Saint Hilarion Castle, Northern Cyprus Saint Hilarion Castle, Northern Cyprus – Image Ira Goldstein/Wikipedia

Things to do in Cyprus

In addition to sunbathing, shopping and nightclubbing, Cyprus offers a range of pursuits for active couples from exploring an ancient castle to discovering unspoilt scenic areas of Cyprus along a network of hiking trails.


Castles

Walk in the footsteps of the Crusader King Richard the Lionheart on the ancient ramparts of Limassol Castle or head into Northern Turkey and climb the lofty heights of Saint Hilarion Castle or Buffavento Castle that were once bulwarks against Saracen raiders.


Hiking

The many Some of the best walks lie in the regions of Atalante, Kaledonia and Persephone in the Troodos area; Aphrodite and Adonis in the Akamas area; and in the forests of Machairas and Limassol.

In the Troodos area you can choose from four easy trails around Troodos village or try the longer 9km downhill hike from Platres to Fini, the 7km-long Platres to Perapedhi hike or the shorter 3km-long uphill hike from Platres to Pouziaris.

For a longer hike through forest, vineyards and alongside stone terraces try the Panagia tou Araka to Stravos tou Agiasmati trail that merges into the Teisia tis Madaris trail, an invigorating hike that circles the cliff top of Mt Madari offering fine vistas.

The Agia Irini to Spilies tou Digeni trail will take you to the secret caves of Digenis, where EOKA resistance fighters hid during the insurgency of 1955-59. For these and other hikes check out the Cyprus Tourist Office brochure pamphlet Cyprus: Nature Trails.


Walking

The towns and villages of Cyprus are fascinating places to wander around. Nicosia, Famagusta and Limassol have particular interesting old towns of narrow streets lined with fascinating Byzantine architecture.

In Nicosia, you can now stroll along the infamous Green Line, that spooky buffer zone that divides the Greek and Turkish sections of the city. Wander past abandoned, crumbling houses, admire the double minarets of the Agia Sofia mosque (once a Christian cathedral), see Turkish and Turkish Cypriot flags fluttering in the light breeze but don’t photograph the UN and Greek Cypriot bunkers that punctuate the zone.

A CTO-signposted walking tour will guide you along the route safely – it’s believed that many of the small streets and ruined buildings still contain booby-trap mines.


Snorkelling & Scuba diving

The calm and clear waters around Ayia Napa and Cape Greco up to Famagusta are perfect for snorkelling.

Head to the waters off Larnaka, Lemesos, Paphos, Ayia Napa and Cape Greco for great diving conditions. Discover natural dive sites of great beauty as well as various shipwrecks.

The waters off Paphos offer around 30 dive sites to explore, including the wreck of the Vera K that now lies in a submerged crater at 11m, just 25 minutes from Paphos harbour.

At Amphorae Reef see ancient pottery lying around in the shadow of a massive ship wrecked on the reef at a depth of just 5m to 10m.

Several wrecks lie off the coast of Larnaka including the Zenobia shipwreck, sunk in 1980 and rated as one of the 10 best dives in the world. The ship is around 200m long and lies at a depth of 16m to 42m. Look out for giant tuna, barracuda, amberjack and eel.

Another fascinating seawreck is the Helicopter Wreck, a British Army Air Corps helicopter that lies at a depth of 16m, and is now home to octopus, jack and groper.

Also off Larnaka is the aptly named Octopus Reef, located just 10m below sea level and home to schools of octopus. More experienced divers can head to Mushroom Rocks. At 50m below sea level you’ll get to see many large fish.

Off Lemesos, you can dive the wreck of the M/Y Diana, now home to large squid, as well as the Pharses II wreck that lies in 21m. At the Akrotiri Fish Reserve hand-feed groper, eel, sea bass and octopus. At 9m below sea level it is an ideal dive for the inexperienced.

Several dive centres operate in Larnaka, Lemesos and Paphos offering try-dives in a swimming pool as well as internationally recognised PADI open water dive courses lasting around five days.


Skiing

In winter, from January to mid March, head to the Troodos mountain range. The towns of Platres and Kakopetria are well placed for the skiing season on Mount Olympus, at 1,952m above sea level, with excellent access to the slopes and good accommodation options.


Bungee

Hurl yourself from 60m above the deep blue see at Napa Bungee in Ayia (Agia) Napa.


Latest update: Things to do in Cyprus: 19 December, 2018


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