Cyprus, one of the last hidden gems of the Mediterranean, is a unique summer holiday destination that captivates travelers with its mix of intriguing history, stunning landscapes and gorgeous beaches. Featuring a civilizational record that dates back over 10,000 years, this sun-soaked island offers a treasure trove of fascinating stories just waiting to be heard. For example, according to Greek mythology, the Goddess of Love known as Aphrodite was born in the south coast near Paphos and you can even visit the famous Baths of Aphrodite where she was said to have bathed!
Speaking of Paphos, it’s a must-see. This UNESCO site is packed with historical jewels like ancient tombs, Roman villas and impressive castles. Paphos is also a paradise for beach-lovers, home to golden shores and crystal-clear waters. For those seeking adventure in Cyprus, you can always head to the Troodos Mountains. These majestic peaks are perfect for hiking to breathtaking viewpoints and for discovering quaint villages. The Kykkos Monastery is a top spot here, boasting incredible works of art.
But perhaps the biggest reason to vacation in Cyprus are the beaches. From the resort town of Ayia Napa, where a vibrant nightlife and Blue Flag beaches await, to the iconic Coral Bay which has dramatic cliffs and azure waters – there is something for everyone! Another highlight of the “Island of Love” is the capital Nicosia. Wandering through the narrow streets of the Old Town, and admiring the Byzantine churches that stand next to Ottoman architecture, is simply wonderful. And when you cross the Green Line, you can witness the differences between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities and experience the special atmosphere of each.
Foodies will also find Cyprus to be enthralling. Two staples of the island’s diet and cuisine are meze – small dishes showcasing local flavors such as halloumi cheese, souvlaki and moussaka – and Commandaria wine which is believed to be the world’s oldest wine still in production. So, if this is your first trip to Cyprus, and you would like to immerse yourself in its natural beauty and cultural charms, we recommend booking one of the best tours on the island with a company called Explore Cyprus. This 5-star rated tour operator offers a range of experiences that will take your breath away!
7 Most Amazing Tours to Book in Cyprus
1. Zenobia Shipwreck Dive
Zenobia is a 178-meter long ferry that sank in 1980 just 1.4 kilometers off the coast of Larnaca, a port city on the southern coast. Ever since, it has been regarded as one of the world’s best shipwreck diving sites! Experienced divers can swim by an array of lorries, machinery, cars and cargo that are still intact today. This adventure begins with a hotel pick-up in Ayia Napa or the Protaras area, and after it’s straight to the dive center to pack equipment. A catamaran then waits for you at the Larnaca Marina where you jump aboard, cruise for 20 minutes to the shipwreck and get briefed.
Two dives take place on the eight hour journey, namely: one around the stern and the other around the bow. The former allows you to get close to lorries, funnels, propellers and the tailgate – while the latter sees you exploring the main superstructure, accommodation areas, lifeboats, bridge and cafeteria. A refreshment break and BBQ can also be expected, which gives you the chance to recuperate between each dive. By adding this activity to your itinerary you will have the opportunity to practice your diving skills, discover a world-class shipwreck and make new friends!
2. Famagusta & Blue Lagoon 4×4
Traverse both land and sea on your way to the Blue Lagoon on this epic eight hour 4×4 and boat adventure. The tour includes a ton of swimming and snorkeling opportunities, and the chance to head well off-the-beaten-track in the eastern part of the island. In addition to visiting the crystalline waters of the Blue Lagoon, you will be venturing to the Famagusta View Point known as the “Ghost City” and crossing the infamous Green Line which has divided the two Cypriot communities ever since 1974.
In the afternoon, when it starts to heat up, the group boards the boat and sails along the coast to the Blue Lagoon – soaking up beautiful vistas of coves and sea caves along the way. Upon arrival at the lagoon, you will have free time to swim and snorkel until your heart’s content! Make sure you bring a GoPro because the photo-ops are nothing short of spectacular. Also keep in mind that lunch and drinks are provided on board. Due to the variety of experiences, this tour is one of the best options for those short on time who would like to tick off a few bucket-list activities in one go.
3. Flavors of Cyprus
The flavors of Cyprus are as diverse as they are delicious, and this excursion shows you why! After getting picked up in Ayia Napa, Protaras or Larnaca – the gastro tour kicks off by learning all about the honey making process in Oros Machaira. Over the years, this honey has gone from a local market favorite to an internationally recognized product. Of course, tasting the sweet spread in various forms (including in pie) will be on the agenda. Next, the group journeys to Agros where a splendid rose factory is located.
