• After exiting the site, turn right and drive down to see the quaint lane of restaurants.  Choose your pick and enjoy the provincial feel while having lunch.  Or go further up the mountains for an authentic mezze in one of the many tavernas.

  • Head to Kato Pafos Archaeological Park, a complex containing various historical attractions – pillars, monuments, ruins.  It closes at 5pm, so make sure you have enough time to go around.

  • End your historical trip at Paphos Medieval Castle which is just a 5-minute walk from the archaeological park.  The 360-degree open air rooftop showcases breathtaking views of picturesque mountains, calm oceans and a modern harbor.   

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  • Head straight to the town center for touristy stuff.  Visit St. Lazarus Greek Orthodox Church and see the tomb of the famous biblical character who was miraculously brought back to life. Walk through the small streets to see interesting shops and restos til you reach the end of the fort where the District Medieval Museum is.  The AED 8 / EU 2 entrance fee’s worth paying as you’d see a good view of the seafront while atop the castle.

  • Before driving back to Larnaca for another hour-and-a-half, enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes along the harbor.  Eat, drink, people-watch, stroll or ride a boat.  If you collect travel souvenirs, you can also buy them here.

  • Drive to Fig Tree Bay but feel free to turn left and stop by at certain intriguing corners.  Expect to see tons of luxury villas under construction (will give you that ‘I want a vacation house here’ feeling), hotels, water sports shops, food joints and bars.

  • Whether you decide to stay longer to enjoy its nightlife or head back to Larnaca (just a 40-minute drive), have your early dinner with an immaculate view at the Fig Tree Bay Restaurant.  I had their Greek Salad and Mousakka – both deliciously legit served in huge portions!   

  • Relax under the sun while enjoying the waters and golden brown sands of Finikoudes Beach or Mackenzie Beach.  To set expectations right, quality is not close to Asia or Indian Ocean’s pristine and powdery white sand beaches, but the over-all vibe and relaxing atmosphere can compensate.

  • Drive to Salt Lake before it gets completely dark.  Admire the stillness of a massive network of lakes and if lucky, spot flamingos while enjoying a pretty view of a pink colored sunset.   

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  • Check-in at your preferred accommodation at Larnaca.  It’s best to make this city your home base as it’s in the middle of the island, making your navigation from east to west very easy.  I’ve chosen Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows, a basic 4-star hotel which has all the amenities I want for a leisure stay (room with balcony and mountain view, buffet breakfast, beach access, swimming pool, gym and bar).  Got a special rate of AED 683 / EU 171 for a 3-night stay.   ​

  • After exiting the archaeological site, turn right and pass through all traffic lights (there are quite a lot of them) til you hit the only roundabout.  The old town’s on your right and the new marina to your left.

  • Explore the old town by foot.  Enter the Limassol Castle and admire the collection at the multi-level museum plus the 360-view of the city at its rooftop.  Visit the Agia Napa Cathedral and see its stunning architecture inside and out.  Then, few steps away is Rizitiko Tavern, a low-key establishment perfect for a late lunch.  I had the mouth-watering grilled catch of the day (sea bass), chips, bread and fresh orange juice there – all for AED 80 / EU 20 and totally worth it.    


  • Arrive at Larnaca International Airport, the country’s main gateway that’s conveniently located close to the city center.  From DXB, there are lots of flight options - Emirates Airline, Gulf Air and Royal Jordanian with average return economy fare of AED 1,300 / EU 326. 

  • Rent a car before exiting the airport.  Doing a self-drive is the most efficient way to see the island end-to-end during your short stay.  I’ve used AVIS and paid AED 918 / EU 230 for a Ford Fiesta with GPS and insurance good for four days.  When returning the car, make sure gas tank’s full or you’ll be charged an extra AED 398 / EU 100.  

  • Before driving back to Larnaca for another hour-and-a-half, enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes along the harbor.  Eat, drink, people-watch, stroll or ride a boat.  If you collect travel souvenirs, you can also buy them here.

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Short breaks for relaxation, outdoor adventure and culture trip.

  • Spend the rest of your remaining hours at Limassol Marina and see the complete opposite of the old town.  Be fascinated by the luxurious and modern feel of its residences, establishments and yachts with the deep blue ocean as stunning backdrop.  Before heading back to Larnaca at 4pm, I simply grabbed an ice cream, sat in one of the benches, admired the breathtaking view and told myself: ‘That’s been an amazing 4-day holiday indeed’.    


