Cyprus Past and Present: What to See and Do


Cyprus is a country with a rich archaeological heritage dating back to 5,800 BC. Blessed with a subtropical climate, this island really merits a visit. I’m sharing my memories of Cyprus what to see and do as part of #ThrowbackThursday.

APHRODITE’S ROCK
Also known as Petra tou Romiou or Rock of the Greek, Aphrodite’s Rock is a popular tourist attraction situated on the road from Paphos to Limassol. Famous as the mythological birthplace of Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, it’s an idyllic spot. The currents here are quite strong so it’s best not to swim here. There’s a restaurant called Petra tou Romiou on the hill nearby with great sea views.

cyprus-what-to-see-and-do
KYKKOS MONASTERY
Take a trip to the Troodos mountains in the centre of the island to see some impressive Byzantine monasteries and churches forming a UNESCO World Heritage site. Kykkos Monastery is one of the best known on the island, with colourful, ornate murals. The original monastery was established in the 11th century but devastated by fires, with the current building dating from 1831. You’ll be lent purple robes for your visit to the monastery and museum.

Troodos monastery frescoes
KATO PAPHOS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK
Just a stone’s throw from the centre of Paphos and the harbour, Kato Paphos is not to be missed. This UNESCO World Heritage site includes remains from prehistoric times to the Middle Ages, with particularly important Roman ruins. It can get very hot in here with little shade, so make sure to take water with you and a sunhat.

Paphos lighthouse
The House of Dionysus is a must-see within Kato Paphos. This Roman villa dates from the second century A.D. and contains stunning mosaics representing Dionysus, the god of wine.

House of Dionysus Cyprus
Another fascinating sight within Kato Paphos is the Tombs of the Kings, providing some welcome shade. Dating from the 4th century BC, these underground tombs are decorated with Doric pillars. Although it was high ranking officials rather than kings who were buried here, the opulence of the surroundings gave them their name.

Tombs of the Kings Paphos
KOURION
Amongst our favourite places in Cyprus is Kourion, a well preserved archaeological site on a hillside overlooking the Mediterranean near Limassol. Its ancient theatre dates back to the second or third century AD and can seat up to 3,500 spectators. There are also some attractive mosaic floors and public baths to see, yet it was not at all crowded when we visited.

Kourion archaeological site
PAPHOS HARBOUR
Paphos itself is a lively town with a charming harbour area which is partly pedestrianized and has a medieval castle with good views over the surrounding area.

Paphos harbour
Dine at any of the beachfront restaurants and enjoy the beautiful sunset – we particularly liked Ouzeri, part of the Almyra hotel but open to non residents.

Paphos harbour view restaurant
Away from the harbour but possibly the best place in Paphos for authentic Cypriot mezethes or small dishes, Seven St Georges Tavern is an utter delight. There’s no website but any cab driver will be able to take you there. Dine in their courtyard garden and enjoy their loaf of homemade bread – when you leave, they’ll wrap up the loaf for you to take away.

WHERE TO STAY
I recommend the luxurious Almyra hotel – the name stands for taste of the sea and that sums up the lure of the place pretty well! With eight acres of landscaped gardens, its next door to the equally luxe Anabelle hotel. As they’re part of the same group, guests can use the swimming pool and facilities of each hotel. We stayed in a Kyma Suite, with a large roof terrace and king size day bed – the perfect party or family pad!

Whether you prefer to get some serious rest and relaxation or to take in the sights, Cyprus has so much to offer.
Have you ever visited Cyprus and what tips would you give to visitors?

Almyra hotel Paphos suite

  • Nice post! Cyprus is a wonderful place to visit. When I went I really loved the village of Lefkara. A natural beauty. I have a good Cypriot friend from there so I was lucky to “discover” it. It’s famous for its lace and silver shops. I would love to hike in the Troodos Mountains next time!

    • I hadn’t heard of Lefkara so thanks for mentioning it, Marissa. We really enjoyed the Troodos mountains although it started pouring with rain so we didn’t do much walking 😉

  • I have never been to Cyprus 🙁 It looks like a great place though and I have only heard positive things about it!

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    • We really enjoyed our trip and now I’d like to visit North Cyprus to see how it’s different

  • Paola

    I love Greek, but I have never seen Cyprus, I hope next summer… btw, great pics doll!!!!
    Kisses, Paola.

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    • That’s very kind Paola as this was with an old camera – I’d love to go back and capture it with my new one!

  • What gorgeous photos! Yes, Cyprus definitely looks worth visiting :-). Those colorful murals at the Kykkos Monastery must be something to see…

    • The whole area around the monastery is really lush and green, and quite an adventure getting up there as there were boulders on the road!

  • I went when I was younger with my parents, looks like I need to go back!

  • Wow I would love to go there
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  • I visited Cyprus years ago and enjoyed it for the sun and sea! We didn’t have as much of a “cultural” experience as you did though, so if we ever return, I think I’ll be consulting this post again for tips!

    • I wish I could but I can never sit still for long so we didn’t get all that much sunbathing time in, so I’d probably return for that!

  • Cyprus looks really lovely. I had always heard bad things but the more I see of it, the lovelier it looks. That is excellent yarn bombing on the anchor.

    • Yes I love that knitted anchor! On the whole we really enjoyed Cyprus for the food and cultural sights

  • That reminds me, I have to go back to Cyprus with my shovel and treasure map and comb the beach (off-shore funds? No? Yes? I’M JUST JOKING DON’T COME FOR ME MR. TAXMAN)

    In all seriousness though, Cyprus looks absolutely stunning, I had no idea about its history until a quick nosy Google after reading your post. x

    Jasiminne: Posh, Broke, & Bored

    • It’s amazing how many different civilizations have passed through Cyprus, there’s so much history to discover

  • My sister is an archeology major and I bet she would LOVE to visit here!

    • I’m sure she would get so much from her visit, I wish I had read up more before visiting as there’s not all that much info at the sites themselves but it was really interesting

  • I love that you’re provided with robes at the monastery – it all sounds beautiful! Another added to the travel wish list 🙂 xx

    • The purple robes were pretty striking, these days I’d have got a photo with me wearing it!

  • Lucy

    Cyprus was a lovely surprise when we stayed there two years ago it was stunning, great food and wonderful sites. We stayed at Aphrodite Hills which had breathtaking views over the sea Lucy x

    • I’ve heard great things about that resort at Aphrodite Hills, we were very close to it at Aphrodite’s Rock

  • I have a suspicion that once I get to Cyprus it will steal my heart!

  • That restaurant by the Paphos Harbour looks so gorgeous!!!!!

  • I’ve been considering Cyprus as a holiday lately – trying to plan a group holiday where no one has been is tricky but this is definitely a potential!