Here you will get to know the ins and outs of rose cultivation, and its related products. Other highlights of the day trip include sampling a selection of mouth-watering meats at a meat factory, enjoying a hearty lunch at a tavern, tasting some of the best wines in Cyprus at a local winery and paying a visit to Machairas Monastery – a marvelous religious site situated 900 meters above sea level, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. When it comes to gastronomy, no other tour in Cyprus competes in terms of authenticity!
Nicosia is the world’s last divided capital, with the Green Line between the Greek and Turkish side still being guarded by UN peacekeepers to this day. The border was once a danger zone, however today it almost represents a tourist attraction. There is no doubt that the history of this city is complex. Only Turkey recognizes the Northern Cyprus state that was declared in 1983, as the international community continues to condemn it. Regardless of where you stand politically, on this full day tour with Explore Cyprus your guide will cover this controversial topic in detail and give you all the information you need to be informed about the Cypriot capital.
The key sites you will be seeing on this walking tour are the UN Buffer Zone at the end of Ledra Street, St. John’s Cathedral, Liberty Monument, Leventis Museum and around the Old Town that is surrounded by the Venetian Walls. There will also be some time put aside for shopping and/or lunch. It’s important to note that the tour takes place in the south side of Nicosia, not in the north. If you wish to cross the Green Line and come back again, you can do so independently as long as you possess a valid passport.
5. Aphrodite Afternoon Cruise
A three hour cruise around Cape Cabo Greco is in store on this thrilling afternoon trip. Led by knowledgeable locals you will be taken to lovely spots to go swimming and sightseeing including: Konnos Beach, Agioi Anargyroi Sea Cave, Bridge of Lovers, Shark’s Mouth Cave and more! There will be 30 minutes dedicated for a quick dip at the Blue Lagoon and another 30 minutes to hop in the water briefly with sea turtles – giving you at least an hour to swim in total. Along the way, the group also swings by Agios Nikolaos Church and the Golden Coast Harbor – as well as cruising past the ghost town view of Famagusta from the Paralimni Marina.
Imagine relaxing with a cocktail and soaking up the panoramic eastern coast views, with the sun shining and sea sparkling, all in the company of travel buddies new and old. Starting from as low as €20 per person, there is no better way to spend the afternoon while on holiday in Cyprus. The tour departs from the Paralimni Marina at 14:00 pm and takes you through to 17:00 pm, which is just enough time to get you back to your hotel for dinner. Remember to pack your swimwear, sunscreen and camera!
6. Paphos H/D City Tour
This four hour excursion in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Paphos transports you back in time as you visit Paphos Castle, Tombs of the Kings, House of Dionysus, the nearby village of Geroskipou and the charming streets of the Old Town. Perhaps the number one highlight of the experience is the Old Town – home to many craftspeople who specialize in art, handicrafts and traditional products. These artisans utilize techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation. The food offerings such as dates, olives and lemons are also a feature of the tour.
The Tombs of the Kings and the Archaeological Site of Nea Paphos is the cherry on top at the end of the day. The underground tombs date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods, providing endless fascination for visitors. When the four hours are complete, you will be equipped to understand the Greek way of life and how Cyprus fits into the culture. Architecture, history, cuisine – this Paphos city tour has it all! Be sure to bring some cash with you just in case a souvenir piques your interest.
7. Troodos & Kykkos Monastery
Not many tourists to Cyprus even know about the Troodos Mountains, let alone visit – which makes this eight hour trip extra special. The journey up to the peaks is breathtaking in itself, since you will be passing small villages and observing the traditional Cypriot way of life. The first stop of the day is at a local village for a coffee break and then afterwards you travel up in the Troodos Mountains to locate the Kykkos Monastery. While the setting of the monastery church is amazing the real treasures can be found inside where gilded woodwork, historic icons and wall paintings are on display.
One other notable part of the tour is the guided walk through Omodos village where the Monastery of the Holy Cross lies. The beauty of this place is astounding! Both the nature and religious elements of the trip have a spiritual component to them. The photo opportunities are phenomenal too – meaning those without a predisposition to Orthodoxy will enjoy the outing. It goes without saying that you will get picked up and dropped off at your hotel, and get to access the knowledge of an expert guide.