What are the best things to see and do in Cyprus?

Victoria Brewood

In addition to exploring the larger towns, there are plenty of activities and historical sights to see in Cyprus. You can party into the early hours in the night owl’s paradise of Ayia Napa, drive into the mountains to visit traditional villages, order meze in an authentic taverna, stop at a winery to taste the local Cypriot wine or sunbathe on one of Cyprus’s many beaches. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ take on the best things to see and do in Cyprus:
 
1. Explore the Troodos Mountains. If you want to get off the beaten track, take a 4x4 tour into the Troodos Mountains. Pause for a photo op at the top of Mount Olympus, then stop for a swim in a refreshing waterfall. Afterward you’ll visit the Kykkos Monastery to see the icon of the Virgin Mary, before heading to a winery in the village of Omodos. On the tour you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase souvenirs in the famous lace-making village of Lefkara.
 
2. Famagusta. When the Turks occupied the northern part of Cyprus in 1974, the Greek Cypriot population of Famagusta was forced to flee. The Turkish army restricted access to the Varosha quarter of Famagusta, which is now quite literally a ghost town. Once a thriving tourist area, Varosha lies derelict and is surrounded by barbed wire. Though no visitors are allowed in, you can still take a look from the outside and see that the town is frozen in time — laundry still hangs on lines in the streets, cars remain in the showrooms and nature is reclaiming the area.

3. The Green Line. The island’s capital of Nicosia is the last remaining divided capital in Europe. It’s definitely worth a visit to see the Greek South and the Turkish North. The Green Line — a buffer zone that separates the two sides — was opened in 2003, making it much easier to cross explore the Turkish and Greek attractions of old Nicosia.

4. The Amphitheatre at Kourion. Just outside Limassol lies Kourion — one of the most spectacular ancient sites on the island. The archaeological site occupies an elevated position with beautiful views over the Mediterranean and possesses some amazing mosaics. Wander through ancient ruins, sit in the outdoor Roman amphitheater, which dates back to the second century A.D., and imagine the city as it would have been 2,000 years ago.  
 
5. Aphrodite's Rock. Legend has it that Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love,  emerged from the sea at this very point. The birthplace of Aphrodite can be found on the southwest coast close to Paphos and is one of the island’s most famous attractions.