Off The Beaten Path Cyprus
Updated April 2020, Off The Beaten Path Cyprus was originally written in February 2018
Hotspots in Cyprus like Ayia Napa, Limassol, and Nicosia can get quite crowded, especially in the summer. So if you’re looking for some spots without the crowds read on for some of the best places to visit off the beaten path in Cyprus! I also recommend getting a copy of Bradt’s North Cyprus guidebook to plan your time on the little-visited northern half of the island.
You’ve probably noticed the unusual shape of the island of Cyprus. Well, the most identifying- narwhal like projection that points toward Syria is the Karpaz Peninsula. The Karpaz Peninsula sees just a small handful of travelers that come to Cyprus. Of the few that come across the “border” to the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus), only a few venture out to the peninsula. With wide sweeping wild beaches, wild donkeys, and adorable villages it’s a wonder as to why the tourists aren’t out here, but hey, you’ll have it to yourself.
Looking for more inspiration? Check out the best 26 things to do in Cyprus
Just west of the city of Paphos at the beginning of the Akamas Peninsula up a bumpy dirt road is the trailhead to the Avakas Gorge. It’s a stunning, relatively short hike through Cyprus’s unique flora and fauna to the beginning of the gorge. Once in, you’ll maybe bump into another person or two out there.
This is a long walk from the start of the trail at Aphrodite’s Bath to the Blue Lagoon, one of the Akamas Peninsula’s most beautiful stretches of coastline, but well worth the each way 5.3 km (3.3 mi) trek. Make sure to bring a big bottle of water and some sunscreen because it can get quite hot, and there isn’t much shade from the sun. Once into the lagoon get out your snacks and a bottle of wine before you jump in for a swim.
Not feeling like a walk? You can rent ATVs or pay for a ride in a 4×4 out there, or you can opt to take a day cruise from Paphos or Pissouri. Shop Paphos accommodations here. Shop Polis accommodations here.
Love impossibly blue waters? Check out Malta’s Blue Lagoon
Varosha is a Cypriot ghost town. Varosha made up the far southern quarter of the city of Famagusta. Prior to the 1974 Turkish Invasion of Cyprus, this was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, but today it sits in walled-off isolation with nature reclaiming the city. It is possible to visit a part of Varosha Beach where you have some views into the abandoned city, however, be careful about where you point your camera- the TSK soldiers guarding it will start yelling at you to stop and may even demand you delete the photos.
Famagusta and Varosha both sit within the TRNC, so check which borders you can drive across to get here (we crossed at the main car crossing in Nicosia/Lefkosia). Check out day trips to Varosha here.
The Coast Between Paphos & Limassol
Stretches of this coastline like Aphrodite’s Rock can get quite crowded, while other spots may not have a soul on them, like my favorite beach in all of Cyprus. This is a rocky coastline with the occasional bright white gypsum rock.
Cape Greco Sea Caves
Just a little north from the tourist hotspot of Ayia Napa is the Cape Greco Sea Caves. There will be a few other people out here but the crowd is nothing compared to what you’ll see at the popular Ayia Napa. Depending on the tides you can even walk into the caves, but be careful. They can get quite slippery.
St. Hilarion Castle
High up in the Kyrenia Mountain Range with views sweeping along the northern coast of Cyprus sits St. Hilarion Castle. Originally a monastery, then turned fortification it became a major defense of the island against invaders over the years. It is the best-preserved of the defense fortifications in the Kyrenia Mountains.
Thanks to the mountainous terrain of the Akamas Peninsula there are no roads in the peninsular nature reserve, leaving it open to endless trekking and camping opportunities. The Akamas is flanked by beautiful coastline and is home to many endemic and even vulnerable plant species.
This quiet and laidback beach village sits perched on the west coast between Paphos and Limassol. Note that the far left of the beach is a nude beach.
The adorable seaside village that comes just before the beginning of the north side of the Akamas Peninsula.
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