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HOME > Cyprus


A past with a strong Greek influence and 300 years of Ottoman Empire led than to have in 20th century 70% and 30% of the population Greeks and Turks respectively. When the country got independency from the British (1960) fighting immeditely started and a separation line (green line) cutting Nicosia was defined.
Due to the threat of a potential unification with Greece, in 1974 the Turkish army invaded Cyprus. They conquered the northern half of the country, kicking out the Greeks and setting up a 'No Man Land' protected by two walls. Since then UN and British overview the situation among the parties.
The town of Varosha was conquered but not invaded and still today is a ghost town.
click to enlarge
Cyprus map, click on to enlarge


8 days ,  June'15



Kind of travel:
Me and my wife Elisa with our 2 year old daughter INES in an independent travel

30th May- 7th Jun'15

Do I need a visa:
Cyprus Greek: Need just your ID
Cyprus Turkish: bring your passport (no stamps on it)

How I moved:
Cyprus Greek: by a rented medium size car (prices 25€/day + baby seat 6€/day!)
Cyprus Turkish: same car rented in the Greek Cyprus but you need to pay a Turkish third party insurance (3 days: 20€, 7 days: 35€). Note you cannot rent a car in the Turkish Cyprus crossing to the Greek Cyprus.
Cyprus is't a tiny island; overall we drove 1000km! We didn't take but I saw a good bus network in the Greek Cyprus

Freezing or baking:
In first week of June weather is already hot (max 27-33C) but being windy well bearable. You might need just a sweater in the evening (min: 17C), but jackets can be left at home

Where I slept:
Plenty of opportunities in particular self catering apartments (even for 1 night): average price for a triple apartment 50€/night. Distance from the sea is the main price driver.

What I liked:
generally the uniqueness of a separated country with his complex recent past and the authentic 'middle eastern' atmosphere of the occupied Turkish part.
In term of highlights: the charming city of Nicosia, the astonishing ghost town of Varosha and the Saint Hilarious castle

What I disliked:
Limassol and Larnaca , since anonymous and touristy; the inland landscape since monotonous and unimpressive

How much daily:
travelling with two adults and a toddler: accommodation 50€ per triple per night , car 25€/day, food (in the evening always eating fish in restaurants) 70€/day + others (petrol, sunbed,…) : the total for the whole family will be 170€/day

I'd spend more time on the Turkish part (cheaper and more charming), avoiding Limassol and Larnaca


I found in the Turkish part an authentic 'middle eastern' vibe (hoping to not offend any Cypriot reader). While in the Greek one I felt tourism overwhelmed the atmosphere dominated in particular by Brits and Russians. Furthermore generally I was expecting more dramatic landscape, while I didn't see anything remarkable.
Having said it, Nicosia, Varosha and Saint Hilarious Castle are worth the trip, and if you are looking for a beach holiday to party with friends or to enjoy your baby you won't be disappointed.



Day Transport Night Price Duration
1 Milan-Larnaca Flight

  270€/pp 3.5h
1 night Larnaca night   Apartment 40€/night per apartment  
2 Larnaca- Nicosia
via Famagusta
rented car   28 €/day 12h
2,3,4 night Nicosia   Stasikratous city center suite 50€/night per apartment  
3 Nicosia on foot      
4 Kirelia, Catalkoy beach, St Hilasrious castel rented car     8h
5 Nicosia to Limassol rented car     4h
5,6,7,8 night Limassol   Sunquest Garden Holiday Resort 50€/night per apartment  
6 Coral bay + Pafhos rented car     12h
7 Pissouri bay rented car     12h
8 Pissouri bay + Laneia
rented car     12h
9 Larnaca-Milan flight     3.5h