  • Make the most of your last day by visiting Limassol.  From Larnaca, it’s a 50-minute drive one way, so plan your day based on your flight out time.  My LCA-DXB flight is scheduled at 19.30 hrs so I did an early hotel check out by 10am and made it at Limassol by 11am.

  • Mark ‘Amathous Archaeological Site’ as your first stop.  Another UNESCO Heritage Site showcasing juxtaposed views of ancient ruins and modern residences by the mountains.  Here you’ll also find the Temple of Aphrodite and the old acropolis’ remains reflecting the old city. 


  • Expect a day beautifully split by mountains and waters but both peppered with rich local culture.  From Larnaca, enjoy another morning scenic drive up the mountain for 40 minutes.  After the highway’s exit, you’ll see sloping and winding narrow roads by the cliff leading to Pano Lefkara Village – be careful as you drive while adoring the glorious sight.


  • Explore the charming traditional village known for its lace and silver handicrafts.  Boldly hit the maze-like alleys and see gems in every corner.  Here, I’ve met warm locals who welcomed me to their shops and houses – Cris, the motherly owner of ‘The Alley Shop’ showed me how needlecraft art is done while Anerada Gallery’s in-house artist told me the story about the vintage car inside their shop. 


  • Start the day early and have a heavy breakfast before the hour-and-a-half ride from Larnaca to Paphos.  Simply pop-in ‘Tomb of the Kings’ on the GPS and you’ll easily find your way.  The drive will be amazing since the highway’s scenic (nice green mountains and windmills), small and not busy.  By the way, Cyprus uses right hand drive cars so if you’re used to driving the opposite side, you’d need some time to adjust.  

  • Arrive at the Tombs of the Kings which is up north and spend at least an hour exploring history and archaeology in this UNESCO Heritage Site.  Since I’m a huge fan of beautiful scenery, I appreciated the place that featured not just old fascinating structures but also a peaceful panoramic ocean view.  Again, entrance fee’s just AED 8 / EU 2. 

Best for whom 

Families, couples, friends, solo travelers. Outdoor and water junkies.  Budget conscious.

  • ​End your day at Europe Square beside the marina.  The long stretch adorned with palm trees starts with a fountain followed by rows of restaurants and pubs that can offer anything you’d want to eat and drink.  Funnily enough, instead of local food, I ended up with a decent Asian buffet for only AED 48 / EU 12.   

I see Cyprus as my new great find – a Mediterranean gem that ticks all boxes for a perfect quick break destination.  Only five hours away by plane (from Dubai), a ‘beach and mountain’ combo, rich culture and gastronomy, and fairly cheap (versus your European average) – all these and an adventurous travel hat’s all you’d need for a fun 4-day holiday!

If you’ve done the cliché European ‘must do’s’ like Spain, France and Italy, venture to this off the beaten path.  For inspiration, here’s a sample laid-back itinerary (culled from my recent travel), which showcases the island’s amazing offering.  ​


Best time to go

All-year round.  Spring time would be perfect - sunny  with some light breeze.

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In a nutshell...

Best sources of info

Cyprus Tourism: http://www.visitcyprus.com/  
Palm Beach Hotel, Larnaca: http://www.palmbeachhotel.com/
Lefkara Village: http://www.lefkaravillage.com/
Nissi Beach Resort, Ayia Napa:  

Fig Tree Bay Restaurant, Ayia Napa: http://figtreebayrestaurant.com/  
Limassol Marina: http://www.limassolmarina.com/
Emirates Airline: https://www.emirates.com/

Best to consider

Mid-range budget, no language barrier, easy to navigate, has all types of food (including vegetarian and Halal).

Best to check out

Beaches, mountains, old towns, museums.

  • ​Set your GPS to Ayia Napa and you’re off to an hour drive.  As you travel eastward and go closer to the location, notice the welcoming turquoise ocean that serves as a warm greeting.

  • If you fancy a quick dip or just want to relax, head straight to Nissi Beach.  Since it’s a pretty long stretch, I scored my perfect spot at the Nissi Beach Resort and enjoyed its amenities (umbrella, sun bed, snack bar) even if I’m not checked-in at the hotel.