After I quit my job to travel the world, I started with an American road trip and some time catching up with family.
As soon as I felt like I’d wrapped up the loose ends I needed to in the states, I headed to Europe for four months. I’m not sure why I chose Cyprus as my starting destination, but after spending a month on Aphrodite’s isle I had completely fallen in love with its complicated history and soft sand beaches.
I went for the Venetian and Turkish architecture, halloumi cheese, and Roman ruins, but I stayed because the best beaches in Cyprus are some of the best beaches anywhere in the world.
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Since I had a whole month in Cyprus, I explored as much of the island as I could get to from my base in Nicosia.
I’ve mentioned before that Cyprus has a great inter-city bus system, which meant that I was able to cover a ton of the island and see a wide variety of Cyprus beaches in addition to venturing out to all the typical history and tourist sites in Cyprus.
Here are my favorite Cypriot beaches plus an overview of the other fantastic beaches in the country that were recommended to me. No matter which city you’re based in, you’ll find that at least one of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus is nearby since they’re spread out across the country fairly evenly.
Of course, if you know of any other beaches in addition to these, let me know and I’ll add it to the list!
Rock beaches aren’t my cup of tea, but if you’re talking about having quick access to a beautiful beach without having to leave Paphos, then Alykes Beach is a great place to be. I spent my day at Alykes napping (I got a VERY odd shaped sunburn), swimming (wear jelly shoes to avoid cutting your feet on the rocks though!), and people watching. Bonus points for this beach having pizza options that you can order right to your rented lounge chair. The major downside here is that once you leave the beach, the place is swarming with tourists. Paphos has a great UNESCO World Heritage Site, but the actual city is my least favorite part of Cyprus. I highly recommend you base yourself elsewhere. However, once here, a beach nap at Alykes is a nice way to spend the afternoon.
Get to Alykes Beach: Alykes is one of the main beaches in Paphos.
Aphrodite’s Rock at Petra Tou Romiou
This was my favorite beach experience in Cyprus. Cypriots believe that this is the place where Aphrodite emerged from the sea! How cool is that?!? I visited it as a half day trip after exploring Limmasol and was completely enchanted with it. Make sure you bring water shoes since the rocks on the beach hurt! It’s not a rock beach though, just covered in small, smooth pebbles and stones. Once you’re out into the water, you’re in the clear.
Get to Petro Tou Romiou: A twenty-minute drive from Paphos or a thirty-minute drive from Limassol. There are some tour buses but check the times.
Steeped in mystery and folklore, a visit to Cape Greco beach will keep you guessing and alert to the waters ahead. Known as the hiding place for the mythical Ayia Napa Sea Monster, or The Friendly Monster. The beach also has a welcoming café nearby that you can enjoy, pondering the waters or taking in a lite bite to eat before strolling down by the water’s edge. Take the opportunity to visit the beautiful Cape Grecco National Forrest Park, some of the many caves, and the Monument of Peace while you’re there.
Get to Cape Greco: Located next to the resort town of Protaras and a fifteen-minute drive from Ayia Napa, but a long haul to walk (over ninety minutes).
Guarded by the rocky gatekeepers of the coast, Coral Bay has a unique rocky setting and stunning sea caves. With inviting powdery soft sand in a small cove, its an idyllic place for a calm swim or just soaking in the sea. If you are looking to stay in the area, it’s a short stroll from resorts and hotels where you can take in a relaxing weekend or a family vacation over school holidays.
Get to Coral Bay: A twenty-minute drive from Paphos by Taxi.
Fig Tree Bay
What’s in a name? With the single fig tree surviving through the ages, it’s here it decided to set down roots next to the sea and take in the warm seasonal breezes, much like the people who visit the area. Not far away, there is much to explore while you are in the area, like the excavated Hellenistic tombs and the curious limestone Church of Profits. Each worth of investigation and some research of the historical significance. Located in the resort town of Protaras near Agia Napa.
