This 3-day itinerary will give you an insight into what you can do in Cyprus. It is a great holiday destination with beautiful weather all year round, a place to be in Europe where there is mostly sunshine. Even in November, it was pretty hot at 28 degrees. You can’t easily find an island in Europe where the average daytime temperature is pleasant as Cyprus. But where is Cyprus? Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean Sea 70 kilometers south of Turkey and is not densely populated. The built environment is more in major cities. It’s small enough that you can drive the entire island in a few hours, according to someone. So madly!
Are 3-days enough in Cyprus?
Three days is brief. Some people spend weeks in Cyprus to see the entire island. But within three days, you will definitely see some beautiful places. I recommend renting a car and making the most of your journey on the island in three days. Every minute I spent on this trip was worth a great deal of money by renting a car. However, most people limit themselves to one to two places, even renting a car. So what’s the purpose of the vehicle if only staying in one place? You can also pick a home base and make some day trips. But you will lose some time by driving back and forth.
Which cities to visit in 3-days?
That’s a good thing if you have a car, you can swiftly move from one place to another. And luckily, you don’t have to sit hours behind the wheel because the distance isn’t that long. In this Cyprus 3-day itinerary, I start from Larnaca, where I pick up the vehicle, followed by Limassol, Nicosia, and Paphos. Although Cyprus is a small island, there are many things to see and do besides beaches.
- Are 3-days enough in Cyprus?
- Which cities to visit in 3-days?
- How do you get to Cyprus?
- The Best Cyprus 3-day itinerary: Things to Do
- Day 1 – Protaras and Cape Greco
- Tip to the sea caves
- Lefkara Villages
- Overnight in Limassol
- Where to stay in Limassol?
- Day 2 – Nicosia and Troodos Mountain
- Crossing the border to Turkey
- Troodos Mountain drive
- Sleep in Paphos.
- Where to stay in Paphos?
- Day 3 – Exploring Paphos
- Tombs of the Kings
- Port and Castle of Paphos
- Aphrodite Rock
- More info
- Tip when driving back to Larnaca
- Salt Lake
- Finikoudes Promenade & Church of St Lazarus
- Where to stay in Larnaca
- Getting around in Cyprus
- What do you need for three days in Cyprus?
How do you get to Cyprus?
Start checking with Skyscanner.com; Larnaca and Paphos are the two main airports of Cyprus. I’ll be envious if you can fly straight to Cyprus, as I couldn’t find a direct flight from Brussels. I flew with Aegean Airlines and had an 8-hour stopover in Athens, Greece, which made me book a hotel.
I’m saving five days for this trip, but I only spent three days in Cyprus because of the long layovers. I arrived in Athens at midnight, and my flight to Larnaca was the following day. And my return flight was early in the morning from Larnaca with a six hours stopover back in Athens. It was a very upsetting time and the lost hours, but I visited Athens on my way back, which is a great deal.
Read my tips: How to spend six hours layover in Athens.
The Best Cyprus 3-day itinerary: Things to Do
To save time, avoid driving back and forth, and book your accommodation in different places. In the first few hours after I got the car, I didn’t want to go around on a busy road, especially driving on the left side for the first time. So instead of visiting the center of Larnaca, I went straight to Protaras. It’s less than a one-hour drive from Larnaca.
This place is known for its nightlife and beaches, but you don’t need to spend your time in Ayia Napa just passing through on the way to the national park. Once you arrive at a roundabout in Ayia Napa, you’ll see signs of Protaras. The good thing about road signs in Cyprus is that they are clear to read. And thank god for that; what could you do if only in Greeks?
Day 1 – Protaras and Cape Greco
Protaras and Cape Greco are the most visited place in Larnaca, and you will be thankful to have a car because of their location. Just outside Ayia Napa, after passing through a roundabout, you have the stone carving on your right side. You can find it on Google maps; It’s called Ayia Napa Sculpture Park, and it is a great place to walk around. The surrounding nature overlooks the ocean, and distinctive stone carvings are displayed everywhere.
You continue driving to Cape Greco, also known as Kavo Greko, you can spend an entire day if you want. The untouched nature in the area is exceptional…however, most people come literally for the sea caves and the love bridge. And with little time, I get in and out of the car to take pictures.
Tip to the sea caves
Driving to the sea caves, watch the signboard to your right. You will do a little off-road drive – don’t go to the lowest part because it is bumpy and has plenty of potholes. I’ve seen vehicles stuck in a pit. Park your car on the upper side, and walk down to the sea caves.
Lefkara is known for its handmade embroidered lace on the road between Larnaca and Limassol. There are plenty of beautiful villages in Cyprus, and with only three days, you can’t see them all. I recommend Lefkara, as it is worth the effort. These are two separate villages, Kato and Pano. And with little time, I didn’t make it to the lower part – Kato Lefkara. But visiting the upper town – Pano, was my best time in Cyprus.
Wandering through an ancient street in Pano Lefkara takes you back in time with the impressive architecture of the houses you’ll see around. It looks like you walk in a ghost town where you don’t see people, only cats I’ve seen everywhere, even visiting during the weekend, no other visitors. I heard it can get busier in the summer months.
