon emerged at the Venetian walls of Nicosia built in the 1500s to protect the inhabitants of Nicosia from Ottoman attack. 

A white statue in a nearby park was defiled with red paint. 

Nicosia: A City Divided

Nicosia is also the world's only remaining divided capital. 

The Island of Cyprus is divided into the Republic of Cyprus and (depending on your political view) Turkish occupied zone or The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 

Turkey invaded the northern half of Cyprus in the 1970s including part of Nicosia. 

In the distance, we could see the border. We actually walked up to one of the border crossings at the end of a residential street. A gatehouse was surrounded by sandbags and one armed guard. 

Photos of the border are not allowed so this description will have to suffice. We turned around and headed back toward the center of Nicosia. 

I spotted a Greek inspired statue hiding in someone's garden. This contrasted strongly with a broken garden gnome on a nearby street corner. We passed another small mosque and a stone mosaic wall hidden behind flowering foliage.
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Aqueduct in Nicosia

We passed an old aqueduct not far from the town walls. We concluded our walk through Nicosia around high noon with a glimpse of the Liberty Monument which memorializes Cyprus gaining independence from Britain in the late 1950s. 

A morning walk definitely provides a good overview and introduction to Nicosia.

Ledras Street Shopping

We continued our foot-powered tour of Nicosia around Ledras Street, the main shopping artery. The flag of Cyprus waved above a small church. 

We stopped for some Papafilipou ice cream. Try the rose flavored ice cream which is a favorite among Cypriots. 

There is a museum and observation deck at Shacolas Tower which sits on top of a popular department store on Ledras Street. Enjoy the 360 degree views of Nicosia. 

Looking to the north, look for the flag of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (or the Turkish occupied part of Cyprus) impressed into a hillside in the distance. 

Continuing our walk through the shopping streets, I admired the colorful fabrics at a nearby store. We took some time to get out of the sun for a relaxing frappe at Fanous Lebanese restaurant. 
Cyprus in one week: the view from Shacolas Tower on Ledras Street

New Town Nicosia

We crossed over the wall from the Old Town into the newer part of Nicosia. We discovered a small municipal park and had a look around. 

A small algae-filled pond sat at the center. An old aviary seemed deserted. Vines climbed to the highest reaches of the local palms. 

We passed the Cyprus Museum but didn't have time to stop inside. Fortunately for us, there were numerous objects visible in the courtyard so we got a nice sampling. 

On our way back to our hotel, we passed Holy Cross Catholic Church. The building actually straddles the Green Line separating Cypriot Nicosia from the Turkish-occupied north. 

When the capital was divided, the church was allowed to remain open as long as the back door leading into the occupied zone was permanently locked. 

Here you can catch a glimpse of the barbed wire barrier nearby showing just how close we were to the border. 
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Holy Cross Catholic Church on the Green Line

Cyprus Beaches

Cyprus is known for its amazing beaches many of which have blue flag status. Take an evening excursion to Fig Tree Bay to cool off and relax after a day exploring Nicosia on foot. 

Despite the late hour (it was after 8 pm when we arrived), the beach was still hopping. We jumped into the water almost immediately. 

I liked the small boats that you could rent with a fun slide attached. Unfortunately, the vendors were packing up for the day so we didn't have the option to try one out. 

After our swim, we took a walk around town. It reminded me a bit of Santa Cruz, California or Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

The main street was lined with bars, fast food, and tourist traps. We stopped for a pita stuffed with shaved meat, tomatoes, and fries. Yum! 

We concluded our walk down the main street and then headed back to Nicosia exhausted after a very full day in the heat.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Fig Tree Bay at sunset

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 2 - A Day Trip to North Cyprus

North Nicosia

Passports in hand, we decided to make a one day excursion to the northern (Turkish occupied) part of Nicosia. 

It was a Sunday and there seemed to be a disproportionate number of women out and about on the Greek Cypriot side of Nicosia. Many carried umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun. 

We walked to the end of Ledras Street and crossed over the border to the North. Once again, pictures of the border are not allowed.

One of the main differences we noticed right away was the beer advertisements had changed from Keo (Cypriot) to Efes (Turkish). 

The streets were humming with people. Interestingly, there were many more men than women out and about in North Nicosia. 

The minarets of Selimiye Mosque loomed in the distance. We approached the mosque and did a loop around it. 

