As we covered in our intro to Cyprus post, this island has landscapes so beautiful you will want to take time out to explore and, even if you don’t fancy the all-night party madness of Ayia Napa, there are mountains, beaches and stunning ancient villages galore to feast your eyes upon. If Cyprus’s natural attractions aren’t enough, you’ll find the popular Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, wineries of Limassol and ancient ruins at Kourion more than cater to most tourists’ needs. Why not also get off the beaten track – Cyprus has a number of attractions that are kept secret from most visitors which are sure to delight?
The Venetian Bridges
When the Venetians ruled the island from 1489 to 1571 they had a nasty habit of stripping anything of wealth from Cyprus and shipping it back to Italy. To facilitate this, they built a camel trail across the island and because of Cyprus’s many gorges, they also had to construct a number of bridges. Three still exist today, the Eleia Bridge, Roudias Bridge, and Kelefos Bridge, each surrounded by lush Cyprus forestry in an idyllic setting. To get to the bridges, follow the road north east from Koilineia in the Paphos region and walk through the deserted village of Vretsia, which is a fascinating attraction in itself.
Constructed in the 11th century, Kykkos Monastery is not only beautiful to look at, it’s also the largest ecclesiastical library in Cyprus. The monastery is home to religious iconography dating back to the Byzantine period as well as a resplendent statue of the Virgin Mary. Kykkos’ bells can be heard for miles around and if you visit on a Sunday we recommend heading into the nearby valley, where the sound of the bells reverberates off the valley walls to spectacular effect.
The Avakas Gorge is a stunning natural wonder – found on the Akamas peninsula, the gorge was formed over millions of years by a river, and in fact still turns into a river during the island’s wetter months. Avakas Gorge is one of the few accessible gorges on the island and takes about 30 minutes to walk through during Cyprus’s dry summer months, taking visitors on a tour through lush smelling citrus plantations and ending at the famous Lara Beach. The beach forms part of the appeal of this walk, as it’s known for being home to nesting turtles. In the mornings and evenings, as the sun dips below the horizon, the light bounces off the gorge sides to beautiful effect.
Attractions like these are what authentic Cyprus holidays are all about, but they are just a taste of what this brilliant island has to offer the curious traveller.
Have you been to Cyprus? Have you got any recommendations not on this list? Let us know in the comments!