This is everything you need to know before you start planning your next getaway to Europe’s biggest secret, Cyprus
A jewel of the Mediterranean Sea, the island of Cyprus is the mythical birthplace of Aphrodite where rich culture and archaeological heritage comes together.
Cyprus’ natural beauty is endowed with golden beaches boasting clear blue waters, dense forests, and friendly climate. It is the sunniest country in Europe with over 300 days of sun annually.
Cyprus is known to attract a vast amount of visitors from all over the world that travel to Cyprus to make a living, as well as for tourism.
How to get to Cyprus from Dubai
Emirates offers 1 direct flight daily from DXB to LCA (Larnaca International Airport) and vice versa.
Flight duration: 4h 15m (DXB-LCA), 3h 55m (LCA-DXB)
Ticket price: AED 2,225 ($605) onwards for a round-trip in economy class
You can apply for visa from the Cyprus Visa Application Center located on the 3rd floor at VFS in Wafi Mall. The processing time for the application at the Embassy of Cyprus is approximately 1 week.
For more information on documents required, visa fees, forms, and photo specifications, click here.
- Holders of valid multiple Schengen visa are not required to apply for a visa to travel to Cyprus
- Certain passport holders do not need to apply for a visa to visit Cyprus. Click here for the list of countries whose citizens do NOT need a visa for a stay up to 90 days, provided they are bona fide visitors.
Option 1: Taxi
Taxis are the quickest and most comfortable way to get from the airport to your destination. There are usually plenty of taxis available at Larnaca airport on arrival.
Option 2: Pre-booked coach service
There are several reliable transfer companies which offer a pre-booked coach service from Larnaca airport. These holiday transfers can prove a very cost-effective way of getting out of the airport, although the travel time can be slightly longer if there are several hotels where people need to be dropped off.
You may also have a longer wait at the airport for other flights to land to fill the vehicle but if there are less than 4 people traveling then this does often work out the cheapest way to get from Larnaca airport
Option 3: Car hire
Driving in Cyprus is on the left. Road signs are in English and Greek, making it very easy to get around.
The island is fairly small and the journey from Larnaca to your destination can be easily driven on the usually traffic-free highway. There are several car hire companies based at Larnaca airport, but to guarantee availability and the best price, you may wish to book your car in advance.
The Republic of Cyprus administers the following districts:
- Famagusta – this is where we stayed
Where we stayed – Nissi Beach Resort, Ayia Napa, Famagusta
For this trip, we chose to stay at Nissi Beach Resort, Ayia Napa for 3 nights. It is a beautiful beach-facing property located 35-45 minutes from the international airport.
Average price per night: USD $100-250, depending on the season
About Ayia Napa
Located in the district of Famagusta, Ayia Napa has become synonymous for the warm sun, clean beaches, and an overall fun holiday experience. Many consider Ayia Napa to be a complete holiday paradise for all ages and the tourism capital of Cyprus.
Best time to visit Aiya Napa: April-September
Activities: Beaches, nightlife, water sports, boat parties
Since Cyprus has no railway system the best way to get around is by bus or by car. It is also a good idea to rent a car to explore the different parts of the island at your convenience.
For more information on bus routes and taxi services, click here.
Since 1st January 2008, Euro is the official currency of the Republic of Cyprus, replacing the Cypriot pound (also known as lira).
Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate, with long dry summers from May to October, and mild winters from December to February. They are separated by short autumn and spring seasons in between.
Fun fact: it snows in Cyprus! Visit Troodos Mountains to experience a snowy winter wonderland
The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. Greek is spoken predominately in the south and Turkish is spoken predominantly in the north.
English is very widely spoken both in south and north by locals of all ages – partially because of previous British rule and partially due to the tourism industry.
Other common languages spoken on the island are Russian, French and German.
Safety & Security
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Cyprus is a remarkably safe country, with very little violent crime. Petty crime does occur, especially during the holidays and summer.
If you need to contact the emergency services, call 112.