Headscarves and long skirts are available just outside for visitors who want to look inside but aren't appropriately dressed. I donned the clothing provided and took off my shoes. 

Selimiye Mosque used to be a Christian church and was thus oriented in an unusual way relative to the layout of the building since certain of the mosque's features need to point to Mecca.
Day trip to North Cyprus: Selimiye Mosque in North Nicosia
We wandered through the streets taking shelter from the sun where we could. We spotted another small mosque and a statue of Atatürk in the foreground. 

We continued our walk past ornate columns and popped into the tourist office which was housed in this small gatehouse near a break in the Venetian Walls.

At the recommendation of the tourist office, we took a walk through Samanbahce, a housing project more than 120 years old. Unlike Fuggerei in Augsburg, this area is no longer used as social housing but is now a traditional neighborhood. 

We emerged from Samanbahce and took shelter under a tree near a mosque with a charming flower garden. 

We continued on through the narrow streets that skirt the border between the Northern part of Nicosia and the Greek Cypriot south. Giant footprints suggest a path through the narrow jumble of streets.
Day trip to North Cyprus: Samanbahce housing project

After a long and demanding walk in the heat, we were overjoyed to sit down in the shade in front of an outdoor air conditioner at a local bar. 

We both ordered a pint of Efes but the beers were served in two different glasses. I guess mine was for ladies. It was much more dainty looking than the stein. 

We were intrigued by the show on the TV at the bar. While we couldn't understand the lyrics, the video was basically one long stream of short skirted ladies shaking their bums. 

I thought it was an interesting choice of content for a predominantly Muslim area.

A Taxi Ride to Kyrenia

When we were finished exploring North Nicosia, we negotiated for a taxi to whisk us to Kyrenia and other sites along the northern coast of Cyprus. 

The taxis were more expensive than quoted in our guidebook due to the increasing cost of fuel. We ended up paying 90 Turkish Lira (about 40 EUR at the time of our trip 5 years ago) for a one-way ride to Kyrenia with a detour to St. Hilarion Castle.

St. Hilarion Castle

St. Hilarion is a hilltop fortress well over 1000 years old. Our car wound its way up the mountain and we soon saw the fortress hewn into the rock. 

The taxi dropped us off for an hour and a half. The driver was quite trusting as he did not demand payment before dropping us off. We soon started to climb. 

We looked down at the seaside town of Kyrenia on the northern coast. The green mountains housed various Turkish military bases. 

The ruins blended in really well with the surrounding countryside. We started our ascent on a smooth rock staircase. We were rewarded with even more spectacular views (despite the smog).
Cyprus Itinerary: Day Trip to North Cyprus and St. Hilarion Castle
St. Hilarion and its fortifying wall seemed to spill down the hillside. We arrived at an old chapel. 

We were able to pop into various nooks and crannies in the structure. I felt like we were perched at the top of the world. 

We could certainly see why St. Hilarion was a good defensive location. We continued our ascent to the second level of St. Hilarion. 

The path became rougher the higher we went. Once again, we were able to admire the ins and outs of the structure up close.

We looked down toward the entrance to the fortress giving a bit of perspective on how far we'd come. I'd never seen any place like this before.

We continued our climb - it was quite a slog! We were rewarded at the top with a broken sign proclaiming: "Congratulations! You are at the Peak" Hooray! 

Looking down, we could see the car park below. We had come a long way up! We retraced our steps down the precarious winding path. We detoured here and there to explore the ruined structures.
North Cyprus Day Trip: Views from St. Hilarion Castle
We slowly descended, drinking it all in. We were quite thirsty at this point from the exertion of climbing. 

Fortunately, there was a small cafe on level 2 selling homemade (albeit overpriced...) lemonade. We enjoyed our refreshment and then met up with our driver for the onward journey to Kyrenia!

Kyrenia Harbour

Our driver dropped us off at a roundabout near Kyrenia Harbour. We strolled through town and were quickly reminded that we were in Muslim North Cyprus when we saw a prominent mosque flying the Turkish flag.

We soon emerged from the sleepy alleyways of Kyrenia onto the bustling harbour. We did a quick pass along the break wall separating the harbour from the sea. 

