A Photographic Journey to the Most Picturesque Spots in Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, rich in history and culture, and full of wonderful experiences waiting to be enjoyed. It’s home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, two mountain ranges, and 400 miles of coastline.

Join us for a photographic journey through this beautiful country along the coast and returning through the highlands. You’ll see beautiful places full of magic and mystery sure to ignite your wanderlust for the farthest corners of the European Union.

Descend to Cyprus

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Flying from London to Cyprus takes about five hours, about the same as flying from New York to LA. The transformation in scenery is similar, too. You leave a concrete jungle and fly into a land of beautiful coastlines and bountiful mountains. As you drop through the clouds, you’ll see resort towns dotting the coast and villas climbing the mountain sides with white-walled houses topped with red tile roofs.

Land in Larnaca

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East meets west in the ancient district of Larnaka (Larnaca), where hundreds of years of contrasting civilizations, architecture and culture have left their mark on an authentic and diverse region.

Both Christianity and Islam have important religious sites in Larnaca. The Church of Saint Lazarus, who lived in Larnaka after his resurrection, and the Mosque of Hala Sultan – built in honor of the Prophet’s Mohammed’s aunt – are two of the main attractions of the city. Other popular sights are the Medieval Castle, the palm tree-lined promenade of ‘Finikoudes’, and Larnaca Salt Lake, which fills with flocks of vibrant pink flamingos during the winter months.

View The Birth of a Goddess

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Traveling along the main road from Paphos to Limassol on the southern coast of Cyprus, you can see the birthplace of a goddess. According to legend, Aphrodite rose from the foam surrounding a sea stack just off the coast.

You may have seen this scene in Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus, where a goddess with flowing hair stands on half of a scallop shell. That’s part of the magic of Cyprus; your cognitive map of art and history starts to mix with scenes from the world around you. 

Reflect on Paphos Castle

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An air of romance and history carry through the naturally abundant and culturally rich region of Pafos (Paphos).

Comprising its old and new towns, rural villages and picturesque resorts, the region is home to some of the most stunning areas of natural beauty on the island. It’s many archaeological sites are historically invaluable, with Katos Paphos declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a whole.

Centered around the quaint harbor and impressive medieval castle, Paphos’ environs then stretch to incorporate the tourist resort of Polis Chrysochous. The pretty and tranquil area – known simply as ‘Polis’ – has expanded to become a sub-district, and encompasses the beautiful Akamas National Park, Lara beach – which is a breeding site for turtles, and the traditional fishing shelter of Latchi.

Unearth Secrets in Paphos Archaeological Park

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In Greek mythology, Paphos was the daughter of Pygmalion, whose ivory cult image of Aphrodite was brought to life by the goddess. It’s where Aphrodite came to shore after her watery creation, so finding a major temple in these hills is not surprising.

Paphos Archaeological Park covers most of the ancient city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The most significant remains so far discovered are four large and elaborate Roman villas: the House of Dionysos, the House of Orpheus, the House of Aion, and the House of Theseus. The mosaic floors in the House of Dionysos are particularly well preserved.

See the Far West of Akamas Peninsula

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This peninsula is named after Akamas, a son of Theseus and hero of the Trojan War. Attractions in Akamas include a loggerhead turtle sanctuary and the Baths of Aphrodite. It’s a remote corner of the country with sweeping views and massive biodiversity that includes many nature trails.

Hike the Aphrodite and Adonis Nature Trail

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The Aphrodite and Adonis Nature Trails are two exquisite paths in the unspoiled landscapes of the Akamas Forest. Along the way, you’ll experience the area’s rich cultural Hellenic heritage dating back 3000 years, diverse flora and fauna, and stunning geology. You start at the Baths of Aphrodite and follow the Aphrodite Nature Trail past the ancient Byzantine Monastery known as Rigena Tower. You return to the sea via the Adonis Trail to form a 6-mile loop.

