Visiting Cyprus in Winter: 8 Fabulous Things to Do + Top Winter Travel Tips
Last updated on February 6th, 2023
It is generally believed that there is nothing to do in Cyprus in winter. A small percentage of tourists may believe that Cyprus is a good destination to visit only from June to August while others, more advanced travelers think that winter in Cyprus is a good season only for slow leisurely walks, a few trips to wineries and restaurants. That’s all.
When in reality, winter Cyprus offers numerous outdoor activities, events, seasonal produce, and terrific temperature for excursions. As soon as December rolls in, occasional rains bring nature back to life and clear the air. That’s the sign to lace up your shoes, grab your camera and go explore the island.
On days when it rains (in total, there are only 12-15 days of rain in Cyprus in winter), it doesn’t mean that your holiday is ruined. Cyprus boasts some great wet weather activities, so you can have a productive and enjoyable time.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Cyprus winter activities good for each month. I also include details about the weather, what to expect, what to wear and to pack, and a few beautiful routes that are the reason to visit Cyprus in winter.
Top Winter Tours & Tips to Have in Cyprus on Your Trip
Great Tours & Excursions in Cyprus to Join from December to February
- Limassol Free Walking Tour – a great introduction to Limassol city if you fly there
- Troodos Mountains Food & Wine Day Trip – perfect for foodies who love scenery and history
- All Day Trip to the Past of Paphos – for history, culture and scenic countryside
- Rural Village Tour & Wineries – for spectacular scenery and wine tastings
- Nicosia & Kyrenia in North Cyprus Tour – visit the capital of Cyprus and see a very different Turkish part of the island
- Old Kakopetria & Agios Nicolaos – for local cuisine, UNESCO world heritage sites, and old village
- Best Car Hire in Cyprus – if you are ready to explore on your own!
- Best taxi/private transfer in Cyprus – Cyprus’s leading airport transfer provider
Is It Worth Spending Winter Holidays in Cyprus?
Without going into too many details, let’s be short – yes, it’s definitely worth traveling to Cyprus in the wintertime! It is not only one of the sunniest places in Europe where to fly to hide from European winter, but it is also one of the best seasons for certain activities that you cannot do when the weather is hot.
If visiting Cyprus for Christmas and New Year holidays, then you’ll be able to visit Christmas markets, fairs, and celebrations as well as see fireworks over the sea and have tangerines and oranges not in a fruit vase on the table, but right on the tree branches above your head.
In late December – mid-January, snow falls in the Troodos mountains. If you are lucky with the weather, there will be enough snow – a ski slope opens up in the village of Prodromos. And that’s an amazing feeling – being able to ski on a snowy track but one hour later go down to the sea coast to soak up the warm sun.
In January, the most exotic guests of the island – pink flamingos – arrive in Cyprus. Tens of thousands of amazing and graceful birds gather on the salt lakes of Larnaca and Limassol. This is a completely fascinating and unique opportunity that actually inspires many people to travel to Cyprus at this time of the year!
What Can You Expect From Cyprus in Winter?
1) Very beautiful sea. It shimmers with shades of green, blue, dark blue, and gray. In winter, the colors are especially saturated and extraordinary.
2) Free sun loungers. For the most part, sun loungers are left on many beaches. But no one collects money for them any longer since there are too few tourists around. So everyone who comes to the beach is welcome to use sunbeds for free.
3) A lot of the sun even in winter. Yes, Cyprus gets a lot of the winter sun. This will be particularly noticeable for people who live in Eastern and Northern Europe and come to Cyprus on vacation.
4) Silence, calmness, and complete relaxation. There are very few tourists in the winter months, mostly retired tourists, mothers with children who come to spend a few weeks/months in the sunniest and warmest place in Europe, and families who visit on a quick winter break.
So Cyprus is the perfect place to reflect on life, recharge and relax.
What you shouldn’t expect is parties until the morning. If this is the main reason why you want to travel to Cyprus, then the best time to visit the island is in the summer at the height of the tourist season.
5) Early sunsets. Since Cyprus is located more to the south, the sun goes down there in winter approximately at 4:30 pm. After this time, the temperature drops leaving the air cool and streets quite empty.
After 22:00 everyone stays at home and there is almost no one on the streets and in restaurants. Therefore, it is better to think about your evening leisure in advance.