The wind was really starting to kick-up as evidenced by larger whitecap waves. A brave fisherman plied his craft from a windswept rock.
North Cyprus Day Trip: Kyrenia Harbour and lighthouse

Back along the harbour, we set out to find a great place for lunch. The host at Canli Balik did a hard sell on us and we found ourselves seated at a prime table along the water. 

The views were stunning and it was much more peaceful on this side of the break wall! We ordered a grilled fish specialty served with salad. 

We made a new feline friend as soon as the food arrived. We were treated to a Turkish coffee to round out our meal - on the house...
Cyprus itinerary: fish lunch at Canli Balik in Kyrenia
Day Trip to North Cyprus: cat begging for food at Canli Balik in Kyrenia
We took one more walk around the harbour admiring the various modern vessels and yachts. The Turkish flag was flapping in the wind everywhere we went. 

We walked to the end of the break wall and discovered a rusty old tower that had collapsed at an indeterminate point in the past. We soon turned back and headed for Kyrenia Castle.
Day trip to North Cyprus: Rusty Tower near Kyrenia Harbour

Kyrenia Castle

Kyrenia Castle stands stoically at the edge of the harbour. We soon found ourselves ensconced inside, admiring the ruins. 

We heard a sound coming from a small nook in the wall and spotted some baby pigeons! Very cool...
Cyprus Itinerary: North Cyprus Day Trip: Kyrenia Castle
From the center courtyard, we had all kinds of options to explore. We started at the Ancient Shipwreck Museum which houses the remnants of a 4th century BC Greek Merchant vessel. 

Upon entering, we admired the stone jugs salvaged from the ship used to transport goods like wine and olive oil. A reproduction of the ship shows how these casks were likely stored for transit. 

We were super-impressed by the shipwreck itself; at 2500 years old, it was in an impressive state of repair.

Finishing up at the Shipwreck Museum, we descended a staircase from the central courtyard unsure of what we'd find below. We spotted mannequins loading a cannon. 

We noticed a little alcove around to the left of this scene and leaned in and contorted ourselves to see what was back there... 

I laughed out loud when I saw a mannequin lounging around with a cask of wine while his compatriots did the heavy lifting! It was worth the long walk down here just to see this!

Back in the courtyard, we ascended a set of stairs to take a walk around the Kyrenia Castle wall. A large dog seemed to be guarding the entrance. 

Walking around the wall was a bit of an obstacle course but was worth it for the sweeping views of Kyrenia. We continued around the wall, admiring the town from various vantage points. 

We took one last look at the courtyard before heading back into town.
North Cyprus Day Trip: Kyrenia Castle walls
We discovered a Turkish dessert place en route called Bilge Tatli. The kid working the counter didn't speak any English but we managed to convey what we wanted to buy through pointing and miming. 

We caught a bus (5 Turkish Lira at the time of our trip) back to Nicosia making up for the higher cost of a taxi earlier in the day.

Drinks and Music at Rimi Tavern

Back on the Greek Cypriot side of Nicosia, we stumbled upon Rimi Tavern in Old Town Nicosia. We heard strains of traditional Cypriot music playing and sat down for a beer. 

Tucked away down a narrow alley, this spot can be easy to miss. However, it's definitely worth a stop. Rimi Tavern has music every night with a full band on the weekends.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Do you like trips like this one that feature history plus great food and wine? If so, I can definitely recommend a one week road trip in Sicily a Loire Valley itinerary in France, or a weekend discovering things to do in Sofia Bulgaria or things to do in Lyon France.

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 3 - from Nicosia to Limassol

Driving Nicosia to Limassol

We rented a car at Cyprus’ Larnaca Airport to embark on a proper Cyprus road trip. With a home base in Limassol (aka Lemesos) we were well-positioned to explore Cyprus beyond the capital of Nicosia. 

Limassol is about a 45 minute drive from Larnaca Airport.

Limassol Beaches

We decided to take a long walk along the beach in Limassol. The beach itself was fairly quiet and large tankers loomed in the distance. 

Pigeons had taken up residence on top of the beach volleyball court. Colorfully decorated shacks selling beach equipment dotted the sand. The path along the beach was paved and shaded by trees.
Cyprus Road Trip: Beach shack in Limassol

Circular fish-theme mosaics dotted the path leading up to the beach. Nearby, small thatched beach umbrellas waited for sun worshipers to arrive. 

There was plenty to do for the kiddies. We spotted colorful blow-up floats outside an ice cream shack. Banana boats and boats with fun slides sat temptingly just off shore. 

