So, if you’re anything like me – a British child of the nineties who grew up on package holidays – then Cyprus will be equated with one thing and one thing only in your mind. And that is beach resorts, half-board packages, towel reservations by the pool and Fanta Orange at dinner… ok well maybe the last one is just me!
But the point remains, that until I visited Cyprus as an adult, I really did think the only thing this Mediterranean island offered was sun, sea and sand. Which it is – I don’t want to take away the glory of any of Cyprus’ beautiful beaches – but I also want to let you know that there really is a whole island out there waiting to be discovered beyond just sipping cocktails by the hotel pool. And being in Lebanon – just a short 30-minute cheap flights across the water – it felt rude not to go and rediscover this island and learn more the about the wonderful things to see in Cyprus away from the package-tourist crowds.
So honestly, the best way to discover the top things to see in Cyprus that are away from the crowds is to rent a car. In fact, this is pretty much the only way to get off the beaten track in this island – with public transport here thin on the ground. But don’t worry if you’re nervous about this prospect, because driving in Cyprus is very relaxed and straightforward, making it more than worth any hassle. It’s also very economical (especially if there is a group of you) and is an easy and straightforward process.
And the best place to arrive into Cyprus if you want to get more off the beaten track in my opinion is Larnaca. With lots of budget flights, as well as a more central location, this international airport is better situated than Paphos if you want to discover more of Cyprus and the things to see in this island that are a little off the beaten track. Plus, Astra Car Rental are located in the main arrivals hall here – so it couldn’t be easier! As always, I recommend checking out Skyscanner for the best flight deals around.
And if you want to avoid the crowds in Cyprus even further, then steering clear of the beach resorts of Ayia Napa and Paphos are your best bet! Instead, I’d recommend the small coastal towns around Limassol more, heading to the Akamas Peninsula, spending time in the Troodos Mountains, experiencing the capital Nicosia and finding some wildness in Cape Greco National Park.
This route makes a rough clockwise loop around the island, giving you the opportunity to dive into some of those beach resorts too if you want to! It also gives you ample ability to take in the diversity of Cyprus and the wealth of things to see in this island. On top of this, this itinerary is also highly flexible depending on your timeframe but, as I said, you will need a hire car!
While Limassol itself is worth a few hours to explore, the real solitude lies in the small villages up the coast to the west of the city. From Larnaca, it’s not a long drive to Limassol and you can easily do this on your first day – explore the city and its black sand beaches before continuing on to my favourite hideaway of Pissouri.