6) Winter is an ideal season for hiking in Cyprus. In the Troodos and Kyrenia mountains, there are routes for both beginners and experienced hikers and weather conditions are simply perfect.
Cyprus Weather in Winter
Before I get to talk about experiences and things to do in winter in Cyprus, I’d love to mention a few words about the Cyprus winter weather. To help you plan your trip, here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from the weather each month – in December, January, and February.
Weather in Cyprus in December
If you are hoping to travel to Cyprus in December to be able to sunbathe and swim in the warm sea, then the weather will disappoint you.
Cyprus weather in December is quite warm by harsh European standards – on average about +17C during the day and only +10C at night, but it is not warm enough for swimming. Although wait, I guess it depends on where you come from. One of the readers from the Nordic country mentioned that winter temperature in Cyprus is comfortable enough for swimming as she is used to the same temperatures back home during the summer. So it all depends.
Larnaca in December gets colder at night and it often rains there and cold winds blow. The water temperature is usually no more than +15C +18C. Paphos in December sees a real Mediterranean winter when the resort town plunges into a sleepy off-season – there are very few tourists and some places close.
On average, the temperature on the island is approximately the same. The coldest place in Cyprus in December is Nicosia and, due to the frequent winds pushing the clouds, Larnaca. It is better to choose Paphos (for luxurious hotels, history and nature), Protaras, Limassol, and Polis. Ayia Napa can get very boring since all seasonal establishments close. And the majority of businesses there are seasonal.
If you are traveling to Cyprus this month and hoping to swim, book a hotel with a heated pool. But do not forget warmer clothes since you won’t be able to wear shorts and tanks.
What to Do in December in Cyprus
Many people ask themselves a question: “Is it a good idea to visit Cyprus in December if the weather is far from summer?”
Yes, visiting Cyprus during this month will be great for a ski holiday in the Troodos mountains and for various excursions that are not always available in the summer due to the high air temperature and queues.
You can also spend days in nature – go on panoramic walks in the Akamas Peninsula National Park located on a peninsula near Paphos, wander through the ancient ruins of Kourion near Limassol, visit the Kykkos monastery in the mountains or the Kolossi castle, as well as many other places of the ancient island.
In addition, in December, as in other European countries, Cyprus lives in anticipation of Christmas and New Year.
The holiday season there begins on December 23, but the preparation lasts about a month and starts in November. Houses get decorated with olive sprigs and ribbons, and people walk around in the costumes of St. Basil the Great (this is their Santa Clause). Christmas trees are set up on the squares of the resort towns, and festivities and fireworks are organized around them.
Weather in Cyprus in January
The weather forecast in Cyprus for January, at first sight, is not so optimistic. Daytime air temperature is around +15C degrees (it rarely drops below this mark), at night +6C +8C. The water temperature in the sea is at +15C +17C degrees which is too cold for swimming for many people.
Although the biggest disadvantage of January weather is sudden rains. And for the most part, days are not very sunny, but rather cloudy and gloomy. Therefore, if you think you can get a tan in Cyprus in January, forget about it.
In general, January on this island is considered the rainiest and coldest month. If you want to travel to Cyprus in winter, it is better to do it in December or February when days are not so wet or when everything is already starting to bloom.
Yet again, compared to the rest of Europe which experiences snowfalls, blizzards and frosts, January in Cyprus is still characterized as warm. But rains and winds can disrupt some plans for sure, so you need to be ready for that and be flexible.
For me, as someone who experienced so many winters in Ukraine, it is difficult to say that January is actually a winter month. It reminds me very much of the October weather in Eastern Europe. I actually remember once visiting Vilnius in September when the weather was very similar to what I experienced later in the middle of January in Cyprus.
What to Do in January in Cyprus
January is not as bad as it might seem at first glance. January weather is perfect for leisurely walks along the beaches and streets of resort cities. It is also a good time for foodies to visit cafes and restaurants, tour rural villages and do wine tasting, and join sightseeing trips to local attractions.
January sees the smallest number of tourists, therefore you will not need to waste time standing in lines. In addition, it is in January that you can admire and walk around the famous lake in Larnaca, which, as a rule, dries up in summer. During this month a flock of pink flamingos nest on it, so you have a chance to see these birds close in all their beauty.
January is a month of tangerines, so in many parts of the island you go to it smells incredible.
