Welcome to our Cyprus guide, inspired by our desire to do more than just promote our own
apartment at the Grove Spa Resort.
Please understand that we are not experts. We are, however, huge fans of Cyprus and
therefore delighted to be able to share what we have learned about the Island over the last
couple of years.
Wishing you a happy holiday.
Adrian & Louise
PS: Don‟t hesitate to call (on +44 (0) 7872119738) or visit our website if you want more
information about our fabulous holiday apartment.
Index of Contents:
To go direct to each section, please hover over headings and press Ctrl (on keyboard) and click.
Section 1: Island Features
Location and Geography 4
Employment and the economy 5
Language and culture 5
Section 2: Exploring the Island
Larnaca 9 - 12
Protaras 12 - 13
Ayia Napa 13
Nicosia 14 - 15
Limassol 15 - 16
The Troodos Mountains 18
Northern Cyprus 19
Farmagusta 19 - 20
Section 3: Focus on Larnaca District
Larnaca District 21 - 22
Villages surrounding Larnaca: Mazotos; Pervolia; Kiti; Maroni; Lefkas; Stravrovouni 23 - 26
Section 4: Tourist information and useful links
Cyprus Tourism Information 27
Car Hire 27
Distance Calculator 27
Larnaca Weather Forecast 27
Things To Do In Cyprus 27
2011 Bank Holidays 28
1. Island Features
Introduction: Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004 and the majority of its visitors are
from Europe. However the islands development has been influenced by its complex history
which has seen the island being controlled by most of the great Mediterranean powers over
the centuries, giving its people a diverse ancestry.
I would say that the biggest factors influencing Cyprus‟ past, and even its present, are its
location, landscape and climate. In this section of the guide I briefly take a look at these
Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage and fascinating history with a vast range of ancient
monuments and archaeological sites for visitors to explore, including: Stone age tombs;
Greek temples; Roman mosaics; Byzantine monasteries; Crusader castles; Gothic abbeys;
Arab mosques; Turkish bath houses and Imperial British hill stations.
Many books are available on Cypriot history but a personal favourite is “Brief History of
Cyprus in Ten Chapters” by Dr Dick Richards. Being only 55 pages long, it‟s an easy read
but very enlightening. However, I always think it is worth remembering with historical
information that the authors are only human and it is therefore likely that one persons view
of history will be different to someone else‟s. Cyprus‟ history is complex and so to really
understand it you would need to read from at least several sources.
An even quicker way to get a feel for the history would be to a look at the timeline, shown
below, courtesy of the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington DC. Please press
Ctrl on your keyboard and then click on the heading or the image to be able to view the
Cyprus history timeline
Location and Geography
Cyprus is the Mediterranean‟s third largest island after Sicily and Sardinia and the most
eastern island in the Mediterranean. Cyprus measures 240 km (150m) latitude and 100 km
(60m) longitude with Turkey 75 km to the north. Other neighbouring territories include
Syria and Lebanon to the east, Israel 200 km to the southeast, Egypt 380 km to the south,
400 km to Rhodes, and 800 km to the Greek mainland.
The most prominent Island features you‟ll notice when you visit Cyprus or look at a map are
the two mountain ranges. The higher of the two is the southern Troodos range, 2,000
metres above sea level and often snow covered in winter. The other is the Pentadaktylos
range in the North.
Cyprus is situated in the eastern corner of the Mediterranean where it is warm and dry, with
approximately 340 days of sunshine per year. As Cyprus is a relatively small island, there is
little variation in climate from coast to coast.
Sunshine is particularly abundant from April to September when the average duration of
sunshine exceeds 11 hours per day. The average daily temperature in July and August
ranges between 29°C on the central plain, to 22°C on the Troodos mountains. The average
maximum temperature for these months ranges between 36°C and 27°C, respectively.
Relief from this heat can be found near to the coast where, in the afternoons, refreshing
breezes can be found. Alternatively the higher resorts offer a cooler, climate.
In fact the island has a fantastic all-year round climate, making it ideal to visit for winter
breaks. You might experience rain if you visit in January or February but downpours are
usually short and the resulting beautiful green landscape is great reward.
The island also has a short season of snow in the mountains, most commonly in December
and January, so during the winter it can be possible to sunbathe in the morning and ski in
the afternoon. The slopes are relatively gentle but great fun.
Population is around 780,000 in the South and 265,000 in the North. Add to that the 2.5
million or so tourists who visit Cyprus each year.
Cypriots have the highest marriage rate in Europe.
Employment and the Economy
46% of the land in Cyprus is cultivated, the main crops being cereals, potatoes and citrus
Cyprus tourism provides employment for around 113,000, or 30% of the workforce, many
of them being immigrants. Note that these figures vary from source to source.
Cyprus‟ standard of living is slightly higher than the EU average.
