This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through an affiliate link, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support.
Do you want to explore Cyprus by car? It is an excellent way to see more of the country than you would be able to by bus alone, allowing you to stop off at viewpoints, tiny villages, and beaches that aren’t on any bus route.
I just spent 12 days in Cyprus and it was an excellent trip to a country full of ancient ruins, beautiful villages, historic churches, and some of the most incredible turquoise water I have ever seen.
I did a lot of research to figure out the best places to visit in Cyprus by car and overall I was really happy with my trip. I have compiled this guide to all the best places on my Cyprus Itinerary to help you plan your own Cyprus road trip. Enjoy!
History of Cyprus
Cyprus is a very interesting country with a complicated history. It has been occupied throughout history by the Ancient Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the British. You can still see Roman, Greek, and Neolithic ruins in Cyprus.
The country is currently divided between Northern Cyprus, which is occupied by Turkish forces and is home to mostly Turkish Cypriots, and the Republic of Cyprus in the south, which is home to mostly Greek Cypriots.
The country has been divided by the Green Line, a demilitarized buffer zone, since 1974 and you will need to use your passport to pass into Northern Cyprus from the south. You can learn more about the history of Cyprus here.
My Perfect Cyprus Itinerary
While I really enjoyed my Cyprus trip and was generally happy with my Cyprus itinerary, there are a couple of things I would change. Below is the basic outline of my itinerary but with a few small changes to make it even better.
I also cut it down to ten days from twelve, and you could cut it down further to one week by taking out some of the places that don’t interest you as much. I personally love the Troodos Mountains but perhaps a day trip to just a couple of places will be enough for you. Maybe you aren’t interested in beaches. Or ruins. You can alter this itinerary to be perfect for what you are into.
My Cyprus Itinerary starts and ends in Larnaca which is the most likely place you will fly into but if you are flying into Paphos instead, you could easily switch some things around.
Day 1: Arrive in Larnaca and explore. Stay Larnaca.
Day 2: Pick up your rental car. Explore Nicosia and cross into Northern Cyprus on foot. Explore Lefkoşa and Girne in Northern Cyprus. Stay Nicosia.
Day 3: Troodos Mountains – Kalopanayiotis, Pedoulas, and Pano Platres. Stay Troodos Mountains.
Day 4: Troodos Mountains – Laneia, Lofou, and Omodos. Stay Troodos Mountains.
Day 5: Kykkos Monastery and Akamas Peninsula. Blue Lagoon Boat Trip. Stay Latsi or Paphos.
Day 6: Coral Bay Beach and Paphos. Stay Paphos.
Day 7: Aphrodite’s Rock, Ancient Kourion, and Limassol. Stay Limassol.
Day 8: Governor’s Beach, Pano Lefkara, and Choirokoitia. Stay Ayia Napa.
Day 9: Sculpture Park in Ayia Napa. Cape Greco National Park and Konnos Beach. Stay Ayia Napa.
Day 10: Nissi Beach. Drop off the rental car and fly out in the afternoon or evening.
Places To Add To Your Cyprus By Car Itinerary
Here’s a more in-depth description of all the places on my Cyprus Itinerary.
You’ll likely be flying into Larnaca and there are a couple of things to see although I don’t think you need to dedicate more than a night here.
Focus your time in the area around Finikoudes Beach, the main tourist center of Larnaca. Walk along the palm-lined beach promenade, check out the medieval Holy Church of Saint Lazarus, explore Larnaca Castle/Fort, and take a dip at Finikoudes Beach.
Nicosia is the capital and largest city in Cyprus and it’s worth spending some time in as it is the last divided city in the world. The Northern part of the city is in Turkish-occupied Northern Cyprus, and the south is part of the Republic of Cyprus.
Take some time to walk around the pretty Old Town of Nicosia before crossing on foot into Northern Cyprus – you will need your passport for this although it will not be stamped. Make sure to change some of your euros to Turkish lira at one of the money exchanges across the border.
Once you pass through the green zone into the Northern part of the city (known as Lefkoşa) make sure to explore the medieval streets and alleyways and don’t miss Büyük Han. Büyük Han, meaning Great Inn, is the largest caravansarai in Cyprus and was built by the Ottomans in 1572. It is now home to artisan shops and cafes.
If you are feeling adventurous, get on a shared minibus (Dolmus) from Lefkoşa to Girne, also known as Kyrenia, which is only a 30-minute drive away. You can catch them close to the Kyrenia Gate.
