Nicosia – city guide: prices, weather, population, attractions

Nicosia travel guide


Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus. It makes absolutely no sense to go here for a holiday, as its geographical position has no access to the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, it is the business and industrial center of the island. The locals themselves live here. All urban infrastructure is concentrated in Nicosia: shopping and business centers, large stores, supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas and much more, which is typical for the capital.

Nicosia is unique in that it is the de facto capital of two states: Cyprus and the Turkish part of Cyprus.

It makes sense to go here as a sightseeing tour, for 1-2 days at most. Since Nicosia has a lot of interesting things to see: the Venetian wall, a large number of museums, the old part of town, mosques and churches, all this and not only show tourists during the tour.

Also, Nicosia is not a bad place for shopping, some tourists vacationing in Larnaca and Ayia Napa take a bus to the capital to do a lot of shopping, from souvenirs to clothes in brand stores. Very high quality jewelry is available at Metaxas Jewelery.

My impressions of Nicosia are that it is worth coming here, to walk and see the city. It deserves tourists’ attention, there is no point in staying here if your main aim is to relax by the sea. But after visiting the capital of Cyprus you will see how measured and calmly the locals live, without the hustle and bustle. There is even something to envy in my opinion.

When it is better to rest in Nicosia?


The island of Cyprus is truly amazing because it has almost year-round sunshine and very warm weather. You can come here in mid-spring, and you will feel that it is already summer. Then you must always consider that Nicosia is not a coastal city, because it is situated practically in the center of the island. Therefore, accordingly, the weather is much hotter than in other Cypriot cities near the sea or in the mountains.

It is of course best to go to Nicosia either in spring or in the autumn when the weather is very warm and pleasant with occasional rain, but not in the sweltering heat of the summer months. The average temperature in Nicosia in June is between +32 and +35 degrees and in July the temperature will not drop below +38 and +40 degrees. Therefore the most favorable temperature is observed here in the spring and fall – from plus 25 to plus 27 degrees.

The highest tourist season on the island of Cyprus is of course the period from June to September, but it applies mostly to the resort towns. But in the capital also this period affects in some measure – for example, car rent during the season increases by 5-10 euros, also increases and the cost of living. Then in this period there are more cafes, which are closer to the tourist areas. But otherwise, in principle, there is no difference… read in full

Where to stay in Nicosia?


If you come to Nicosia just for a couple or three days purely to explore the capital of the island, it is best to stay definitely closer to the Old Town, or even in the Old Town itself. In this case you will be close to all its beauty – museums, parks, cafes, old streets and so on.

There are hotels in Nicosia in all areas but why settle far away and waste your precious time on travelling when you will have the advantage of being able to stay in the center and walk around the historic area for as long as possible. Therefore when you choose to stay near the city center you have the advantage of being able to visit all the sights without travelling long distances as they will all be within walking distance.

Nicosia is the largest city of the Republic of Cyprus and, in fact, it has a large number of districts among which the 12 main ones are the Old Town, then four are arranged in a circle around it and the rest are located further away from the center both for residential and industrial purposes.

The best area to rent an apartment or stay in a hotel in addition to the old city is Strovolos, as there is the largest number of bus routes from the center of Nicosia. It is also very important that you can easily reach the very center of the Old City from this area within 25-30 minutes walking distance.

Useful Information


The tourists coming to Cyprus probably know beforehand that there is quite low crime rate on the island. For example, the inhabitants of the capital absolutely no problems can not close the window in their cars, even leaving the keys when they go to the store or even at the parking lot near his house, which of course for residents of large cities is very surprising. The fact is that Nicosia is not too big a city and there are about 300 to 400 thousand people, so the family ties are much deeper and closer than in our big cities.

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When you walk through the old city, you should understand that during the day there is absolutely safe. But because the streets in the center is very narrow, and there are usually a lot of people, then of course just in case you should keep an eye on your wallets and bags – well, there’s little that can happen.

Sometimes there are cafes with tables not only indoors, but also on the street and the road is very near and some passing motorcyclist can quickly grab your things from the table, so don’t lose vigilance.

Even in the evening Nicosia is absolutely safe, but should the tourists walk in unfamiliar places, even in the center of the city. The only thing to be careful about in Nicosia is when you cross the road in the city, or drive yourself.

This is due to the fact that… read completely

How to get there?