Language & Culture
Cypriots in the South speak Greek Cypriot; however it is said that over 80% also speak
English. The South of Cyprus is its own republic; however, essentially it remains Greek in
The North is the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus but that status is not
formally recognised outside of Turkey.
When you visit Cyprus you will most likely arrive at one of the 2 international airports:
Larnaca, in the South East, and Paphos, in the South West. Larnaca airport is 5km (3 miles)
from the „city‟ centre and Paphos is 10km (6 miles) from „city‟ centre. Car hire and taxis are
The 2 airports and Limassol Harbour are the only recognized points of entry for international
In the North there is Ercan Airport. Taxis are available to Nicosia, Kyrenia (Keryneia) and
Farmagusta. If you travel to the north and are not a Citizen of the European Union you may
be refused entry to the South.
Car hire is cheaper to book online, before departure. However, check conditions as some
only accept drivers aged between 25 and 75 who have held a license for more than 1 year.
Driving is on the left (as in the UK).
Please note that seatbelts must be worn in front seats and rear (where fitted). Also you are
strongly advised not to drink and drive as there is a system of random breath testing.
If you break down, follow instructions in hire documentation. Otherwise, ring Cyprus
Automobile Association on 2231 3233.
Petrol stations are generally open from 6am to 6pm. It is also open at other times, using
the automatic credit card/cash vending machines to pay.
Speed limits, at the time of writing, are as follows:-
Type Maximum Minimum
100kmh (62mph) 65kph (40mph) Same
Urban Roads 50kph (31mph) or as signposted N/A Same
Country roads 80kph (50mph) N/A 65kph (40mph)
Family attractions: Cyprus attractions are well distributed around the island. Cyprus
waterparks include the fabulous Water World at Ayia Napa, Water Mania and Wet n‟ Wild
near Lemesos and the one at Paphos. For Cyprus animal parks try the aquarium and bird
park at Paphos, the Camel Park at Mazotos, near Larnaca, the donkey sanctuary in
Limassol, the Ostrich Wonderland Theme Park near Nikosia and the Ocean Aquarium at
Authentic Taverns and Bars: Away from the bigger Cyprus beach resorts you will find
some wonderfully atmospheric, traditional cafes, bars and family-run taverns. Aficionados
should head for Nikosia, Limassol and delightful Cyprus mountain holiday destinations like
Kakopetria and Omodhos. Larnaca also has its own fair share and the nearby Pervolia
village features traditional tavernas serving local dishes and Cypriot wines and few of the
tavernas hold regular music evenings, attracting people from all over the island.
Clubbing: The main Cyprus clubbing centre is Ayia Napa. Limassol and Larnaca also have
nightclubs but also offer a rather more genuinely Cypriot atmosphere.
Watersports: The Cyprus coast offers idyllic conditions for every kind of watersport. The
biggest choice of Cyprus watersports is in resorts like Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol, Protaras,
and Ayia Napa. There is superb snorkeling on Cyprus, particularly around Cape Greko near
Nissi Bay. Diving: There are a number of diving schools around the Island and one of the
world‟s top 10 dive sites at Larnaca - the Zenobia wreck.
Walking Trails: There are truly outstanding, scenic, Cyprus walking trails in the Troodos
Mountains and the Akamas Peninsula near the resorts of Latchi and Polis. That is not to say
that there aren‟t many other great walks elsewhere.
Skiing: Winter holidays in Cyprus might include skiing on Mount Olympus, easily reached
from Kakopetria and Troodos Mountain resorts.
Exploring the Interior: Reserve a day or two to explore the interior with its farmland, fruit
orchards, vineyards and amazing mountain roads.
Churches and Monasteries: Few visitors can fail to be moved by the amazing monasteries
found in the Cyprus Mountains. Try Ayios Ioannis, Trooditissa, Machairas and 11th century
Kykko Monastery, the largest and most famous in Cyprus. There is also the Stavrovouni
Monastery near Larnaca, not far from Mazotos. The entire island is dotted with gorgeous
Markets and Festivals: Cyprus markets are full of atmosphere and an excellent source of
jewellery, silverware, pottery, lace and local artwork. Don‟t miss Greek orthodox Whitsun in
Larnaca and Limassol‟s spring carnival and September wine festival.
Northern Cyprus: Northern Cyprus remains under Turkish rule but this only has a limited
impact on tourists as crossing the border („Green Line‟), at official crossing points, is
straightforward. If you make the effort you will find fine quiet beaches, superb ancient sites,
medieval castles and quaint sleepy villages.
When you visit Cyprus you will be able to choose local cuisine that has both European and
African influences. Menus might also offer English, Indian, French, Chinese and Japanese.
