Cyprus. An island steeped in history. Not only can you find many beaches and as much Greek Meze you can eat. You can also experience fantastic cities and towns with their own stories to tell.
We were staying in the popular area or Limassol (Lemesos) and we had already been on the fantastic excursion from Kourion to Paphos. This made us even more inspired to try another tour. This time to Nicosia and Larnaca. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the history of how Nicosia had become split and why the Turkish now occupy the north of Cyprus. I was hoping this tour would help my understanding.
This time we booked the tour online through Ascot Tours. It cost £40 for the full day and we again had our lovely driver Chris as our guide.
Our pick up time was 8.15 from our hotel in Limassol and we headed to the first stop of the day. The drive to Nicosia took around an hour.
The first stop was the Archbishop Palace. The palace took a battering in 1974 during the fighting. You can still see the remains of bullet holes on the palace walls. Just next door you’ll also find Saint John’s Cathedral.
We had some free time here and we chose to visit the Folk Art Museum. This was a small quirky museum filled with random folky art and cost around €2 to enter.
The next stop was some free time to explore Nicosia. We parked up just around the corner from the palace and our guide Chris walked us to Ledras Street.
Ledras Street is full of shops, bars and restaurants. Our guide walked us to the end of the street where the check point is to cross over into Turkish Occupied Cyprus. At the check point you must show your passport to the Cypriot Boarder Guards and then you enter the UN Buffer Zone.
When you walk down if you look left and right through the gates you may be able to see abandoned buildings. This area is only patrolled by UN Soldiers.
We didn’t spend long in Turkish Occupied Cyprus. We had a quick walk through and back we went into Cyprus. Not like we would…but we were told to not buy any counterfeit items (fake goods) on the Turkish side, as these would be confiscated by the Cypriot Guards.
Next on our excursion list we went to an Observatory just off Ledras Street. This cost about €2.50 and it gave great views over Nicosia. You could also see a big flag of Turkey on the mountainside and this is lit up at night.
You get quite a lot of free time to explore Nicosia, so make the most of it!
The next stop on our tour was Larnaca. I didn’t know what to expect really. Maybe just a seaside town? Larnaca felt relaxed and you can imagine it would be very busy in the Summer.
We walked along the famous palm tree seafront ‘Finikoudes Promanade’. Literally a sea of palm trees and we stopped at a bar called ‘Tuck Inn’ for a Cyprus Kebab.
After dinner we went to visit the Church of Saint Lazarus. This is a beautiful church. Inside you will find gold decoration and incredibile art. Why not take a look around the old tomb?
At the end of the tour, our guide Chris drove us back to our hotels. When leaving Larnaca, Chris drove us past the salt lakes and we were lucky enough to see some flamingos. This tour was fantastic. Our guide was funny and very knowledgable about the history of the area. I would highly recommend booking through Ascot Tours if you Holiday in the Limassol area of Cyprus.
Until next time Nicosia and Larnaca…