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Where to stay in Cyprus

Best place to stay in Cyprus 2018 [for couples, families, young & which month]

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Last updated on June 17th, 2018 at 03:45 am

When I was a kid I would check the European map and dream of Cyprus, a country still in Europe but so close to the middle east, a country with a European character and a Middle East influence, a place with a unique cuisine.

I did not visit the island in the young age however it is becoming a natural place to stop and experience when travelling between Europe and Australia. Every time I ask myself where to stay in Cyprus, where to experience a new part of the island and I end up discovering new little accommodation gems.

Cyprus is a huge island, there are many villages, towns and even cities. Some of them are great for a family vacation, other for couples looking for a romantic escape and at the same time a few nights out to have a nice meal and a drink. 

The young generation has found in Cyprus one of the best place for nightlife, maybe only second to Ibiza in Europe.

The weather in the island is great with probably the longest summer in Europe, from May to November. This is why the best place to stay in Cyprus in October may be different in August, when the temperature is much higher. For a quick overview of the week ahead, you can check Cyprus Weather, one of the best resources.

I have organised this guide based on the trip you are doing. For example, I would not suggest staying in Ayia Napa town centre if you travelling with kids however it’s a great location if you are after nightlife. 

View from Capo Greco to Ayio Napo

View from Capo Greco to Ayio Napo (made with the Panasonic GX85, included in the best cameras for travelling)

Where to stay in Cyprus, the quick view

Cyprus is a relatively small island. In 2-3 hours you can drive from any town to any destination.

I usually rent a car and I alternate beach time to day trips. The north coast of Cyprus is unexplored to the most. 

If not by car I organise day tours through agencies or websites, so many interesting sites to visit as Famagusta, just inside the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC – Did you know that Cyprus is actually divided in two? More information here). 

Here below a map with the best Cyprus areas to stay as well as with places to visit and enjoy simply with a day trip.

Best place to stay in Cyprus or visit for a day trip

Best place to stay in Cyprus or visit for a day trip. View the interactive map here.

  1. Paphos and Coral Bay: on the south-west coast, this area has some of the most elegant resorts of Cyprus, besides one of the most know ancient sites, the Tombs of the Kings. The Coral Bay beach is small, however beautiful. Paphos beach is instead not as great.
  2. Limassol area: great local nightlife in the city and some good beaches in Amathus, good also for families with kids. More info on local live music here
  3. Larnaca: I will have to spend more time in this area next time. I have not been impressed in the past. Of course, Larnaca has the main airport of Cyprus and unmissable is a visit to the salt lake and the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque
  4. Ayia Napa and Protaras: undoubtedly the best area for beach lovers. There are here few towns that cover the entire coast. Some of them dedicated to a family tourism and others, like Ayia Napa, to the nightlife lovers
  5. Nicosia: the only capital in the world which is spread through 2 countries (Cyprus and TRNC). You will need the Passport to visit the city, with some interesting historical sites on both sides.
  6. Akamas Peninsula in the untouristy north-west: in case you look for some real time off the grid. The National Park can be visited on a day trip from Paphos
  7. Famagusta and Varosha, the ghost town: if you are travelling as far as to Cyprus then you should not miss a day trip to the old town of Famagusta, beautiful, and to the amazing Varosha beach where you can see the Varosha ghost town, a full neighbourhood with empty buildings that remind the movie “Inception”.

If you are in a rush then these are my quick tips for a memorable experience:

  • if you are travelling as a couple than book your stay at the Annabelle Hotel in Paphos. Beautiful rooms and villas with sea view. Areas for kids and adults only, to have some quiet time. Amazing breakfast and much more Check the best price in Annabelle Hotel
  • is your trip with family and kids? Book your stay at the Pernera Beach Hotel, a beautiful resort including pools for kids and adults only (just to have a break). Moreover, the walk along the coast is superb, especially if with small kids (stop for a drink at one of the many bars with play areas and inflatable castles) Check out the latest price at Pernera Beach Hotel
  • looking for some nightlife and a great beach to rest during the day? Have a look at the Nissi Beach Resort in Ayia Napa, close enough to the nightlife area, however still away from the noise, for a peaceful rest. Nissi is also one of the best beaches in Cyprus (keep reading for the photos) Check now the availability in the resort
  • when in Cyprus plan a day trip to Famagusta, really a must. Check the video below to have a preview on Varosha, the most popular holiday town in Cyprus (and possibly Europe) till 1974 when it was emptied overnight following the Turkish invasion Book your trip from Ayia Napa  or from Limassol   or from Nicosia
  • for a “Best of Cyprus” view have a look to this 8 hours tour at a bargain price from Paphos  or this unique tour from Ayia Napa in Nicosia for a bargain price 

Best place to stay in Cyprus for couples

There is a good choice of locations where you can have both a romantic gateway as well as few nice dinners and some cocktails and music afterwards

Protaras, for the beautiful beach

Protaras is an area on the south-east coast of Cyprus.

There are plenty of hotels, tavemas, cafés, water sports centres and an excellent to place to spend a holiday. In summer, its beautiful sandy beaches attract crowds of tourists ready to enjoy water sports, or to go for a cruise on one of the local pleasure boats.

The area is dominated by a rocky hill with the picturesque chapel of Prophitis Elias (the Prophet Elijah) affording a magnificent panoramic view of Protaras and nearby ghost town of Varosha.

Further north are more beaches including Pernera, Minas and Agia Triada which attract a quieter crowd.

This region is also known by the locals as Kokkinohoria (red villages) for the red soil that covers most of the ground.

In Protaras the Grecian Park Hotel is one of the most popular and beautiful accommodation in the area. The awesome view and the proximity to Konnos beach, one of the most beautiful of Cyprus, are probably the key factors.

The swimming pool is one of the biggest in the all island. Quiet but still steps away from bars and restaurants. Really hard to find a negative point. 

Check the special price at Greacian Park Hotel

If the Grecian Park Hotel is booked out (and it does happen more often than you think) then have a look at the Crystal Springs Beach. A great alternative.

Once in Protaras I suggest a visit to Paralimni and its centre dominated by three churches. The oldest of these is Panagia (Virgin Mary) dating from the 18th century and lined with porcelain tiles typical of the period. 

Paralimni is famous for delicacies such as smoked pork (pasta) and pork sausages (loukanika). I suggest lunch at the unassuming Sintrivani restaurant, probably the best “local” restaurant I have experienced in Cyprus (ask for the dish of the day).

Another great choice is the characteristic Kanati restaurant, close to the town centre and a short walk from the church.

Coastal view at Protaras

Coastal view at Protaras

Paphos, historic sites and awesome coast

Paphos is the common name given to the twin towns of Pano Paphos (Upper Paphos) and Kato Paphos (Lower Paphos).

During the Byzantine era, when coastal towns were threatened by foreign invasions, the town was moved inland to its present hilltop location. The lower town is the site of fine Roman ruins and the majority of tourist facilities.

Lower Paphos is small and best explored on foot. Most of the attractions are within walking distance. The tourist area in the Old Town has been renewed.

The main shopping street is Makarios Avenue. Here you can buy really all you need, from clothes to jewellery, from shoes to local and imported magazines and books.

The coast of lower Paphos is just magnificent, with a nice romantic walk next to the sea, beautiful at night with the sea breeze. Bars with live music and awesome restaurants are right in front of the water. Very popular with couples and group of friends. 

One of the best swimming pool I have ever been - Annabelle Hotel

One of the best swimming pool I have ever experienced – Annabelle Hotel

Paphos is a town where you do not feel overwhelmed with loud music and pubs. It’s more about enjoying the night in style and having a nice sleep without the noise from close bars or discos.

Once in town do not miss a visit to the Agora, an ornamental covered market hall building, dating from the early part of the 20th century. Sweet and souvenir sellers have replaced the fruit and vegetables vendors.

Unmissable is also the Tombs of the Kings, a fascinating necropolis where you can explore caves and rock tombs dating back to the Hellenic and Roman eras (300BC). You can find it north of Kato Paphos, beyond the old city walls and close to the sea. 

In Paphos there are many accommodations however my favourite is still the Annabelle Hotel, right in front of the sea and with 2 amazing swimming pools, including one carved into caves and waterfalls.

The rooms and the service are really unique, not to talk about the lovely breakfast.

Check the best price in Annabelle Hotel

Hotel Annabelle Swimming Pool

Hotel Annabelle Swimming Pool

A great alternative to the Annabelle Hotel is the Almyra Hotel with an amazing infinity adult-only pool and again a fantastic view to the sea.

If you are looking for a great restaurant with some local live music you should check the Locanda, right below the Annabelle Hotel, meters from the water. You can enter from the coastal walk.

A great spot for a drink is the Ta Mpania, a bar right in front of the beach with some lovely music.

Amathus Bay and Limassol

Amathus Bay is about 15 minutes taxi drive from Limassol. It has a nice beach, almost black.  You are here next to the ancient ruins of Amathus, a town funded in the 10th century BC and one of the first city states of the island.

Amathus Bay is a bit sleepy and in some respects a great spot to calm down and have some romantic time. For some actions it’s worth to take a taxi ride to Limassol, with the great choice of bars and restaurants (more on this later).

The St Raphael Resort is probably one of the best accommodation in the area with a dedicated beach and two fabulous swimming pools. It has also some nice bars and restaurants nearby for a local night without having to go to Limassol.

Check the latest price at the St Raphael Hotel

A great alternative is the Four Seasons Hotel , which is closer to Limassol. Think of awesome pools right to the beach, a spa area, a gym and an indoor pool for the cooler part of year.

Where to stay in Cyprus for families

Overall Cyprus is a great island for families. 

One thing you will noticed straight away is that most of the bars and restaurants offer a free kid area, sometime even with jumping castle. Almost small play centres in some cases, all fenced so that, as a parent, you can have your own private time meanwhile the kids have fun.

And that’s all we need on holiday, isn’t it?LOL

Pernera, family oriented resorts

Pernera is the area just after Protaras, on the north-east directions.

I like this area for the wide choice of family oriented resorts, family-oriented restaurants and family-oriented bars. Yes, one common word (actually 2), family-oriented.

The beach itself is nice however on the small size. I see the beach as complementing the swimming pool of the resort more than a reason to go to Pernera.

View to Pernera from Capo Greco

View to Pernera from Capo Greco

The most beautiful thing of Pernera is the awesome coastal walk that goes as far as Protaras. On the way you can stop in one of the many bar/restaurants with jumping castles or book a 2 hours boat trip along the coast. 

You have a tons of things organised mostly for families, like a trip to Famagusta on the double-deck red bus (yes, you may feel like in London LOL) or rent a tandem bike or just have an ice-cream.

In Pernera you may stay at the Pernera Beach Hotel. This is an excellent resort including 2 swimming pools with one adult-only (just to have a break 😉 ). If you go for the all-inclusive package you have a real deal beside some great food.

Check out the latest price at Pernera Beach Hotel

As an alternative to the Pernera Beach Hotel you may have a look at Louis Althea Beach Hotel, just 200 metres away.

Coral Bay, north of Paphos

There is no doubt that the best beaches in Cyprus are on the east side of the island, from Pernera to Ayia Napa. However some of the most beautiful historical sites are on the south-west coast.

If you are travelling with a family and you want to have a great beach but still plan some half-day or full-day excursions to visit ruins or small inland typical villages then Coral Bay could be the right place for you. 

Coral beach is only 15km north of Paphos and has probably the best beach of this side of the island. Moreover, you can take a 20 minutes taxi ride and visit sites, like the Tombs of the Kings or the old town of Paphos.

You can rent a car and visit the magnificent inland typical villages or why not driving to Polis Chrysochous, one of the most attractive and unpretentious towns in west of Cyprus, a step back in time. Or why not having a swim in one of the awesome nearby beaches.

The Coral Beach Hotel & Resort is one of the most popular choice in Coral Bay, and for many good reasons: great service, all-inclusive packages, child-friendly swimming pools, playground, meters from the beach and so much more.

Check the latest price at Coral Beach Hotel

As an alternative you may also check the Corallia Beach Hotel Apartments, lower key however also less expensive.

Best towns to stay for the Cyprus nightlife

Cyprus is worldwide famous for its nightlife. There are few options, mostly in the major towns.

Did you know that Cyprus comes only second to Ibiza in Europe for the nightlife? Quite impressive.

Ayia Napa, for the young generation

Ayia Napa is probably the place to be for the young generation, especially between June ad September with an 18-30 years old crowd. 

Think of drinks at sunset with chill-out music, disco, parties till late and a never ending feeling of craziness and fun.

Ayia Napa has also some of the best beaches in Cyprus which makes this area a great stop for everyone. 

The amazing Stamna Tavern in Ayia Napo

The amazing Stamna Tavern in Ayia Napo

In true honesty Ayia Napa can be a a great location for everyone, couples, families etc. The most important thing is to select your accommodation in the right spot, which is at least a 10-15 minutes walk from the centre, where the party is. 

In this respect I suggest Nissi Beach as one of the best areas, being just a walk or a short taxi ride for the town centre. The Nissi Beach Resort is an incredible value for money accommodation which is difficult to resist, especially considering the position, right on this blue beach. Great service, beautiful appointed room and fantastic food, not to mention the amazing breakfast.

Check now the availability

View fro the Nissi Beach Resort

View fro the Nissi Beach Resort

Another accommodation I would suggest is the Adams Beach Hotel, with direct access to Nissi Beach and some fabulous swimming pools. There is the possibility to book also at the Delux Adults-only wing for a quieter time.

Best price at Adams Beach Hotel         Best deals at the Adults-Only wing

Looking for food? The Stamna Tavern is one of the best finding in the island. Great food, characteristic place, lovely people and just steps away from the town centre of Ayia Napo.

Next to Stamna is the Napa Tavern, a restaurant over 100 years old but still with fresh food everyday 🙂 Highly recommended for everything really. 

Limassol, for the local nightlife

Drive along the A1, on the south coast, on Saturday night and you will experience a big queue of cars trying to exit to Limassol. Most of them are Cypriots going for drinks and live music.

If you like to experience the local way you should plan a night, either Friday or Saturday, in Limassol (tourists tend to go to Ayia Napa).

Staying in Limassol or nearby is also a great idea, although the city is quite industrial with the resorts more confined to the eastern side of town, almost in Amathus Bay.

Some of the best places to go for live music are:

  • Rogmes Live Music, recommended as one of the best place for live music in Cyprus by many locals. It has indeed some great Greek and Cypriot music with live performances starting at midnight and lasting till the early hours of the morning.
  • Guaba Beach Bar, for electronic music. Chill out during the day and become wild in the night is the motto of this club, recognised internationally as one of the top clubs in the world by DJMag magazine
  • Ravens, for the live music of the local legends. Located right in the centre of town, the Ravens is very popular with the young crowd. Another great stuff here is the cost beer, very cheap!

Where to go in Cyprus, day trips and more

This post is focusing more on the Greek side of Cyprus. I have still to visit properly the Turkish side.

This is a list of places to go in Cyprus for day or half day trips

  • Famagusta and Varosha, as I already said, a must visit Book your trip from Ayia Napa  or from Limassol   or from Nicosia  . I would personally not suggest a trip with the own car as the insurance would probably not cover in case of accidents in TRNC.
  • The Archaeological Park and the Tombs Of the Kings in Paphos. Just grab a taxi or a public bus from any hotel in Paphos or Coral Bay
  • A day trip to Nicosia, the only capital city in the world spread through two countries (take your Passport to cross the border). You can easily drive there, if you rent your own car, or book a tour as this one from Ayia Napa at a bargain price . If you are after a guide to explore the best of Nicosia then I suggest contacting the North Cyprus Walks 
  • A day trip with a rented car to the Akamas Peninsula NP. Visit the Agios Minas Chapel and the medieval monastery.  Lots of trekking opportunities with the best views in Cyprus. Download the app Maps.me for the most up to date trekking trails.
  • Hala Sultan Tekke mosque and the Larnaca Salt Lake. Located just next to the airport and before the town of Larnaca. The walk in the dry lake is so interesting….till you get in the black mud, so I did LOL.  There is a toilette just outside the mosque, in case you need to clean your feet and flip flops 😉 
  • Capo Greco NP: between Ayia Napa and Pernera. Great view, especially from the top on sunset time. Also a few sites for snorkelling. You can ride your bike there or take a taxi. For a morning half-day experience through the most beautiful caves check this great local tour 

I am going to update this list with more activities based on my upcoming trips….and my memory 🙂

For more experiences you can also look at these special deals for organised tours in Cyprus 

Weather in Cyprus

Cyprus has a long summer, as you can imagine, in fact the island is very popular from May to October.

The shoulder months are November and April. This is the time when you don’t experience any crowd, even Ayia Napa is quiet and some of the bars and restaurants start shutting down, or opening, the operation. The weather is mixed but you can still have some amazing sunny warm days

December to March is the winter period with temperatures close to 15-20 along the coast and much less inland.

From June to early September the days can be quite hot, in the mid-30s during the day, but always with that nice sea breeze that cools down in the night.

My favourite period is late May/early June and September/early October when the island is till busy, but not crowded, and the weather is just perfect, in the mid/high-20s, cooling down in the night.

The main airports

The main airport of the island is the Larnaca International Airport which connects the island with most of the capital cities in Europe and the Middle East. 

I usually fly from Australia to Europe through Doha or Dubai and I have a stop over in Cyprus, well connected by both Qatar Airways and the Emirates Airline.

From Europe there are plenty of low cost airlines that fly to Larnaca.

The other option is to fly to the Paphos Airport used mostly by European airlines and low-cost ones.

 

Enjoy your stay and let me know how it goes 🙂


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Related Post

Andrea
Andrea is the hotel and city areas specialist.
It's not about being in a place or city for few days.
It's about experiencing it, living in it and enjoying it ;)
Many years around the globe and still looking forward to new sites to explore and love.
Life is beautiful, travelling is awesome :D
    • Alex
    • January 13, 2018
    Reply

    Hi Stef,
    I have just read your blog on Cyprus and found it very informative and enjoyable. I live with my wife in Sydney, she is of Cypriot background but has never been to Cyprus. As a surprise I would like to take her there during a trip to Europe later this year. However, I am finding it difficult to find flights and noticed in your blog that Cyprus is now a natural stop over for you on route from Australia to Europe. Do you have any advice on how to go about booking flights from Sydney?
    Your help would be much appreciated.
    Thank you in advance
    Alex

      • Andrea
      • January 13, 2018
      Reply

      Hey Alex,
      The most convenient way, based on my experience, is to fly with either Emirates or Qatar. They both fly to Cyprus direct.
      If you intend to visit only Cyprus you can buy a return flight, easy.
      To visit other parts of the old continent, I usually book my outward flight to one of the European capital cities and the return leg starting from Cyprus, say:
      Melbourne-Doha-London ……Larnaca-Doha-Melbourne (easy to book with Qatar or Emirate through Dubai)
      Than a separate one way ticket from London to Larnaca, or from any city you will be visiting. Usually it doesn’t add that much more. Similar cost.
      I like this way also for the jet lag, I gain 2-3 hours
      I hope it helped.
      Enjoy!!
      Cheers

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