Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.19 €

GBP | EUR

3 * Hotel p/n £19.97 | 23.79 €

One-way ticket £1.26 | 1.50 €

Beer £2.52 | 3.00 €

Main Course £10.07 | 12.00 €

About Nicosia

Leave the tourist-heavy coastal cities behind and experience quintessential Cyprus for a few days in the divided and culturally rich capital city of Nicosia.

We’ve heard of there being two sides to every story, but rarely do you hear there are two sides to a capital city. Nicosia is incredibly unique in that it’s the world’s last divided capital, with barbed wire and the guard towers dividing the city in two. The north is the Turkish-Cypriot capital whereas the south is capital of the Republic of Cyprus. Confusing stuff right? Although crossing between the two used to be difficult, today it is fairly easy so you can explore both sides if you wish.

The largest city in Cyprus, Nicosia has a population of over 200,000 and provides a cultural, historic insight into the island of Cyprus. If you are looking for a break from the seaside retreats, the capital will most certainly deliver, with an array of museums, medieval architecture and traditional restaurants among the city’s draws. In the north you can find buzzing markets and amazing handicrafts whereas the south will offer monuments worthy of your photo album. There might be two sides to this city, but there’s only one way to decide which you prefer.

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Weather

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When Should You Visit?

Avoid summer if you get uncomfortable in the heat. May has bearable warm weather.

With hot, dry summers and very little rainfall, Nicosia experiences a semi-arid climate. Summers can be uncomfortable as the city doesn’t have a coastline and temperatures can reach the mid-30s. Whilst spring and autumn are slightly cooler, temperatures still average around the mid-20s across the seasons. Winters are mild with some warm days common. However, the wettest months are December, January and February so bring a rain jacket if visiting at this time of year.

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Travioor top tips

Plan visits
Taxis
Bellapais

Insider Info

  • The best time to explore the museums and attractions is in the morning as many of them tend to close fairly early in the day. Plus, you don’t want to be wandering around in the midday sun.

  • Buses are rather unreliable and many aren’t air conditioned. Most people will get taxis if they can’t walk or cycle but make sure you get them to turn on the meter straight away to avoid getting ripped off.

  • If you have time, take a day to explore one of Nicosia’s surrounding cities or attractions. One of the best places to visit is Bellapais, around 30km from the city, which is a beautiful hillside village. To get there you can take a bus from the north of the city to Kyrenia and then get a short taxi ride from there.

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Food and drink

Main Course £10.07 | 12.00 €

3-Course Meal £40.30 | 48.00 €

Cappuccino £2.98 | 3.55 €

Beer £2.52 | 3.00 €

The Scene

Greek favourites like moussaka and meze can be found here, particularly in the southern part of the city where local tavernas are the best place to experience traditional fare. Cypriot specialities include koupepia (stuffed vine leaves) and afelia (pork with red wine, mushrooms, potatoes and coriander seeds) while sides include hummus and halloumi. In the north part of the city, the Turkish influence can be seen in the many kebab joints. Wash the cuisine down in Nicosia with the local beer KEO or some Cypriot wine. Or if you’d prefer a nice coffee, there’s also a huge café culture with tables spilling out onto the streets, perfect for sunny weather.

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History

Nicosia’s Story

The history of Nicosia dates back to around 3000 BC. The Greeks proceeded to call the town Ledra which soon changed to Lefkothea, although Lefkosia was used by the Greeks until the Middle Ages and Nicosia by the Venetians. It wasn’t until the 8th century that the city was named the capital (as islanders headed inland to seek refuge from invaders). The Knights and the Venetians both had significant spells ruling the city with the former building many structures and the latter strengthening the defence systems, including the Venetian Walls which are a top attraction for tourists today. In 1570, the Ottoman Turks invaded and converted many churches into Mosques, complete with excellent architecture. The city developed further after the British came in 1878 with many roads, schools and houses built outside the Old Town. This helped Nicosia become the main centre of trade in Cyprus.

By 1960, Cyprus declared independence and political unrest between Turkish and Greek residents caused the Green Line (city divide) to be drawn in 1964. In 1974, the Turks moved in to invade Cyprus, taking the northern half of the capital and causing many Greeks to move to the south and to the coastal cities.

Language

Yasu | Hello
Efharistó | Thank you

Greek

The official language of Southern Cyprus is Greek (or Greek Cypriot) which is the predominant language spoken in the southern part of the city. The official language of Northern Cyprus is Turkish, which is the predominant language in the north of the city. However, you may hear either used in both halves. English is spoken by many people in the main tourist areas although it is perceived that less people speak English in the north. Regardless, it’s always good to know the basics - below we’ve listed some Greek Cypriot:

  • Please: Parakaló
  • Excuse me: Signomi
  • Do you speak English?: Miláte angliká?

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Need to know

+357 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • Most restaurants include a 10% service charge on top of the bill.
  • Cars rented in the north can’t cross into the south.
  • Museums and attractions can close quite early in the day.
  • There are several checkpoints where you can cross from north to south or vice versa but you’ll need I.D.
  • If you aren’t an EU Citizen, double check if you can cross the ‘line’ before you turn up at the crossing.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for Cyprus here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Cyprus Museum

Visit Cyprus Museum, showcasing the best collection of artefacts in the country.

2. Venetian Walls

View the historic Venetian Walls which engulf the old city.

3. Ledra Street

Wander the streets of Nicosia’s old town and enjoy the selection of cafes, restaurants and shops along Ledra Street.

4. Cultural Sites

Head to some of the city’s mosques, churches and cathedrals.

5. Market

Shop at Belediye Pazari market where you’ll find some excellent antiques and handicrafts.


See What's On In Nicosia  


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