Get to Fig Tree Bay: A twenty-minute drive from Agia Napa.
While Finikoudes isn’t the most beautiful beach in Cyprus, it was one of my absolute favorites because it’s easy to get to and there’s not a rock to be found. I went every week because the main bus from Nicosia to Larnaca drops you off right on the boardwalk. Enjoy renting a public deck chair and umbrella, walking along the marina, and eating and drinking your way up and down the boardwalk. There are a number of other things to do in Larnaca if you end up with extra time to explore.
Get to Finikoudes: the main municipal beach in Larnaca right across from the boardwalk by the marina.
One of the main beaches near Limassol, this is popular with tourists who come to enjoy Cyprus’s southern shoreline. A bit like an aquatic playground, Governor’s Beach has a number of chalky-white rocks in and around the water, making it an excellent place for snorkeling around to see the many fish, jumping off the rocks into the water, or getting your rod and reel out to try your luck at fishing. If the fishing doesn’t go so well, you can try a fish-dish at one of the nearby restaurants. A great stop that is enjoyed by many tourists and locals alike. After your beach day, you can visit the local village of Pentakomo.
Get to Governor’s Beach: a twenty-minute drive from Limassol.
Another one of Agia Napa’s great beaches, Konnos has a reputation outside of Cyprus for being However, it’s much quieter than nearby Nissi Beach and better for families. Accessible by car followed by a quick stroll, welcoming Konnos Bay will make a great lunch stop on a coastal drive. With restaurants in the area that are reasonably priced and great for both couples and families alike, the bay is bustling and enjoyable all season long. You can spend the day lazing under a sunshade listening to the light lapping of sea water or get in on the action with some water toys.
Get to Konnos Bay: a ten-minute drive from Agia Napa.
If you are the adventures type who enjoys the rewards of calm tranquility at the end of their mission, Lara Bay and Lara Beach are for you. The nearly deserted beach is only reachable by 4×4 vehicle or highly ambitious hikers. It’s here that loggerhead and green turtles come to nest and rest, and because of that lounging chairs and umbrellas are not allowed. It’s simply for mild exploration and a sanctuary for these historical creatures of the sea to settle.
Get to Lara Bay: an hour and fifteen-minute drive northwest of Paphos
While I stuck to Fiikoudes and the boardwalk while in Larnaca, my plan was to go to Mackenzie Beach at least once before my month in Cyprus was over. I just never made it because I kept getting lazy and finding the nearest beach chair from the bus stop. However, I did see Mackenzie Beach while on a city tour of Larnaca so I can faithfully report back that the beach is beautiful. This is the place to go if you’re in Larnaca and like adrenalin water-activities or want to have some fun in the sun beyond just lying in your beach chair. At Mackenzie Beach, you will be able to try your hand at windsurfing and use the sea breeze to light up your kitesurfing day. Also on hand are speedboats for rent to cruise the ocean or you can get in some water-skiing. Alternatively, if you like your watercraft a bit smaller, you can get yourself onto a jet ski and zip across the water. Mackenzie is a water-sports zone that will be sure to keep you entertained the whole time you are there.
Get to Mackenzie Beach: a ten-minute drive from Finikoudes Beach and the boardwalk in Larnaca
One of the quieter beaches near Ayia Napa, Makronissos is a tranquil spot with calm shallow waters, Makronissos Beach is a great place for families to take in the day and enjoy a worry-free swim. The beach is comprised of three bays that can make for a nice beach walk just to test the different waters. If you are looking to get in some diving, the area is perfect for a little underwater exploration too, with a few interesting sites to investigate off-shore.
