Cyprus might be one of the few countries in Europe where the capital city doesn’t get enough attention from international tourists. With many holidaymakers choosing to stay along the coast in places such as Paphos, Limassol or Larnaca, few make it to the Cypriot capital. It is, however, incredibly easy to travel from places like Paphos and Larnaca to Nicosia meaning tourists are easily able to experience the underrated capital.
The main options for travelling to Nicosia include taking a direct bus, booking a guided tour on a bus or taking a scenic drive that lets you stop and experience a number of interesting stops on the way. If you’re planning on travelling from Larnaca or Paphos to Nicosia soon, then here’s everything you need to know about how to get there and the different options available.
Getting to Nicosia by Bus
If you’re planning on spending a day or two in Nicosia and don’t have your own vehicle, then taking the bus from Paphos or Larnaca to Nicosia is the most straightforward way to travel between the two cities.
Paphos to Nicosia Bus
There are intercity buses that run go from Paphos to Nicosia regularly throughout the day. Buses are more frequent on weekdays with fewer services running on weekends and public holidays. A one-way fare costs €7 with the journey taking approximately 2 hours.
At the moment, you can’t book these tickets online, however, you can see the latest timetables here.
If your schedule doesn’t line up with the public buses and you wish to only visit the Cypriot capital for a day then an alternative is to take a guided tour from Paphos to Nicosia. This full-day tour from Paphos available on GetYourGuide includes transport from your hotel, a guided tour of both parts of the divided capital and free time to explore by yourself. It is also possible to book this tour on Viator.
Paphos Airport to Nicosia Bus
If you’re arriving at Paphos Airport, it is possible to travel directly from Paphos Airport to Nicosia by bus without going into the city centre. There are only a few departures each day so it might only be convenient if your flight arrival time coincides with the bus departure. Click here to see the latest timetables.
Larnaca to Nicosia Bus
Travelling from Larnaca to Nicosia by bus is fairly straightforward given the proximity of these cities. The journey only takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes with hourly departures during the day from Monday to Friday and less frequently on weekends and public holidays. The journey costs €4 one way and you can buy a one-day ticket for €7 if returning from Nicosia to Larnaca in one day.
Similarly to the Paphos to Nicosia route, you can’t book these tickets online but you can see the latest timetables here.
Larnaca Airport to Nicosia Bus
Nicosia Airport located in Northern Cyprus has been abandoned since the island was divided in 1974, meaning that Larnaca Airport is the main hub for travellers flying into Cyprus and heading to Nicosia.
Other cities to Nicosia
You can also travel directly to Nicosia from other cities in Cyprus. The most popular other routes include taking the bus from Limassol to Nicosia or from Ayia Napa to Nicosia. Both these routes take approximately two hours and you can view the latest timetables here.
Scenic Drive to Nicosia
While it is possible to get between the major cities in Cyprus by bus, we think the best way to explore the island is to rent a car. This allows you to stop at a number of interesting less-visited spots on routes such as Paphos & Larnaca to Nicosia. To find the best deal on car rental in Cyprus, we recommend browsing Rentalcars.com which aggregates prices from the major car hire companies available.
If you rent a car, then rather than just staying on the highway when travelling to Nicosia, it’s worth taking your time and stopping at some of the below stops. Regardless of whether you start in Paphos, Larnaca or even Limassol, the first part of the drive takes you along the highway on the southern part of the island until you get to Skarinou where you divert onto some of the rural roads.
This drive is also straight-forward to do if heading in the other direction from Nicosia to Paphos or Larnaca.
Visit a local winery
One of the best things to do when travelling on rural roads in Cyprus is to visit a local winery. Luckily, there a couple to choose from when travelling to Nicosia from Larnaca & Paphos.
The first is Ktima Christoudia which is a first-generation winery run by a local family for over 25 years. They originally started to produce wine as a hobby which escalated into a full-grown business undoubtedly due to the quality of their wines.
