A jewel of the eastern Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus is one of Europe’s top tourist spots and a prime cruise destination. The coastal city of Larnaca is one of the most popular ports of call, allowing cruisers to take part in tours to every corner of the island. Its small size makes it ideal for day trips, with most locations within a couple of hours. From beaches to cities, every possible taste is covered when exploring the Mediterranean island.
Larnaca and Lefkara
Docking at Larnaca, visitors will find the streets of the old town offer a wealth of historical sites, in particular the 9th-century Church of St Lazarus, one of only three remaining Byzantine churches on the island. The nearby village of Lefkara is also a common stop on a tour of the area. It’s famous for its lace and silver crafting and is an excellent place to pick up some unique mementos. Alternatively, take a guided bike tour, passing through traditional tiny villages, olive groves and Larnaca’s salt flats, where flocks of flamingos and other unusual birdlife can be viewed throughout the year.
Limassol, Curium and Omodos
As Cyprus’s second-largest city, Limassol has a lot to offer, whether it is culture, history or nightlife. Its recently rejuvenated old town is especially attractive, with cobbled streets, craft shops, bars and even a castle. Curium, one of the two ancient cities between which Limassol lies, is another major attraction. Here, visitors can find ancient Greco-Roman ruins and the fantastically preserved open-air theatre overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. On this tour visitors will also be taken to the picturesque village of Omodos nestled in the Troodos Mountains, where they can sample locally produced wine and wander the quaint streets around the Monastery of the Holy Cross.
A country’s capital is always worth a visit and Nicosia is one that offers more than most. It’s the world’s only divided capital because since 1974 the city has been split down the centre by No Man’s Land, dividing the area between the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot territories. The city’s old town is a delight to wander in, with cobbled streets, shops and cafes galore, as well as offering sightseers some fantastic architectural and archaeological sights.
Now lying across the border in the Turkish controlled part of Cyprus, Famagusta’s medieval walled centre has many must-see sites, in particular the town’s ancient citadel, Othello’s Tower and the huge St Nicholas Cathedral. A reminder of the island’s more recent past is evident in the closed-off ‘sleeping city’ of Varosha, which has remained uninhabited since the 1974 Turkish invasion. A tour of Famagusta will also take visitors via Salamis, just north of Famagusta, which was the ancient capital of the island and to this day remains a centre of Byzantine and Roman cultural antiquities.
As an island, Cyprus is blessed with fine beaches and Nissi Beach is certainly one of the best. With clear seas and golden sands, it is a haven of relaxation. From the beach, people can partake in water sports, swim to the nearby Nissi islet or simply enjoy the surroundings. For those want more activity, the party town of Ayia Napa is nearby, as well as WaterWorld, the largest themed water park in Europe.
Larnaca is one of the Mediterranean’s most popular cruising destinations. From the Cypriot city’s port, holiday makers can choose to explore any number of sightseeing options in day trips that span the island. Pleasure seekers and culture lovers alike will delight in all that is on offer.