Buckle up as we’ve got the ultimate Cyprus road trip itinerary coming your way. We’ve mapped out a route that will have you passing by all the major Cyprus sights with a mixture of beaches, history, and nature. It’s an action-packed itinerary, so bring your swimwear, hiking boots, and something nice for nights out.
Cyprus is relatively small, but to pack the most into the itinerary, you’ll be on the move most days. History buffs will love visiting the legendary Aphrodite’s Rock and St. Hilarion Castle, and we definitely didn’t forget Cyprus’ reputation as a party destination. So, come prepared for the Ayia Napa nightlife!
The island is well connected, and the roads between towns and villages are well-maintained and a good size. Between the more popular towns there are large four-lane motorways. You can feel confident driving in any kind of vehicle, but be aware that the mountain roads have twists and turns, and junctions don’t have signs, with the right of way given to cars coming from the right.
Day 1 – Paphos and the Tomb of the Kings
Your first day will take place in beautiful Paphos, a coastal city on the southwest of the island. It’s only 20 minutes away from Paphos International Airport, which is where most people fly into. Pick up your car straight from the airport and head over to your hotel.
First on the itinerary is visiting the Tomb of the Kings, which is a part of the Archaeological Park of Kato Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite its name, it is not the burial place of kings but actually aristocracy and high-ranking officials. The tombs are seriously impressive and were carved out of solid rock between the 4th century BC and the 3rd century AD. Some of the larger tombs have huge solid stone pillars, and you can walk amongst them. There’s parking on-site and the route is well signposted. We’d recommend spending around two hours here, including walking along the nearby coastal boardwalk.
Next on the agenda is to go to Paphos Harbour which is 3km south of the tombs, and is one of the major attractions in Paphos. It’s a bustling and lively part of town where you can stroll next to a palm tree-lined boardwalk searching for somewhere to eat. Keep strolling west along the harbor front, and you will end up at Paphos castle, a small stone fort that is worth checking out. If you have time, we would also suggest visiting the Paphos Mosaics nearby, which are considered to be amongst the best in the world! Otherwise, find somewhere with outdoor seating, order dinner and a few cocktails, and watch the sun go down on your first day.
Day 2 – Aphrodite’s Beach, Larnaca Lake/Lofou, and Nissi Beach
It’s day two, and you’re going to be traveling from Paphos to Nissi Beach in Ayia Napa, making some awesome stops along the way! After a nice hotel breakfast, your first stop is Aphrodite’s Beach which is around 30 minutes away via the A6. According to local legend, Aphrodite, the Greek Goddess of Love was born on this very beach. As you’d expect, the beach is stunning with pebbles underfoot, turquoise waters, and offshore rock formations. One rock formation, in particular, is named Aphrodite’s Rock, and the story goes that those who swim around it will be gifted with eternal beauty. It’s best to time your drive to make sure you arrive well before lunch, as it can become quite crowded.
Get back onto the A6 and then the A1, for the one hour and 15-minute drive to Larnaca Salt Lake, before grabbing some lunch 10 minutes away in Larnaca City. This stop on the itinerary is only recommended if your Cyprus road trip is between late November and March as this is hands down the best time to visit the lake because it’s flamingo season! There can be up to 20,000 flamingoes on the island at this time, and Larnaca Salt Lake is a great place to spot them! If this is a summer road trip, take the A6 and F606 45 minutes into the mountains to Lofou village. This charming and picturesque village is a lovely place to walk around, take photos, and fuel up in a local taverna.
From Lofou, the drive to Nissi Beach is around one and half hours via the A1 and A3. From Larnaca City, it’s only a 40 minute drive along the A3. Once you’ve arrived, check into your hotel and change into your swimwear to lounge on one of the best beaches in Cyprus. If you’re in the mood to party, tonight is the night, as you’ll have two nights here.
Day 3 – Nissi Beach, optional day trip to Sea Caves, Cyclops Cave, and Fig Tree Bay
On your third day (hangover dependent) you can spend the entire day on Nissi Beach catching a tan and swimming in the amazing bright blue waters, or take a day trip! There’s another beautiful beach, Fig Tree Bay, nearby plus the Ayia Napa Sea Caves and the Cyclops Cave.
If you do choose to venture out, the first stop of the day is the Ayia Napa Sea Caves. This spot is incredibly photogenic and picturesque, so it’s best to head over in the morning to avoid the crowds. Definitely load up the sat nav for this route, as even though it’s less than 20 minutes away, it can be hard to find. The caves are incredible, rising out of the turquoise waters, with tunnels to explore and even places to jump down into the sea below.
Next on the agenda is the Cyclops Cave. This cave is said to have been the hideout of the cyclops who trapped Ulysses and his companions in The Odyssey. The best way to get there is to drive to Konnos Beach, 9 minutes away, and leave your car in the parking area. From there, you can follow the coastal trail for 15 minutes to reach the cave. You’ll need to wear proper walking shoes and take care because at times the trail can be close to the cliff’s edge.
