The 13 best places to visit in Cyprus

 

On the south eastern coast and still being excavated is the site of Paphos Archaeological Park, with many monuments dating back from pre-historic times to the middle ages. The sites most significant remains are of four Roman Villas all with preserved mosaic floors. The significance of the area means Paphos Archaeological Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

13. Paphos Archaeological Park

 

On the southern coast of the island within the Akrotiri West Sovereign Base Area that forms part of the British Overseas Territory is the archaeological site known as Ancient Kourion. With a wealth of historical remains including a theatre, a stadium, bath houses, a gladiator house and a Roman forum, Kourion is another location inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

12. Ancient Kourion

 

In southern Cyprus on the border of the Akroti West Sovereign Base Area that forms part of the British Overseas Territory is the 21 metre (69 ft) high Kolossi Castle. Completed in 1454 AD, the three storey castle once occupied by the Knights Templar is in amazing condition, especially when compared to the ruins of other buildings that surround it, built during a similar period.

11. Kolossi Castle

 

Built in the 11th century at an altitude of 1,318 metres (4,324 ft) above sea level is the wealthiest and most well known monastery in Cyprus, the Kykkos Monastery. High in the mountains, this large detailed building with richly decorated inner courtyards and an even more richly decorated church is filled with old relics and artifacts. From it's vantage point in the Troodos Mountains it also offers some wonderful views.

10. Kykkos Monastery

 

From 1209 AD to 1570 AD the St. Sophia Cathedral was a Roman Catholic cathedral before being converted into a Mosque. It's name remained up until 1959 when it changed it to the Selimiye Mosque in honour of the Sultan who headed the Ottoman Empire during the conquest of Cyprus. With enough interior space to hold 2,500 people, the Mosque is housed within the largest and oldest Gothic church building in the country.

9. Selimiye Mosque

 

The medieval Pathos Castle was first built in the 11th century. After being destroyed by an Earthquake in 1222 AD, it was rebuilt only to be dismantled by the Venetians in 1570, then restored once more when the island was conquered by the Ottomans. Today as a protected historical building it is the most distinctive landmark in Paphos.

8. Paphos Castle

 

Close to the city of Kyrenia in the Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus are the ruins of the 13th century Bellapais Abbey. Though in ruin, most of the structure still exists, the most well preserved being the church along with a few 15th century murals. With an elevation of 220 metres (721 ft) above sea level it offers great views out to Kyrenia and the Mediterranean Sea

7. Bellapais Abbey

 

On the northern coast of the Turkish controlled Northern Cyprus is the 16th century medieval fortification, Kyrenia Castle. Kyrenia is arguably the countries most picturesque city when viewed from it's historic harbour, and there's no better view of the harbour than from the top of the castle walls.

6. Kyrenia Castle

 

The Buyuk Han, meaning 'Great Inn' is the largest ancient inn on the island and one of the finest buildings in Cyprus. Built by the Ottomans in 1572 the two storey square building with colonnades and cross vaults surrounds a courtyard with a central mosque and fountain. Today you'll find it used as an arts centre as well as having courtyard cafes and little tourist shops.

5. Büyük Han

 

First constructed in the 10th century, Saint Hilarion Castle sits on the Kyrenia Mountain Range and is the best preserved ruin of three former strongholds in the Kyrenia Mountains. With the elegantly ruined turrets and towers the castle also offers magnificent views over the city of Kyrenia and the Mediterranean Sea in the distance.

4. St. Hilarion Castle

 

In the south east of the country is a headland known as the Cape Greco National Forest Park. Close to the town of Ayia Napa it has become a well trodden destination for the natural beauty of it's cliffs and clear waters.

3. Cape Greco National Forest Park

 

In the winter months the shallow salt lakes or Larnaca are like any other lakes, except maybe for the addition of thousands of Flamingos that fly in to feed. In the summer months when the water dries up it leaves a crust of salt where the land and sky merge on the horizon, making for a very scenic and beautiful landscape.

2. Larnaca Salt Lake

 

The Troodos Mountains in the centre of the country make up the largest mountain range in Cyprus, it's highest peak being Mount Olympus standing at 1,952 metres (6,404 ft) above sea level. Hidden among the peaks are many churches, monasteries and villages hanging on the hilly slopes, and during the winter when the snow has fallen the ski resorts are buzzing with tourists. Regardless of the season the true star is the natural beauty of the high mountains and dense forests.

1. Troodos Mountains

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