Get to Makronissos Beach: a ten-minute drive from Ayia Napa and a five-minute drive from Nissi Beach
Probably the most famous of the beaches in Cyprus, Nissi beach is full of pleasure seekers who come to hang out in its crystal blue waters and walk out on the small rocky peninsula to photograph the shore or dive into the water below. I visited as a day trip from Nicosia, and the bus dropped us off about five minutes from the hotel on the beach. I ate lunch there, then spent the rest of the day alternating between swimming and lounging. While the beach was a bit more crowded than I would have liked, it’s hard to argue that its one of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus. I wouldn’t choose to be based in Agia Napa proper, but I can highly recommend a day trip out to Nissi Beach.
Get to Nissi Beach: right on Nissi Boulevard in Agia Napa.
Paramali Turtle Beach
Home to budding kite surfers and those teaching the trade, Paramali Turtle Beach is an unestablished area that can only be carefully enjoyed for a period and is not developed for heavy tourism. The reason is the turtles that come to the area, and you must tread lightly when you are on or near the beach in order to look after this precious sea life. If you are making a day trip, pack in all you need for the day, including things like food and drinks, as you won’t find much in the way of restaurants here. However, if you do get to see the turtles, that more than makes up for a lack of cafes. Also note that if you like counting countries on the Travelers’ Century Club list (my preferred country counting method), then a stop here technically counts as leaving Cyprus and entering the territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. However, no passport is needed and I’d be surprised if you noticed the subtle change in territorial ownership at all.
Get to Paralimil Turtle Beach: a twenty-five-minute drive from Limassol and a forty-minute drive from Paphos.
Porto Pomos Beach
Working your way to Porto Pomos is more about the drive than the destination. The road here is stunning with views around every corner and excellent photo stops along the way. Once near Porto, you can stop in one of the many family-run cafes for something to eat or drink and enjoy the views. If you are looking for something more personal, if you walk down to the beach near the harbor you can find some nice stops for a picnic.
Get to Porto Pomos Beach: an hour-long drive northeast of Paphos.
Another one of Agia Napa’s beautiful beaches, it’s got a more vibrant vibe than most. When you are looking to get in a few cocktails and enjoy some great beach music, a stop a Sirena Bay is just the place. With some lounges on hand mixing up a few local favorites and someone of a kind drinks, you are sure to find a refreshment that will fit your stop. Or if you are hungry you can pull up a chair for some delicious eats. After, a stroll down to the water’s edge to sit in one of the loungers will be a great day to savor the rest of the day.
Get to Sirena Bay: a fifteen-minute drive from Agia Napa
3 Things to Know Before Visiting Cyprus
Cyprus is an easy country to travel, but these are some important tips to know before you get on your flight.
Plan Your Ground Transportation
For those flying into Cyprus, unless you are going to be based near your airport in Larnaca or Paphos, you’ll need to plan out your ground transportation ahead of time. The intercity buses in the country are very reliable and economically priced, but they don’t service every beach here. Reach out to your accommodations for the best ground transportation options.
Personally, I used taxis to get to and from Nicosia with my luggage (and my dog), but the island has many options from buses to taxis to rental cars to arranging a private driver ahead of time.
Know Your Options if Your Flight is Delayed
Because the connections for ground transportation can get tricky, especially if you’re landing later in the day, you want to know what your options are if your flight gets delayed. This means having a plan B for ground transportation and knowing what kind of compensation you’re entitled to if you experience a flight cancellation.
Bring Your Passport to Cross into Northern Cyprus
I loved visiting Lefkosa, the part of Nicosia in Northern Cyprus. To cross one of the country’s border checkpoints, you’ll need your passport. It won’t get stamped, but they will scan it. Be careful crossing into the south if you flew into Northern Cyprus, as the country considers this an illegal entry.
More Information about Traveling in Cyprus
- 51 Seriously Awesome Things to Do in Cyprus
- 27 Pieces of Awesome Street Art from Nicosia, Cyprus
- 3 Reasons Paphos Kind of Sucks
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: Painted Churches in the Troodos Region
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: Choirokoitia
- UNESCO World Heritage Site: Paphos