Traditional cuisine includes Moussaka, stifado, kebab and Greek salad. However, “meze” is
the best way to get an insight into Cypriot food. Meze (or mezedhes) is a series of small
different dishes that are brought to you throughout the evening. Sometimes they cover
every type of Cypriot dish or often they will stick to a fish or meat theme. The rule is to
Cypriots enjoy kebab (souvlaki), lamb, smoked meats and traditional loukanika sausage.
Lamb comes as chops or the traditional kleftiko which consists of large pieces of lamb baked
slowly in traditional kleftiko ovens.
Halloumi cheese is distinctive to the island and is made from goat‟s milk and often served
grilled. Traditional Greek dessert, such as baklava and cadefi are great, if you have a sweet
Cypriot wine is plentiful and inexpensive. Commandaria sweet wine is well known and is
said to have been drunk during the ancient festivals of Aphrodite. There is firm evidence
that it was drunk in the estate of the Knights Hospitaller at Kolossi, 700 years ago.
Brandy sour is very popular!
If you visit Cyprus on a self catering holiday and find yourself at one of the weekly markets,
you will not be able to resist buying fresh locally grown vegetables, fresh meats or of course
some of the freshly caught fish that will be on offer.
In the South, the currency is the euro (€). In the North, it is the New Turkish Lira (YTL),
although UK pounds, Euros and US dollars are widely accepted. Exchange travellers cheques
at banks, bureau de changes and hotels. Most banks have ATM‟s for cash withdrawals. Most
currencies are accepted at banks.
2. Exploring the Island
Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and stretches 150 miles from the
west coast to its east and 60 miles from north to south. If you wish to explore the Island, it
will help you to know a little about the main areas and what there is to see and do.
Here I mainly focus on the South, where there are 340km (211miles) of coast, along with
the wonderful Troodos Mountains. Below, I have briefly described each of the main areas,
including: Larnaca; Protaras; Aiya Napa; Nicosia, Limasol; Paphos; Troodos
mountains; Latchi; and Northern Cyprus.
Larnaca has a myriad of shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs to suit every
need, as well as places of historic interest and long sandy beaches. Along with these,
cultural events are continuously being organized so it‟s never dull in Larnaca.
Larnaca (also often written as Larnaka) is situated on the south coast of Cyprus and has
good road links to both east and west sides of the island and inland to the capital Nicosia,
making it one of the most convenient places for exploring the rest of the island.
Larnaca, through the centuries, became an important trading centre from where the islands
main copper exports were shipped and it has always maintained a significant foreign
population. Although a working town (third largest in Cyprus), tourism is now very
important to the area and, indeed, the modern town has plenty to offer those who visit. In
addition to all that there is to see or do, another benefit is the easy going, welcoming,
attitude of the locals.
When you visit Cyprus, the Salt Lake is one of the first things you see as you fly into
Larnaca Airport and it is clearly seen on any road map. In the winter, the lake fills with
water and attracts many birds including flamingos. In summer it dries out to leave a crispy
white salt layer. In years gone by this was a productive business enterprise. Donkeys were
used to transport the salt from the lake to be stored in huge piles. It is said that a plane
landed there about 30 years ago and then sank!
Larnaca has a long history, represented in the town‟s museums which have enough on
display to make them worth a visit. However, only a scattering of sites, forts and churches
Larnaca is in fact built over Kition, the ancient Kingdom of Cyprus. Excavations can be
seen in certain parts in the city which are worth a look as they contain shrines and artifacts
used during those times. According to legend, Kition was established by one of Noah‟s
grandsons in the 13th century BC.
Perhaps the best starting point for those interested in the archaeology of the area would be
to visit to the Archaeological Museum and then visit some of the remains of the ancient city
which are on Leontiou Machaira, nearby.
Additionally, the magnificent 9th century church of Agios Lazaros (Saint Lazarus) merits
a visit as this is the site where the tomb of the saint is kept. Legend has it that St Lazarus,
having been raised from the dead by Christ, came to Larnaka to live out his remaining days
and on his death he was buried here. There is also a small museum inside the building.
Agios Lazaros Church
Other places of interest include: the Kamares Aqueduct, built under Ottoman rule in the
18th century; the 17th century Fort; and Hala Sultan Tekke which, for Turkish Cypriots,
is the holiest Moslem shrine after Mecca, Medina and al Aksa.
Hala Sultan Tekke mosque overlooking Larnaca‟s Salt Lake
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Hala Sultan Tekke, on the shores of Larnaca‟s Salt Lake, stands where Prophet Mohammed‟s
maternal aunt Umm Haram was buried in AD649. It is said that she fell from a donkey and
broke her neck while participating in an Arab raid on the island. The mosque was built in
1816 but the tomb dates from 1760. Please respect the dress code when visiting (remove
shoes and women should cover their heads with a scarf).