We caught a glimpse of fishermen on a pier in the distance. We stumbled upon a small group of dancers strutting their stuff on the beach. 

Further on, the path was lined with colorful flowers. Another beach featured colorful umbrellas and comfy chaises for rental. 

We spotted a cat and her kittens hiding in the rocks. One section of the path was recently redone in grand style. 
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Limassol beach boardwalk

Definitely stop for a frappe at a waterside cafe. Those frappes sure do go down easy! They are even better when accompanied by some delicious pistachios in the shell. 

We sat for a while watching Cypriots have the local equivalent of a snowball fight. They would take soaked balls of mud and sand from the beach and throw them at each other in the water. 

In the distance, we could spot the sun-bleached landmarks of the old town. We took one last look down the boardwalk towards a juice shack shaped like an orange before leaving the path and detouring into Old Town Lemesos.

Old Town Lemesos

The historic sections of Limassol are still known as Lemesos (the name of the area in the 10th century). We strolled into Old Town Lemesos. 

Somehow we were compelled to follow a street graffiti sign that simply said 'TOILET'. I'm glad we did as it led us down a quaint little alley lined with colorful homes and stone facades. 

Behind us, we could see the Ayia Napa Church.
One Week in Cyprus itinerary: Old Town Lemesos alleyway and chess set
We seated ourselves outside and spotted an unused chess set nearby - great atmosphere! We ordered a frappe from a lovely cafe. 

The icy, frothy goodness, really hit the spot on a hot day. We sat and did a little people watching, soaking in the ambiance. Continuing on, we passed an old stone mosque.
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Frappe in Old Town Lemesos
We soon chanced upon Minoan Kitchen Kebab and Grill. It was a bit of a hole-in-the-wall but we decided to give it a try. 

We took a seat outside to wait for our order. The streets of Old Town Lemesos in this area were quite deserted. 

We're so glad we stopped at Minoan Kitchen. Our kebab of tender pork chunks wrapped in a pita was divine. 

We also ordered a chicken kebab which was quite tasty. We would have come back here everyday if had been closer to our hotel. Great stuff!
Cyprus in a week: pork kebab at Minoan Kitchen Kebab and Grill
I loved the textures of Old Town Lemesos, including a distressed blue door covered in ivy. There were bright purple and pink flowers lining the outside of Limassol Castle. 

The castle was closed when we arrived but we peeked through the gate to see remnants of old Roman columns. On the opposite side of the square, we saw more modern restaurants and shops. 

We continued our walk through the winding streets of Lemesos. Again, we spotted the old mosque in the distance. We approached Ayia Napa from another angle - beautiful all around!
1 Week in Cyprus Itinerary: old Roman column fragments at Limassol Castle
The streets of Old Town Lemesos were decorated with colorful poles. We discovered a creation from Twisted Metal. We beat a hasty retreat from the giant ants and crossed into a spartan square lined by cafes.
Cyprus Itinerary 7 Days: Old Town Lemesos Street Art including giant ants

Lemesos Municipal Park

We detoured into Lemesos Municipal Park. An angry lion guarded the entrance. 

An awesome children's area featured plush animals on wheels for the little ones to speed around on. Made me wish I was a kid again! 

We walked through the park admiring the stoic statues and coiffed green areas. I particularly liked the multi-colored and multi-faceted blooms in the park.
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Multi-colored flowers in Lemesos Municipal Park

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 4 - Lemesos to Paphos

Cyprus’ Paphos Archaeological Park

We continued our Cyprus road trip and drove ourselves from Lemesos to Paphos (about a 50 minute drive) to check out the absolute treasure trove of historical artifacts. 

Paphos is a UNESCO world heritage site and we spent a good couple hours exploring the Paphos Archaeological Park. We approached a grand stone staircase and ascended into the park. 

We ducked out of the heat into an old Roman townhouse with spectacular mosaic floors. Little did we know that this was just the warm-up. 

We saw intricately rendered figures come to life. Outside, we could make out the foundations of grand homes and civic buildings. A very well-preserved circular mosaic sat exposed to the elements.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: circular mosaic at Paphos Archaeological Park

We ascended another viewing platform for a birds-eye view of the site. More mosaic floors fanned out in all directions. 