Since Cyprus is an island, there are only two ways to get here. The first is by plane and it is preferable as the easiest and the cheapest option. The second way is by ferry, but first, you must take your own car or a train (bus) to get there, because there are no direct ferries from Russia to Cyprus.

If you have already decided to go on holiday to Cyprus, but want to start your journey with the capital, then certainly a plane will be the most reasonable option. In fact Nicosia does not have its own working airport, so you can fly to Cyprus either through Larnaca or through Paphos, and then get to Nicosia.

From Moscow to Cyprus at Larnaca airport fly not only “Aeroflot”, but also several other airlines. So you can spend just four hours on the way. During the season, the cost for an S7 airline flight is about 21,000 rubles, and there and back. And this will probably be the most economical option, in the unseasonal time the prices are about the same. It is best to buy tickets about a month before your trip, so you won’t lose your money because of their changed value.

From St. Petersburg you can also fly to Larnaca, but there are less direct lines and the flight takes 4 hours and 40 minutes. But from other major cities of Russia, for example, from Novosibirsk, or Kazan there are no direct flights.

Food and Drink


You can not fear in the slightest that when you walk around Nicosia, suddenly you will be hungry. The thing is that there are a lot of different cafes and restaurants in the center. For example, in the territory of the Old City on such streets as Onasogorou and Lidra you simply can’t step a single step without hearing the pleasant smells of some dishes. Of course, almost all the cuisines of the world are represented in Nicosia.

In general, the island of Cyprus has long been famous for its love and generosity for a variety of feasts. There are several local dishes that are a must-try. One of them is souvlaki – a small kebab cooked on skewers, usually made of pork and chicken. They are usually served with vegetables and pita bread. The second dish haloumi – this is the national Cypriot cheese, and the locals usually use it in many dishes, and besides that eat it just raw.

As for drinks in Cyprus, frappe is very popular – we call it coffee with ice. And one of the most famous dishes of course is meze, and what is interesting – they come not only fish, but also meat. In fact, meze is a set of small dishes and such a set is usually served at the rate of 2 people. Every restaurant and every tavern in Cyprus has its own set.

In the case that you can not even two of you can not eat what is offered to you, you can always ask for the rest.

What excursions are worth visiting in Nicosia?


If you stop for a holiday in the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia, then it makes sense to choose excursions to visit other places on the island and, above all, its amazing coastline.

Excursion to Paphos and Curium “Visit the Gods”. This excursion will introduce you to ancient Cyprus. You will learn the legends of the island of beauty, learn more about its history and marvel at the local architecture. First, the bus with tourists goes to the ancient city of Curium, which was once an independent and prosperous state. You will see an ancient Greco-Roman theater and amazingly beautiful mosaics. After, you go to the place where, according to legend, Aphrodite emerged from the foam of the sea. This place is one of the visiting cards of the island and it is worth a visit. Then the tour continues to the village of Geroskipa. Once there were picturesque gardens dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite. But today this place is better known for its traditional Cypriot sweets that you can buy in the local store. In the same village, the program includes a visit to the church of Byzantine period – the Church of Saint Paraskevi. Its interior ornaments are amazing. There are beautiful frescoes (9th century). Finally the group will go to the city of Pafos. It is a real open air museum city. There is a mass of all sorts of interesting tourist sights from the antiquity and early Christianity. Be sure to see the famous House of Dionysus Mosaics, which is located in the archaeological park of Pafos. Which, by the way, is listed as a… read in full

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What to see in Nicosia?


The city of Nicosia is located in the middle of the central plain of Cyprus. Today, it is the largest city and capital of the island. Nicosia has been in this status since the Middle Ages. The main reasons for settlement were the availability of water (the river Pedios flows through here) and fertile land, which enabled the first settlers to engage in agriculture and animal husbandry. The period of French rule made Nicosia the center of governance of the island. This period is considered the most eventful in terms of the construction of major monuments: majestic churches and uniquely beautiful buildings constructed by the French are today the finest decoration of the city’s streets. It was here that the coronation of kings was carried out. The first walls of the city were built by the Lusinian dynasty. The Venetians later built other walls with a smaller perimeter. They were situated at a distance from the natural hills surrounding the city. At the time when the island was ruled by the British, a wooden presidential palace was built. Now a new stone palace rises in this place. During this period, the city began to expand beyond the built walls.