Another place I think worth a visit, for those interested in history, is the Pieredes
Foundation Museum. This was founded in 1974 to house a private collection, covering the
Neolithic period through to the Middle Ages. The museum‟s 3,600 exhibits are displayed in
the Pierides family‟s fine 19th century house. Amongst other things you will find one of the
most important collections of Roman glassware and jewellery in Europe.
Water sports in the area are numerous. Larnaca, with its Marina, is the main yachting
centre of Cyprus and also a great centre for those wishing to visit Cyprus to explore the
Zenobia wreck (a world top 10 dive site). For the less adventurous Larnaca has a
popular seaside promenade known as the Finikoudes (or Phinikoudes). Phinikoudes is lined
with ornamental street lamps, palm trees and smart cafes. If visiting in the evening, be sure
to promenade along the beach front with the locals.
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The local people promenade along the seafront in the evening
There is an indoor theatre in the grounds of the Municipal gardens, which also boasts a
children‟s playground which is well equipped with activity toys for toddlers to twelve year
olds and a small animal and bird zoo. There is also the open amphitheatre on the right hand
side of the airport road which hosts a lot of events throughout the summer.
Larnaca Festival is held in July and, amongst other things, features: dance; theatre; music;
cinema; and poetry performances at the fort and the Patticheion Municipal Theatre.
Protaras, 8km North of Ayia Napa, is a fully fledged resort but a firm favourite with British
families who visit Cyprus. Although back-to-back hotels line the waterfront, the beaches
along this coastline are some of the best on the island.
A Beach at Protarus
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As it is not as developed as some other areas like Ayia Napa, the mood is generally casual
and laid back so you‟ll generally find plenty of room on the beach. Fig tree bay is worth a
visit, stretching more than 14 kilometers along the coast. All water sports are available to
choose from, including paragliding.
Nearby Cavo (Cape) Greco National Forest Park is a favourite among tourists who visit
Cyprus, and locals alike, as it has more than 300 plant species and plenty of wildlife to spot.
When there, consider walking up to the tiny Byzantine style church of Prophet Elias. You
need to be fairly fit to cope with the 300 steps but there is a stunning view at the top, of the
crystal clear turquoise waters and golden sandy beaches in the area.
Believe it or not, Ayia Napa (or Agia Napa) was once a quiet fishing village. In the winter
the little village has less than 1000 inhabitants, but during summer numbers expand to
more than 10,000!
Now it is unashamedly Cyprus‟ fun in the sun resort and anyone who enjoys non-stop
parties on the beach (Nissi beach), in the bars and on the dance floors will love to base their
However, over the years Ayia Napa has also developed into a popular holiday resort due to
its beautiful crystal clear blue beaches with fine golden sands and many tourist attractions.
The beaches are wonderful and many are hidden among the rocks to form small cozy coves.
However, take suitable footwear as the islands rock is often rough and spiky.
14km (8 miles) west of Ayia Napa is Potamus Tou Liopetri, a pleasant creek that serves as a
small fishing harbour. Best early in the morning when the fishermen return with their catch.
The long beach is slightly rocky but usually quiet and the sea is calm and safe for
swimming. Also there you‟ll find tavernas and the church of Agios Georgios.
Other than the beaches and the night life, Ayia Napa has three main other attractions: The
beautiful Venetian style 16th century Ayia Napa monastery, (built over a cave where an icon
of the Virgin Mary was found); the Tornarites-Pierides Marine Life Museum and the Thalassa
Municipal Museum of the Sea, which includes a full sized replica of the ancient ship Kyrenia
2 and a papyrus vessel of 9,200BC.
WaterWorld waterpark in Ayia Napa (Europe‟s largest themed water park) is a great place to
go if you visit Cyprus with children.
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Nicosia lies roughly at the center of the island, on the Mesaoria (central plain) within easy
reach of the other towns. It has a rich history that can be traced back to the Bronze Age. It
became the Island’s Capital in the 11th century AD. Being a great blend of old and new
makes this a fascinating place which really should be on your agenda when you visit Cyprus.
Part of Old Nicosia
(photo courtesy of usaalternativehostels.com)
Old Nicosia is enclosed by 16th century Venetian walls, with plenty of museums, ancient
churches and medieval buildings creating a nostalgic atmosphere. New Nicosia, outside of
the walls is a contemporary, business and cultural centre. Heading away from Nicosia you‟ll
find enchanting places of interest such as Byzantine churches and monasteries,
archaeological sites and charming villages.
Laiki Geitonia is a traffic free zone within old Nicosia, where traditional buildings have been
restored. It‟s now a tourists favourite with restaurants plus craft and souvenir shops.
Agios Ioannis (St John‟s) Cathedral lies within the grounds of the Byzantine Museum and
was built in 1662 on the site of a Benedictine abbey church. The interior decoration is
ornate and there are fine 18th century wall paintings. It is said to have once contained a
finger of John the Baptist.
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The Cyprus Museum houses most of the important finds from sites right across Cyprus.
