Nicosia, Cyprus. While I blog about all things Italy and the places I see in my beautiful homeland, I thought I would cover Cyprus, which was my home for over 7 years (among Australia, Peru & Oman). Since I love this country so much I will be creating an exclusive blog post for my home away from home.
I drop my bags off at the hotel and get my rental car ready to explore Nicosia. I am quite excited to be in one of the cities I love so much. So I get into my Ford Focus (the car was upgraded for free – which was a great surprise) and I head towards Ledra street, in the ‘old’ part of the city. Once upon a time, there was a Ledra street that was old, run down, with the ugliest shops and some cafes where the elderly would sit a play ‘tavli’ – now Ledra is buzzing with cafes, restaurants, shops and most importantly – people! So I park the car and head towards Ledra where we decided to enjoy some souvlaki (a must have dish while in Cyprus) and I am surprised to see the 6D Cinema which welcomes me! The road is split and you can either go left (Ledra Street) or right (Onasagorou Street) and so I decide to stick to my plan and proceed down Ledra Street and I start taking in a mix of traditional and modern Cyprus. As you walk through you will see all the ‘modern places’ such as McDonalds, Starbucks, KFC etc and then you get your ‘caffenio’ (Greek for café), your souvlaki bars, the sheesha bars and the normal bars. If you continue all the way down Ledra you will reach the roadblock crossing through the UN buffer zone which takes you to the ‘Turkish’ side of Cyprus.
Anyway, while I am happy with the whole experience and enjoy hearing the beautiful Greek language. I’m excited about getting me some Halloumi and some Souvlaki (with tzatziki, salad, lemon and pita bread). I finally found place that I dug into my halloumi and souvlaki (seriously I felt like Augustus Gloop). I enjoyed my meal with a nice Tsiakkas sauvignon blanc and I finished it all off with a bit of Zivania!
For more on food and drinks – check out my Eating and Drinking in Cyprus Post
I proceeded up Ledra street again and decided to venture to Onasagorou Street (parallel to Ledra Street so it was an easy choice) and I just walked through all the little streets of this gorgeous part of town until I stumbled across a cool little sheesha bar (Fanous corner) where I enjoyed a nice glass of Ouzo while smoking a Sheesha with a real apple head – double apple flavor – and it was awesome. It is the best way to take it all in and a great welcome to Nicosia, Cyprus.
I would definitely recommend that if you decide to spend a couple of days in Nicosia, make sure to rent a car (I used rentalcars.com) as public transportation is not exactly the best. You can find the odd bus but it is not well organized (or at least I struggled at the time) and taxis can be a little expensive.
Nicosia, Cyprus – Video
I recommend Nicosia to all of you, at least to experience a locals way of life. However, the beaches, the mountains and the drives are the island are what make this island so amazing. Do not forget to check out my – 5 Beaches you must visit on the East Coast of Cyprus!
Check out my Interview on Cyprus with Emily Luxton!
Nicosia, Cyprus | What you may like to know:
From Larnaca International Airport (link to site) I took the Kapnos Shuttle Bus (link to site) to Nicosia. From there, you will be able to get a taxi to the hotel of your choice (expect to pay the taxi anywhere between 15-30EURO depending on the location of your hotel).
Hilton Park Hotel (link to site) in Egkomi (pronounced Engomi). Unfortunately, not many other 4 star options. Great location to reach all parts of the city.
What to eat:
Halloumi (grilled, fried or natural – it’s amazing), lountza, souvlaki, seafood meze, meat meze, moussaka, pastitsio, bamies, loukaniko pita, tyropita (our recommendations), taramasalata, tzatziki, olives.
What to drink:
Triantafyllo (Rose water), KEO beer (local), Tsiakkas wines (try stick to these), Ouzo (Greek not Cypriot), Zivania.
What it feels like:
Cyprus is a mix of Europe and the Middle East all in one. If you love the Arabic influence with that touch of Europe, then you will really enjoy this lovely city! A business center.
Getting around with the locals:
If you would like to be taken around Nicosia by some great locals, let me know and I will be happy to give you the contact details of Sylvia and Panayiotis who will be happy to show you around for a modest price. For more information – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Averages a low of 11°C (winter) and highs of 30°C (summer). I use holiday-weather.com when organizing our trips as we find this to be the most precise!
In the Mediterranean Sea and it is geographically located north of Egypt, east of Greece, south of Turkey and west of Syria and Lebanon.