The time to visit Nicosia is now. It’s a city in Cyprus that has been working hard behind the scenes. Whilst us Brits have been flocking to the southern beach towns of Paphos or Larnaca, we’ve been missing a trick.
The inland capital, Nicosia, has been regenerated from an old, traditional area. It’s not too cool to recognise its past though. Instead, this stylish city manages to offer the perfect blend of cultured charm, fascinating history and modern quirks.
Wandering what to do in Nicosia? Wander no more. There are plenty of things to do in Nicosia…
7 of the Best Things to Do in Nicosia
This post is the result of a press trip with Cyprus Tourism Organisation
1. Enjoy the Unique Night Life
In Nicosia even the Cypriot teens are cultured. Come midnight they sit side by side with the older generations.
The over eighteens spill out onto the square sipping Keo beer and drinking bottles of Ouzo like it’s water. The younger locals sit beside them, but with cups of steaming coffee. They chat excitedly whilst playing board games long into the early hours. It’s an alternative community culture that definitely needs to be seen to be believed.
2. Enjoy the Contemporary Art
Nicosia is filled with art galleries showcasing creations from eras gone by. However, it’s the modern and unique stuff that’s really exciting.
Head to one of the newest on the block, Zampelas Art Gallery. Built from three separate (and very traditional) houses, it has been transformed into a contemporary home for ever changing exhibitions.
The building has noticeable nods to its past, such as an installation using the original window shutters. Each of the three floors offers a different collection, including Cypriot art, as well as more widely recognised talents, such as photographer, Steve McCurry. An adult entrance ticket costs just six Euros.
If you’re looking for free stuff to see in Nicosia, the cool graffiti on the streets will get you excited.
3. Enjoy the Coffee Culture
Forget Starbucks and Costa Coffee. Whilst you will find them in this capital, it’s all about the stylish, independent cafes.
Stepping inside them you’d think you were in New York or London, not Nicosia. Perhaps that’s what’s makes them so special. They feel like undiscovered treasures that you can tell all of your friends about.
You’ll definitely be ahead of the cool crowd if you go to Brew Lab (Stasikratous 3).
4. Go to the Spa
Enjoy the history of traditional bathing with this indulgent spa experience.
If you’re in need of a bit of pampering or relaxation head to Hamam Omerye. It’s a truly stylish hideaway.
Sit in the steamy hamam for an hour or so. Relax on the hot beds or scrub your warm skin, and when it all gets too much, splash yourself with the cool water from the bronzed taps. Afterwards enjoy a massage or facial in your private Moroccan inspired treatment room.
It’s highly likely that you’ll never want to leave.
5. Rent a Bike
Walking in the Cypriot heat can sometimes be a little too much, especially when you really want to see the city. A cycle tour offers the chance to create a bit of a breeze as you cruise down the streets. Bikin’Cyprus has organised various routes that allow you to soak up the culture, history and gorgeous scenery all in one go. You can even venture into the Troodos Mountains if you have time.
6. Enjoy the View
It’s worth seeing Nicosia from up above to fully appreciate the old and modern sides of the city. Head to the 11th floor of the Shacolas Tower Museum and Observatory (also known as Ledra Street Observatory) on Ledra Street.
From here you’ll be able to see the walls of Nicosia and key landmarks. Although you can use binoculars to look at specifics, it’s pretty fascinating to simply see the old and new rooftops.
7. Venture to the Troodos Mountains
A little over an hour’s drive will take you to the Troodos Mountains, or what’s better known as The Green Heart of Cyprus.
Winding roads criss-cross back and forth taking you way up into the hills. The trees multiply for every turn you take and the birds dart in and out of your vision.
Treks and hikes fill the space, ensuring that you don’t miss out on the beautiful scenery. Even the short walks such as the ‘Myllomeris’ 1.5km nature trail, offer an exciting finish of a hidden waterfall. Locals strip off to cool down in the water or climb into the crevices of the old trees for a lazy snooze. Extend your visit with a stay at Casale Panayiotis.
One Day in Nicosia
If you only have one day in Nicosia, fear not. The city is really walkable so you can pack a lot in.
Grab coffee or breakfast at Brew Lab, before heading to the Ledra Observatory to get your bearings and to enjoy the views. Spend an hour at Zampelas Art Gallery before grabbing lunch in Nicosia. Then spend the afternoon at Hamam Omerye before a quick change to head back out to enjoy the nightlife in Nicosia.
Hotels in Nicosia Cyprus
Got a bit more time to play with? There are some lovely hotels in Nicosia, including some surprisingly cheap hotels. Hilton Park Hotel is a hotel in Nicosia city centre. It’s stylish and affordable. You’ll also find a few apartments in Nicosia. Many are quite dark, but this one is refreshingly light and in a great spot.
How to Get to Nicosia
Fly directly from London to Larnaca Airport via many airlines, including Wizz Air and British Airways. The flight takes about 4.5 hours. And from Larnaca Airport it’s a 45-minute drive to Nicosia.
When to Go to Cyprus
With scorching summers and mild winters there isn’t a bad time to go. It just depends on your preference for heat.
Temperatures rarely drop into single figures, even in January.
December and early January can be a lot quieter on the island.
Time to Visit Nicosia
There are so many things to see in Nicosia and the surrounding areas. From cookery classes to divine restaurants, and fascinating museums to arts and crafts, it really has it all.
It’s a new look Nicosia and it’s waiting patiently for you to experience it for yourself. Stay ahead of the crowds; don’t keep it waiting too long.
Pin for later…
Big thanks to the Cyprus Tourism Organisation for hosting my lovely visit.