the cosmopolitan capital
Cyprus’ inland capital Nicosia (Lefkosia) remains both a bustling business centre and the heart of the island’s turbulent history, as well as a shopping destination for the discerning.
Whilst there is no coastline, the city makes up for this by appealing to the cultural traveller who enjoys discovering the island’s heritage within its walled city, and is a connoisseur of the arts, elegant dining and sophisticated nightspots – all year-round.
The dining scene of Nicosia is considered to be an international smorgasbord of refined options, with its fine dining winning awards. Its blend of expansive children’s entertainment and leisure options, farmer’s markets, modern malls, cosmopolitan shopping avenues, and the old shopping streets of Ledras and Onasagorou ensure that there is always an active buzz.
Capital of culture & history
Nicosia is a museum-lover’s delight, and home to a large array of exhibits, from the more traditional Cyprus Museum, Cyprus Folk Art Museum and the Byzantine Museum, to the more eclectic Cyprus Classic Motorcycle Museum, The Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, and the Cyprus Postal Museum. Its art offering is also strong, thanks to the Zampelas Art Museum, Centre of Visual Arts and Research (CVAR), State Gallery of Contemporary Art, and the Leventis Art Gallery where the works of both local and international artists are exhibited.
Its many historical monuments tell a tale of the island’s past and can be discovered on a city walk that takes in interesting and commanding structures from various eras; traditional neighbourhoods where underground hangouts can be found giving new life to old buildings, and religious landmarks of various faiths. As the world’s last divided capital, the haunting divide that abruptly halts Ledra Street starkly reminds visitors of the island’s recent history, whilst the new Eletheria Square is a work of modern art that embraces the Venetian walls and old moat, linking the capital’s two faces.
Hidden away from the sounds of the city are several large, lush parks where families converge on grassy banks to enjoy picnics and to immerse themselves in the natural sights on meandering walking and cycling paths – a tonic that balances the busy vibe of the everyday life in the capital. Here you will find playground toys, sports facilities, cafeterias, duck and fish ponds and more, in beautifully expansive grounds where you can easily forget that a modern European capital is feverishly conducting its international business on the other side.
Leaving the commercial areas, the region unfolds into smaller, quieter communities that sit in the countryside, spreading all the way up to the Troodos Mountain range, where stunning areas like the Marathasa Valley and its cluster of charming villages can be found, along with the popular Kakopetria and Pedoulas villages that the capital’s residents frequent in the summer months in holiday homes and tourist establishments.
WHERE TO STAY
Cyprus has a large array of accommodation types to suit all travellers, tastes and budgets.
Whether you are looking for an opulent five-star resort; a city hotel that offers independence to explore; a simple hotel apartment as a base, or a rustic agrotouristic retreat, the following are my personal recommendations!
MAP Hotel Nicosia
It’s easy to find somewhere glamourous to stay among the abundance of 5-star hotels in Nicosia. Yet, bespoke boutique hotels that transcend traditional hospitality are a little harder to find. Searching for friendly, cosy, and well-designed hotels, it was a lovely surprise to come across the MAP hotel right at the heart of the city.DISCOVER