Things to do in Nicosia

leisure in Nicosia
Updated 2019-02-25 11:57

Nicosia has a distinct, dual character. On the one hand, the new city with its modern buildings, coffee shops and boutiques; on the other, the picturesque old town with the narrow, paved streets and the traditional markets. The capital city of Cyprus is also the only remaining divided capital in the world, which gives Nicosia a unique character. In Nicosia, rich cultural heritage comes together with vibrant, contemporary life, making the city a very attractive destination for expats.

The Green Line

In 1974, Turkish troops invaded Cyprus and occupied the northern part of the island ' where they remain still, having created an occupied state (called 'false state' by Cypriots and Greeks). The border of the Turkish-occupied state is colloquially called, Green Line, is surrounded by a UN buffer zone comprising abandoned, bullet-ridden buildings. Nicosia is practically split in two, earning the moniker 'the last divided capital in the world'.

Good to know:

Nowadays, you can cross easily to the Northern part of Cyprus Many people visit that side frequently for shopping. You should know however that it is not considered safe to spend the night and, especially if you have a Greek or Cypriot passport, you may need a special permit to do so.

The old town

Nicosia's history dates 5,000 back. Its beating heart, the Old Town, has maintained all the charms of the old architecture ' even the Venetian walls that surround it. In Laiki Geitonia (folk neighbourhood) especially, you can take a walk in narrow cobbled streets and visit souvenir shops, admire the traditional Cypriot architecture and visit many Orthodox churches such as the Cathedral of Agios Ioannis Theologos.

Museums and galleries

The rich history of the city can be appreciated in Nicosia's many museums. There are numerous options for you to visit, from the Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, the Cyprus Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the State Gallery of Contemporary Art, the House of Chatzigeorgakis Kornesios and the Museum of the National Struggle.

Eat and drink

Cyprus has a great culinary tradition, combining Mediterranean cuisine and Greek cooking with Middle Eastern flavours. In Nicosia, you will have many opportunities to savour local flavours such as haloumi, anari cheese, meze dishes and palouzes (grape jelly). The city is filled with traditional tavernas, coffee shops and patisserie shops ' some of the best await you in the Old Town. Nicosia also has some great cocktail places and a vibrant nightlife (although more relaxed, with not a big focus on partying), with music events and guest DJ's.


Nicosia has a lot of upmarket clothing options, great jewellery shops and famous brands. The best places to shop are along Stassicratous st. and Makarios Avenue.

Outings from Nicosia

One of the best things about living in Cyprus, is that the distances are quite small. This makes exploring the surrounding areas easier and, in the case of Nicosia, you'll be glad for it. Venturing into the countryside will bring you to some beautiful traditional villages; Fikardou especially deserves your time, having won the Europa Nostra award and declared a national monument. Nature is also breathtaking around this area, with pine forests, the imposing Machairas Mountains and lush valleys.

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