There are a few key factors that perfectly highlight the food culture of Cyprus:
- Cypriot cuisine has various culinary influences, namely Greek and Turkish
- Cypriot dishes often utilize locally sourced ingredients, such as vegetables, cheese, and fish
- Cypriot people absolutely love their food, but more importantly, they love the social aspect that comes from sharing and being together. It is the norm that large families eat together on the weekends, hence the popularity of meze style dishes that are comprised of many different items for everybody to share
Traditional Cypriot dishes: souvlakia (grilled meat kebabs), shaftalia (grilled sausage), afella (pork marinated in coriander), fried halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread, kolokasi (root vegetables), lamb, artichokes, chickpeas and rabbit stews (stifado)
The best way to get acquainted with Cypriot food is to order a meze platter. This will likely include many of the foods above, and will come served with a variety of breads and dips. The traditional dips include:
- Tzatziki, which is made from yogurt with peppermint and cucumber
- Taramosalata, which is pink and is made by combining cod roe, potato puree, lemon, onions, and oil
It’s worth noting that a meze will undoubtedly include locally produced halloumi cheese made from the milk of local thyme-fed goats.
Top 7 things to do include in your Cyprus itinerary
1. Soak up the sun in the beautiful, pristine beaches of Cyprus
Cyprus’ beaches continuously rank highly when measured against other seaside spots in Europe. With a wealth of beaches to choose from, you’re bound to find one that suits your taste. From the quiet backwaters of the western peninsula to the lively resorts in the east, the island has something for everyone.
Most popular beaches: Makronissos Beach, Coral Bay, Nissi Beach, Akti Olympion, Konnos Bay, Blue Lagoon Akamas, Finikoudes Beach
2. Celebrate life at Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa has become synonymous with clubbing on the island, very similar to what Ibiza is to Spain.
With a stunning coastal location, there are lots of boat trips that sail from Ayia Napa. You can choose from a submarine, a lazy day cruise, a party boat or even a pirate ship! Other daytime activities include pool parties, visiting the waterpark, lazing by the beaches, diving, and quad biking, to name a few.
In the evenings, you can choose between beach parties, bar crawls, foam parties, paint parties, fun fairs, or just enjoy a tasty meal in a local restaurant before strolling around the shops on bustling Nissi Avenue.
3. Visit the traditional, historic villages of Cyprus
Cyprus boasts a number of idyllic, historic and scenic villages oozing with warmth and charm. I have two favorite villages to recommend:
- Lefkara: Apart from its famous lace and silver work, Lefkara village is also well known for its beautiful scenery and architecture.
- Pissouri: Pissouri is the third largest village district in the Limassol district of Cyprus. The main Pissouri village is located about 3 kilometers from the sea and is about 500 feet above sea level. There are many charming taverns, coffee shops, as well as entertainment facilities and chapels.
4. Explore Petra tou Romiou, the birthplace of Aphrodite
Aphrodite’s mythical birthplace Petra tou Romiou is an interesting geological formation of huge rocks along one of the most beautiful coastlines on the island, located on the southwest coast of the Paphos district.
The combination of the beauty of the area and its status in mythology as the birthplace of Aphrodite makes it a popular tourist location.
5. Experience Cypriot cuisine like a local
Visit a popular local tavern to experience Cypriot food. With excellent year-round climate, it’s not uncommon to enjoy food outside in an open-air courtyard, with the most wonderful decorations such as creeping vines and flowers, and in some instances, accompanied by traditional Cypriot music being played live by the local skilled musicians.
Favorite local restaurants: O’Vrakas Taverna, Pissouri & Dionysus Mansion, Limassol
6. Take a stroll by the marina at Limassol
Limassol is the most cosmopolitan city in Cyprus, renowned for its vibrant atmosphere and hospitality. A popular destination in Limassol is Limassol Marina, where you can find international restaurants, cafes and bars, and a shopping area.
There is also a pier where you can take a long walk and enjoy the sunset.
7. Discover the history of Cyrpus
The history of ancient Cyprus spans across 10,000 years, making it one of the oldest civilizations in the Meditteranean. You can discover the history of this magnificent island by making a visit to Kourion Archaeological Site, the archeological remains of Kourion – an important ancient city-state on the southwestern coast of Cyprus. The majority of the remains date to the Roman and Late Roman/Early Byzantine periods.
Another popular museum is the Ayia Napa Sculpture Park that was inaugurated in 2014 with the aim of creating a completely new tourist experience. The open-air sculpture museum features both large and small works of art created by more than 20 sculptors from around the world.