Since 1974, after the Turkish occupation, Nicosia was divided into two parts. The “Greek part” of Nicosia has been developing very rapidly in recent years. It consists of the Old City and the New City. But they coexist as one harmonious whole. The New Town is a conglomeration of many modern districts that are located… read more

How to have fun?


In fact, if you understand it, there are few special entertainments in the capital of Cyprus. For example, you can rent a bike, or find a point, where you can also rent a gyro scooter handle, and then pave your own route and ride there with the wind. Nicosia doesn’t have much of a theatrical life, but if you want to get acquainted with Cypriot art, there are several theaters for that. For example, such is the National Theater of Cyprus.

Then, from time to time, classical musicians come to Cyprus and give performances, the entrance to which is absolutely free. If you want to be aware of all the current events taking place in the city, you can go to the tourist organization, where you will be given a calendar of events and for the current month, and the next month too.

A great place, for example, for relaxation and recreation, and in addition, such that allows you to give new experiences are Turkish baths, such as Hamam Omar. Just be aware that men and women here go to the bath separately – there are women’s and there are men’s days. Well, married couples can go here on Sundays.

There is no place in the capital for extreme sports, but in the mountains there are always interesting options to spend time usefully. For example you can rent a mountain bike and either alone or with a group, accompanied by an instructor to go on a route.

The length of the route may be different and depends… read more…

What to buy?


The stores in Nicosia are a pleasure to visit, because the staff is unobtrusive and there are few clients. The main problem with the shopping is that they are very busy and there are not a lot of customers. The fact is that many of them – it concerns free-standing, which are not located in shopping centers, do not work on Sundays at all and on Wednesday they have a short day until about two o’clock in the afternoon. But for the most part, the shopping in Nicosia is very good.

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There is one big mall in the city called “Moll of Cuprus”. But don’t expect it to be as huge and saturated as our Moscow ones like Mega, for example. There are many different mass-market brands, then there is a nice restaurant courtyard and a book store, which together with books sells various office equipment such as players, computers and so on.

The “Debenhams” store also deserves attention. It is a chain and there are branches all over the island and in Nicosia itself there are three such stores. They sell various brands of cosmetics and clothing and some stores on the first floors also sell products.

If you are not a fan of shopping malls, you can find basically all the same necessary stores on the same street called Leoforos Archiepiskopou Makariou III. You can walk to “Debenhams” in the same part of the city and there already go.

Leisure in Nicosia

Nicosia is the only capital of two states in the world: the Republic of Cyprus, which is populated by Greeks, and Northern Cyprus, populated by Turks. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, findings of the first settlements in this area date back to 3900 B.C. Let’s get acquainted with this interesting city, where you can go on vacation and experience the past.

Getting to Know Nicosia

The capital of Cyprus is a city where Greek and Turkish cultures mingle and where the creations of the past and the present live side by side. Nicosia is home to 1/3 of the island’s population but that doesn’t make it any less easy to breathe, the air here is very clean. Today Nicosia is the business and administrative center of the island, gathering all the authorities, office centers of large companies and banks, but at the same time it is a city with a lot of cultural and architectural values.


The capital of Cyprus is on the plain of Mesaoria in the center of the island, between the mountain ranges of Troodos and Kyrenia, near the river Akaki.

How to get there

You can get to Nicosia from Larnaca airport, where direct flights depart from Moscow every day (4 hours) and from St. Petersburg 4 times a week (5 hours). Flights are operated by Cyprus Airways, Aeroflot, Russia, etc. From Kiev, flights are made 5 times a week by Ukraine International Airlines and Air Fiji. The flight time is two and a half hours.

Did you know? In 1974 the capital was divided between the Turks and Greeks and the airport was closed. Since then, the UN Peacekeeping Force is located in this area.

Climate and Nature

Nicosia is located in the center of the hottest and driest island of the Mediterranean Sea so the climate is Mediterranean with certain traits of semi-desert. Winters are warm, summers are sultry and there is only 300mm of rainfall per year, making it one of the driest cities on the island. It is comfortable here in the off-season, so choose a time to rest better in early spring or autumn – there is no heat, occasionally there is a little rain, mostly warm and sunny. The average monthly temperature is (day and night):

Attractions to visit

In the capital of the Cypriot state there is a huge number of interesting historical places, recommended for tourists to visit. Let’s consider the most significant of them.

