The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has several tourist information offices throughout the Republic of Cyprus (though not in the northern Turkish-occupied section). Nicosia Head Office: Aristokiprou 11 Laiki Yeitonia Nicosia T.K. 1011; Tel: +357 22 67 42 64.
Though many travelers like to visit the coastal cities of Cyprus to focus on the beaches and party atmosphere by the sea during their vacation, Nicosia has plenty of attractions throughout the city to interest travelers and expats. The city's unique blend of Greek and Turkish cultures has created a relatively diverse landscape in a small expanse of land; however, to see some attractions it may be necessary to cross the checkpoint into the unofficial north part of the island.
Cross into northern Nicosia, and right near the Ledra Street crossing you will come across one of Nicosia's most popular attractions: Buyuk Han. Built in 1572, the han was originally built to house merchants traveling through town, and the original structure now houses shops, cafes, and artisanal shops. It's the perfect place to stroll through, admire classic Cypriot architecture and history, and spend a lazy afternoon browsing and eating.
The Old Town of Nicosia is encircled by old Venetian fortifications that are still standing in many areas, most notably at the point of Famagusta Gate, which still bears many of its original decorations.
Within the above-mentioned Venetian Fortifications you can walk around the heavily trafficked Old Town of Nicosia, which includes popular Ledra Street, the main drag of the capital. Cafes, restaurants, stores, and bars line Ledra Street, and historic houses, mosques and churches such as the Omeriye Mosque, Panagia Chrysaliniotissa – built in 1450 and considered the oldest church in Nicosia, are scattered throughout the Old Town as well.
If you continue north on Ledra Street, you will hit the Ledra Street border post and be able to cross into northern Nicosia if you choose; in the northern part of the city, you can visit the Mevlevi Museum that focuses on whirling dervishes and the Dervish Pasha Museum.
If you're willing to take a day trip outside the city, head to the nearby picturesque Mesaoria region, which is only about a half hour drive away. This cluster of villages and ancient monasteries gives the landscape a historic charm, most evident in the village of Peristerona with its historic houses and churches.
One of northern Nicosia's most recognizable landmarks, Selimiye Mosque was completed in 1326 as a church and became a mosque in the 16th century. The architecture is still reminiscent of medieval churches even though the building has since been converted. Women should dress conservatively to visit.
Machairas Monastery is a historic structure dedicated to the Virgin Mary and located about 40 km from Nicosia, and worth a visit for its mountainous landscape and historic charm. Women should dress conservatively to visit the monastery.
No matter what your preferences are when it comes to sightseeing, you can find a tour in Nicosia that suits your needs. From historical walks to bar hops to taste tours, there are a variety of different tours available through the fascinating capital of Cyprus.
Many festivals celebrating the food, drink, culture, and history of Cyprus take place all over the island. Though there are too many to count, here are the most popular festivals that take place throughout the year:
Limassol Wine Festival: By far the biggest and most popular wine festival in Cyprus takes places in Limassol at the end of summer, from late August to early September. Have fun tasting all the different wines of Cyprus and try a hand at wine making yourself by participating in the traditional pressing of the grapes; musical and creative performances also take place throughout the festival.
The Festival of Roses in Agros: This unique festival takes place in the village of Agros, which is known throughout the island for producing various rose petals and products. In the mid-May festival, you can visit workshops, see how rose products are made, and taste food and drink products made from roses yourself.
Anthestiriya: This Limassol festival takes place in the first or second week of May, and is used to commemorate the arrival of spring with a flower parade, floral exhibition, and music and dance performances.
Kataklysmos Water Festival: This festival is celebrated throughout all cities in Cyprus in late spring and early summer on the day after the feast of the Holy Trinity, though most of the major events are held on the Larnaca waterfront. Enjoy a variety of entertainment such as poets, folklore, singers, dancers and concerts.
Street Art Festival: Head to Limassol in early May along with approximately 10,000 other people to make your own street art or watch other peoples' meticulously crafted works of art.
Locals, expats, and travelers can all use the Magic Cyprus discount card to get discounts on shopping and plenty of tourist attractions throughout the island. However, travelers will seldom end up paying a lower price for any attractions or services than locals pay.
In fact, some services in Cyprus, such as taxis, will overcharge people they perceive as foreigners, so always find a way to double check prices and be aware of what general prices are charged for such services.