Other places worth seeing in Greek Cypriot Nicosia include: Leventis Municipal Museum of
Nicosia; Omeriye Mosque; Farmagusta Gate; and Archbishop Makarios Cultural Centre,
Byzantine Museum and Art gallery.
The Northern boundary (the Green Line) cuts through Nicosia; however, visitors will now
find it easy to cross at the Ledra Palace Crossing. On the northern side the impressive
Selimiye Mosque is worth visiting.
Please take into account that Nicosia is hotter than the coast in summer.
Limassol (or Lemesos)
Limassol is a large cosmopolitan Cypriot town and a popular beach resort. It lies 25 miles
west of Larnaca airport and 35 miles east of Paphos airport. Limassol is not too heavily
focused on tourism so there are plenty of traditional tavernas, old fashioned shops and
unpretentious bars, alongside modern restaurants and shopping centres. Limassol has a
wide range of attractions, good beaches, and an attractive marina and seafront promenade.
Limassol has served as a bustling port for Cyprus for thousands of years. Its history reflects
the extent to which different cultures have left their mark on the city; from the Germans in
the 12th century, the Egyptians, the Ottoman Empire, and the British.
Your exploration of the city might start with a visit to Limassol‟s 14th century Castle, built on
the site of an earlier Byzantine fortification. Richard the Lionheart and Berengaria (of
Navarre) were married in a chapel here, although that part of the original castle is no longer
standing. Today, it houses the Cyprus medieval Museum with a collection which covers
centuries from 400 A.D. to 1870. There are good views of the City from the battlements.
The Folk Museum also provides a good overview of the culture of Cyprus. The
Archaeological Museum traces the roots of Limassol and Cyprus back to the Neolithic Age on
to the Roman Period, with displays of pottery, stone axes and jewellery.
Away from the city (about 14km), heading west is Kolossi Castle, standing in an area full of
fruit orchards and vineyards. The castle was first built in the late 13th century and rebuilt in
the 15th century. Originally it was the headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller. The Knights
Hospitaller were Knights of the Order of Saint John the Hospitaller who were also known by
such names as Knights of Rhodes, Knights of Malta, Cavaliers of Malta, and Order of St John
of Jerusalem. The Hospitallers grew out of a brotherhood for the care of sick pilgrims in a
hospital at Jerusalem following the First Crusade in 1100 AD). The castle was later occupied
by the Knights Templar.
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The most interesting archaeological site (and perhaps the most important in Cyprus) is
Kourion, about 19 kilometers west of Limassol. The earliest settlements here were from
3,500BC; however, the earliest remains date back to the late Classical and mainly
Hellenistic period, between 325BC and 50BC. The Greco-Roman theatre built in 2nd century
B.C. has been fully excavated and restored. It‟s now used for musical and theatrical
performances and is a splendid venue.
Archaeological site at Kourion
In the other direction from Limassol, heading East towards Larnaca, you‟ll find the
fascinating site of Amathous. These archaeological remains are widely spread. The most
accessible ruins are of the Agora – fenced site just off the main road. It‟s a small site,
originally a market area but many pillars are still visible so it looks quite impressive.
Heading up a track leads you to the Acropolis and remains of a temple to Aphrodite. There
is evidence that some of the Amathous site extends under water which is an attraction for
snorkelers and scuba divers.
Limassol holds a famous wine festival in September. It‟s hugely popular, thanks to the
samples of free wine and Cypriot food plus dancing and music. In May, they hold a flower
festival as a celebration of spring‟s natural beauty. This festival can be traced to ancient
Ladies Mile beach, near the new Limassol port, is popular because of its golden sandy
beach. It is a great spot for families since the water is clear and shallow. Windsurfers love it
too. The smaller authentic Cypriot resorts of Polis and Latchi and the beach resort of
Pissouri lie a few miles west of Limassol.
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Paphos is small town at the southwestern tip of Cyprus and is famous for being, according
to mythology, the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
Although quite small there is plenty to see and do and you can easily walk to and from the
main points of interest. One of those will be the Paphos Archaeological Park, a must-stop
attraction that has many highlights. Also a visit to the Tombs of the Kings is worthwhile.
They are in fact the tombs of „nobles‟ and not Kings; however, they do provide an
interesting glimpse into the after-life of the rich and famous of the fourth century, with
tombs carved out of solid rock.
Tombs of the Kings
Visitors also enjoy roaming through the shops and stalls. Although they mostly cater to
tourists, leather goods and lace are excellent buys. Later, if you want good authentic local
style food you‟ll need to bypass the typical western fair and the fast-food chain restaurants
and visit one of the large hotels which have great restaurants.
For the genuine experience of drinking and dining alongside local people you‟ll need to
venture further out to surrounding small villages.