Sail From Latchi Harbor

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Latchi Harbor sits just north of the Akamas Peninsula in the back of Chrysochous Bay. It’s renowned for beautiful views and local restaurants serving fresh caught seafood. Here, you can book a charter to explore the beautiful nooks and crannies of the bay.

Splash in Chrysochous Bay

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Chrysochous Bay is a massive 12 miles wide at its mouth. Sailing on the bay allows you to reach inaccessible parts of the Akamas Peninsula like the protected cove of the Blue Lagoon.The water here is inviting for snorkeling and splashing or just enjoying the view.

Reach the Church of the Holy-Cross

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Working back through the mountains, you reach the Church of the Holy Cross, Timios Stavros, in Pelendri Village. It’s one of the 10 UNESCO churches in the Troodos Mountains. Timios Stavros is a 14th-century church decorated with exquisite wall paintings from the Palaiologan period and designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The original wall paintings date to 1171-1172, with fragments of the decoration preserved under the layer of the 14th-century frescoes. The main part of the church was decorated during the second half of the 14th century by at least two different artists.

Traverse the Troodos Mountains

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You’ll discover that the old traditions live on when you’re traversing the Troodos Mountains. You can feast on local Cypriot delicacies including grilled meats, vegetables, tahini, regional cheeses, and local wine.

Travel the Nature Trail Atalante

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Mt. Olympus, the home of the Greek Gods, is the highest mountain in Greece. The Mt. Olympus of Cyprus, at 6,404 ft, is the highest point on the island. One of the trails of the Mountain Olympu is named after Atalanta, a powerful huntress who rebelled against marriage. Her plan to deter suiters was to challenge them to a race. If they won, they could have her hand in marriage. If they lost, they were put to death.

Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite, who helped Hippomenes win his race against Atalanta with the help of three golden apples that legend says were from a sacred tree in nearby Tamasus. Perhaps this is why the trail around Cyprus’ Mount Olympus is called the Nature Trail Atalante.

Summit Mount Olympus

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You may not find gods on top of Mount Olympus, but you will encounter a divine view. On a clear summer day, you might see 20 miles out to the ocean. On a winter day, you could ski here in Cyprus’ only ski zone.

Visit Mountain Villages

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In Troodos mountain villages, you can hone your cooking skills and learn to prepare traditional recipes like moussaka. This is also a fertile wine country, with local vineyards that rival their mainland European counterparts. Cooking traditional food connects you with the culture and history of this rich and diverse region.

In these mountains you’ll find many  interesting sites including the Folklore Museum, the old fountain and the old olive mill. The village also has beautiful and ancient chapels, including the church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross), and the chapel of Archangelos Michail in Kato Lefkara, with frescoes that date from the 12th and 15th centuries.

Weave Your Way Through History in Lefkara

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Located in the Larnaca region, the mountainous village of Lefkara is split into Pano Lefkara and Kato Lefkara (higher and lower Lefkara), and is world-renowned for its traditional handicrafts of lace embroidery and filigree silver. The village is situated at the foot of the Troodos Mountains in the southeastern region, over 2000’ above sea level.

The crafts of lace and silver have been practiced in the village since Venetian times, and visitors can learn all about them, and watch the lace and silver being made at the Lefkara Handicraft Centre, the Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmithing, and various workshops. Legend has it that the famous painter, Leonardo da Vinci himself visited the village in 1481 and bought a lace altar cloth, which he donated to Milan cathedral.

The character of the village is very picturesque with its narrow, winding streets and traditional architecture of old, terracotta-roofed houses. It is also included as one of the stops on the island.

Leaving Cyprus

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We’ve traveled along the coast and back through the mountains, so it’s time to bid adieu to our photographic journey to Cyprus. If you liked what you saw in this slideshow, Traverse Journeys offers all of these spots and more on their group departures or customized trips. It’s a chance to walk through history, explore nature, and immerse yourself in a culture that has welcomed travelers for centuries.