It's amazing what craftspeople of the day were able to build using an ancient version of pixels. Some of the figures in the mosaics were carefully identified.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Columns at Paphos Archaeological Park
We followed the stoic pillars until we reached a mosaic of a jaunty cupid. The dusty color of the stone was in stark contrast with the brilliant blue of the sky. 

We edged our way between the ruins and the sea. Wildflowers popped up in crevices in the path. We ducked inside another structure featuring mosaics depicting mythological creatures. 

A nine-paneled square mosaic showcased the four seasons. Another panel was pure geometric whimsy. Hunters held wild animals at bay chasing a huge assortment of game. 

Tales of Roman mythology were showcased elsewhere. Visitors looked on from above, admiring the scene below. 
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Mosaics under a canopy at Paphos Archaeological Park
We set out toward a lighthouse in the distance. A little further on, we spotted the amphitheatre on site. 

We had the place mostly to ourselves. We spotted a displaced capital from a column that once stood proud on the site. 

Energy waning a bit from the midday heat, we followed the path back toward the entrance and headed into town.
Cyprus Road Trip itinerary: Amphitheatre at Paphos Archaeological Park

Paphos Harbour

We wandered toward the harbour in Paphos, enjoying the sunshine. The water was absolutely crystal clear. 

We spotted the Castle of Paphos which seemed to rise out of the water. We sat for a few minutes as small waves crashed along the rocky shore. 

Paphos Harbour is lined with bars and restaurants. We took a shaded seat at La Boite 67. 

After walking around in the heat, an ice cold Leon beer really hit the spot. We were even served a small bowl of crackers to take the edge off our hunger.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Castle of Paphos in the water of Paphos Harbour

Paphos Town

We continued up the hill into Paphos town, also known as Kato Paphos. The place was actually quite quiet; nearly deserted in fact. 

Fortunately, we found Zembylas Fast Food which seemed like it would be a popular place for folks after a night of clubbing. Fun cartoons lined the wall outside. 

I liked a sign on the interior that read: "I HEART Junk Food. If we are what we eat, I'm fast, cheap, and easy..." Our chicken pita wrap was delicious, fueling the way to more exploration in the afternoon heat.
7 day Cyprus Road Trip itinerary: Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa church
Wandering through the quiet streets of Paphos, we spotted impressive stone churches bleached by the sun. Wildflowers added a colorful but dangerously pointy spot of cheer to the landscape. 

We soon chanced upon Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa, an old church and ruin in the area. We walked along the raised platform around the site admiring the views. 

We stood nearby as a beautiful bride made her way into the church for her big day. Large impressive columns sat all around the site. 

It's always worthwhile to wander around a bit with no particular destination in mind. Ayia Kyriaki Chrysopolitissa was not in our guidebook but totally worth a quick stop to admire the decaying beauty.

Tomb of the Kings in Paphos

The Tomb of the Kings in Paphos was pretty amazing. Ancient structures sit on the hillside overlooking the ocean. 

Better still, visitors are allowed to climb down into the ruins! Copious amounts of sunlight poured in from above. 

Some of the tombs were more posh than others. One featured an interior dotted with columns. Convenient staircases hewn into the rock made getting in and out fairly straightforward. 

The limestone rock itself was weathered away and pitted in some places. Nooks and crannies pervaded each tomb. We stopped to do a little shadow dancing for a moment before emerging top-side.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Tomb of the King of Paphos
Back on the surface, we continued exploring the site. We actually spotted some interesting 'wildlife' while visiting the Tomb of the Kings. 

A curious collection of snails had gathered on a prickly plant. A kitty sat like the Queen of Sheba on a rock nearby. 

Of course, she had to come over and see us for a scratch behind the ears when she noticed us photographing her. We even saw a few regal looking pigeons hanging out near the entrance to the park. 

We took one last look around admiring the natural rock formations dotting the landscape before hopping in the car for the drive to Aphrodite's Rock!
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Cat on a rock at the Tomb of the King of Paphos

Aphrodite’s Rock

Aphrodite's Rock lies on an amazing beach about halfway between Paphos and Lemesos on the south side of Cyprus and is a must-see destination on a Cyprus road trip. 

We pulled off the road at an unassuming rest area and made our way down to the beach just as the sun was starting to set. 

The local mythology suggests that this is the beach where Aphrodite, goddess of love, emerged from the sea. 