Cyprus in January (as in the previous month) is a wonderful destination for the Troodos mountains, where you can go skiing or snowboarding. The snow is quite deep at this time there. However, do not forget that even in winter, Cyprus’s sun is strong, so sunscreen will come in handy not only on the beach but also in the mountains.
Weather in Cyprus in February
Despite the fact that February on the calendar is still the winter months, in Cyprus it marks the beginning of the awakening of nature and the onset of spring. This is one of the main reasons why it is worth traveling to Cyprus island at this time.
The onset of spring there is a truly amazing sight. On the snow-covered slopes of the mountains, you can already see how blue and white snowdrops bloom and jasmine and lemon trees blossom.
It is impossible to predict what the weather will be like since February is characterized by quite frequent changes. The number of rainy days can be up to seven per month and the seawater temperature reaches +16C degrees. Swimming is still quite cold.
But according to the legend, which says that it was here that Aphrodite came out of the sea, those couples who plunge into the water on February 14 will live a long and happy life together. This is why you get to see a lot of those people who enter the sea despite the rather cold water. The majority of people prefer swimming in indoor pools.
The sun still appears in the sky not often, but it starts shining a little more, warming the air up to +17, sometimes up to +20 degrees.
What to Do in February in Cyprus
There is a holiday in February that is best to celebrate in Cyprus. It’s Valentine’s Day. Can you find a better destination to go to for couples than the place of birth of the goddess of love?
You can have a romantic getaway to Paphos which is full of luxury hotels and has a high-quality tourist infrastructure. Polis, surrounded by almond groves and tobacco plantations, is far from the more touristy areas and suits well for a relaxed and cozy getaway for two.
February (as pretty much any other winter month) is also perfect for spa vacations. Many awesome spa hotels in Cyprus are one of the finest wellness centers in Europe, welcoming its guests in an oasis of serenity and tranquility. Some hotels even have animation. Northern Cyprus has some very nice all-inclusive hotels that offer winter programs and events.
Although the weather in Cyprus in February is quite warm, it still rains there and quite strong winds blow. Many hotels have warm indoor pools but it is worth checking its availability in advance. Also, on sunny days, the weather allows sunbathing around the outdoor pools.
In the evenings and at night it is still quite cool on the island. The temperature is about +6C degrees, in Larnaca it is a little warmer. You shouldn’t forget sunscreen for the day and have a windbreaker or warm sweater for the evening.
February is also a month of large carnivals and processions that anticipate the beginning of Lent in Cyprus and last for ten days. During this time, you’ll be able to see street performances and fairs, and even visit the most colorful and festive balls in Paphos and Limassol. If you want to attend such a carnival, be sure to learn about the dates (they change each year) and purchase tickets in advance.
Oh, and the last thing. Cyprus in February is a fantastic destination for shopping. If you happen to visit during this month, look into handmade silver jewelry, Lefkara embroidery, olive oil products, cosmetics with natural ingredients, and Cypriot wine.
6 Top Things to Do in Winter in Cyprus
Join Panoramic Hikes or Walks in Cyprus Mountains
Winter mountains are especially pleasant for walking and hiking. This is that time of the year when you will see the waterfalls full of water and the air is the most transparent to admire the scenery.
Besides Troodos mountains, the only mountains that have snow in Cyprus, there is a mountain range in the north of Cyprus and Paphos Forest where to go hiking. The last one is famous for archaeological sites and ancient monasteries.
But mountains are not the only destination where to go hiking or walking. There are many panoramic walking paths near Paphos, in Akamas Peninsula NP, and near Ayia Napa.
The most popular and scenic walking and hiking paths in Cyprus for winter travel:
- Ayioi Anargiroi walking path – covers almost all the attractions of Cape Greco and starts from the church with the same name.
- Coastal trail in Larnaca – an easy type of hiking trail that runs along the seashore. The path starts from Finikoudes promenade and ends at Mackenzie Beach. You can cover the distance by bike or scooter, or walk on foot – especially if you are visiting Larnaca for the first time.
- Adonis trail – it starts right here, goes next to the path of Aphrodite and intersects with it in one place. This trail is more strenuous than the Aphrodite hike but you get even better views.
Take a Road Trip and Enjoy Scenic Drives
Winter is a perfect time for a road trip in Cyprus. The roads are quiet, prices for rental cars are significantly lower, and even though the days are short, you can still cover a lot since the island is small.