Girne is known for its beautiful harbor and castle and is a close and easy-to-reach place to visit if you want more of a taste of the culture of Northern Cyprus.
In Girne, wander the beautiful protected harbor and explore 16th Century Girne Castle where you can walk around the walls and see one of the oldest recovered shipwrecks in Cyprus.
If you want to stay overnight here, consider taking a taxi out to St Hilarion Castle, a Crusader castle that is perched on top of a mountain overlooking the Mediterranean.
The three days I spent in the Troodos Mountains were my favorite of my Cyprus trip. I do love mountains in general so this wasn’t super surprising. The mountain towns are picturesque, have beautiful historic churches and monasteries, and the locals are friendly.
The villages of the Troodos Mountains have beautiful white-stone buildings and narrow cobbled alleyways, and there are colorful flowers everywhere. Even if you only have time for a day trip, don’t miss visiting the Troodos Mountains.
If you only have time to visit a couple of towns, I particularly loved Kalopanayiotis, Laneia, and Lofou.
One of the best-known and wealthiest monasteries in Cyprus, Kykkos Monastery is perched in the Troodos Mountains with beautiful views. Exploring the church and grounds of the monastery is lovely but don’t miss the Museum of Kykkos Monastery which houses a priceless collection of religious art, manuscripts, and antiquities.
There are also a large number of adorable cats and kittens that live in the monastery car park, which made me love it even more.
Akamas Peninsula and Latsi
The rugged Akamas Peninsula is the perfect place for an adventure. With paved roads only accessing part of the peninsula, to see more you will need to take a tour, have a 4WD vehicle, or hike.
There are numerous hiking trails on the peninsula as well as hard-to-reach beaches. You can drive to Aphodite’s Bath with a regular vehicle which is a small rocky beach with clear water, or park there and hike to remote Fontana Amarosa Beach or the stunning Blue Lagoon.
You can also take a boat trip from Latsi to the Blue Lagoon which has some of the clearest turquoise water that I have ever seen.
The small resort town of Latsi is the gateway to the Akamas Peninsula and a pleasant place to wander the waterfront and swim at the local beach.
Coral Bay Beach
Coral Bay Beach is one of the nicest beaches in Cyprus with white sand and super clear, bright blue water. It’s a large crescent-shaped beach with cheap sun loungers for hire, making it the perfect place to spend a relaxed beach day.
If you are heading south to Paphos after visiting the Akamas Peninsula, it’s the perfect stopping point.
Paphos is probably my favorite of the four major cities in Cyprus because there are lots of things to do here for a traveler. There are two different parts of the city to visit – the coast and the Old Town.
The Paphos coast is home to small but pleasant beaches, Paphos Castle, and a coastal promenade perfect for walking and watching the sunset.
Also on the coast is the Archaeological Site of Nea Paphos, one of the most important archaeological sites in the country with sites and monuments from the 4th century BC to the Middle Ages including well-preserved and intricate Roman mosaic floors.
Further north along the coast is another important archaeological site, the Tomb of the Kings. This underground necropolis mostly dates back to the 4th century BC with tombs carved from solid rock. Both the Tomb of the Kings and the Archaeological Site of Nea Paphos are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Paphos Old Town is located 3km from the coast on a hilltop. It’s worth spending some time exploring the boutiques and shops of the old town – this is a great place to get souvenirs. There are also some lovely cafes and restaurants here and I have heard the bar scene is great.
Just outside of Paphos in the foothills is Agios Neophytos Monastery, founded in the 12th century. It is a scenic spot with mountain views, a cave chapel with beautiful frescoes, and lots of friendly kitties that live onsite.
If you love cats like me, don’t miss visiting the Agios Neofytos cat sanctuary just down the road. There are over 800 cats that live here and some of the poor babies are pretty sick which is sad to see, but it is worth visiting to give the cats some love and to donate to help with their care.
Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra Tou Romiou)
I would say that Aphrodite’s Rock is a bit of a tourist trap – it’s a large rock in the ocean just offshore on a lonely coastline – but the water here is super clear so it’s definitely worth stopping for a swim. The water is really calm with a pebbled beach so it feels like you are swimming in a, albeit warmer, glacial mountain lake.
Have a drink or lunch at Mario’s Restaurant on their patio – the view from here over Aphrodite’s Rock is really nice.
If you are only going to add one set of ruins to your Cyprus itinerary – make it Ancient Kourion. Although the area has proof of settlements dating back 7500 years, the ruins at Kourion are from the Roman period.