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The Troodos Mountains
When you visit Cyprus you must take a trip up into the Troodos Mountains, if at all possible.
They are the mountain chain crossing western Cyprus which rises to over 6000 feet at
Mount Olympus (reachable by Jeep). There is even a modest ski resort which winter visitors
and locals dash to when snow appears. Other sports in the area include paragliding,
mountain biking, rock climbing and hiking.
Your trail up to the Troodos Mountains will uncover gorgeous sleepy villages and traditional
Cypriot tavernas. Favourite mountain resorts include Kakopetria, Omodhos, Platres and
The stunning Troodos Mountains
The atmospheric medieval town of Kakopetria is in an exhilarating setting on a hillside
between two rivers and a deep gorge. The entire old town is a protected national
monument. You will find traditional shops, a charming market plus cafes and bars serving
local wines and regional cuisine.
Omodhos village has a romantic feel to it with its narrow streets, traditional whitewashed
houses, a cobbled village square elegant cafes and the famous local monastery. The
charming old shops sell jewellery and lace and tavernas serve local wines and regional
On your journey into the mountain region you might notice that there is a remarkable
concentration of splendid Byzantine churches and atmospheric mountain monasteries like
Trooditissa, Machairas, Ayios Ioannis and Kykko Monastery (11th century) which is the
largest and indeed the most famous in Cyprus.
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Latchi is a peaceful beach resort on the borders of the unspoilt Akamas Peninsula, on the
north-west coast of Cyprus. Latchi is a picturesque fishing village surrounded by countryside
and farmland, popular with walkers, birdwatchers and nature lovers. The protected Akamas
Peninsula is famous for its rugged gorges and isolated sandy coves.
Northern Cyprus has a wonderful coastline with fine sheltered bays and sandy
Mediterranean beaches free from crowds. The beaches are great for sunbathing, swimming
in beautifully clear water, or watersports. Charming restaurants offer local Turkish-inspired
cuisine as well as tourist favourites.
Tranquil Kyrenia (Keryneia/Girne), the wild Karpaz Peninsula and the walled city of
Farmagusta (Ammochostos/Gazimagusa) are just a few places definitely well worth visiting
in the North when you visit Cyprus.
Farmagusta spans both the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus and is just one hour
away from Larnaca airport. This part of Northern Cyprus is known as one of the most
beautiful places on the Mediterranean, with miles of sandy beaches, plenty of opportunity to
swim, snorkel, scuba dive etc. To the north is the wild Karpas Peninsula which, because of
its great biodiversity, is in many places protected.
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Evidence of Famagusta‟s‟ troubled past is still evident at Varosha (the „new town‟) which,
since the 1974 Turkish invasion, has only been open to the military. Varosha is now
effectively a ghost town; however, it was Cyprus‟s leading holiday resort until 1974.
However, visitors to Famagusta concentrate their visit on the walled city which has one of
the finest examples of medieval military architecture. In the narrow streets some shops
remain unchanged by time or trend and authentic cafes and bars are worth visiting. In peak
season the town can get very busy but more often than not it is calm and the Turkish
Cypriots are courteous and helpful. Farmagusta is home to the deepest harbour on the
Other places of interest include Othello‟s‟ Tower (the city was the setting for Shakespeare‟s‟
epic play), St Nicholas Cathedral, the Royal Palace, The Twin Churches and the two original
gates of the city walls.
The spectacular ruins of the ancient city of Salamis, dating back to 1100BC, lies just 9km
away and are considered to be amongst the worlds’ most important archaeological sites.
Ruins of the ancient City of Salamis
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3. Focus on Larnaca District
Up until 20 years ago the Larnaca district was the agricultural heartland of Cyprus;
however, whilst it still provides the bulk of Cypriot potato crop, tourism has now overtaken
it in importance to the economy.
If you plan to visit Larnaca, you can look forward to discovering a district that offers a
variety of activities, accommodation and a different pace of life. With much to do all year
round in Larnaca town itself, the surrounding area is becoming increasingly popular as an all
year round holiday destination and retreat.
When you visit Larnaca you will be travelling to the south east of Cyprus. Larnaca is one of
the six main districts of Cyprus and covers an area of 436 sq miles (1,229 sq km) with the
stunning Troodos Mountains covering much of the western part.
Larnaca is home to the modern international airport, just 5 minutes from the centre of
Larnaca town and close to the excellent comprehensive road network. At Larnaca airport,
the car hire desks are open 24 hours and taxi‟s can easily be hired. Highways give direct
access to Nicosia (to the North), Limassol and Pathos (to the West) and Ayia Napa (to the
The last 20 years has seen a dramatic growth in tourism, focused on Ayia (Agia) Napa and
Protaras, mainly due to the quality of the beaches. Moving south west from there takes you
away from those tourist spots towards Larnaca town and then the surrounding villages
(more about those later).