Overnight in Limassol
My first plan was to overnight in Nicosia, but I changed the itinerary at the last minute because I was unsure if car rental was allowed in North Cyprus. Some said you need extra insurance for it, and to avoid the hassle, I canceled the hotel in Nicosia and booked a room in Limassol. That’s what I like about booking.com because you can always annul your reservation at no cost if changing the itinerary at the last minute.
And no regret in changing my plans. Limassol is a modern Mediterranean city. You see the difference once entering the town. A bustling city even busier than the capital Nicosia. The contrast between the old town and the coastal area is phenomenal. Some high buildings were erected at the seashore, while the old town is nothing but quirky houses.
If you arrive here in the afternoon, take a walk to the old town and then continue to the marina. Type Molos seaside on Google Maps – this is the multifunctional seafront where you find restaurants. Leave the car at your hotel parking because driving around can give you a headache, especially if searching for parking space.
Where to stay in Limassol?
Limassol is a lively place and the second largest city of Cyprus after Nicosia, an important port city on the south coast. There is extensive accommodation in Limassol in all price ranges. Despite what you hear that Limassol is the most expensive city in Cyprus, it may be true. But in terms of prices, Cyprus is Cheaper than elsewhere in Europe. I stayed at Le Village Hotel, which location not far from the city center. It’s pretty cheap for what Limassol has to offer, with private parking and free wifi. The city’s old town and the marina are just 25 minute’s walk.
Day 2 – Nicosia and Troodos Mountain
This is going to be a long day’s drive. After reading the agreement from the rental car, I misunderstood it’s not allowed to cross the border. So I decided not to miss the capital of Cyprus. And I’m sure everyone has Nicosia on their itinerary when visiting Cyprus. The A1 highway from Limassol takes you to Nicosia in more than one hour. And on your return trip, drive through Troodos mountain.
Nicosia’s location is the first thing that stands out about the city, being on the border between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus. But, as the capital is quite a busy city, from the moment you enter the town, you will notice that it is different from Larnaca and other places in Cyprus.
I suggest programming your google maps to find the parking. And to make it easy for you, type in Ledra’s parking – its location is right in the city center and relatively cheap. The parking costs 2.50 euros to stand up for up to 3 hours.
Crossing the border to Turkey
The border between these parts of Cyprus is just through the center of Nicosia. When exiting the parking garage, you were directly on the border with Turkey. And can be tempted to see what is on the other side, so if your curiosity takes on, join the line for passport control. For many European citizens is a piece of cake. You only need to show your ID or passport without trouble, and it’s free.
It depends on your interest; you could spend some hours here. There are a lot of shops and restaurants, but you need Turkish currency (lira). And you don’t need to search far for it because there is an exchange booth and ATM. My interest in this side of Nicosia took me less than an hour. I could stay longer, but I still have a long way drive to do.
Troodos Mountain drive
I didn’t want to leave Cyprus without seeing Troodos. The winding road of Troodos mountains offers an excellent experience and gets you closer to nature. The beautiful scenery can be distracting, so be careful during driving.
Some say you need at least one day to enjoy the mountain. If you’re like me and didn’t have enough time – a drive-through up there is a fulfilling expectation. And there’s always a corner to park if you want to stop and take pictures. However, if you have spare time and want to spend one day in the mountain: visit some of the villages and churches, as you know some of the churches in Troodos have significant historical value. They have therefore been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Sleep in Paphos.
Paphos is a fascinating town. Due to the archaeological value of the city, it is also the most cultural pearl of the island. The perfect combination of beautiful nature, fine beaches, and exciting culture, Paphos has it all. No wonder is well a preferred place for most visitors in Cyprus. And I agree because Paphos was also one of my favorites. It sounds like the villages of Lefkara – the entire city of Paphos consists of two parts. Pano Paphos is the upper old town, and Kato Paphos is the lower part where its entirety is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Where to stay in Paphos?
There are great places to stay in Paphos, from cheap apartments to expensive hotels. I wasn’t looking for the best location as I have the car. My biggest concern is the parking. I stayed at Elena’s Guesthouse – the name doesn’t match a guesthouse but is a self-catering studio, and can’t be ignored as it only cost 40 euros. And besides, its location was right across from Kings Avenue Mall, where you have everything under one roof, like a supermarket and food court. So if you’re not too fussy, you could find cheap places to stay in Paphos.
Day 3 – Exploring Paphos
The Old Town of Paphos is a lovely quaint little town. First thing in the morning, you start exploring the upper part (old town), which sits slightly up on the hillside from the shoreline, and at this point, you have a beautiful view of the ocean and the surrounding nature.
It’s unusual to see in the old town that abandoned buildings have transformed into modern ones with beautiful murals. Walking further, you’ll get to the city hall and the surrounding strip. Here set amongst lots of artwork, which is excavated and on display.
There’s a parking place just across the old town where you must use coins for the parking meter. Depending on your interest, visiting the old town takes less than one hour.
Tombs of the Kings
There are many archaeological excavations in Paphos. But with little time, I chose the Tombs of the Kings – one of Cyprus’s most important archaeological sites, which has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list since 1980.