Petra tou Romiou, a rock formation just off the coast, is known as the birthplace of Aphrodite in Greek mythology.
1 week Cyprus Road Trip itinerary: Aphrodite's Beach
We scrambled down the rocks for a better view of the inviting water. The beach itself was covered in stones, smooth from the daily pounding by the sea. 

Many of the rocks featured beautiful speckled patterns. We found ourselves a perch on a nearby boulder and settled in to admire the views and watch the sunset. The sunset was glorious!
Cyprus Road Trip: Sunset at Aphrodite's Beach
After the sun dipped below the horizon, we made our way back toward the car. We noticed that many people had arranged rocks just-so in a declaration of love or in some cases drew animal shapes. 

We took one last look at Aphrodite's Rock before crossing the highway (there is a convenient underpass for safety) and emerged at the rest stop for a quick frappe to fortify us for the ride back to Limassol.

Dinner at the Syrian Arab Friendship Club in Limassol

After a long day of exploration in Paphos, we returned to Lemesos for dinner at the Syrian Arab Friendship Club. Located on an out-of-the-way side street in Limassol, the restaurant features a dramatic entrance. 

We sat down and decided to go for the full mezze. Plate after plate of dips arrived at the table served with warm lavash bread. 

We thought that was it, but we were wrong...We were already starting to get full when a plate of mixed grilled meats arrived at the table. 

The food was tasty, fun, and well-priced. It's a great place to come with a group but the mezze for two is a *lot* of food.
One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Mezze at the Syrian Arab Friendship Club

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 5 - The Hill Towns of Cyprus

For our next adventure on our Cyprus road trip, we drove from Limassol towards the mountains and the wine villages near the Troodos Mountains. 

Linos Winery

It was about a 45 minute drive from Limassol to our first stop. We pulled into Linos Winery to see what Cyprus wine-making was all about. 

We entered the tasting room and were treated to generous tastes of five different wines. The whites were acidic and crisp and the reds were acceptable to the palate. 

The tasting room was co-located with some of the heavy equipment needed to run the vineyard.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Grape must candy at Linos Winery in the wine villages of Troodos
I noticed long ropes of a waxy looking substance in the back corner. It turns out that this was a special grape-based candy with delicious nuts in the center. 

Looking outside, we saw a gorgeous sunny day and a spectacular view. We stepped outside to admire the scenery including the rows of vines on the terrace below. 

Our trip to the wine villages of Cyprus was off to a promising start.
Cyprus Road Trip: View from Linos Winery in the wine villages of Troodos

Omodos Wine Village

Next up, we stopped in Omodos, one of the most famous of Cyprus' wine villages. Small souvenir shops spilled onto the pedestrian streets. 

The town was actually quite quiet as we were there in the middle of the week. We entered the main square and cautiously admired the uneven cobbles. 

I was just recovering from a leg injury suffered a couple weeks before the trip and didn't want to hurt myself again!
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Clay wine jugs in Omodos wine village
A friendly proprietor flagged us down and enticed us to try 'the best frappe you've ever tasted'. He was so confident that he promised it would be free if we didn't like it. 

How could we resist? He brought us two of the biggest frappes I've ever seen, thick with froth. They were indeed fantastic and only cost 3 EUR each. 

While sitting in the shade, we looked across to the signature Omodos Monastery.
 Cyprus Road Trip: Giant frappe in Omodos wine villageCyprus Road Trip: Socrates shop and 'museum' in Omodos wine village
Fueled by our frappe, we took a closer look at the monastery grounds. We were able to climb up to an outdoor walkway for even better views. 

The ceilings were done up in dark patterned wood. The detailing was quite remarkable.

We emerged back onto the square and then detoured down some side alleys; letting ourselves get lost. 

We chanced upon Socrates, one of the traditional wine making houses in the area and decided to go in for a closer look. We were ushered in by the owners, an old couple that spoke very little English.

The husband took us down a flight of stairs and offered us a taste of the sweet local wine. He then showed us the well-preserved instruments of wine-making. 

He had a short spiel prepared in English. When he wanted to get our attention or move us in a certain direction, we'd hear a friendly "HELLO!", "HELLO!" until we all spun around in the right direction. 

It was really endearing. He even showed us the secret mechanism to unlock a door in the cellar (a small peg in the ceiling).

Giant stone wine jugs littered the floor. We finished our short tour, tipped the owners, and went on our way into the sunshine. On to the next town!