There are numerous ruins you can see and some impressive and well-preserved mosaics. Don’t miss the Greco-Roman Theater, the Earthquake House, the Roman Baths, and the House of the Gladiators.
Kolossi Castle, a Crusader stronghold built in 1454, is nearby and worth a visit as well.
Limassol is the second-largest city in Cyprus and it’s worth spending at least an afternoon to walk the wonderful coastal boardwalk that stretches for miles, and to wander the lovely Old Town and revitalized Marina.
Limassol is popular with Digital Nomads and there are numerous cafes where you can hang out and work, or not, and there are lots of al fresco restaurants in the Marina and Old Town areas.
One of my favorite beaches in Cyprus, Governor’s Beach is actually made up of numerous small beaches nestled between white cliffs, with some of them only accessible by swimming to them. The sand is quite dark here, contrasting nicely with the white cliffs, and the water is super clean and clear.
I enjoyed hiking down to a secluded beach and then swimming further along the coastline to other secret beaches and sea caves. If I hadn’t been traveling around Cyprus by car, it would have been difficult to visit this hidden gem.
Pano Lefkara is technically in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains but it is quite far away from the other villages so I have listed it separately.
The village is known for its lace needlecraft and there are numerous shops where you can buy lace and other souvenirs in the bustling town center. If you’re lucky, you can catch a demonstration of the detailed lace work.
Like Lofou and Laneia, this pretty village is made up of narrow limestone alleyways and white stone buildings, along with gorgeous mountain views.
Neolithic Settlement of Choirokoitia
Choirokotia is the one place on this list that I didn’t end up visiting because I ran out of time, but if you are interested in the ancient history of the island, you should add it to your Cyprus Itinerary.
The Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia was occupied from the 7th to 4th century BC and it is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the eastern Mediterranean. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and you can see the partially excavated ruins of the site.
Ayia Napa is the largest tourist resort in Cyprus and is notorious for its party scene. I stayed in eastern Ayia Napa and loved the quiet vibe there.
Ayia Napa is home to some of the nicest beaches in the country including the stunning Nissi Beach which has an offshore island (Ayia Napa Island) that you can walk to at low tide.
Don’t miss the incredible (and free!) Sculpture Park overlooking the ocean, and the famous Bridge of Lovers sea arch where you can walk out onto the arch and swim below it.
Cape Greco National Park
Cape Greco National Park is a rocky peninsula that is known for its rocky cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and sea caves. There are numerous hiking and biking trails and the water is home to colorful fish and even sea turtles so take a snorkel and mask if you can.
The best place to swim and snorkel is in the stunning blue waters around the sea caves. You can either take a boat here from Ayia Napa or drive and then walk down to the water by climbing over rocks.
Konnos Beach is a picturesque sandy beach just north of Cape Greco that is one of the prettiest in Cyprus.
How To Travel Cyprus By Car: Renting a Car
Renting a car in Cyprus is easy and I had a hassle-free experience booking a car with Green Motion through Booking.com. I searched several search engines and this was the best deal for my dates.
I hired a small automatic car – a Suzuki Alto – for nine days for $216 total. This included third-party liability insurance and unlimited miles. Gas was cheap and I only spent $94 on gas for the whole nine days!
There are a few important things you need to know when renting a car in Cyprus:
- In Cyprus, you will be driving on the left-hand side of the road.
- It is compulsory to have third-party liability insurance in Cyprus and it should be included in all car rentals. Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection is sometimes included but if it is not, the car rental company is likely to force you to purchase it unless you have proof that you are covered for this by your credit card. My AMEX covered me and it was easy to get a generic proof letter through the website to show the car rental company.
- If you rent a car in Southern Cyprus, the car insurance will not cover you if you cross into Northern Cyprus. If you do want to take the vehicle into Northern Cyprus first check with your car rental company that this is allowed. You can purchase separate car insurance just for the north when crossing the border into Northern Cyprus.
Where To Stay in Cyprus
I based myself in six different places during my trip: Larnaca, Girne, Ayia Napa, Pedoulas in the Troodos Mountains, Paphos, and Limassol. I recommend staying in Nicosia instead of Girne and just visiting on a day trip unless you want to visit St Hilarion Castle.
You may want to base yourself in fewer places and do day trips although this will involve more driving. It’s really up to you and there are so many ways you can visit all the places in this Cyprus itinerary. Here are some of my accommodation recommendations:
I stayed in two different places in Larnaca and they were both great budget/mid-range options. Harrys Inn Guesthouse offers lovely ensuite rooms and is close to Finikoudes Beach, and Le Mat Hostel has dorm and private rooms with shared bathrooms, a shared kitchen, a courtyard, and is also centrally located.