The entrance fee cost 2.50 euros. And it will give you hours of exploring this massive area. The different architectural styles are fascinating because there is a clear distinction between the tombs from the Roman and Egyptian times. The large underground Roman and Egyptian structures with dozens of pillars and tombs are well preserved. Thus, you will spend some time here if you want a detailed, thorough search.
Port and Castle of Paphos
The combination of two things to do at the same time is the port and the castle of Paphos. The port is home to a famous castle and is also a place for activities—many companies with tourist entertainment such as cruises, parasailing, and underwater viewing boats. And while I was on my way to the castle, someone came to ask me if I’d like to go on a cruise. I would love to if I got the time, but I still have a long way to go. Larnaca.
Paphos Castle is one of the Cypriot harbor landmarks and a popular tourist attraction. Like the rest of the area, the medieval castle has a rich history. The fortress was originally Byzantine but changed hands several times over the centuries. Now the castle is used as a location for an annual cultural festival. By the way, plenty of free parking here.
The Aphrodite rocks are famous in Paphos, legend has it that Aphrodite, the beauty of a goddess, was born on this rock from the sea waves. Not to disappoint you, but it seems like an ordinary crag you see anywhere.
But with a story behind it, you don’t want to miss it. The Aphrodite beach was in the same place and can be visited together. Some people climb on the rock for pictures but don’t risk your life. So for the whole thing, it only takes ten minutes to visit the site.
To get there, set your Google Maps and type Aphrodite rock. The location is just a short drive from the center by driving B1 towards Limassol. You’ll see the stone from the roadside. But there’s parking across the road at the restaurant. You will also find the stairs to the tunnel, which I didn’t know. So instead, I crossed the roadway and slowly went down to the beachside. I only see the tunnel when I want to go back up.
Tip when driving back to Larnaca
If you want to get to Larnaca quickly, take the A6 highway. You will have to return a little bit from the parking until you see the signboard to Limassol and follow that road. If you set your Google Maps to Larnaca, he will be sent you to B6, which can take a long drive.
Even though I started in Larnaca but haven’t yet been to the center, I stay away from a busy city for a couple of hours until I get used to driving on the left, which takes only a few minutes. Larnaca is a popular seaside resort in the southeastern of the island and is the perfect base for those visiting Cyprus. The traditional character is an excellent and very relaxed atmosphere. The surrounding area has many historical sites, such as the Kamares Aquaduct, Hala Sultan tekke Mosque, and the Fort. But I only did a few as I was short of time.
The area is perfect for bird watching, specifically flamingos. I was here late in the afternoon but hadn’t seen the birds. The massive lake leaves only a white layer of glistening salt, which is enjoyable to see around.
Morning is the best time to visit the lake. On my way back to the airport the next day, I suddenly saw a large group of pink flamingos—what a bummer. I was in the shuttle bus and would have loved to see them up close and take pictures.
Finikoudes Promenade & Church of St Lazarus
The promenade is a walk along the Finikoudes beach, right in the middle of Larnaca. The boulevard starts from the marina; a lovely street lined up with palm trees, where shops, bars, and restaurants are on the opposite side of the road. You have everything in one place—an excellent avenue to chill during the day and equally as vibrant at night.
And at the end of the strip are the castle fort and St Lazarus Church. The church is situated on a beautiful square, with its beautiful neo-Gothic tower and unusual design: sleek and light on the outside, it is different from many others in Cyprus. While many enjoy taking photos during the day, this church has a unique charm at night.
Where to stay in Larnaca
I had an early flight and needed to return the car at 5:30 AM. So I book a room at Mikes Kanarium City Hotel, approximately ten minutes from Larnaca international airport. Besides its proximity to the airport, other points of interest are within walking distance, like Finikoudes beach, Saint Lazaros church, and the castle of Larnaca. A pleasant place to stay in the city center with private parking and free wifi.
Getting around in Cyprus
Getting around in Cyprus is difficult because public transport is a slow operation. And with only three days, it won’t get you that far. However, if you are willing to spend money on tours, which was my plan initially, it can be a good option. But comparing the price for a day trip and a car rental for three days, you can save money by hiring a car, and you’ll see a lot more. You don’t need an international driving license if you rent a car in Cyprus; most rental companies accept your home permit.
Read more >>> How to get around in Cyprus.
What do you need for three days in Cyprus?
The influences of the British period are still very noticeable in Cyprus, like driving on the left and the power adapter. Make sure to bring a UK three-pin adapter for charging your gadgets. Since 2008, Cyprus has been a member of the eurozone, which means the currency is also in euros. And phone roaming is the same rate as in most European countries. But you better check with your network provider.
A local sim card is available to purchase, and there’s always free wifi, which is a standard at most hotels. Nevertheless, if you depend on Google maps for navigation, you need phone functionality to use the application, even downloading offline maps. However, the road sign in Cyprus is easy to read and understandable, except that some names of places have different spelling than what you are used to. For example, Limassol (Lemesós) you see on the board sign, so it’s clear enough for visitors to read.