Lambouri Winery

Our next stop after Omodos Wine Village was Lambouri Winery. The stately tasting room popped against the green hillside. 

Lambouri contrasted with Linos Winery where we started this wine-focused day on our Cyprus road trip. Linos was a small family run operation while Lambouri was a larger commercial operation with backing from Germany. 

We were treated to a number of delicious pours and once again the tasting was free. We even got to sample Lambouri’s very special dessert wine which was thick and raisin-y.
7 Days Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Lambouri Winery in the Troodos wine region
The tasting room clearly catered for the bus tour crowd but we had come on a quiet day (lucky for us!) so we got to enjoy the wines in peace and had the undivided attention of the staff. 

There was a small seating area outside overlooking the mountains. Red roses added a nice contrast to the greenery.

Lunch at To Anoi

The friendly staff at Lambouri Winery recommended To Anoi in Pano Platres. We walked up the steps and were seated on a tree-shaded terrace. 

We soon had company...there were a couple resident cats on site who desperately tried to make friends with us, especially as our food was being served. 

They would creep quietly up the steps only to be shooed back down by the owners of the restaurant. Then the process would repeat again. 

We sampled delicious grilled halloumi cheese and grilled meats (lamb and pork) served with fries. Stuffed to the gills, we continued our drive through the terraced hillsides of Cyprus' Troodos region.
Cyprus Road Trip: Cat outside To Anoi restaurant in the Troodos hill town region.

Laneia Village

We spotted Laneia on the map, had heard good things about it, and decided to go see for ourselves. We turned off the main road onto a road that got smaller and smaller and smaller still as we drove into town. Laneia is not for faint-hearted drivers. 

The road is barely larger than a single car in some spots and once you 'commit' to going into town, there's no turning back. Fortunately for me, it was quite quiet and I made it through without damaging the car.
Cyprus Road Trip: the narrow streets of Laneia village
We parked in a lot lined with amazing flowers. We took a walk through the sleepy town and made a few new feline friends as we went. 

Some examples of traditional wine making equipment were on display in town. We admired the local church which had a large rope hanging down to allow someone to ring the church bell every hour. 

I was tempted to give it a pull but decided that might get me into trouble and a fast getaway would be impossible through Laneia's narrow streets.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: historic wine making equipment in Laneia village
We explored a few quaint, cobbled alleys, before heading back to the car for our return drive from the Troodos region back to Limassol.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Did you know that Greece also makes great wine? You will certainly find that out if you plan a Santorini itinerary. You can sip a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe on your Athens itinerary, do some tasting on a day trip from Athens to the Peloponnese or order a carafe of Greek wine in between exploring things to do in Nafplio.

Katerina Cyprus Sweets

Along the highway just outside Laneia town, we made a detour into Katerina where they make and sell a variety of sweets. 

Samples of candied 'spoon fruit' were on offer. Jars of jams, sweets, and honey filled the shelves. 

We even bought some mastic. Apparently, you put a small spoon's worth in cold water and you have gum. Neat!
One week in Cyprus: Katerina Cyprus sweets shop in the Troodos region

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 6 - Limassol to Ancient Kourion

Lady’s Mile Beach and St. Nicholas of the Cats

On our last day in Limassol, we started out at Lady's Mile Beach. To be honest, I wasn't too impressed. 

The main thing it had going for it was proximity to the city. A few restaurants and beach areas were dotted at intervals along the sand. The beach itself was a bit scrubby and nearly deserted.
One Week Cyprus Road Trip: St. Nicholas of the Cats
We continued on toward St. Nicholas of the Cats. It soon became difficult to tell which way the road continued. 

Using our GPS and the outer fence of the nearby military base as a guide, we soon found our way back to the rural road and on the doorstep of the monastery. 

We parked and walked through the gate to the Holy Monstery of St. Nicholas of the Cats.
Cyprus Road Trip: Cat Napping at St. Nicholas of the Cats
Apparently, this monastery was set-up and cats were brought in to rid the area of snakes. We passed through a lovely but unassuming courtyard. 

A chapel and shop stood at right angles. We looked at the outer door of the chapel which had a lovely medieval painting on the outside. 

We peeked in through a screen door but weren't sure if we were allowed to go in. There was some signage in Greek but that was useless to us. 