Apart from those around Ayia Napa and Protaras, Larnaka boasts 25km of splendid beaches
throughout the district, many of which have earned blue flag status. They include McKenzie
and Yanathes (along the Golden Bay), both fairly free from crowds, except in the height of
the summer season. Phinikoudes and Dhekelia beaches are well-equipped, offering excellent
tourist facilities from sun loungers and umbrellas to convenient beach bars and
restaurants. Phinikoudes is not the best beach but the promenade is very attractive, lined
with palm trees, cafes and restaurants. Also on the Dhekelia road, in the middle of Larnaca
Bay, is CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organisation) beach. Other beaches within easy reach lie
between Pervolia beach and Zygi Bay, with the popular Governors beach a little further on.
In between those are pebbly beaches which offer a quieter alternative for those wishing to
escape the tourist crowds (these are great but, for your comfort, I suggest you take suitable
footwear and perhaps a padded mat/sunbed to lie on).
Furthermore, all those who visit Larnaca can enjoy a wonderful choice of water-sports. One
of the world‟s top ten dive sites is just off the coast, referred to as the Zenobia Wreck. The
Zenobia was a passenger ferry which sank in 1983. If you are a sailor, you may bareboat
charter a yacht or take a day trip on a catamaran or motor boat.
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Other activities available in the Larnaca district include fishing (+deep sea fishing), cruises,
hiking, walking, horse riding, football, tennis, archery, cycling, go-karting and ten-pin
bowling. The nearest quality golf course is about 40 minutes away in Limassol, although
coming „soon‟ is the new PGA course which will be just 10 minutes away in Tersefanou.
Temperatures start to rise in June to 25C, with the height of the summer seeing average
highs of 28C in July and August, sometimes reaching the mid-30C‟s. Larnaca district
coastline benefits from the Meltemi winds during the summer, which bring refreshing and
very welcome breezes. The sea water temperature in summer reaches highs of 28C in
August, and swimming can be enjoyed from the spring right through to autumn, when the
sea temperature ranges from 20C – 25C. Autumn, like the springtime, tends to be short,
with the average temperature during this time remaining at 20C.
Sightseeing on one of the many coach trips available is a popular way to visit places of
interest or to travel to another town for the day.
In contrast to Larnaca town and the lively beach resorts north east of Larnaca, you might
crave for a more relaxing getaway experience. If so, the villages south west of Larnaca
might just be perfect for you. More information about these villages is shown below.
Local Markets sell superb local produce and craft work, including jewelry, silverware, pottery
If you are keen on crafts, then you may wish to visit: Emira pottery for handmade pots of
all types and sizes; Fotoni‟s pottery; Kornos village for terracotta pottery, made here as it
was 2,000 years ago; Liopetri village for traditional basket making; Xylofagou village also
for traditional basket making; Cyprus Handicraft Service, a shop with traditional Cypriot
crafts, such as silverware, woven cotton, lace, baskets etc. For such things as beautiful
icons, Byzantine church music, wine and incense you might wish to visit Athos Monastery.
Archaeological sites around the Larnaca district include Choirokoitia, the oldest site on the
whole island, dating back to 6,800BC when people lived her and farmed the surrounding
land. Due to its importance it is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, the site was
quite crowded with houses built close together and linked by narrow passageways. The
residents buried their dead under the floor or their houses. You will need a guide, available
at the site, to fully appreciated this site.
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Villages surrounding Larnaca
Heading south west of Larnaca, you will find long stretches of unspoilt coastline where
you can relax on the beach or swim in the fabulous Mediterranean clear blue sea.
Mazotos is 15 minutes away from Larnaca international airport, travelling south west. It is
within easy reach of Limassol to the West, and Nicosia to the north.
Scenes from Mazotos taken from the Grove Spa Resort
The charming, unspoilt, Cypriot village of Mazotos, with its olive groves and local people
going about their business, sits in a beautiful landscape with the Sea on one side and hills
and mountain views on the other; a great place if you are looking for a superb relaxing
holiday and perfect for those who wish to explore all that this beautiful island of Cyprus has
The community today consists of about 850 local Greek Cypriots who happily mix with non
Cypriot residents and visitors alike.
Mazotos lies in an area not at all overwhelmed by tourists. Nearby villages, such as Pervolia
(Perivolia), are very attractive and offer coffee shops and tavernas, some of which have
authentic Cypriot music on certain evenings. In fact people travel from all over the island
just to dine at Perivolia.
In the center is also the beautiful Church of St George which is home to the Icon of St
Xenophon. This was brought to the village in 1821. Tradition has it that Saint Xenophon
came to Hadjidimetrishim (a Mazotos resident) in a dream and told him to go to the Karpas
peninsula, find the icon and bring it to Mazotos. He discovered the Icon, “marked by a
miraculous pillar of fire”. Since in Mazotos, the icon has been credited with many miraculous
cures. Today the Icon, still believed to have healing powers, is paraded on feast days.
