Cyprus, a Mediterranean gem steeped in epic history and breathtaking landscapes, offers the perfect backdrop for a road trip adventure. Boasting a compact size, well-maintained roads and a myriad of captivating attractions, the “Island of Love” (as its affectionately known as) is tailor-made to hire a car and go exploring. Having your own wheels means not only is it possible to see all the main destinations – like Nicosia, Ayia Napa and Paphos – but also hidden gems where public transport barely exists.
With a length of 240 km from east to west, and 100 km from north to south, the distances are so short in Cyprus that you are never far from your next pit-stop. This gives you the opportunity to head off the beaten track in your search for authentic Cypriot culture. And there are so many cultural jewels to experience here – from archaeological wonders and ancient ruins, to spiritual monasteries and mythical beaches. So grab your map, buckle up and embark on a journey through the sun-drenched scenery of Cyprus!
Where & How to Rent a Car in Cyprus
Since the main international airport of Cyprus is in Larnaca, and the majority of direct flights from Europe land here, it’s wise to arrange a vehicle from this city. Explore Cyprus is the go-to company for car hire on the island – as well as tours, transfers and accommodation – and we suggest booking with them. Whether you need a large 4WD Kia to traverse the mountainous interiors or a nifty open-air Citreon to cruise along the coast, the experts at Explore can get you behind the wheel in no time!
As long as you are 23 or older and have a valid international drivers license, you are good to go. By booking with Explore you benefit from unlimited mileage, full comprehensive insurance and collection anywhere on the island within city limits. Their daily rates are also affordable, starting from just €26 per day. This makes hiring a car cheaper than private transfers and more convenient than relying on local buses. With Larnaca as your first port of call, you can easily complete a loop of the island from east to west.
Best Road Trip Route in Cyprus
After picking up your car from Larnaca and experiencing some attractions – including the palm tree-lined promenade and Zenobia shipwreck – drive east to the resort town of Ayia Napa. Those who love beaches and nightlife will be in heaven! Once the partying is out of your system, jump back in your car and head north to Nicosia – the divided capital city. In addition to wandering around the Old Town and spotting historical buildings, you could cross the Green Line which separates the Greek and Turkish sides.
From Nicosia, enjoy a picturesque trip into the interior of the island to Mount Olympos and the Kykkos Monastery. The former offers great hiking trails and the latter inspires with its religious artwork. Enroute to your next destination, Limassol, be sure to stop by the charming village of Omodos to stroll through the cobblestone streets and soak up the views of the Troodos Mountains. When you arrive in Limassol, the beautiful Molos seafront area provides you with the chance to relax at lovely restaurants, cafes and bars.
Paphos should be next on your itinerary, a UNESCO-listed city home to extraordinary ruins like the Tombs of the Kings. There is so much to do in this region that it’s worth staying for several nights, and booking a couple of the tours with Explore Cyprus such as the Paphos H/D City Tour or Blue Lagoon Cruise. The last points of interest before making your way back to Larnaca are the stunning Coral Bay, which features dramatic cliffs and azure waters, and the quaint village of Lefkara famous for its lace.
Distances on this Cyprus Road Trip
– Larnaca to Ayia Napa: 47 km
– Ayia Napa to Nicosia: 88 km
– Nicosia to Kykkos Monastery: 88 km
– Kykkos Monastery to Omodos: 40 km
– Omodos to Limassol: 40 km
– Limassol to Paphos: 69 km
– Paphos to Coral Bay: 14 km
– Coral Bay to Lefkara: 125 km
– Lefkara to Larnaca: 38 km
How Long a Cyprus Road Trip Takes
To see all of the places mentioned above, you would need at least two weeks if not three to make the journey relaxing. Most travelers visit Cyprus for a week or so, simply to relax on the beach or to explore one specific area. But to go from east to west and immerse deeply in the culture, a month-long adventure would be ideal. The great thing about taking a road trip in Cyprus is that you don’t lose much time driving from A to B, which means the country as a whole can be explored in less time than other destinations.
Booking Accommodation in Cyprus
If you would like help finding the perfect set of hotels, villas, bungalows, apartments and village houses, then have a browse through the accommodation listings with Explore Cyprus – as they have an extensive range of quality and unique places in their database. For example, families might love the properties with private pools for their kids to play in all day while couples may be interested in something with a romantic mountain view. Whatever the accommodation needs, Explore Cyprus can help!
Tips for a Cyprus Road Trip
- Get Accustomed to Driving on the Left-Hand Side of the Road: One of the most important things to keep in mind for your Cyprus road trip is to remember that motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road. Visitors from places like the UK and Australia will of course have no problem with this but others from the US or Europe might need to take a bit of time to get used to driving on the left. Before you go speeding off on the highways, do a few practice runs to ensure you are confident behind the wheel.
- Expect Good Road Conditions But Be Careful in the Mountains: While the roads in Cyprus are normally of a first-world quality, especially the network of highways connecting the major cities in the Greek south, they can become precariously narrow and windy in the mountainous areas of the island. You may also encounter a few potholes on the secondary roads. Bear in mind too that speeding and overtaking is commonplace in this country, so just be extra careful when driving in remote areas.
- Bring Euros with You to Spend in the Greek South: The Greek part of Cyprus uses the Euro for its official currency. The entire island, including the Turkish side, became a member of the European Union back in 2004. Just a few years later, in 2008, the currency changed in the Greek south from the Cypriot Pound to the Euro. But in the northern part of the island, the official currency never changed away from the Turkish Lira. So if you are heading to the north, don’t expect to be able to use your Euros.
- Have a Rough Itinerary But Don’t Be Afraid to Head Off the Beaten Track: When happy accidents occur on a Cyprus road trip, like heading down a scenic back road on a “maps mishap” or having the best meal of your life at an unassuming local taverna, you just have more fun and create better memories. Don’t be afraid to stop off at villages or beaches that tourists often overlook, because sometimes a hidden gem can be found. And if it doesn’t turn out good, you will still have a good story to tell!