Unless you pass through Turkey, you'll have to land in the Greek part of Cyprus and very likely at Larnaca airport (Cyprus main one). There are flights landing also in Pafhos but quite sporadic, while nothing flies directly to Nicosia.
In Larnaca we spent a night and we rented the car (30€/day with AVIS). The town has a nice promenade by the sea side with a crowdy long sand beach. You won't miss bars, restaurants, entertainments everything with a British vibe; unless you want a beach holiday with a baby and you want every service nearby, airport included, I think it's not worth to spend time in Larnaca.
We drove on the way to Famagusta crossing the 'green line' (border with the Turkish occupied part) in the Deryneia checkpoint. Here don't miss the watchtower (lookout point) where you'll be provided with binoculars to see the 'No Man Land' of the separation line; don't expect too much but it's worth to pass by and have a look also to few documents about the Turkish invasion. Deryneia is by far the most curious crossing point, since it's where the UN headquarter (UN monitor the buffer zone, namely the 'no man land' between the two walls) is based. So crossing here means to exit the Greek part, then to enter the English zone, drive 300m and then finally pulling into the Turkish area. If you have a car you'll be asked to buy a new third party insurance since the one stipulated in the Greek area is not valid in the Turkish one (20€ for 3 days, or 35€ for 7 days). Remember that renting a car directly on the Turkish area won't allow you to enter the Greek one, while vice versa (as we did) is permitted.

Once entered we headed to the nearby Varosha; it has been the highlight of our travel, despite for the 'Greeks' is still a bleeding wound. Before the Turkish invasion (summer 1974) Varosha was the main resort of the whole Cyprus, counting more than 40.000 inhabitant. Turkish army found the city already abandoned, so they isolated it without settling down. They counted to bargain it in the negotiation of the recognition of the occupation with Greeks. So since 1974 the city is fenced with barbered wire and watching towers and nobody is allowed to enter. Everything is more or less as it was in 1974, left out lootings. You can peep inside through the fence (the fence at the beach is the most popular spot) and you'll see a real ghost town with huge building crumbling down. Searching internet you can see car dealers shop with the 70s car still inside, the airport with the rust aircraft on the run away…

500 m north of Varosha lies Famagusta old city (1h drive from Larnaca), a pleasant Turkish town with a unique mosque built on the former Catholic Cathrdral (the minaret is built between the two steeples).
After 2h driving than we pulled in Nicosia; an charming city dense of highlights, being also the only divided capital in the world. You'll fall in love hanging around the cobblestone narrow streets then suddenly barred by the 'green line (separation wall)'. You can cross on foot the separation line in one checkpoint opened in 2003, showing your passport and being quickly registered. We liked much more the Turkish part of Nicosia since we found it more authentic and cheap vs the Greek, despite it's definitely worth to visit both.
Then we dedicated a full day on the Cyprus Turkish part, in particular spending few hours on the a beach near Kyrelia called Katalkoy (uncrowded cheap place with good restaurants) and visiting Saint Hilarious castle. Second only to Varosha and Nicosia in term of 'must-to-be-seen', it's perched on the rocky cliff overlooking the coast. It's a 15min drive from Kyrelia (30min from Nicosia) and from the parking lot you've to climb up the three levels till the very top from where you can enjoy a breathtaking view. Besides you'll get surprised to find a church and several rooms in a place even a bird would hardy manage to set up a nest.
We turned than southward towards Limassol, stopping by the town of the embroidery: Lefkara. Unless you are mad for knitting, I wouldn't recommend also because I found it too touristic.
For the remaining 4 days we settled down in Limassol, (3h driving from Nicosia) using it as base for daytrips. I found the town quite anonymous since lacking of any Cypriot atmosphere. In fact given the number of Russians living here (left alone the ones spending the holidays) it has been re-baptized Limassolgrad. The seaside in Limassol as the one in Larnaca is convenient in term of services but definitely not remarkable.
We visited Pafhos (1h driving) and the popular Coral beach (30min from Pafhos), for sure much better than Larnaca or Limassol, but it's quite crowdy.
While I found more windy but also more laid-back the Pissouru beach (40min from Limassol).Unlike Coral beach there aren't many structures but the fish dishes we enjoyed at the restaurant have been unforgettable.
We didn't miss also Laneia: a very photogenic village plunged in the Trodos mountains characterized by flower filled cobblestone streets and limestone buildings. As 'cherry on the cake' of the trip, here we tasted the best Meze we had so far and enjoyed a typical Cypriot wedding.

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