The best towns and resorts in Cyprus are quite a varied assortment, with a few highlights that rank among Europe's top destinations of their kind. You can find some of the best parties, best family beaches, best city beaches and most historically important destinations in the Mediterranean around the island.

    With this degree of variety available, it's extra-important to pick a place to stay that's good for you. A family looking for a peaceful escape, for example, won't enjoy the hardcore party atmosphere of Ayia Napa but may find the next town along the coast is perfect for them. To help you make the right decision, check out our guide of where to stay in Cyprus.

    1

    Paphos

    A historic hub that’s excellent for couples

    • Couples
    • History

    Paphos is a fantastic destination for couples as it has stunning scenery, fascinating history, good shopping, great dining and amazing hotels. The town is made up of 2 parts – Upper Paphos (Pano Paphos) up on a hill and Lower Paphos (Kato Paphos) down by the coast.

    The older, lower part of the town offers beachfront restaurants and a bit of romantic nightlife. Beside the beautiful beaches, you'll also find Roman ruins like the houses of Dionysus, Orpheus and Aion, as well as most of the town's tourist facilities. Pano Paphos has a bit more of a local atmosphere. The Old Town is worth checking out.

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    2

    Coral Bay

    For families who like beaches and history

    • Families

    Coral Bay is, strictly speaking, a part of the town of Peyia, just north of Paphos. However, this particular part stands out for its lovely beaches and many hotels. The namesake bay contains a 600-metre-long crescent-shaped beach that has calm waves and Blue Flag certification, making it a great choice for families.

    Coral Bay makes for a good location for those with a bit of a sense of adventure. It's convenient for exploring the nearby ancient ruins and mountain villages, with the sights in and around Paphos just 15 km away. Coral Bay itself has diving centres, amusement parks, go-karting and other facilities that'll keep little ones entertained.

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    3

    Ayia Napa

    The party capital of Cyprus

    • Nightlife

    Ayia Napa is one of the most popular Mediterranean party destinations, competing with the likes of Ibiza, Magaluf and Mykonos. The city's main square and Ayias Mavris street are lined with bars and clubs, attracting thousands of party animals every summer night.

    The coastline here is mostly one of striking sheer cliffs punctuated with some of Cyprus' most beautiful beaches, including Nissi and Pantachou. Further to the east is Cape Greco – a beautiful national forest park with some very scenic spots. While the town contains a waterpark and other kid-friendly attractions, the extreme nightlife makes Ayia Napa best for younger travellers.

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    4

    Limassol

    A family destination with local nightlife

    • Families
    • Nightlife

    Limassol combines local nightlife with a family-friendly atmosphere, creating an excellent destination for parents who want to let their hair down a little after the little ones go to bed. One of the island's largest cities, it also has waterparks, restaurants, beaches and historical attractions, especially the ruins of Amathus to the east. Most of the hotels and tourist facilities are around the eastern part of the city, too.

    If you want to enjoy a drink with the locals, it's best to hit the town on Friday or Saturday. Weekend evenings are when most of the locals can safely party without having to worry about working through a hangover the next morning and most tourists take the opportunity to head further east to Ayia Napa. If you want a great coffee the next morning, head to the marina, which is surrounded by trendy boutiques and cafés.

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    5

    Protaras

    Divers delight

    • Families
    • Adventure

    Protaras, on the east coast of Cyprus, exists almost exclusively to be a tourist resort. It has an extensive selection of hotels, villas and apartments clustered around its sandy beaches, the best of which is Fig Tree Bay. It's a popular spot for families and even Cypriot tourists, especially since the nightlife is significantly quieter than Ayia Napa, which is located around 5 km to the southwest.

    Protaras lacks the history and attractions of other parts of the island, though it’s a good spot for scuba diving, both for beginners and advanced divers. Top dive sites nearby include Green Bay, The Blue Hole and Malama Bay.

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    6

    Pernera

    The best place in Cyprus for families

    • Families

    Pernera is arguably Cyprus' most family-friendly destination, which is quite a claim given the amount of competition for that title. What makes this east-coast town stand out is the fact that everything is family-oriented. Even the beachfront bars have special sections for little ones, as do the restaurants. You'll even find bouncy castles at some venues.

    You won't find any real castles here, so Pernera is certainly not a destination for those interested in the history and culture of Cyprus. The beaches, while small, are nice and sandy, with the clear sea calmed by the enclosed coves.

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    7

    Nicosia

    The divided capital

    Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus and has the unique honour of being the world’s only divided capital, being split between Greek and Turkish Cyprus. The division even cuts through the circular Walled Old City and you will need your passport to go from one side to the other.

    Also known as Lefkosia, the city is far from the coast, so it obviously lacks the beach atmosphere of most of Cyprus’ more popular destinations. However, if you like museums and history, there's nowhere on the island with more to see. If you're looking for some retail therapy during your stay, you'll also find lots of that in the capital.

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    8

    Larnaca

    One of Europe’s best city beaches

    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Most visitors to Cyprus will see Larnaca, even if it's just from the plane landing at the island's main airport. However, it's got a lot going for it as a destination in its own right, including one of the finest city beaches in Europe – Finikoudes. Further inland, a vast salt lake is well worth seeing from the ground as well as on final approach to the airport.

    Also spelt as Larnaka, the city is a popular destination as a mooring spot for luxury yachts. The harbour is surrounded by chic cafés and stylish boutiques. The city is also home to some of the most historic religious sites in Cyprus, including the Hala Sultan Tekke mosque and the Church of St Lazarus.

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    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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