Cyprus is an island of contrasts. With its serene hilltop villages, towns crammed with cultural attractions and the party hotspot of Ayia Napa, it caters to all different tastes. The scenery is stunningly diverse too, encompassing pristine coves, the forested peaks of the Troodos mountains and sun-kissed wildflower meadows.
A Cyprus cruise allows you to take a journey through the island’s tumultuous history, as you discover a landscape strewn with traces of the past. From neolithic settlements to elegant Venetian mansions, Roman ruins to Byzantine churches, there’s so much to explore.
Popular Ports in Cyprus
Limassol, in the south of Cyprus, is a city with more coastline than anywhere else on the island. Armonia Beach, a long strip of golden sand to the east of the centre, comes highly recommended. If you walk along the seafront in the city centre you’ll also discover an outdoor sculpture park.
Enjoy a wander through the sun-soaked streets of the old town, where traditional restaurants and a bustling local market sit alongside designer boutiques. In the very centre of the district is a 1,000-year-old castle that also houses a museum.
Limassol is a great place to try some traditional Cypriot cuisine, as it is full of local tavernas. Feast on a mezze platter of pork souvlaki kebabs cooked on a charcoal grill, halloumi skewers, delicious stuffed vegetables and refreshing bean salads. Wash it down with a glass of local wine.
Paphos is the lively neighbour of Limassol. Boasting 27 stunning beaches, it’s a popular resort destination. But away from the karaoke bars and bustling restaurants you’ll find some fascinating archaeological sites and picturesque traditional villages.
Twelve of Paphos’s beaches have Blue Flag status, and are some of the most pristine in the world – Coral Bay is one of the most popular. This stretch of golden sand is enclosed by limestone cliffs and lapped by clear waters. There are lots of watersports on offer, too, from kayaking to snorkelling.
If you’re a history buff, we recommend a visit to the Kato Paphos Archaeological Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site containing the ruins of an ancient city. Marvel at the ruined temples and villas with mosaic floors, surrounded by picturesque wildflower meadows. Nearby you’ll discover the Tombs of the Kings, atmospheric underground necropolises that were built more than 2,000 years ago.
Larnaca is a seaside resort renowned for its stunning beaches and party scene. The coastal promenade, Finikoudes, is the centre of the action, crammed with restaurants, bars and clubs. The buzzing party destination of Ayia Napa is only a 40-minute bus ride away, and just before that you’ll find the beautiful Nissi Beach, which hosts foam parties with a fabulous ocean view.
But Larnaca isn’t all about the parties – it’s also a family-friendly destination. The shallow, lagoon-like waters of nearby Fig Bay make it the perfect place for children to swim. And they’ll also love a trip to Waterworld Water Park, complete with slides, wave pools and areas for younger children.
Larnaca also has a quieter side. Take a walk along the Konnos Nature Trail, where you’ll discover serene villages and secluded bays in unspoilt countryside. The trail also takes in the beautiful Konnos Beach, so you can refresh yourself with a dip in the ocean.
What are the best cruise ships for a Cyprus cruise?
Cyprus is a popular destination, visited by lots of different cruise ships. If you want a Cyprus cruise that’s luxurious and affordable, we recommend these two ships.
Marella Spirit includes Limassol on its Aegean itineraries, and it’s the perfect vessel for cruising Cyprus in style. Lounge by one of the two pools, or enjoy a luxurious massage in the spa. There’s plenty for children to do here while you relax, including having fun at The Showtime Stage School, or hanging out in Graffiti’s, a dedicated space for teenagers. There’s a range of dining options to suit all tastes, from the laid-back Terrace Grill to fine dining at The Compass Rose Restaurant.
Jewel of the Seas
A ship from the Royal Caribbean fleet, Jewel of the Seas, stops regularly in Larnaca. This large, luxurious ship offers five-star relaxation, with a large spa and solarium for adults. It also has a wide range of bars and restaurants, featuring a Japanese restaurant and an Italian trattoria. Children will love the Adventure Beach family pool area, complete with water slide, and your older ones won’t be able to get enough of the teens-only disco.
Shore Excursion Ideas
The archaeological site of Kourion
History buffs will love the shore excursion to the archaeological site of Kourion from Limassol. The ruins of this once-great city are the most important on the island. You’ll discover ancient temples and a Roman amphitheatre, as well as villas with stunning mosaic floors. There are fabulous ocean views here, too.
Wine Tasting and Vineyard Tour
A popular shore excursion – offered by cruise lines from different ports in Cyprus – is the wine tasting and vineyard tour. You’ll be driven inland through unspoilt countryside to a peaceful vineyard, where you’ll learn all about the fascinating process of winemaking – and there’s plenty of opportunities for trying a few glasses, too.
Just beyond the bustling shores of Ayia Napa, the unspoilt peninsula of Cape Greco feels like another world. Enjoy a walk along the forest trails, surrounded by beautiful scenery. You’ll find plenty of secluded bays tucked into craggy limestone cliffs, where you can swim in calm, clear waters. It’s possible to take scuba diving trips from Limassol to Cape Greco, too.