If you’ve been devouring too much halloumi and glugging extra rakija, perhaps it’s time to spice up your trip to the eastern Med with something a little more demanding? Cue this guide to the top adventure activities in Cyprus for the coming season. It’s all about helping you peel yourself from the poolside and start moving during vacation.
Our list focuses in on just five adventure pursuits on the island. It’s a mixed bag, though, offering something for water lovers wanting to spy our sea turtles and trail lovers who prefer to do their explorations on dry land.
It’s worth saying that different adventure activities in Cyprus require various types of equipment and conditions. The first is usually a solvable problem – many outfitters on the island offer rentals of key gear to get you on your way. However, when it comes to the weather, that’s a waiting game, though summer and fall tend to the peak for most of the things listed here (except skiing, which, naturally, needs snow!).
Starting our list of the most alluring adventure activities in Cyprus to try your hand at this year is perhaps the most popular of all the active pursuits this island has to offer. Yep, like Greece and Italy before it, this speck on the map of the southern Mediterranean is a veritable sailing mecca. It has been since ancient times, in fact, when it was the center of a major sea trading network. The culture continues today, too – Cyprus’s first Olympic gold only came in 2012, thanks to accomplished sailor Pavlos Kontides.
Anyway, back to your trip. Charters for yachts and small boats are everywhere in the land of sizzling halloumi. You can rent boats of all lengths, skippered or without a skipper, for weeks, days, or even whole months. Rates are roughly in line with the European average – think just shy of $1,000 a day in the peak summer season.
Okay, so that isn’t cheap. But what a charter of your own opens up is real freedom to explore. Want to scour the Akamas Peninsula for the secret turtle-swimming lagoons? Raise the sail and be on your way. Keen to check out the body-packed bays of the Paphos strip? Go for it. Want to whiz past the famous sea caves and wild cliffs of Cape Greco in the east? Be our guest. Just be sure you have all the right qualifications to sail in Cyprus before pushing ahead and always stick to the rules of the sea.
With its long summer season and dry weather, coupled with both rugged mountain interiors and eye-watering coastal runs, we’d say Cyprus is just about the perfect combo of a destination for trail runners. The best seasons for choosing this among all of the adventure activities in Cyprus would be the spring or the fall, though, since they’re a touch less scorching but still low on the rainfall counter.
Let’s run (no pun intended) through just a couple of reasons why we think trail running is a good possibility in the land of halloumi and turtle-ringed lagoons. For one, the sheer variety of routes you can get stuck into here is startling. There are vertigo-inducing paths that take you to the top of Mount Olympus. But there are also shoreline trails that offer more accessible runs near mainstay resorts like Coral Bay and Paphos. Secondly, Cyprus is big. It’s the second-largest isle in the Med. That means plenty of potential trail running paths across its length and breadth.
If you’re keen to pull on the Salomons in these parts, then we can really recommend the Akamas Peninsula or the region around the Paphos Forest. The first is good for running between secluded bays and waterfalls. The second is for the more serious trailers out there, offering big up-and-down routes through ancient cedar woods.
Taking us from the dusty trail running paths back to the cooling waters of the Mediterranean Sea, sea kayaking surely deserves a place on our list of the very best adventure activities in Cyprus for the coming season. We love it because it can be as hard-going or as chilled as you like. Feel free to pump those biceps and explore 20km of coast in a day. Or sit back, relax, and just enjoy gliding along the beachfronts.
You can hop in the kayak and see stunning shores pretty much anywhere on the coast here. However, Ayia Napa stands out from the bunch. The area otherwise known for pumping parties and DJ clubs is beset by soaring cliffs of pearly white stone. They host craggy sea caves and rock stacks at the amazing Cape Greco – a truly jaw-dropping place to get in the water.
Companies like Sea Kayak Cyprus are now totally dedicated to offering day excursions in kayaks all over the island. They have packages that smooth out the whole process for you, including pick up and drop off wherever you’re staying, all equipment, and a lunchtime snack in the middle. Sunset tours start at €35/$35 and private couples’ sea kayaking costs around €130 per pair.
Cyprus has long been hailed as one of the finest places to strap on the bubble tanks and get underwater in the whole of the Mediterranean. It’s easy to see why. The isle boasts unbelievably clear seas on all its coastlines and a whole medley of developed resorts that front accessible beaches teeming with marine life. It’s also blessed with the same bath-warm H2O you get in Greece and Turkey.
So, what about those diving locations? Well…there are oodles of them. Arguably the most famous around is the wreck of the MS Zenobia, a colossal passenger ferry that sunk on her maiden voyage way back in the 1980s. That’s been hailed as among the top 10 best shipwreck dive spots on the planet – yep, the whole planet! – by leading publications. It’s one for the seasoned scuba pros out there, though, since its submerged more than 40 meters below.
Shallower dives beckon beginners and PADI grads elsewhere in Cyprus. Check out the Amphorae Caves, which are now totally underwater but were once a storage location in ancient times – you can even still see the pots that were left there! Then there’s the Akamas Peninsula, which is home to the most resplendent reef systems in this corner of the Med. Dive there to meet turtles and see big staghorn corals poking from the seabed.
These days, diving in Cyprus should be a cinch to organize. There are umpteen scuba and PADI outfitters on the island, many of which are based in the main resort strips along the south and the west coast, between Limassol and Paphos. Would-be divers should expect to pay in the region of €50/$52 for a single dive and just over €320/$40 for a full-kit week of dives.
Skiing? In Cyprus? Mhmm…you read right. While snow-covered runs might not be quite what you usually associate with this sun-kissed island in the depths of the Eastern Mediterranean, there are actually options here for budding winter sportsters keen to hit the pistes. They come courtesy of the soaring Troodos Mountains that dominate the heart of the rock. More specifically, they come courtesy of the highest summit in that range: Mount Olympus.
Bearing its mythical moniker, that 1,952-meter-high peak shoulders its way to the very roof of Cyprus. By summer, it’s a patchwork of dry and dusty slopes that sprout fragrant cedar trees and juniper bushes. By winter, the snows turn it white and herald the opening of the ski season – usually around late December time.
The resort, officially known as the Troodos Ski Resort, counts just a handful of runs, spread between the north and south sides of the main peak. They’re serviced by three separate drag lifts and one chair, each of which is named after a member of the ancient Greek pantheon – Hera, Zeus, Hermes, and Hera. Don’t come here expecting Chamonix. The slopes are short and sweet. But there’s something undeniably unique about carving up the corduroy on your way to a taverna selling sizzling haloumi cheese, right?
Originally, the spot was established by British military personnel in the wake of WWII. Today, the resort of the Troodos is owned and operated by the current Cyprus Ski Club. They charge around €25/$26 for a lift pass for the day. The drive up from Limmasol and the south coast takes around one hour but could be more if there’s traffic or heavy snow.
Adventure activities in Cyprus – our conclusion
This guide to the top adventure activities in Cyprus is perfect if you’re keen to add some get up and go to your next Mediterranean holiday. It’s got five choices that promise to get the heart pumping and the sweat beads dripping. It’s a varied selection, offering snowy ski pistes next to dusty running trails along the wild Cypriot coast. You can also opt for sailing or scuba diving if the water is your go-to playground.