You can hire a car in any city in Cyprus, including Paphos, Larnaca, Protaras, Limassol and others, and head out to see the best of Cyprus’ nature and coast. Part of the country will be covered with forest and snow but there is also sloped terrain perfect for winter scenery.
Drive through the mountains and picturesque bays, see ancient monasteries and forts and ancient streets of mountain villages.
Winter together with early spring and late fall is the best season to go on a road trip in Cyprus.
Take a Trip to Lefkara
Around Larnaca are a few very pleasing to the eye small but cute Cypriot villages. One of them is Lefkara, constantly among the top most beautiful villages in Europe. And for many reasons.
First of all, it is very cozy and cute. The village and its surroundings lie at the foot of the mountain system, full of hills with panoramic views.
Secondly, Lefkara is living old Cyprus. In fact, it is a labyrinth of narrow streets unchanged for several centuries and houses with architecture from different eras. There are romantic buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries with lovely balconies, old houses of the Ottoman times, and at the same time buildings that go back to the 12th century. Residents of Lefkara love their village. You’ll see that it is very clean, neat and they constantly restore something.
Thirdly, Lefkara village is famous for shops, churches, workshops, and various handmade products. For many years, local women have been weaving lace, and men have been weaving silver filigree. They willingly start their workshop and pose for a photo.
The best time to visit elegant Lefkara is in late January and in February when the almond trees bloom among the stones. A little more to the south, in the village of Kato Drys, you can visit two artisan wineries – Ktima Christoudia and Ktima Dafermou. Winter for winemakers is a quiet hour – the harvest is gathered, the barrels are full. So that’s the best time to arrange wine tastings for tourists!
Do Not Miss Meze
In summer in Cyprus, everything you want to do is to drink water and stay on the beach. But in winter – to eat and drink wine. Cypriot meze is one of the best foods to eat in Cyprus in winter.
Meze is actually not a dish, but a culinary series. It came to Cyprus from Syria and Lebanon and took root in its own form.
The set of snacks does not have clear regulations, but usually includes more than 10 different items – from salads and sauces to meat or fish dishes. Each tavern has its own set and it differs from meze plate in other places.
The price for meze ranges between €15-20 per set and it will be enough for two hungry tourists. Sometimes, however, restaurants require visitors to order something else.
Here are a couple of good places where to eat meze in Cyprus:
- Mpoukia Kai Goulia – near the Church of Lazarus in Larnaca, simple and delicious. Local musicians often perform there in the evenings, not folk, but rather indie;
- Psarolimano – they have two locations, one in the area of Kastella beach in Larnaca and another one in Ayia Napa. In Larnaca, it is a bit away from the center, but the fish appetizer is one of the best in the city and cheaper than on the main promenade.
- Laiki Geitonia quarter in Larnaca – in the evening there are dozens of beautiful bars offering meze and other dishes.
See Paphos With Its Ancient History
Paphos is a simple and pleasant town that all types of travelers will love. However, for the most part, Paphos will really be appreciated by lovers of a beautiful holiday in luxury hotels and expensive restaurants.
It is one of the most expensive resort towns not only in Cyprus but in the entire Mediterranean. Thousands of travelers want to spend their vacation there, thanks to excellent service, clean beaches, fine restaurants, and an abundance of ancient attractions.
Paphos can safely be called a museum city where almost every building is under UNESCO protection. Monuments, tombs, columns, sculptures, theaters, and even many houses have historical value.
In winter, when you can’t be on the beach, there is a lot to see in and around Paphos: Villa of Theseus, the house of Orpheus, house of Dionysus, Odeon amphitheater, catacombs of Solomon, and Royal Tombs. And then there is Petra Tou Romiou – the place where the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite was born. In addition to all these places, there are also various museums.
Hit Snowy Slopes of Troodos Mountains
If you can’t imagine winter without sparkling snow and miss the sparkling snowdrifts, then you will be welcomed by the mountain town of Troodos.
There, on the slopes of Mount Olympus, the highest point of the island, are located “Zeus”, “Hera”, “Aphrodite” and “Hermes” – ski slopes for skiing and snowboarding, named after the Olympic gods.
