Nicosia travel – not your typical Cyprus holidays - rich cultural heritage and a bit of nature
Nicosia (or Lefkosia as is its official English name) is the capital of Cyprus, found in its center, in the large Mesaoria plane, between the large Troodos mountains in the south west and the smaller Pentadactylos mountains in the north. It is found some 80 km north east of Limassol, 45 km north of Larnaca, 80 kilometers north east of Platres, 150 kilometers north east of Paphos, 150 km east of Polis and Latchi, and 85 kilometers northwest of the resorts of Protaras and Ayia Napa.
Cyprus holidays usually do not include Nicosia, as Nicosia is not on the coast, not on the forested Troodos mountains and not a picturesque Cyprus village. Its attractions are not necessarily inviting for the average tourist to Cyprus. But in reality Nicosia has a lot to offer to the tourist in terms of cultural heritage. The well preserved, divided walled city of Nicosia is a jewel in the Middle East and constitutes a fine example of Medieval Middle Eastern architecture, with strong elements of Byzantine, Gothic, Venetian, Ottoman and even colonial British architecture. A day exploring the walled city in Nicosia is highly recommended. The reality of division adds another dimension to the experience. You need to bring your passport along if you want to cross to the north part of Nicosia.
Nicosia is not known as a destination in Cyprus with attractions related to nature. However if you happen to stay here for some time, and you are into nature and the outdoors, there are some worthy options: Athalassa park just a few kilometers to the south, offers a good place for walking, running and biking. Athalassa dam inside the park is a good birdwatching spot as many different bird species can be spotted there (eg, kingfishers, owls, bee eaters, herons, etc). Lefkara dam (30 km to the south) makes an excellent day excursion destination. The dam is very pretty and suitable for exploration, walking and/or fresh water fishing and the excursion may include the nearby picturesque village of Lefkara (home of the famous Unesco Intangible Heritage Lefkaritika lace), the village of Kato Drys, with its extraordinary early 20th century architecture, or the village of Lythrodontas. Xyliatos dam, 45 kilometers to the south west is a lovely manmade lake in forested surrounding on the Troodos mountains and an excursion here can be combined with a visit to Timios Stavros (The Holy Cross) Agiasmati church near Platanistasa village or Panagia tou Araka church near Lagoudera village, two of the ten painted churches of Troodos that constitute Unesco World Heritage sites. There are also interesting walking trails in the area. Fikardou is another very picturesque village relatively close to Nicosia, while Palaichori village and Kakopetria village are further away on the Troodos mountains and also very interesting.
Nicosia hotels are few and primarily cater for business travelers. There are also a few options for the casual traveler, while for agrotourism type accommodation one needs to go to Lythrodontas village and beyond.
Nicosia attractions in our database related to nature include 3 walking trails, 6 wetlands and 3 ancient trees.