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Church of St George in Mazotos, home to the Icon of St Xenophon.
In more recent times, on the outskirts of the village, there has been the introduction of new
homes. Mazotos attracts the wealthy so most of the residences are impressive and the
effect has been positive. Being in prime territory, the number of holiday developments has
been severely controlled; however, Mazotos village is home to the Grove Spa Resort, “an
outstanding development” involving top Cypriot architects.
There are scenic walks from Mazotos village up into the hills or to and along the local
beaches. The attractive local beach is around 5 minutes drive away (or 15 minutes walk).
The beaches along this stretch are pebbly and have limited facilities.
Mazotos beach. Photo by Monica Anca
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For many visitors that is a huge bonus as, even in the peak tourist seasons, these beaches
never get overcrowded. There are also some great beaches just a short drive away such as
For younger children (and the rest of the family) there is the Camel Park in Mazotos. As well
as camel rides it has a pool and the restaurant is a good place to sample the local food.
There is also Dreamland play centre and „zoo‟, 10 minutes away in Tersefanou, for the
Pervolia (or Perivolia)
The picturesque village of Pervolia, near to Mazotos and about 17km from Larnaca centre, is
a charming traditional Cypriot village which has approximately 1,600 inhabitants, mainly
concerned with agriculture. Although it attracts tourists, Pervolia has never given up its
unique character and charm.
Pervolia is also known for its excellent restaurants/tavernas, often with live Cypriot music
evenings. These are mainly situated in the centre of the village which is pedestrianised in
the summer months.
There is also the Kitemed Kitesurfing school based in Pervolia.
In the village of Kiti, just 10 minutes from Mazotos, you will find the 11th century “Church
built by Angels,” Panayia Angeloktistos. This church was built on the remains of a 5th
century Basilica. It has many ornate icons but most importantly there is a rare 6 th century
mosaic that depicts angels attending the Virgin Mary as she holds Christ. This very intricate
mosaic is of a style not found elsewhere in Cyprus.
Kiti has quite an extensive range of shops and amenities.
The village of Maroni is also within the Larnaca District, 35 kilometers south west of Larnaca
Town, just 5 minutes from the sea. The village preserves its traditional Cypriot architecture
with the narrow streets and stone-made houses with local stone. The local tavern provides
truly great food and wines.
In the Troodos foothills, not too far from Larnaca, are the delightful villages of Lefkara, with
their narrow meandering streets and rich traditional architecture. Here women sit outdoors
threading handmade lace in the traditional style, called Lefkaritika. Leonardo da Vinci is said
to have visited Lefkara in 1481 to buy lace for Milan Cathedral. The Lace and Silverware
Museum of Lefkara is in the beautiful House of Patsalos. Silverware (made by the men) and
Turkish delight are other Lefkaran specialities.
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A festival to celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross is held every year at Pano Lefkara, on
the 13th and 14th of September. The silver Holy Cross itself is from the 13th century and
kept in the local church, Tou Timiou Stavrou. You will also find late 12th century frescoes in
The Church of Archangelos Mikhail (Archangel Michael) in Kata Lefkara.
This area is also home to Choirokoitia and Tenta, two of the oldest Neolithic settlements of
Cyprus dating as far back as 7,000 BC.
The famous Stravrovouni Monastery, just North West of Mazotos, is perched on a solitary
mountain known as The Mountain Of The Cross. It sits at an altitude of 690m (2,263ft) so
views from here are splendid.
This monastery is the oldest in Cyprus and is still occupied by a devout community of
monks. Please note that only men can enter the monastery.
In AD327, St Helena brought a fragment of Jesus‟ cross from Jerusalem. It is claimed that
the piece is still in the monastery, covered by a silver casing. Unfortunately the original
buildings were destroyed during Arab and Turkish raids and so the physical buildings we see
today date mainly from the 17th century.
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4. Tourist information and useful links
Here are some Cyprus Tourism related links plus useful information to help you when you
Cyprus Tourism Information
Larnaca Weather Forecast
Things To Do In Cyprus
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2011 Bank Holidays
New Years Day: 1st January 2011
Epiphany Day: 6th January 2011
Green Monday: 7th March 2011
Greek Independence Day: 25th March 2011
Cyprus Cypriot National Day: 1st April 2011
Greek Orthodox Good Friday: 22nd April 2011
Greek Orthodox Easter Monday: 25th April 2011
Labour Day: 1st May 2011
Pentecost / Kataklysmos: 12th June 2011
Assumption of the Virgin Mary: 15th August 2011
Cyprus Independence Day: 1st October 2011
Greek National Day: 28th October 2011
Christmas Day: 25th December 2011
St Stephens Day: 26th December 2011
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