Now it’s time to drive the 10 minutes to Fig Tree Bay via the E306 for some watersports and a well-deserved lunch! This beach has beautiful white sand and clear blue waters. It’s the place to go for some adrenaline-pumping water sports like water skiing or wake surfing. There’s some great snorkeling around a small island just off the beach, or if you just want to chill out, you can rent a lounger and relax. Stick around for dinner or drive the 20 minutes back to Nissi Beach.
Day 4 – Kyrenia and St. Hilarion Castle
For your fourth day, your Cyprus road trip itinerary is taking you to Kyrenia, in the north of the country. The route is roughly one and a half hours long via Gazimağusa-Lefkoşa Anayolu, cutting straight through the island. Parts of this road are quite rural, so it’s a scenic drive.
Head straight to Kyrenia Harbor, often called the “Jewel of Cyprus”, to step back in time to a storybook scene. The Kyrenia Castle is right on the water, standing guard over the harbor. The castle was built in the 1500s and was reinforced to resist attacks from the Ottoman Empire. Take a quick tour of the castle before finding a nice waterside spot for lunch, then head to your hotel to check-in.
Once you’re settled, it’s time to head back out (if you feel like it), to St. Hilarion Castle. It’s less than 20 minutes away. The road passes by a Turkish Military Base, so take care not to stop and take photos in this section. St. Hilarion Castle is the best of the three Crusader castles in the country, it’s built right on top of the Kyrenia mountain range, and many say it was the inspiration for the castle in Snow White.
Make your way back to Kyrenia and wander the narrow streets of the old town just off the harbor and find somewhere to eat dinner.
Day 5 – Kykkos Monastery and Kalopanayiotis
Day five is where you’ll really learn to slow down and enjoy old-world Cyprus. After breakfast head out to the Kykkos Monastery. The drive is one hour and 45 minutes long via Güzelyurt-Lefkoşa Anayolu. It’s a scenic drive on the road in between Paphos Forest and Mount Olympus, so take your time and bring plenty of snacks.
The beautiful monastery is one of the most famous on the island, with stunning paintings and mosaics. It dates back to the 11th century and is in the mountains of the Marathasa Valley. It’s worth just strolling around and admiring the craftsmanship of the building, but for more history, there’s a small museum with some religious and historical items. The monastery produces a range of spirits including Zivania (a local drink), which is said to be the best in the country. You can purchase these in the monastery shop! The dress code is strict, shorts are not allowed, women should cover their shoulders, and men should wear shirts not tank tops.
Once you’re finished sightseeing it’s time to drive to Kalopanayiotis and check into your accommodation. It’s a 30-minute drive via the E911. Kalopanayiotis is a traditional village and the accommodation you’re going to find will most likely be holiday homes like this one, but, if you want more of a traditional hotel Casale Panayiotis is a good choice if you’re after a bit of luxury. Spend the rest of the day just wandering around and just enjoying the fresh mountain air.
Day 6 – Blue Lagoon, Baths of Aphrodite, and Poli Chrysochous
On Day 6, wake up early if you can because you’ve got the longest drive of your Cyprus road trip itinerary from Kalopanayiotis to the Blue Lagoon. The drive is two hours and 50 minutes long via the E703. It is best to try to arrive at the Blue Lagoon before 11am, as this is when all the boat tours begin to arrive and it can become quite crowded! The Blue Lagoon is a sheltered bay with bright blue, crystal clear waters. It’s great for swimming and snorkeling, but, one thing to note is that the road leading up the lagoon isn’t the best for very low cars.
Next up on the itinerary is the Baths of Aphrodite. It’s 30 minutes away on a straight coastal road and there’s a parking area nearby. The baths are a mystical looking natural pool where Aphrodite was said to bathe. According to the Greek myth, it was here where she met her lover Adonis. If you’re feeling up to it, you can walk the beautiful Aphrodite Trail which starts and ends at the baths. It has amazing views of the coast and forest and takes around two hours to walk, so you may wanna bring a packed lunch! Something important to remember is that Cyprus has snakes, so always watch where you’re walking.
The last thing on the day’s agenda is to head to Poli Chrysochous to check into your hotel for the night. It’s a little coastal town with quaint sandstone buildings and plenty of places to eat. The town is a short 20 minutes away along a scenic country road.
Day 7 – Coral Bay and Paphos
Day seven of your Cyprus road trip itinerary has you heading back to Paphos with a stopover in Coral Bay. Drive the 30 minutes or so down to Coral Bay using the E711. It’s the last day, so it’s your final chance to soak up some Cyprus sun on the beach! After spending the last few nights relaxing away from civilization, it’s time to jump back in with a lively coastal resort town full of restaurants, bars, and shops.
The drive back to Paphos is just over 20 minutes via the E701, so you can stay in Coral Bay for the entire day, or leave early and enjoy Paphos all over again!