For €2 per person, we were treated to a full wine tasting of 9 wines and a small shot of a local spirit known as zivania. The owners here very friendly and were happy to chat in detail about the wines they produce and the Cypriot wine industry.
The other main winery located close by is Dafermou Winery which was unfortunately closed for harvest when we were travelling through. They are a small boutique operation that also offers tastings.
Pano Lefkara Village
After enjoying some wine tasting, let your designated driver take you to the nearby village of Pano Lefkara. The village is famous for its lace production and you can still see locals producing as you wander through the streets today.
You can also visit the local Ethnographic Museum to learn about traditional life in the village and the Bee & Embroidery Museum where you can find out more information about the lace production and beekeeping. It’s then worth taking the time to stroll through the picturesque village where there are a number of spots to stop in for a coffee or enjoy lunch.
If you choose not to have lunch in Lefkara, then a stop in Vavatsina is a great option to fuel up for the rest of the day. On the way from Lekfara, there is the option to stop at the Terra Oliva Organic Olive Farm where you can see different olive trees.
There is also a shop here where the owners will explain the different products and allow you to sample olive oil as well as other products that are produced from olive trees. While this is a nice area to stop to see the different trees, prices at the shop are inflated compared to what you will find elsewhere.
In Vavatsina, we suggest heading to Maria’s Restuarant for lunch. Dishes here cost around €9-12 and come with a wide range of side dishes including pilaf, dips and salads. The complimentary cheese fritters we got for dessert were one of the best things we ate during our time in Cyprus!
The next stop on your drive from Paphos or Larnaca to Nicosia is the Machairas Monastery. This stretch of road is some of the most spectacular on the scenic drive to Nicosia so make sure to keep an eye out for opportunities to pull over and enjoy the wonderful views.
The monastery itself was originally built in the 12th century and is quite a spectacular sight to see, particularly from a distance where you can truly appreciate the size and architecture of the building. It is possible to enter the monastery for free and explore the grounds. It is open daily from 8:30 – 5:30.
Gregoris Afxentiou Museum
We stumbled across this museum by accident as we were navigating the roads around the monastery but were very glad that we found it! The Gregoris Afxentiou Museum is located in a small room next to the monastery and is dedicated to the life of Gregoris Afxentiou who was one of the fighters in the rebellion against the British Army in the 1950s.
Some of the rebel fighters found refuge in the monastery and surrounding caves while fighting the British. The museum is run by a very passionate man who is keen to pass on his knowledge about the life of Afxentiou to visitors. You can see the museum in about 15 minutes and there are also some nice views surrounding it.
The village of Fikardou is the final stop on the drive from Larnaca & Paphos to Nicosia. Its claim to fame is that it is essentially a deserted town with unique architecture that is pleasant to walk through and quite different from other villages that you will see in Cyprus.
There is a church and small rural museum that you can explore as well as strolling through the winding streets. While time might not be on your side if you’re planning to drive all the way to Nicosia in one day, there is the option to hike from Fikardou to Machairas Monastery.
Where to stay in Nicosia
The 3 Rooms Boutique Hotel – Located in the centre of town, this traditionally decorated boutique hotel is a great place to stay for couples. They offer a few different private rooms with all the required amenities and within walking distance of all the major sights. Click here to see their latest prices
MAP Boutique Hotel – Also, located in the heart of Nicosia, this modern boutique hotel is a great option for those with a higher budget. It offers a range of private rooms with breakfast included daily. Click here to see their latest prices.
Nex Hostel – If you’re travelling on a budget, then this hostel is the perfect place to stay in Nicosia. The dorms here are modern and there is a large terrace that is a great area to meet other travellers. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other Nicosia hotels!
It is incredibly easy to travel to Nicosia from other major cities in Cyprus. If you have time to spare on your Cyprus itinerary, then it’s definitely worth taking the time to enjoy a scenic drive from Paphos or Larnaca to Nicosia and experience some of the great sights in the countryside.
When travelling in Cyprus, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning on travelling from Larnaca or Paphos to Nicosia? Are you looking to go direct or enjoy a scenic drive? Let us know in the comments below!