Important! For a complete picture, going on a trip, it is necessary to buy a map of historical sights of Nicosia.

The Venetian Walls

An unfinished architectural monument of fortification which construction began in the 16th century. The walls form a ring of about 5 km long and surround the old part of the city. Have several gates and 11 watchtowers. One of the most fascinating objects of the town is the famous Famagusta Gate, behind which is a cave used as a defense mechanism against Turkish raids. Today there is a cultural center inside which concerts and exhibitions are held.

Ataturk Square

The famous square is located in the northern Turkish part of the city and is named after Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. The old name is Saray Square, as “Saray” means “palace” in Turkish. When Britain conquered Cyprus, not a trace of the building was left. Only the fountain and a granite column with a lion on top, which was replaced by a bronze globe, a symbol of the power of the British Empire, remained. In honor of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 were erected a pedestal with the coat of arms of Britain and the buildings, which now houses the Supreme Court and the Bank.

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Büyük Khan Caravanserai

This complex of structures is located to the north of the central part of the city and was erected as an inn in the 16th century, but by its defensive function it was no different from a fortress. It consists of four two-story buildings, arranged in a square shape and connected to each other. The perimeter of the building is 50 m. In the central part of the courtyard there is a small mosque in the shape of an octagon and a pool where one has to wash one’s feet. After the colonization by the British, the inn was converted into casemates and after World War II it became a haven for vagrants. After the reconstruction, an art museum was opened on the territory of Büyük-Khan. Today there are several cozy cafes, shops, and the famous shadow theater, the performances of which are held only here.

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

It was built during the Ottoman Empire and is unremarkable from the outside. But the interior furnishings are striking in their opulence. The ceiling and walls are decorated with frescoes of the XVIII century, which remained in their original form. The openwork iconostasis, covered with leaf-gold, is a priceless work of art of the time. On the right side of the iconostasis is the carved gilded throne of the archbishop. During the solemn service it is the seat of the Archbishop of Cyprus (of the Orthodox Church). The back of the throne depicts St. Barnabas, the patron saint of Orthodoxy on the island.

The Cathedral of St. Sophia

The temple was built by the end of the XIV century and was a model of French Gothic, which for a Muslim country was unusual. This structure was the place where the rulers of Cyprus were enthroned until it was conquered by the Ottomans. The Muslims rebuilt the interior for the worship of their god and added two minarets outside, and the main cathedral was given a new name, the Selimiye Mosque. Since 1975 it belongs to the Republic of Turkey located in Cyprus.

Did you know? The Pope was interested in the construction of the Catholic temple. He made a promise to the builders to absolve them of all sins for a hundred days after the completion of the construction.

Entertainment and recreation

The Cypriot capital offers tourists a lot of places for active and passive recreation:

  1. Atalassa National Park in the northern part of the city is surrounded by residential areas. There are many paths for hiking and biking, picnic areas, a botanical garden, and two lakes with different species of fauna. The park is a favorite destination not only for locals but also for tourists.
  2. The Merit Lefkosa Casino for gamblers is also located in the northern part of the capital.
  3. Zoo night club has two recreation areas – Zoo Club with a large dance floor and strong acoustics, and Zoo Lounge Bar with bar counters and a large selection of drinks.
  4. Zoo Melios is for families with children. Young tourists will love the kangaroos, llamas, raccoons and the many birds that live there.

Hotels in Nicosia

A good choice of hotel is a major component of a good holiday. All hotels in Nicosia are comfortable and of a high standard. We will focus on the most popular:

1. Asty Hotel. The hotel is located in the southern part of the capital (3 km from the center), in the colorful area of Agios, where there are embassies of different countries. All rooms are equipped with TVs and mini-bars. You can work out on the gym, play mini golf. The hotel has a beautiful view terrace, where you can relax. For children there is a children’s room and playground. Asty Hotel customers can rent bicycles for free.

2. Crown Inn. The hotel is close to the National Museum and a 20-minute walk from Nicosia city center. Vast rooms are air-conditioned, equipped with TVs and refrigerators. Free Wi-Fi is available on site. A buffet breakfast is served in the restaurant, and there is also a bar. A city map and luggage storage are a free service.

3. the Hilton Park Nicosia. Located in the heart of the capital. Accommodations are in air-conditioned rooms with TVs and balconies overlooking the pool or garden. An area is provided for business matters. The hotel has bars and restaurants specializing in a variety of cuisines from around the world.

