The capital city of Cyprus is much different than any other city in the world and certainly deserves it’s own blog recommendations about what to expect while visiting. Nicosia is a hard destination to explain without actually being there in person to experience it. So before you head there, here are a few insider tips of what to expect while visiting:
There is an average of 326 days of sun
While visiting Nicosia, there wasn’t a drop of rain that poured down on our traveller’s parade. Cyprus is a wonderful destination for travellers who pack light. With just a carryon in the middle of December, a one-week trip is perfect!
TIP: In the winter months, the temperatures can get rather warm during the days, but tend to drop within a matter of minutes leading into the evening.
Live life in the slow lane
I mean this figuratively; there is not much of a slow lane in the streets of Nicosia. It is very common that more than one member of the family drives/owns a car (rather than taking a bus or walking). However, life in Nicosia is very slow and enjoyed in the most appropriate manner. If you plan on sitting down with a local for a cup of coffee, expect to make it your entire morning or afternoon plan.
A city of smiles
It is quite common to hear these stereotypes across the world about Thai’s being the happiest citizens or German’s being the most bitter, but I had never heard about Cypriots. The citizens of Nicosia are some of the most friendly, helpful and kind-hearted people I have ever met. Without even asking for directions, they’ll be there by your side helping you find where you need to be. If you actually ask a local advice on what to see and do, they’re likely going to grab out a pen and paper and write down an entire list of excursions in the city.
Meals are full on activities
Don’t expect to find somewhere to eat quickly, especially if you’re travelling in a larger group. This tip isn’t because there’s not much option; it’s actually quite contrary. The walled city of Nicosia has so much to eat and drink, it’s actually hard finding just one spot to stop. The latter option is to simply eat your meal at one shop, drink your beer in another and order your dessert at the next.
You won’t get lost
Though the city map itself can look a little chaotic, the walled city is actually only three miles in circumference. Don’t expect to base your sense of direction off of street names, but more so where the walls start and stop. Don’t worry about going too far as the UN Peacekeeping force will be the first ones to stop you and tell you (this won’t actually happen since the sand bags, metal tins and barbed wire will tell you first).
There are two cities within the walls
Yes, there is in fact the city of Nicosia and the occupied region under Turkish rule, though this was not what I was referring to. Nicosia is a completely different city by day and night. The shops that are open during the day are quite often closed at night. The shops and bars open at night will certainly only be opening in the evening.
TIP: There’s actually a restaurant by day, which is empty and open at night leading to a secret bar behind the walls!
Coffee culture is everything
Whether you’re looking for a quick coffee to go or a long afternoon chat, Nicosia has some of the world’s best coffee joints. Socializing is a favourite among local Cypriot, so a four-hour coffee break isn’t out of the usual. If you’re in Nicosia, you must try the Cypriot coffee and their typical frappe.
There plenty to see and do while exploring throughout Cyprus, just make sure you’re taking the time to stop in to Nicosia to visit the beautiful sights and sounds of the city.