Planning on travelling to Cyprus but not sure which places to check out? In this blog post, we’re going to cover places to visit in Cyprus if you’re only there for 24 hours. I’ll also talk about which places I specifically visited in my 24 hour visit in this beautiful country.
During my most recent Aeroplan mini-RTW in Europe, I selected Cyprus as one of my stopovers in Europe. Because I only have 2 weeks off work, I needed to be strategic at ticking off all the countries I needed to visit in this region of the world.
After looking at the flight availability on Aeroplan, it looks like I can only afford to allocate 24 hours in Cyprus. While I would have preferred to stay longer, it’s still an opportunity to visit a new country.
Staying in an Airbnb
My flight to Cyprus was going to land at horrific time of just after 2:55am. Which sucks because first of all, arriving at any country in the middle of the night leaves you dead exhausted. Second, most hotel or accommodation check in is after 12pm. Arriving that late at night leaves you stuck in limbo.
Thankfully, I learned that with Airbnb, if you find a flexible host, you can check in as early as 4am and it’s completely okay! So that’s what I did. I emailed an Airbnb host who told me it’s fine for me to check in at 4am and leave at 1:30am the next morning. Perfect!
Renting a car in the Cyprus airport
Because I wasn’t staying long in Cyprus and also because their public transport system isn’t very good, I opted to rent a car in the airport. I decided to go with Budget Rent A Car because they had the best review for car rentals in the airport.
Unfortunately for me, as soon as I arrived to pick up the car, turns out the person who rented the car before me hasn’t returned it yet. They then aren’t able to provide me with a vehicle and I had to rent from a different car company.
I ended up renting a car from Hertz and they charged me 85 Euros for the rental. Definitely not cheap but I didn’t have a choice at this point. The lady who helped me at Hertz was very friendly and getting the car was at least, pain free.
Driving and arriving at the Airbnb I was staying at
Driving in Cyprus wasn’t too difficult in the middle of the night. Despite being dead tired from flying so many segments to reach Cyprus (Istanbul to Chisinau to Warsaw to Larnaca), I was able to drive to my accommodation safely.
The amazing couple who ran the Airbnb welcomed me and got me settled in my bedroom. She said if I have any questions about travelling within Cyprus, I can ask her and her husband the next day but take some time to rest first. So taking her advice, I passed out right away from sheer exhaustion.
Places to visit in Cyprus
Cyprus is a country rich with things to see and do. If you’re short on time, it’s definitely hard to choose which places to check out. Here are some places to visit in Cyprus that are popular among tourists:
- Petra tou Romiou – Supposed birthplace of Aphrodite.
- Nissi Beach – Beautiful beach.
- Tombs of the Kings – UNESCO ancient necropolis with tombs.
- Cape Greco – Place to see cliffs, snorkel, and hike.
- Kato Paphos Archaeological Park – Ancient Roman ruins.
- Stavrovouni Monastery – Greek Orthrodox Monastery dating to 300s CE.
- The Blue Lagoon – Iconic lagoon in Cyprus.
- Mount Olympus – Famous peak and supposed home of the Greek Gods.
- Limassol Castle – Reconstructed medieval castle with prison cells.
- Cyprus Museum – Exhibits of local archeological finds.
- Kolossi Castle – Medieval fortified castle with a nice view.
- Paphos Castle – Historic castle.
- Nicosia – The divided capital of Cyprus with the Northern side belonging to Turkey.
Putting together my game plan on places to visit in Cyprus within 24 hours
After getting up in the morning and having an awesome breakfast with the Airbnb host, I went ahead and started asking them what’s the best way to approach visiting all these sights in the country. Funny enough, they told me that most locals in Cyprus has never seen most of the sight seeing destinations in Cyprus!
Well, I don’t blame them. I live in Canada and I have never seen Niagara Falls either. Regardless, I asked them to describe to me the locations of each of these destinations to get an idea how I will plan the logistics. In the end, I narrowed down these three places to visit in Cyprus during my 24 hour stay here:
- Petra tou Romiou – The legendary rock where apparently, Aphrodite was born.
- Tombs of the Kings – UNESCO world heritage site thought to be the burial ground for Paphitic aristocrats and high officials.