Restaurants and Cafes

The restaurants and cafes of Nicosia are the places where you can enjoy a delicious meal as well as a good rest. Here are the best of them:

  1. Orpheas Café Bar is a cozy place where you can enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and delicious pastas. Every Friday the facility organizes “Italian night” – until morning disco hits sound, and the chef will offer you lasagna and hot pizza with a flute of delicious house wine.
  2. Bonsai restaurant – for fans of Japanese cuisine the atmosphere of this distant country is created even indoors. Here you can try the classic sushi made of raw tuna, Japanese omelettes, salmon and of course rolls “Alaska”, “California” and “Philadelphia.
  3. Pyxida Tavern is for lovers of fish delicacies. The classic meze of 19 fish components is a great dish to replenish your body. Here you will also be offered a chef’s soup and mussels, the taste of which is simply amazing.
  4. American snack bar The Good Food Co is for fast food lovers. They make the best burgers in town, and the menu also includes vegetable salads, fries, and drinks. Service is fast with a takeout charge.
Oryol and the sights of the city.

Transportation and communications

The main means of transportation in Nicosia are buses. A day trip costs 1,5 EUR. But the night journey will cost 2,5 EUR. You can buy a ticket from the driver on the spot or at a bus stop. If you want to rest for a long time, it is better to buy a pass for 40 EUR. Buses run from the bus station to Larnaca and Paphos airports, as well as to the State University and Solonos Square.

Cabs in Nicosia are not cheap:

  • boarding – 3,5 EUR;
  • for 1 km – 0,7 EUR;
  • One hour wait – 11,5 EUR.

The car can be ordered in the hotel, by phone or stopped directly in the street. Licensed cars are white or black with a taxi checkered on the roof. In the capital the following transportation services are available: Taxi Nicosia (+357 99747648), City Taxi Cyprus (+357 22261263), Orfanou Chauffeur Services (+357 22511511).

You can also rent a car, but there are nuances:

  • The age of the driver must be between 25 and 70 years old;
  • driving experience – at least 3 years;
  • must be a driver’s license and a bank card, on which blocked 200-300 dollars.

Important! In Cyprus, left-hand traffic, and the speed limit in the city is up to 50 km / h.

Rent a car depends on the brand and varies from 52 to 193 EUR per day. Rail and water transport is absent here, but bicycle routes are very popular. Rental of a mountain bike is 20 EUR per day, at the hotel (not all) – 10 EUR. Making a phone call in Nicosia is not a problem – there are payphones in the streets everywhere, you can also use the phone in cafes and stores.

To make a call, you need a card worth 5-10 €, which can be purchased at a post office or store. Mobile telephony is cheaper with local SIM cards. To purchase them you need a passport. The island has two major mobile operators: CYTA and MTN. SIM cards cost 15 and 7.5 € respectively. Internet access is available at any hotel but is expensive. But free Wi-Fi can be found in any cafe.

Did you know? The capital of Cyprus has three names: Nicosia for Europeans, Lefkosia for Greeks and Lefkosa for Turks. The very first name of the city was Ledra.

What to bring

Laiki Gitonia is an area that recreates the atmosphere of old Nicosia and there are many shops where you can buy all kinds of souvenirs: magnets, pottery and even carpets. The art of clay pottery has been around for millennia and so a cheap and original pottery souvenir will be a pleasant memory of a trip. The center of folk crafts, located on the avenue Atalassia, is also a great place where you can not only buy your favorite product, but also see the process of making it.

Silver jewelry production is also developed here – lace weaving with silver wire, as well as traditional crafts – leatherwork. Leather goods and accessories will not leave anyone indifferent. Greek delicacies – oriental sweets, homemade wines and white cheese haloumi – are in great demand among the tourists. Ledra and Onasagorou streets are the main shopping arteries of the city, without automobile traffic, consisting of stores, market stalls and cafeterias. Inexpensive but quality shopping can be done on Archbishop Makarios III Avenue or at The Mall of Cyprus, which is located at the exit of the city towards Larnaca.

Nicosia, because it is not located on the seashore, is not a major tourist destination. But if you come to rest on the island, you should take a couple of days to visit this wonderful city, the capital of two states, where two cultures are closely intertwined, and the past and present live side by side.

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