Instead of taking a risk, we walked around back and found dozens of cats lounging around in the sun. These looked like fellas that you definitely do not want to mess with! 

A series of bells were set-up to call in the cats for their daily chow.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Inside the chapel at St. Nicholas of the Cats
I finally got up the courage to ask the nun in the giftshop if we could look inside the chapel. She said we could go in but to turn the light off afterward. 

The strikingly well-preserved chapel was definitely worth a look. While not officially on the list of UNESCO World Heritage painted churches recognized in Cyprus, St. Nicholas of the cats is a more easily accessible proxy if you don't have time to visit the painted churches tucked away in the Troodos Mountains.

The Ruins of Ancient Kourion

One Week Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Ancient Kourion
Ancient Kourion, a historic ruin situated on top of a hill overlooking the sea, was a dramatic site to see. We started at the amphitheatre (rebuilt) and admired the sweeping views. 

A tour group was not far behind us, so we did our best to keep our lead so we could enjoy Ancient Kourion in peace.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Mosaics at Ancient Kourion
A covered area enclosed an old Roman townhouse with ornate mosaic floors. We could see the outlines of the former rooms. 

The mosaics themselves were in various states of preservation. Outside again, we encountered a lone column sitting in the middle of an early Christian Basilica. 

We caught a glimpse of the dramatic cliffs and sparkling blue water in the distance. We immersed ourselves in the ruin and imagined what it was like during its peak.
7 Days Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Ruined arches at Ancient Kourion
Looking down below, we spotted Kourion Beach, our intended destination later in the afternoon. Returning our attention to the ruins, we wandered through the Roman Forum. 

Achilles House (so named because of the mosaic floor) punctuated our visit. We returned to our car through the ruins of ancient roman hot baths thoroughly impressed by the site and our visit.

Relaxing on Kourion Beach

After a hard morning of Cyprus sightseeing, we decided to kick back for the afternoon at Kourion Beach. We enjoyed a beer and sandwiches overlooking the water. I tried the halloumi cheese. 

Of course, we instantly made a new kitty friend as soon as the food arrived. After lunch, we rented chaises and an umbrella. 

The views were amazing but the sun was brutal. It was a good thing we rented the umbrella or I would have been burnt to a crisp even with sunblock! 

We even took a dip in the crystal clear water which was surprisingly shallow before driving back to Limassol.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: Kourion Beach

One Week in Cyprus Itinerary: Day 7 - Return to Larnaca

Zygi Fishing Village

On our final day in Cyprus, we took a detour on the way to the airport to make one final stop on our Cyprus road trip to visit the fishing village of Zygi. 

We walked along the harbour, admiring the colorful vessels. The boats were piled high with ropes and nets. We circled back toward the town taking one last look at the beautiful, isolated harbour.
Cyprus Road Trip: Zygi Fishing Village
It was still quite early (not even noon) but we felt we had to stop for some fresh Zygi fish. We popped into Santa Elena Fish Restaurant. Seated at an outdoor table, we enjoyed the surrounding views of the quiet town. 

We took a look at the menu and settled on seabream with salad and chips washed down with a frappe. It was a huge amount of food. 

We were glad we ordered one plate to share. The fish was delicious - we're so glad we stopped at Zygi to sample their fresh seafood first hand. 
Cyprus Road Trip: Santa Elena Fish Restaurant in Zygi Fishing Village

Larnaca Salt Lake

Moving on, we stopped at the Larnaca Salt Lake very briefly before returning our rental car at Larnaca Airport. We spotted Hala Sultan Tekke mosque peeking above the palms around the lake. 

Apparently, Mohammed's wet nurse is buried here. We drank in the views one last time before heading to Larnaca Airport for our flight home.
Cyprus Road Trip Itinerary: The Salt Lakes of Larnaca

Cyprus Map Including Road Trip Points of Interest

Check out the Cyprus map image below to access an interactive version in Google Maps including the best places in Cyprus to include on your road trip and driving directions.
One week in Cyprus road trip map

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: How to Make the Most of A One Week in Cyprus Road Trip
How to Make the Most of A One Week in Cyprus Road Trip
Discover the best places in Cyprus. Learn about things to do on a Cyprus road trip. Explore reasons to visit Cyprus. Spend one week in Cyprus exploring Greek and Roman history, beautiful beaches, and amazing Cyprus food. Take a day trip to North Cyprus.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog