The ultimate Cyprus road trip itinerary

July 26, 2020

Explore the best parts of the fascinating island of Cyprus with this 4-day road trip itinerary. Pristine beaches, monumental monasteries, archeological sites, and medieval castles guaranteed!

Click here for detailed directions

Summary (click the red pins for directions) :

Larnaca to Limassol- 70 kilometers (45 miles)📍

Limassol to Omodos- 40 kilometers (25 miles) 📍

Omodos to Paphos- 60 kilometers (35 miles)📍

Paphos to Kykkos Monastery- 110 kilometers (65 miles)📍

Kykkos Monastery to Nicosia- 90 kilometers (55 miles)📍

Nicosia to Girne- 30 kilometers (20 miles)📍

Girne to Golden Beach- 130 kilometers (80 miles)📍

Golden Beach to Ayia Napa- 130 kilometers (80 miles)📍

Ayia Napa to Larnaca- 60 kilometers (35 miles)📍

740 kilometers (460 miles) in total

How long does it take to complete this road trip?

The total driving distance for this road trip is a little less than 750 kilometers. Rentalmoose recommends dedicating at least 4 days to complete this road trip.

If you want to see all of the attractions along the way, it’s best to spend at least a week on the road.

What is the best time of the year to visit Cyprus?

The best time to visit Cyprus is between May and June, as those are the two driest months of the year. The temperatures are pleasant, with a daily average of around 25 degrees Celsius. When going in May or June, you can avoid the hordes of tourists that visit Cyprus in the summer.

Visiting Cyprus during the summer is great weather-wise. It’s very hot, ideal for laying at the beach. However, the scorching heat can get overwhelming when exploring archeological sites or strolling through villages. It’s also the peak of the tourist season.

Can you cross Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus?

Yes! Cyprus has a rather bloody history followed by a Turkish invasion in the 1970s, and a large part of the island belongs to Turkey. Tourists can freely cross the Greek and Turkish sides at designated checkpoints.

Despite the region’s history, Cyprus is safe for tourists. There is an army of UN peacekeepers to maintain safety between the two sides, and there is a “buffer zone” at the border of the two parts of Cyprus. There haven’t been conflicts since the checkpoints first opened in 2003.

Rentalmoose insider tip: Make sure to enter Cyprus from the Greek side (i.e. Larnaca International Airport) as the Turkish entrance points are deemed illegal by the Greek authorities, and you won’t be able to cross into the Greek part of Cyprus.

Road Trip Extensions

If you want to explore the region even further, consider extending the trip into one of these picturesque regions.

Turkish Riviera

You can take a ferry from Cyprus to mainland Turkey and then make your way over to the picturesque Turkish Riviera. Enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty and historical sites, as well as terrific cuisine. Click here for the guide.

Greek Islands

While in the Mediterranean, why not explore nearby Greek islands? There are hundreds of them to choose from! Consider going to Rhodes or Santorini, and check out Rentalmoose travel guides to plan your ideal road trip.

Why should you get a rental car in Cyprus?

Cyprus is the ideal destination to explore in a rental car! The main roads are well-developed (B-roads, not as much. Try to stick to the main roads.), and there are some scenic coastal and hillside drives.

Public transport in Cyprus is rather hectic, it’s impossible to access some hotspots in remote parts of the island by bus.

There are plenty of parking spaces around touristic locations around the island.

When booking your rental car, don’t forget to add excess coverage provided by Rentalmoose. If you take check-in photos when picking up your rental car, you can qualify for a 50% discount from the excess coverage fee!

Can tourists drive in Cyprus?

Yes! National driving licenses are recognized. Tourists who wish to rent a car in Cyprus do not need an International Driving Permit. It’s enough to take a valid license issued in your home country.

Driving in Cyprus can feel chaotic to those who haven’t driven in countries like Greece or Italy. The traffic rules are not strictly enforced, on-street parking is a common sight everywhere (sometimes even in the middle of intersections or roundabouts) and locals seem to be driving as fast as they please.

Cyprus has left-hand side traffic.

Now that you’re all set, let’s dive into your exciting Cyprus road trip itinerary!

Larnaca

larnaca cyprus, small square and cobblestone roads. Whitewashed buildings, traditional architecture, empty tables. sunny day in cyprus

Colorful streets of Larnaca. Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas.

Welcome to the picturesque island of Cyprus! For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends picking up your rental car directly when you arrive at the Larnaca International Airport. Browse through available options via Rentalmoose.

What are the best attractions in Larnaca?

Church of Saint Lazarus

The Church of Saint Lazarus, or Agios Lazaros in Greek, dates back all the way to the 9th century. The monumental structure, located in the heart of Larnaca, is a prime example of Byzantine architecture, one of the best in Cyprus. 

Though parts of the church were destroyed by the Ottomans, the rest has undergone restoration in the 17th century and can be admired in nearly all of its glory.

The tomb of Saint Lazarus can be visited under the sanctuary within the church. If you wish to learn more about the history of the region, visit the museum.

The church of Saint Lazarus can be accessed from Monday to Saturday from 8 AM to 6:30 PM, and on Sundays from 6:30 AM to 12:30 PM and 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Admission to the church is free of charge. Remember to dress appropriately when visiting places of worship.

Hala Sultan Tekke

The Hala Sultan Tekke is a mosque located on the western shore of the Larnaca Salt Lake, just a few kilometers west from the city center. 

Originally, the mosque was built on top of Umm Haram’s tomb, the foster-mother of the Prophet Mohammed. The structure itself was constructed much later, in the late 1700s, by the Ottomans.

After taking a look at the lake, travelers can stroll around the surrounding area. In the summer, you can hike along the trails that will take you around the dried-up salt lake. If you’re lucky, you might spot flocks of flamingos.

The mosque is open all week from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Admission is free of charge. Remember to dress appropriately when visiting places of worship.

Finikoudes Beach

Unwind after a day of exploring Larnaca at Finikoudes, the city’s main beach right in the heart of Larnaca. You can rent a sunbed and umbrella for around 3 EUR. If sunbathing isn’t your thing, why not go for a dip in the sea?

You can then stroll around the wonderful promenade filled with exotic palm trees, get souvenirs at the local gift shops, or step inside one of the numerous cafes for a refreshing drink.

Grada Taverna

For an authentic Mediterranean dinner, head to Grada Taverna in the northern part of Larnaca. This delicious eatery serves some of the best local food you can find in all of Cyprus. Choose from dishes such as a selection of kebabs and grilled meats, fresh seafood, or meze. 

The restaurant is considered one of the best picks in town, book your table ahead if planning to visit on the weekend.

Grada Taverna is open all week except Mondays from 6 PM to 11 PM.

What are the best hotels in Larnaca?

Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows

When in Larnaca, why not stay at one of the city’s beautiful waterfront hotels? Consider checking-in at the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows, a 4-star seafront hotel north of the city. The property features elegant decor, a large spa and wellness center, a gym, and trendy restaurants.

Edem Hotel

If you are traveling on a tighter budget, the 3-star Edem Hotel might be perfect for you. Located just a short walk away from Finikoudes Beach, this property features well-equipped rooms with complimentary wi-fi, as well as a bar. Finikoudes is 4 minutes away on foot.

Next on your Cyprus road trip itinerary: Limassol, 50 minutes

Limassol

limassol marina, harbor, beautiful port with blue water, parked luxury yachts and a waterfront restaurant with outdoor seating under an umbrella. colorful buildings in the distance.

Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas

Drive along the southern coast of Cyprus for a little less than an hour until you reach Limassol, the second-largest city on the island.

Is Limassol worth visiting?

Of course! Limassol is the trendy, modern hotspot of Cyprus. The city’s colorful promenade lined with cafes and restaurants, a monumental castle, and nearby archeological sites all attract thousands of international tourists as well as locals.

Limassol Marina

Once you get to Limassol, park your rental car at this car park near the marina. The first 30 minutes are free of charge, then 3.50 EUR for the first two hours and an extra Euro added per every hour. 

Then, it’s time to explore the upscale Limassol Marina! Walk along the promenade docked with expensive yachts, drop by one of the cafes for a refreshing beverage, or go on a waterfront shopping spree.

Limassol Castle

After spending some time at the modern marina, make your way over to the Limassol Castle in the city’s historic district. The castle that’s here today was built by the Ottomans back in the late 1500s. Guests can admire the exterior or step inside, as the structure has been turned into The Cyprus Medieval Museum.

The museum is home to some precious medieval artifacts, including an exhibition of Medieval pottery or tombstones.

Limassol Medieval Castle is open from Monday to Saturday between 9 AM and 5 PM, and on Sundays from 10 AM to 1 PM. 

Admission to the museum costs 4.5 EUR per person. Tickets can be purchased upon entrance.

Kolossi Castle

The Kolossi Castle, located about 10 kilometers away from the heart of Limassol, is one of the most important historical sites on the island. The fortification dates back to 1210 when it was first constructed. It used to be one of the strongholds of the Crusaders. The castle was later demolished and had been rebuilt in the 15th century. 

The archeological site is open all week from 8.15 AM to 7.45 PM. Admission costs just 2.5 EUR per person.

Kourion Archeological Site

As you make your way out of Limassol, be sure to stop at the Kourion Archeological Site. According to archeologists, the Ancient City of Kourion was one of the major settlements on the island. The site is famous for its colorful mosaics that once decorated the mansions and other buildings within the city.

Once you’re at the site, don’t miss the ancient Kurion Theatre. The theatre dates back to the second century BC, it could seat 3500 spectators and provided panoramic views of the sea.

The Kourion Archeological site is open all week between 8 AM and 7:30 PM. Admission costs 1.5 EUR per person.

Next on your Cyprus road trip: Omodos, 40 minutes

Omodos

omodos traditional village, stone buildings, outdoor restaurant tables and a woman walking with stroller through cobblestone street. tourists at a gift shop in the distance. Mountains in background

Photography by Dimitris Vetsikas.

It’s time to head inland, leaving Limassol behind. Head up the mountains for a little over 30 minutes until you reach the village of Omodos, set in the middle of the countryside. Don’t be fooled by the size of it, Omodos is famous for its aromatic wine and an annual wine festival!

What can you do in Omodos?

Omodos Square

Observe the local life at Omodos Square, right in the heart of the village. It’s been the vibrant center of local gatherings ever since its completion in 1910.

Today, you can stroll around the square, admire the picturesque whitewashed village, or step inside one of the cafes for a snack.

Timios Stavros Monastery

A short walk from the square will take you to the monumental Timios Stavros Monastery. Inside, guests can find what is said to be an element of the cross that Jesus Christ was crucified on. The monastery has a beautiful courtyard with views that open up to the mountains.

Katoi Restaurant

Before leaving Omodos, head to the renowned Katoi Restaurant for another delicious meal in Cyprus. The large eatery is located in one of the oldest buildings in the village and has been renovated and decorated in a tasteful style. The Mediterranean cuisine served here is authentic, fresh, and tasty. It is by far the best restaurant in Omodos.

The restaurant is open all week from noon to 4 PM, and from 7 PM to 10 PM on weekends.

Rentalmoose insider tip: As it’s the most popular place to eat in Omodos, Rentalmoose recommends booking your table ahead of your visit.

Next on your Cyprus road trip: Paphos, 50 minutes

Paphos

paphos shore, dramatic coastline with cliffs and blue water hitting the coast. cloudy yet sunny day in cyprus

Photography by Dimitris Vetsikas.

The last leg of a journey for the day is a short drive back to the coast and the city of Paphos.

What are the best things to do in Paphos?

Tombs of the Kings

When in Paphos, you can’t skip the Tombs of the Kings archeological site. The tombs date back to the Hellenistic period, and the underground network of tunnels and chambers can be explored by the public.

Despite the name, Tombs of the Kings were actually used to bury high ranked officials rather than actual kings.

The tombs are open from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM. Admission costs 2.5 EUR per person.

Tombs of the Kings photographed by Walkerssk.

Paphos Castle

Drive over to the lively Paphos Harbor, and then stroll down to the large medieval castle right at the edge of it. The Paphos Castle was originally built as a fortification during the Byzantine times to protect the town’s harbor, and was later rebuilt in the 1400s after it had suffered major damage after an earthquake in 1222. The castle then changed ownership multiple times and was used as a salt store by the British until 1935 when it was declared an ancient monument.

Today, the monumental castle serves as a reminder of the island’s past. Guests can admire the exterior and the surrounding sea, or step inside and wander around the interior.

Admission to the Paphos castle costs 2.5 EUR. Open daily between 8:30 AM and 5 PM.

Nea Paphos

Nea Paphos is a large archeological site, one of the must-see ancient sites in all of Cyprus. The park consists of ruins from ancient times up to medieval times, the majority is from the Roman period. Guests can see the ruins of five different houses (Dionysus, Theseus, Aiona, Orpheus, and the Four Seasons), as well as the Asklepieion, the Odeon, and the Saranta Kolones.

The site is open all week from 8 AM to 7:30 PM. Admission costs 4.5 EUR per person.

Rentalmoose insider tip: If you are planning to visit the Tombs of the Kings, the Castle, and Nea Paphos, consider purchasing a combined ticket. For 8.5 EUR, you can access all of the attractions listed above.

The Windmill Restaurant

For dinner, head over to The Windmill. This family-run restaurant features Greek cuisine with lots of vegan-friendly options. Enjoy a platter of grilled seafood, or traditional lamb chops.

Open daily from 6:30 PM to 10 PM. It’s one of the favorites in Paphos, book your table ahead of the visit.

What are the best hotels in Paphos?

The Elysium Hotel

Sophisticated travelers should spend the night at the prestigious Elysium Hotel. This elegant 5-star property features stylish Byzantine-style decor, vivid gardens with tennis courts and an outdoor pool, spa and wellness center, and a steam room. Tombs of the Kings are practically next door.

Roman Boutique Hotel

The Roman Boutique Hotel is just a short stroll away from the heart of Paphos. The 3-star hotel features ancient decor, large rooms, an outdoor pool, and a spa. 

Add in the perfect location just a kilometer away from the harbor, and you get one of the best reasonably-priced stays in town.

Next on your Cyprus road trip itinerary: Kykkos Monastery, 2 hours 30 minutes

Kykkos Monastery

kykkos monaster. whitewashed stone architecture, outdoor staircase and large belltower. sunny day in kykkos monastery cyprus

Photography by Julian Nyca

Today, you’ll drive back inland to see the picturesque Kykkos Monastery. First, drive along the coast to see three pristine beaches.

What is the best beach in Paphos?

Coral Bay

Coral Bay is a popular beach around 15 minutes away from Paphos. The pristine beach is lined with resorts and different amenities. It’s perfect for families, as the water is shallow and the currents are calm. There are also lifeguards on duty during the summer season. After swimming, travelers can sunbathe or stroll down the golden sands.

Lara Bay

Lara Bay is a must-visit location in the northwest part of Cyprus. Apart from clear water and pristine sand, this small beach is known to be a home for loggerhead and green turtles. If you’re lucky, you might just spot the little guys!

The secluded sandy beach doesn’t have any facilities. It is recommended to drive to the beach with a 4WD car.

Latsi Beach

Latsi Beach is a rather long pebble beach around 40 minutes away from Paphos. The beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing, as there are lifeguards on duty across the shore, and there are sunbeds and umbrellas that can be hired for the day.

Afterward, you can head to one of the waterfront cafes or taverns for a quick snack.

Kykkos Monastery

Kykkos Monastery lays in the picturesque hillside, within the vibrant Paphos Forest. The structure dates back to the 11th century when it was commissioned by a Byzantine Emperor.

Today, it remains one of the most famous and wealthiest monasteries in the country. If you only have time to see one monastery in Cyprus, this is it! Admire the exterior and its beautiful surrounding hills, then step inside and examine the beautiful artwork and decor that’s stored here.

Kykkos Monastery is open all week between 10 AM and 6 PM.

Next on your Cyprus road trip: Nicosia, 1 hour 40 minutes

Nicosia

Photo by Sergei Gussev.

Continue east towards Nicosia, the famous divided capital of Cyprus. 

Is Nicosia worth visiting?

Most definitely! Whilst Nicosia may not be the most picturesque spot in Cyprus, it’s a fascinating city that’s worth seeing, where you can truly see the division between the Greek and Turkish sides of the island.

Selimiye Mosque

Seeing a Gothic church-turned-mosque is certainly not a common sight, that’s exactly what makes the Selimiye Mosque unique. It’s a great symbol of the confusing history of the city, as well as all of Cyprus. A Gothic church was turned into a mosque by the Ottomans back in the 1500s. It’s located in northern Nicosia (Turkish part of the city)

Cyprus Museum

The Cyprus Museum is home to a selection of precious items found in different excavation sites all over the island. In fact, the museum doesn’t showcase any imported pieces and focuses only on artifacts found in Cyprus. The exhibits are from between the Stone Age and the Roman period.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday between 8 AM and 6 PM, Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM, Sunday 10 AM to 1 PM. Closed on Mondays.

Admission to the Cyprus Museum costs 4.5 EUR per person.

Ledra Street

Shopping freaks should definitely visit Ledra Street. It used to be the go-to shopping spot for locals up until Nicosia’s division in 1963. Back in 2008, it was reopened once again, it was a symbolic step in improving the relationship between the two sides.

Today, the street is lined with stores where tourists can find clothes, souvenirs, accessories, as well as cafes and restaurants. 

What’s more, travelers can climb the 11th floor of the Shacolas Tower and enjoy panoramic views of the area. Open all week from 10 AM to 5 PM.

Giagia Victoria

During your road trip in Cyprus, you have to try a portion of traditional Cypriot coffee. Head over to Giagia Victoria, one of the best cafes in town. Order a cup of strong Cypriot coffee or a portion of regional cakes and delight.

Giagia Victoria is open daily from 7 AM to 10 PM.

Which hotel in Nicosia is the best?

The Landmark Nicosia

Sophisticated guests should book a room at the 5-star Landmark Nicosia. The elegant property features spacious rooms and suites, stylish decor, an outdoor pool, and a wellness center that’s equipped with an indoor pool and a large gym.

Hotel Valide Hanim Konak

If you’re traveling on a tighter budget, consider staying at the 3-star Hotel Valide Hanim Konak over on the Turkish side of Nicosia. This boutique hotel features 7 air-conditioned rooms with Wi-Fi. Unwind after a long day at the cozy Konak Cafe.

Next on your Cyprus road trip: Girne, 40 minutes

Girne

st hilarion castle on top of large cliff mountain in northern cyprus. the ruins can be accessed from a small mountain road. cloudy day in cyprus

St Hilarion Castle photographed by Yolanda Coervers.

St Hilarion Castle

Remains of the St Hilarion Castle are set on top of a tall mountain in northern Cyprus. It is one of the best-preserved Crusaders Castles in the world! It is a spot worth visiting for both history lovers as well as photographers, as there are panoramic views of Cyprus and the Mediterranean.

How to reach Saint Hilarion Castle?

Follow the winding road which will take you to a small car park. You can leave your rental car here and explore the castle on foot. Be sure to take your camera, stunning views are guaranteed!

Remember to post your best photos from this road trip online using #Rentalmoose for a chance to win a free rental car!

The ruins can be accessed for 9 Turkish Lira (1.15 EUR), from 8 AM to 6:30 PM daily.

Bellapais Abbey

Bellapais Abbey is another monastery worth visiting during your Cyprus road trip. The ruins of the 13th-century monastery are a spectacular sight. Once again, be sure to take your camera with you!

Bellapais Abbey can be accessed for 10 TL (1.3 EUR), between 8 AM and 7 PM daily.

bellapais abbey monumental arches and ruins, three large trees in distance. sunny day in northern cyprus

Photo by Kasjan Farbisz.

Optional: Girne (Kyrenia) Harbor

If you have the extra time, drop by the small town of Girne, or Kyrenia. You can stroll down the harbor or visit one of the seafront restaurants. There are also various hotels you can stay at if you choose to extend your stay.

Azure Restaurant

Drop by the Azure restaurant in Girne for a delicious lunch. This cozy eatery offers a mix of Mediterranean cuisine, mainly focusing on Turkish dishes. 

Open all week from 1 PM to 10:30 PM. 

Next on your Cyprus itinerary: Golden Beach, 2 hours 10 minutes

Golden Beach

cyprus golden beach. empty sandy beach, long cove with calm blue sea and hills in distance. golden beach in cyprus is very underrated

Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas

It’s time to head to the northeastern tip of the island to see the Golden Beach, one of the best beaches on the island. The drive adds an extra 2 hours of driving to the journey each way.

What is the best beach in northern Cyprus?

The famous Golden Beach is an unspoiled, pristine sandy beach at the northeastern tip of Cyprus. A lot of tourists don’t make it here as the drive is around 2 hours one-way from Nicosia. They are, however, missing out a lot!

Rental Moose Mascot posing with tourist on the coast of a sandy beach in Northern Cyprus. Find the best beach in Cyprus with our curated cyprus road trip itinerary.

The wide sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing, an afternoon stroll, or a dip in the crystal-clear Mediterranean. If you’re lucky, you might spot turtles as well.

Don’t forget to bring your own water, umbrella, and snacks. The beach is secluded and doesn’t have any facilities.

Next on your Cyprus road trip itinerary: Konnos Beach, 2 hours 20 minutes

Konnos Beach, Fig Tree Bay & Nissi Beach

nissi beach cyprus, crystal-clear water on an empty day. small island connected with sandy path. one palm tree on sand, no tourists. sunrise in cyprus

Nissi beach photographed by Dimitris Vetsikas

Before heading back to Larnaca, make one last stop at the southeastern tip of the island. This part of Cyprus is home to some of the best beaches you can find.

Fig Tree Bay

Most tourists agree that Fig Tree Bay is one of the best beaches in Cyprus. In fact, it was deemed the 3rd best beach in the world by the Big 7 Travel in 2019. It was ranked the third best beach in Europe in 2011. The award-winning sandy beach is definitely worth a visit!

The wide sandy beach stretches for about 500 meters and is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and pristine sand.

Konnos Beach

Konnos Beach is a small sandy beach near Ayia Napa. The tiny bay features a 200-meter stretch of soft, golden sand, as well as calm waters. The sea here is perfect for snorkeling. Travelers can also rent a sunbed and umbrella and sunbathe for hours. 

The small beach isn’t as crowded as Fig Tree Bay or Nissi Beach.

konnos small bay and two sandy beaches with blue sunbeds, tourists swimming in emerald green water. boats in distance and green trees around the shore

Konnos Beach photographed by Dimitris Vetsikas.

Nissi Beach

Nissi Beach is a popular sandy beach in Ayia Napa, known for its clear water and pristine sand. The dreamy beach features a small sandy path to Ayia Napa island, making Nissi Beach the perfect backdrop for your photos. Sunbathe, go for a dip in the sea, or cross the street and check-in at one of the waterfront hotels.

Adventure junkies can rent some watersport equipment and head out to sea!

nissi beach sandy path connects to ayia napa island, two children playing in sand, crystal clear water, no tourists, waterfront resort hotel in distance.

Photo by Dimitris Vetsikas.

Hokkaido Restaurant

For dinner, head over to Hokkaido in Ayia Napa. Take a break from all the Mediterranean cuisine and enjoy some authentic Japanese food, such as sushi and other dishes that are cooked on teppanyaki grills. 

Rentalmoose order tip: You can’t go wrong with a combination of fresh seafood grilled on the teppanyaki.

Open daily from 4 PM to 11 PM. It’s one of the favorites in town, be sure to book your table ahead!

Drop-off

For maximum convenience, Rentalmoose recommends dropping your rental car off at Larnaca airport directly before leaving. Click here to browse through car rental options in Larnaca!

Don’t forget to book your rental car via Rentalmoose for your next road trip in Cyprus.

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Post your pictures from your next road trip in Cyprus online using #Rentalmoose! Our favorite ones will be featured in the upcoming blog posts.

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