- Stavrovouni Monastery – A cool looking monastery high up in the mountains in Cyprus.
Apparently, Petra tou Romiou is on the way to the Tombs of the Kings. I can also visit Stavrovouni Monastery on my way back to Larnaca since it’s only 20-30 minutes away the Airbnb I was staying at. Awesome, looks like I have my itinerary set!
First stop, Petra tou Romiou
Because I was driving on the highway, the drive wasn’t too bad. Despite driving on the left side of the road, I got used to it pretty quickly. Mainly because I have driven on the left side of the road for 3 weeks when I travelelled in South Africa (South Africa Road Trip Itinerary).
The drive to Petra tou Romiou was super hot even with the AC on. In late September, the temperature was a good 35-40 degrees Celsius. It was definitely boiling hot in Cyprus.
Before long, I reached Petra tou Romiou!
Despite the beach being super scenic, it was also boiling hot and I can feel myself getting dehydrated quickly. I quickly took my pictures and soaked in the view before heading back to continue my road trip towards the Tomb of the Kings.
Driving in Paphos
Once I arrived in the city of Paphos, I was finally exposed to driving within one of the bigger cities in Cyprus. The roads were narrow and I had to drive cautiously. Some of the roads were narrow enough that I felt paranoid hitting my side mirrors against the cars driving the opposite direction’s side window.
Before long, I reached the entrance to the Tombs of the Kings.
Tombs of the Kings
Parking was easy enough to find as I made my way to the entrance gate of the Tombs of the Kings. Entrance to this UNESCO world heritage site was pretty cheap, it was only 2.50 Euros to get in.
Because I’m a sucker for ancient ruins, I would say that Tombs of the Kings was probably my favourite place that I saw in Cyprus. I definitely took my time exploring this fairly huge area.
One of my favourite areas in Tomb of the Kings is this temple looking thing that was carved in stone. It was also neat because you can actually stand on top of it and explore the areas around it.
These ruins are also right beside the beach so you can enjoy a glimpse of the Mediterranean sea as you soak the sights of this world heritage site.
Driving from Tombs of the Kings to Stavrovouni Monastery
Being mindful of time, I decided to start driving to the Stavrovouni Monastery before it gets too late. The monastery is only open between 3-6pm in the afternoon giving me a short window to explore it.
The drive up the mountain to reach Stavrovouni Monastery was a neat windy road. It also passes by a Cyprus military base.
After a lengthy drive, I finally made it to the entrance of the Stavrovouni Monastery!
Exploring the Stavrovouni Monastery
You’re not allowed to bring your camera or cell phone in the Stavrovouni Monastery. This place is also pretty sexist and they won’t allow women to go inside. They’re really strict at patting you down to make sure you don’t have any hidden cameras on you to take pictures of the monastery. And, they’re especially paranoid about drones and have signs everywhere saying no drones allowed.
So before I entered, I made sure to take pictures of the surrounding areas.
The hike to the Stavrovouni Monastery was interesting as it was scenic. Inside, you can see Monks working and praying. To be honest, they had a really strong smell so I made sure not to linger around them for too long.
The monastery itself was pretty cool and my favourite part was the scenic view at some of the side entrances.
Soon after, it was time to head back to my accommodation to get enough sleep for my brutal connecting flight to Russia the next day.
I had to leave my accommodation at around 1:30am the next day to get ready for my flight. The car return process was relatively simple and despite a little bit of a flight delay, I managed to fly out of Cyprus without too much problem.
I think the only place I regret not visiting during my 24 hours in Cyprus is Nicosia. It would have been cool to attempt crossing over to the Turkey side and see a bit of Northern Cyprus.
Regardless, I was overall happy with my stay and as usual, the best part of travelling are the people you meet. The Airbnb I stayed at had the nicest host (Michalis and Sylvia). If you ever travel to Cyprus and want to stay near the Larnaca airport, then I highly recommend staying with them.
Should you stay longer than 24 hours in Cyprus? To be honest, Cyprus is not a cheap travel destination but I do think 24 hours is still quite short. I’d say 48-72 hours would be better if you want to see all the places to visit in Cyprus. I’m personally happy with just my 24 hours and the only reason I’d ever visit again is to hang out with the awesome Airbnb and hosts.