Top 10 Cyprus Attractions
Cyprus is one of the most beautiful islands in Europe and boasts a wealth of modern and historical attractions to suit all tastes and budgets. Whether you are visiting Cyprus for the first time or you are a regular traveller, the island offers many ‘hidden gems’ and ‘off the beaten track’ attractions. The top 10 Cyprus attractions include:
Sitting high on a 2,000ft rocky outcrop the Stravrovouni Monastery, originally called the Mountain of the Cross Monastery, was founded by St Helena in 327AD. St Helena was the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, making it ironic that women today are not allowed any closer than the monastery car park.
Rock of Aphrodite
This unusual rock formation on the Lemesos to Paphos coastal road is the spot where Aphrodite (the Greek Goddess of Love) was born and was washed ashore on a seashell. Definitely one of the top 10 Cyprus attractions for culture vultures.
Hala Sultan Tekke
Standing on the shore of Larnaka's Salt Lake, this mosque is home to the Tomb of Hala Sultan, a relative of the Prophet Mohammed, who died in Cyprus in 649AD.
Situated about 8 miles from Lemesos, Kolossi Castle was the Grand Commandery of the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem, and later of the Knights Templar, after the crusaders were driven out of the Holy Land in 1291. Carved on the walls there are Fleur-de-Lys symbols and the entrance hall of the keep has a mural of the crucifixion. The central keep is still intact and visitors can see the remains of a basilica, sugar factory and aqueduct.
Mount Olympus is the highest point (6,404 ft) in the Troodos Mountain Range. The mountain is perfect for nature trail hikes in the summer and skiing in the winter. On the summit of Mount Olympus sits the dome of a British military radar station.
Built in 1625, Larnaka Fort is another top 10 Cyprus attraction and is home to a medieval museum which displays armour and historic objects.
Cyprus Archaeological Museum
Located in Lefkosia, this museum is home to a magnificent historical collection, including the Aphrodite of Soli and a bronze statue of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus.
On a bleak hillside in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains near Larnaka you will find the circular foundations of homes which were occupied by Stone Age people in the 7th to 4th centuries BC. The Stone Age people buried their dead, under the floors of their houses.
Tombs of the Kings
These rock-cut tombs are beside the sea and date back to the 4th century BC. It is here that the leading citizens of Paphos were buried. Steps carved out of rock lead down to the burial chambers where archaeologists are still discovering more graves. If you are planning to visit Cyprus this year, work out an itinerary before you travel and make the most of the attractions around this scenic island.