An Introduction to The Regions in Cyprus
There are 5 regions in Cyprus that everyone must visit, all of which offer something different for whoever may be visiting. These regions are Larnaca, Nicosia, Limassol, Paphos and Ammochostos. Regions are also more commonly known as districts within Cyprus and road signs will have both the English and Greek spelling. Now, you may be familiar with the association Cyprus has with crystal clear beaches but the island has so much more to offer.
In this article we will guide you through the 6 regions in Cyprus you must visit and show you that although the island is rightfully known for its beach, it provides so much more.
The first region in Cyprus we are going to discuss is none other than Larnaca, otherwise known as Larnaka. The port city resides on the south coast of Cyprus and is the third largest city on the island. Its population is estimated at 72,000 with the weather regarded as a semi-arid climate meaning it holds lovely Mediterranean seasons. It is known for its high-rise ocean view apartments, bustling downtown center and a strong family community. The city has a variety of beautiful historical structures including St. Lazarus Church and Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque.
St. Lazarus Church was constructed around 900 AD and remains the most powerful standing Byzantine structure left in Cyprus. This majestic church, which is located in the town center of Larnaca, was built above the tomb where Saint Lazarus was laid to rest. If you are unsure on who Saint Lazarus was then let us tell you; Saint Lazarus came to Cyprus after being resurrected by Jesus and was ordained as the first Bishop of Kition (Larnaca). His legend lives on and is even celebrated every year with a procession 8 days before Easter where an icon of the Saint is carried through the streets of the city.
Another structure that makes the region of Larnaca so iconic is the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque. This beautiful piece of architecture is located on the west bank of the Larnaca Salt Lake and is one of the main Muslim pilgrimage sites of Cyprus. It is said to be the built over the tomb of Umm Haram, a companion of the Prophet Muhammed who died when falling from her mule shortly after arriving in Larnaca.
The site offers free entry all year round and provides a beautiful location for an evening stroll along the Salt Lake.
Nicosia, also known as Lefkosia, is the capital of Cyprus. This district in Cyprus holds a population of over 200,000 with a hot semi-arid climate; this means the regions temperate is slightly higher on average than Larnaca. The capital is the most southeastern EU member and has been inhabited for well over 4,000 years. Not only is it the capital of Cyprus but it’s also the center of shopping, art galleries and museums.
Nicosia is home to the legendary Ledra Street, a street surrounded by shops, bars and cafes. The street is named after the ancient city kingdom of Ledra and as you can imagine it is filled with vibrant colors and esthetically pleasing buildings. Ledra street is popular amongst locals as well as tourists as there are well known high-street shops as well as independent stores along with a variety of places to dine and enjoy drinks. But if you are looking for an even larger variety of shops then there is the option to visit 2 malls that are situated within Nicosia, the Mall of Cyprus and Nicosia Mall.
You really are in the right place for a shopping experience if you visit Nicosia and you are also in the right place if you wish to explore the arts of Cyprus. The district is home to some of the best art galleries and museums on the island, including the Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre and Point Centre for Contemporary Art. Each of these galleries offer various exhibitions, events and talks that welcome anyone who is interested. Nicosia is also home to the Cyprus Museum which happens to be the oldest and largest archaeological museum on the island. The Cyprus Museum displays objects from ancient Cyprus to show visitors how the old civilization lived and will often host exhibitions on various themes relating to the ancient life.
As you can guess, Nicosia provides something for everyone, from shopping and dining experiences to art, history and culture.
Next on our list of regions in Cyprus is Limassol. This is the second largest district after Nicosia and was named by TripAdvisor as the 3rd most up and coming destination in the world back in 2014, so it is definitely worth a visit now. The city’s weather is slightly different to that of Nicosia and Larnaca; Limassol has hot and dry summers with more mild winters, making it a subtropical Mediterranean climate.
Limassol is well known for its marina, the cosmopolitan waterfront hub of the island. The marina hosts a mixture of luxury dining experiences with spectacular views along with elegant shops and relaxing fitness centers.
If you want a guaranteed quality dining or drinking experience then you must visit Marina Breeze Lounge Bar or the Marina Roof Top Cocktail Bar. Both these locations offer impressive views of the coastline and offer lavish atmospheres that residents love just as much as tourists.
If you want to explore further inland then travel 42km north-west of Limassol and you will discover the village of Omodos. This village is surrounded by mountaintops and fruit trees making it a perfect escape from city life. Locals welcome visitors every year with most people choosing to relax in the hillside wineries and absorb the idyllic island life.
The city also offers sightseeing adventures including Limassol Castle, located near the old harbor.
Out of all the regions in Cyprus, Paphos is undoubtedly the most famous among tourists. Also spelt Pafos, this district is located on the southwest coast of the island with a population of around 35,000 people. UNESCO added the entire town of Paphos to its World Culture Heritage due to its abundance of treasures including the Tombs of the Kings and mosaics in the Houses of Dionysos.
With Paphos being the most famous district in Cyprus, it is understandable why Petra Tou Romiou or more commonly, Aphrodite’s Rock, is such an iconic landmark. Thousands visit this site every year to bathe in the waters surrounding it thanks to its legend; the legend of Aphrodite. It is said that it is here where the Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, emerged from when she took on human form and so it has been worshipped since the myth began.
This location is not the only place in Paphos that has connections to the Goddess, the Baths of Aphrodite also receive thousands of visitors a year. Located 60km northwest of Petra Tou Romiou are the baths which are said to be where Aphrodite would bathe and meet her lover, Adonis.
Finally, on our list of regions in Cyprus we have Ammochostos. This district is also known as Famagusta and mirrors Paphos with its popularity amongst tourists. The area is made up of several small towns; Ayia Napa, Paralimni and Protaras, all of which are resort towns. This area is undeniably most famous for the golden sand beaches like Nissi Beach and Fig Tree Bay along with the vivid nightlife of Ayia Napa but there is much more to this district.
If you venture around Protaras then you must visit The Church of Prophet Elias. The church is located on top of a steep hill, so if you are planning to visit, be aware you will need to climb 156 stairs. Once at the top you have access to panoramic views of the town and can enjoy the beautiful structure of the chapel along with the views of the local park.
10km down the road you will find the Ayia Napa Sculpture Park. The Park includes cultural works from various countries who have participated in the annual Sculpture Symposium held by Ayia Napa Municipality. The 20,000 square metre park adjoins to the Cactus Park, both are free entry for the entire day. Much like the Church of Prophet Elias, Ayia Napa Sculpture Park has panoramic views of the island and sea along with benches to relax on mid stroll.
Regions in Cyprus: Conclusion
These 5 regions in Cyprus all offer different adventures, meaning the entire family have the opportunity to enjoy something in each district. If you are visiting the island then it may seem almost vital that you spend your vacation on the beach getting a tan but Cyprus has much more to offer than just crystal-clear waters and golden sand. The island is dripping with culture that should be explored; from wineries to art galleries and streets filled with shops to architecturally beautiful churches, there is something at every corner of the island.