Skiers of any level of training can conquer slopes of Olympos, although “Hera” and “Aphrodite” are for beginners and “Zeus” is only for professional skiers.
Visit Troodos to feel like an Olympic god and enjoy the beauty of the snow-covered region of Cyprus. There besides skiing and snowboarding, you can also go sledding and just take a ride on the lift. The ski season in Cyprus starts early in December and lasts until the end of March.
Spend a Day in Cape Greco
One of the most beautiful places in Cyprus Cape Greco is located near the club capital Ayia Napa. In the off-season, this town remains interesting only to seagulls and single romantics – most restaurants are closed, locks hang on the doors of beach bars as well as most clubs.
However, a few kilometers from Ayia Napa there is an absolutely unique and beautiful place – the natural park Cape Greco. It is worth devoting a whole day to this wonder.
First of all, Cape Greco has a dozen beautiful natural bays and lagoons with aquamarine water. Second, the park has many kilometers of cycling routes and hiking trails along the sea with panoramic views.
Third, one of the Cape Greco trails leads to one of the most beautiful and secluded beaches – Konnos Beach. And fourth, only in winter and early spring Cape Greco shimmers with bright colors and all shades of green. In summer, this place is not so bright at all and the impressions will be different. Plus, walking under the scorching sun and high humidity there in summer is too difficult.
The best way to get from Ayia Napa to Cape Greco is by rented car (10 minutes drive) or by bike, as well as by city bus number 101 which goes to Protaras. There are many parking lots at Cape Greco and all are free.
Go For a Day Trip to North Cyprus
Winter or spring is the perfect time to travel to North Cyprus. There are no tourists yet, the border checkpoints are empty and can be passed in 5 minutes, the weather is favorable for sightseeing which the northern part of Cyprus is literally full of.
From the must-see places in North Cyprus, start with the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis. They are extremely picturesque in winter due to abundant flowers. Another must-see place is the center of Famagusta with a small area behind the fortress walls that has a concentration of ancient churches and a pleasant atmosphere.
Plan a few hours in Kyrenia (Girne is the Turkish name) where you’ll find a fortress, promenade, maritime museum, as well as some nice restaurants with Turkish food.
If you have time, return through Nicosia and go on a quick self-tour there. The division of Cyprus capital into two parts is a tragic story, learning about it open eyes on many things.
When is the Best Time in Winter to Visit Cyprus
In my opinion, December and second part of February in Cyprus are the best time to travel and relax.
December is not very cold yet, the tender grass is already breaking through, there are many sunny, spring-like warm days. Under artificial Christmas trees, decorated for Christmas, live petunias are in full bloom and nature looks fresh and green.
December is also a perfect month to catch golden autumn. For that though you have to go to the mountains. If you are like me and love foliage and autumn colors and didn’t get enough of them in Europe during the fall months, come to Cyprus in December. And when the rain soaks the ground properly, mushrooms appear and their smell mixes up with the smell of rotten leaves.
February is another lovely month to have holidays in Cyprus. Nature is waking up more and more and with every day it feels like spring is there.
What to Pack For Cyprus in Winter
The Winter season is considered a real winter for Cypriots, but for most tourists from Europe, the weather may seem like autumn. Winter is the rainiest time of the year in Cyprus, but even then, the island still has a lot of sun. With the exception of January when there are more cloudy days.
December is usually considered the month when a large amount of precipitation falls. Therefore, it is worth packing a waterproof jacket, cap or fedora hat that will sit tight and won’t be blown away by the wind, an umbrella and appropriate shoes like Chelsea boots or sneakers.
For January, which can be quite windy, don’t forget a windbreaker, jumper, sweater, and other warm clothes. If you are visiting the mountains for skiing, you’ll need warmer boots and clothes. Do not pack any ski suit, rent in Troodos is available.
As for February, the weather this month is gradually improving starting with the third week of the month. There may be days when you’ll be able to wear polo shirts with a light jacket.
More Winter Travel Guides For Europe
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- Winter in Valencia – best month to travel
- Winter in Madrid – should you go?
- Montenegro in Winter Travel Tips – where to go & what to do
- Turkey in Winter – 8 things to know before you go
- Kyiv in Winter – why it’s also a good season to visit the capital of Ukraine
- Winters in Ukraine – what are they like?
- 12 Cheapest Places Where to Travel in Europe in Winter – best for budget travelers