If you are looking for a vibrant, dynamic and urban way of life, South Cyprus may be your best bet. To fully appreciate the country it is worth starting with the southern part of Nicosia – the place largely ignored by tourists despite the fact that it is the Republic’s capital.

Nicosia

Divided in two by the Green Line, Nicosia is a vibrant and quite sophisticated city that offers a perfect blend of urban life and relaxation.

Nicosia lies inland and therefore it can get hotter than the seaside in summer. However, the bliss of it is that as a consequence tourists don’t think much of the place, instead preferring the seaside resorts and towns. This not only keeps the place from becoming overcrowded but helps to preserve a truly Cypriot feel and character of the place.

Nicosia City - Cyprus
Nicosia, Cyprus’s capital city is modern and developing rapidly

Nicosia is the business and financial centre of the Republic of Cyprus, as well as the administrative heart. The city offers great entertainment, vibrant nightlife, excellent shopping and a choice of leisure activities.

Although the main language is Greek, you will find that around 90 percent of the population speak some English, and fluency is common amongst the younger generations.

Cyprus might be the third biggest Mediterranean island, but it’s not really huge. And when you live in Nicosia, everything is no more than an hour away by car, be it wonderful beaches, gorgeous mountains, hiking trails or historic sights.

As in any city, there are enough districts and types of property to choose from in Nicosia. The choice depends on whether you want to live in an apartment or a modern villa, in the quiet outskirts or in a luxurious part of the city near all the major embassies where the properties are superb, both in style and price.

Living in the south-east, for example, gives you easy access to Athalassa National Forest Park, which is 840 hectares of greenery. Its network of trails – covering 20 kilometres – makes it a popular place for cycling, walking, dog walking and picnics.

As to what you can consider drawbacks, the summers are very hot in Nicosia, hotter than in the seaside locations. There’s also the issue of a very unreliable public transportation system; as a result almost everyone over 21 owns a car.

In short, Nicosia is a great place to live in Cyprus: diverse cuisines, cultures, rich history, great nightlife, almost the best weather possible, great nature and sightseeings and all the amenities you need for normal day-to-day living. What you won’t find in Nicosia is the seaside.

If your dream is to be at the seaside, then you should explore the coastal towns of south Cyprus.

  • Living In Nicosia – the good and not so good things about living in the Cyprus capital.

Limassol District

Limassol, a city on the southern coast of Cyprus, has a very modern, cosmopolitan feel to it. It is a loved destination by expats from all over the world.

The city has quite a few beautiful sites worth visiting, including Limassol Castle, the Amathus Ruins and the Mosque of Djami Kebir.

Seafront views of Limassol in Cyprus
Seafront views of Limassol in Cyprus

The Neapolis area of Limassol is considered the centre of the town, yet is also residential and has all the necessary amenities close to hand. It is close to Anexartisias – the main shopping district of Limassol, and within walking distance of the beach too.

Right in the centre of the city, near the Castle and Limassol Marina, there is a beautiful promenade called Molos, which offers great walks along the beachfront. If you like a seaside stroll, Molos will be your favourite place.

Molos is flanked by busy streets packed with restaurants, cafes, English style pubs, vibrant nightclubs, and a wide range of shops selling almost everything, including souvenirs and traditional sweets and delicacies.

Not a big fan of city beaches and prefer something more intimate? There are beautiful beaches 15 minutes drive away from the city, such as Kourion Beach.

This particular beach is located under the ancient city of Kourion where you can visit the ancient site and also attend evening performances at the ancient theatre.

Limassol is also the city with the highest mountain peak on the island, Troodos (Olympus). During the winter between January and April, you can go skiing. The Cyprus Ski Club, based on Mount Olympus, has four ski lifts and eight alpine ski runs of various levels.

The city is perfect for supporting an active healthy lifestyle. It offers limitless possibilities for all kinds of sports and activities including golf, go-karting, skiing, cycling and horse riding. There are beautiful walking trails and an abundance of nature trails. Bicycles are available on rent all over the place and are an ideal way of exploring the city and its interior.

Limassol villages

Just 12 minutes drive from Limassol there is the lovely village of Erimi. It takes you just far enough from the hustle and bustle of Limassol to give you a nice relaxing atmosphere but is still close enough to the city for you to still use its facilities.

The beautiful Curium Beach is a pride of the village. There are enough small shops, bars, banks and pubs to provide for your day-to-day needs.

Laneia Village, Limassol, Cyprus
Laneia Village, Limassol, Cyprus

The same feeling of tranquillity can be found in the village of Kolossi on the outskirts of the city of Limassol. The village is close to the imposing Kolossi Castle, which dates back to the 13th century. The vineyards of Kolossi are famous for the sweet dessert wine of Commandaria, which is one of the oldest wines in the world.

Some 8 miles from Limassol on the Limassol-Troodos road is the pretty village of Alassa. The village is built next to the Kouris Dam. A few minutes drive away is Episcopi – a village lying partly in the Limassol district of Cyprus and partly in the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

There is a good supermarket, doctor, police station etc. It has quite a few expats but is not very touristy.

Larnaca

Larnaca is compact, easily accessible and offers easy access to other regions on the island.

Larnaca is where Cyprus adventures start for most new arrivals, as it is where the most popular Cyprus airport is located.

It takes just about 15 minutes to get to Larnaca from the airport and to find yourself in this small thin town stretched along the seaside. The town is famous for its beautiful seaside promenades – Mackenzie and Phinikoudes.

The Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca - Cyprus
The Sultan Tekke Mosque in Larnaca – Republic of Cyprus

Phinikoudes is a very pretty town and is particularly pleasant for a stroll in the evening. There is a long beach alongside the Phinikoudes promenade, the waters there are always calm and quite shallow, so you have to wade for quite a distance before it is swimmable.

The Makenzie stretch is more remote, easily accessible by car and has many fish restaurants lining the strip. It’s full of bars and cafés, where locals and expat freelancers come together to co-work. However, it’s very close to the airport, and although spending a day out there is fine, living there constantly means putting up with noise and pollution.

The prevalent communities in Larnaca are Greek, British, Russians and Germans and they mostly use English as means of international communication. However, move away from the expat communities towards outlying villages, and a bit of Greek will come really handy if you want to integrate and build local friendships.

The town offers all the amenities and facilities necessary for a comfortable life, but as with any tourist place, it gets very quiet in winter and really crowded in summer.

In general, Larnaca is more relaxed, easy-going and comfortable, and a bit cheaper compared to Limassol or Nicosia. You get the beach and the places for cycling, and it is only a 30 minutes drive from both Limassol and Nicosia. The intercity bus will take you to the capital if you don’t like driving, however public transport is not very reliable in Cyprus, so you might want to consider a car.

There are a few lovely villages on the outskirts of Larnaca. Oroklini is just outside the town and very popular with Brits. The village stretches from Larnaca Bay up to Oroklini hill and has a nice sandy beach.

It takes 10 minutes to get from Oroklini to central Larnaca. The Larnaca-Ayia Napa motorway runs through the outskirts of Oroklini and leads onto the Larnaca-Nicosia motorway.

Paphos

Paphos is a lovely coastal city in the southwest of Cyprus and, as legends say, the birthplace of Aphrodite.

The town has good infrastructure and amenities – from shopping malls and shops to modern hospitals and decent road connections. Paphos International Airport is just 15 minutes drive from the town centre and a modern highway links the Paphos district to the whole of Cyprus.

Paphos District is full of picturesque villages and is quite loved by British expats. There is a lot of lush green countryside in the area, lovely villages and beautiful beaches, including the famous Coral Bay.

Paphos harbour view - Cyprus
The harbour embankment view Paphos – Cyprus

The great thing about Paphos District is that you’ve got the sea and great beaches with hills, forests and mountains inland. The Akamas is a delight if you like the unspoilt countryside.

Paphos city is a popular tourist resort. It is also famous for its charming fishing harbour. The main residential district in Paphos is Ktima.

Kato Paphos, built by the sea around the medieval port, is where most of the luxury hotels and the entertainment infrastructure of the city is located.

There’s a lot going on in Paphos itself to sustain life there. It’s also only 45 minutes along the motorway to Limassol.

Paphos district has quite a few lovely towns and villages dotted around. Lots of Brits live there, especially in places like Peyia and Tala. That means no language problems. If you venture further into the hills, a few words of Greek will be very helpful to get by.

Peyia and Tala are very popular for full time living among expats. There are plenty of restaurants and tavernas in both places, and they are close to Coral Bay.

Peyia is a bit overbuilt. The nice areas of Peyia can mostly be found on the outskirts. It’s also quite a drive to Paphos. Tala is closer to Paphos but has fewer facilities.

If you want to be fairly close to town and live somewhere within walking distance to a decent supermarket, pharmacy, doctor, butcher etc., Chloraka is possibly a good place to consider as it is just 3 km north of Paphos.

  • Living In Paphos – the pros and cons and other things you need to know about Paphos of you are planning to move there.

Ayia Napa and Protaras

In the eastern part of Cyprus, just south of Famagusta, lies the lively and vibrant town of Ayia Napa. It is a favourite international seaside resort with all the paraphernalia and amenities that come with that. It is crowded, dynamic, loud, full of entertainment and typical tourist activities such as water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, scuba diving and speed boating.

Ayia Napa has 14 beaches, and all of them have been awarded the Blue Flag status.

Nissi, a beach on Nissi Avenue, gets really crowded in summer; it has a fantastic beach bar, which plays music throughout the day and offers events such as foam parties and games if that’s what you’re looking for!

The Harbour Beach is one of Cyprus’s longest beaches and much more family-friendly.

The Black Pearl ship in Ayia Napa - Cyprus
The popular Black Pearl ship in Ayia Napa – Cyprus

If you want to be close enough to Ayia Napa to enjoy the life it offers, but still be far away enough to be able to have relaxing moments, you might want to look at Protaras.

About 5 miles away from Ayia Napa, Protaras, although being rapidly developed, still manages to remain low-key, and is preferred by locals and expats for its more family-friendly feel. It is still touristy and gets very busy in summer, while the winters are usually quiet and the place looks a bit deserted.

Paralimni

If the seasonal hustle and bustle of both Ayia Napa and Protaras are too much for you, but you still want to be close enough to both places, then probably the best solution will be to look at Paralimni.

Paralimni is close enough to both Ayia Napa and Protaras but is not attractive to tourists. It is a nice residential town with modern houses being built on the outskirts. There is a shopping centre, a number of cafes and bars and supermarkets there – all the amenities you need to live comfortably without paying over the top, as one commonly does in tourist towns.

In Conclusion

All in all, South Cyprus offers a great variety of places to choose from – be it a modern city, a coastal town or a mountain village. What you need to do is to explore the island first to get the feel of what it is that suits you best and where you can happily call home.

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