For a more luxurious stay in Larnaca, LIV Mackenzie Beach Suites and Hotel Indigo Larnaca and both highly rated with great locations. Both are also adults-only resorts.
There are numerous vacation rentals in Larnaca, this Waterfront Apartment in the heart of the city, and this Luxury Villa a few minutes from the beach are my top picks.
I didn’t stay in Nicosia myself but there is something for all budgets. For budget accommodation, NEX Hostel has affordable dorm and private rooms. A great midrange choice is Urban Habitat Executive Suites, and for more luxury, stay at Gate Twenty Two Boutique Hotel or Hypnos Boutique Hotel.
For vacation rentals, this Penthouse With a View in central Nicosia, and this Fully-Equipped Three Bedroom Apartment With a Balcony are both great choices.
I based myself in Pedoulas in the Troodoos Mountains for two nights and loved the affordable and cozy family-run hotel I stayed in, Christys Palace Hotel.
Other highly-rated places to stay in the Troodos Mountains include the Petit Palais Platres Boutique Hotel in Panos Platres, Oinoessa Traditional Boutique Guest Houses in Lofou, and Vasiliki Guest House in Pedoulas.
For vacation rentals, this Luxurious Property With a Private Heated Pool near Omodos and Lofou, and this Cozy Forest View Cottage in Panos Platres are great options.
I didn’t stay in Latsi but it’s a great option if you want a quiet alternative to Paphos. There aren’t any hostels in Latsi or budget hotels but Souli Beach Hotel and Aphrodite Beach Hotel are both great mid-range options.
For vacation rentals, this lovely Nest By the Sea Holiday Apartment and the Three Bedroom Villa Fortuna are both highly-rated.
I stayed at the Paphiessa Hotel which was an excellent budget choice and included a pool and breakfast. Another great budget choice is Bee Hostel which offers dorm rooms.
Solid mid-range options include Pyramos Hotel by the coast and Axiothea Hotel in the Old Town. For luxury, stay at Elysium, or Amavi Hotel, both on the coast.
Highly-rated vacation rentals include this Two Bedroom Apartment Close to the Beach and this Two Bedroom Villa With a Pool.
I didn’t like the hostel I stayed in in Limassol so I won’t recommend it (don’t stay at White Hostel!). For a budget option, stay at Lima Sol House which has private and dorm rooms.
Mid-range options include Harmony Bay Hotel and Pefkos City Hotel. For luxury, stay at Amathus Beach Hotel, or Alasia Boutique Hotel.
Highly-rated vacation rentals include this Restored Traditional Cypriot Townhouse in the Old Town, or the Thalassa Sea View Suite near the beach.
I stayed at the lovely Marina Hotel in the eastern part of Ayia Napa and it was great value with a pool and breakfast included. Another budget option is the House of Nissus, which has dorms and is close to Nissi Beach.
Zoi Ayia Napa, and Nelia Gardens are solid mid-range options, and for luxury, there is NissiBlu Beach Resort and Amanrande Adults Only Resort.
For vacation rentals, this Nissi Beach Apartment, and this Brand New Villa close to the resort center are both great options.
The Best Time To Visit Cyprus
Although Cyprus is a year-round destination, I would recommend visiting in the shoulder season of April/May or October/November because the temperature during summer in Cyprus frequently tops over 40 C/104 F.
I visited in the second half of October and I was surprised how hot it still was, with most days on the coast around 30C/85F. It is generally colder in the mountains so make sure you take some warmer clothes for your time there.
I imagine Cyprus would be a lovely place to visit in winter for some winter sun with an average winter temperature of 17C/63F, although the water at the beach would be chilly to swim in at this time.
The Best Insurance For Your Cyprus Trip
Make sure you get travel and health insurance before your Cyprus trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with.
Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.
If you liked this post, check out some of my other London and Europe content:
- The Most Beautiful Places To Visit in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus
- Epic Places To Visit on a Crete Road Trip
- Where To Stay in Crete: The Best Options To See All of the Highlights
- Things To Do in Richmond, London: A Quintessential English Village
- The Most Beautiful Parks in London For a Winter Stroll
- What Life is Really Like Living on a Houseboat in London
- The Best Markets in London
- The Most Beautiful Towns in Dordogne Region of France
- A Perfect Day Hiking the Amalfi Coast of Italy
- La Gomera: The Undiscovered Canary Island