Even though situated inland and thus not coastal, Nicosia, is not only the island’s capital, but its cultural heartbeat, as well, where vibrant street life and rich history formulate a curious and fascinating mix. The lively, contemporary cafe and bar scene punches well above its weight for a city so small, while a bundle of museums and a series of looping lanes lined with colonial-era buildings, churches and mosques reveal an evocative history.
The impressive snowflake-shaped Venetian walls encircle Nicosia’s old quarter. Feel the experience of wandering around the narrow streets with the overhanging balconies and the bustling pedestrianized precincts and discovering so many hidden gems along the route! Chill out in the area around Faneromeni Church, in the heart of the walled city, overwhelmed now by cafes and traditional kafeneia, taverns and bakeries, then walk to the neighborhoods of Omeriye Mosque, Famagusta Gate and Chrisalinotissa and take a taste of Nicosia’s rich and multicultural past, as it has been incorporated into the city’s living present. For shopping, visit the streets of Ledras, Onasagorou, Makarioy or Stassikratous whose shops are comparable to many European countries.
In Nicosia the modern history of Cyprus and the events of 1974 are still very much within living memory and felt most keenly, as the city remains separated in two distinctive parts by the so called Green Line (the UN Buffer Zone), the artificial border that runs right through the city. Although there are now cross points to the occupied part, if you brush up against the sandbag and oil-barrel barriers of the Green Line you’ll get a sense of the sad present-day state of limbo for the world’s last divided capital.
In addition to all the above, the unique countryside of Nicosia is worth a day trip, if you want to explore pine clad mountains, worldwide known for their geology, hidden away villages and painted churches listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Don’t miss them, especially if you are keen of walking, hiking or cycling through wild and wonderful paths that weave through some of the most spectacular spots on the island.
And of course, having Nicosia as your basis you can discover and taste all the coastal cities and stunning beachside of the island. Protara’s and Ayia Napa’s beaches, with their soft white sand and their transparent turquoise waters, are about an hour drive from Nicosia, while you can reach the family-friendly beaches of Larnaca and Limassol in just 45 minutes.
We will be thrilled to show you all that Nicosia and surroundings has to offer! But, feel free to explore and experience Nicosia yourself!