Nicosia is a fascinating place in the world where the old and new coexist in absolute harmony.
Nicosia offers you a city break in the center of a city. Despite the city feel, Nicosia is a beautiful and relaxing place to catch up on you-time and get the well deserved break you’ve been looking for. In order to make the best out of your first day in Nicosia, here’s my idea of the perfect itinerary.
On your first full day in Nicosia, get ready to explore in relaxation:
Wake up to a beautifully prepared and hearty breakfast at The Sandstone Hotel. This place is more like a home rather than a hotel as you’ll be warmly welcomed by the owners of the place upon arrival. At the moment, there are only 3 guest rooms which ensures a peaceful sleep and cozy service.
Get your bearings straight with a little walk around the old town walls. The circumference is only about 3 kilometres in length so you won’t be exhausting yourself to the limits. Take your pick between roaming the small and quaint streets of the inner city, or walking the perimeter of the green line to get a better sense of the last divided city in Europe.
If you’re traveling solo or prefer an educational tour, there are guided tours every Monday and Thursday in the city that start at 10:00am.
Here are just a few things not to miss along the way:
- Famagusta Gate: It now serves as a venue for concerts and exhibits, but it gives you a good idea of the entrances into the city
- Markos Drakou Statue
- Liberty Monument: Representing the Cypriot struggle against British Rule 1955 – 59 (you can actually spot the bullet holes from the war in ‘74)
- Ledra Street Sculpture
- Panagia Chrysaliniotissa: Built more than 600 years ago and dedicated to virgin Mary
- Agios Ioannis Cathedral: Built by the Archbishop
- Archbishop’s Palace: Grand building, great for pictures, rarely open to public
- Omeriye Mosque: once a church, then reconstructed into a Mosque
- A few other religious sites worth mentioning: Agios Savvas, Tripiotis Church, Metochion Agios Eleftherios, Faneromeni Church, Stavros Missiricou
A coffee break may soon be in order around noon. The coffee culture in Cyprus is incredible and there are various types to suit every taste bud! If you’re still in the downtown core, here are a few stops that offer a relaxed vibe and some good coffee:
- The Weaving Mill
- The area around Faneromenis Square is home to many other coffee shop
Stop into one of the incredible lunch shops along the way for some traditional Cypriot food. If you’re looking for some tasty dishes, here are just a few I can recommend:
There is no shortage of traditional food in the area. If you’re looking for something quick and cheap, check out AVO Lahmajoun for some warm food baked in their traditional mud brick oven. For a wonderful sit down meal, stop off at 16. If you’re ready for some sweets try Honey Token!
There are many museums to be explored in the city, but if you’re looking for a couple great options the archaeological museum and the Leventis museum are a great option.
- Cyprus Archaeological Museum is the biggest archaeological museum in the country with the richest collection of Cypriot objects. There is a 4.50 entrance fee. TIP: there is a lot to comprehend here, try hiring a guide for this portion of the day.
- Leventis Municipal Museum is free of charge and a privately owned collection. The museum is fairly modern, yet offers a comprehensive history of city’s social development (traditional clothing, utensils, books, etc.
Ledra Museum Observatory is a great place to catch a view of the sunset (the time may differ between months). There is a 2 Euro entrance fee, but it is definitely worth it! It is a modern and small museum that offers a panoramic view of the entire city. You head up to the 11th floor of the Shacolas Tower (the tallest building in the walled city) and offered with beautiful views, a great and short documentary and interactive maps to better understand surrounding monuments, museums and buildings.
Dinner time has arrived and you’ll likely need a few hours here to wind down and relax over a delicious bottle of local wine and food. Though there are many recommendations I could point out, there are just too many to choose from. Take your time walking down the inner streets and pick a place that catches your eye.
Drinks and socializing will likely be the best way to end your day. For party go-ers and even those who enjoy a slow relaxing night, the bar/cocktail scene is wonderful. They are all relatively close in location from one another and are all a must visit! Here are some tips:
- Lost and Found Drinkery is just outside the walled city and has been voted one of the 50 best bars in the world
- Gym Concept is in the heart of the old town and is a great place for food and drinks
- Brewfellas is a local beer bar with delicious beers from across the world (including the Cypriot beers)
- Pivo Brewery is the first local brewery to open in the city (and is very new)
- Plato’s is an English pub in the middle of the old town with a very cozy feel
You can end your night right back at The Sandstone Hotel for a good night's sleep in a warm and luxurious setting. Now that’s a day to remember.