Cyprus is a beautiful island, with postcard-perfect beaches, and sunshine for more than 12 hours a day in summer. But throughout history, Cyprus has seen its fair share of invasions and has housed many civilizations including the Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Byzantines, who have all left unique cultural landmarks on the island. Exploring Cyprus with kids can be educational and fun.
These sites are something that you’ll want to share with the whole family, as many are safe and welcoming for children and history buffs alike. So grab your hiking boots, here are the best places to go for a step back in time whilst in Cyprus with kids.
The entire region of Paphos is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area is home to a multitude of archaeological wonders for you to explore making it a must-see if you’ll be in Cyprus with kids.
Discovered in 1962 by a local farmer, the incredible mosaics within the Paphos Archaeological Park are a must-see for anyone who appreciates incredibly well-preserved history. Built in the 2nd to the 5th Centuries AD, this site features Roman villas with floors of ornate mosaics, which are some of the best-preserved examples of ancient artwork in the Mediterranean. As you wander through the houses of Dionysus, Theseus, Eon, and Orpheus, children will love trying to depict the stories of Greek mythology told in the impressively vibrant mosaics.
Tomb of the Kings
Discover this Hellenistic necropolis of over 100 tombs, laying rest to ancient high-ranking officials and aristocracy, which dates all the way back to the 3rd Century BC. Used throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras, the tombs, unfortunately, fell victim to looting, and many of them were destroyed. However, there are plenty of incredible tombs still standing and open for adventurers to discover.
Entry to the tombs is cheap, with children going in for free. The site is welcoming with water fountains and lush green palms lining the pathways that wind between the ancient monuments and tombs. Children are welcome to run, climb and explore, so whether or not they are old enough to understand the history, they are sure to have fun scrambling through tiny passageways and climbing the rocks. Be sure to wear proper trainers or boots to avoid getting stones stuck in your sandals, and keep a close eye on the kids as the staircases can be narrow and steep.
The rich history of Cyprus is evident right across its second-largest city, Limassol. With everything from ancient ruins to a museum, the architecture and history to be found here are sure to impress even the youngest traveler.
Near the harbour, you’ll find a grand medieval castle waiting to be explored. Rebuilt around 1590 under Ottoman rule, over the remains of what was likely the first cathedral of the city, the castle is now home to a collection of artifacts collected from the various empires it’s housed over the centuries. Once owned by Richard the Lionheart, the castle is an iconic landmark of the entire island.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Amathus is a place of deep history. It was a settlement dating back to 1100 BC, which housed many people including the Greeks, Persians, and Byzantines. The town was eventually destroyed by the Arabs, but it is still well worth exploring the ancient ruins left today.
A town dating back to 4500 BC during Neolithic times, Kourion consists of a vast catalog of stunning relics and monuments of its history. Many Roman buildings still stand proudly today, including the Amphitheatre, Public Baths, and the House of Gladiators. The whole family will enjoy wandering through the ghost town of ancient villas and grand ruins, complete with mosaics and incredible architecture that have survived the test of time.
Legend says that the great Byzantine hero, Basil, threw down this giant rock from the Troodos Mountains, to ward off invading Saracens. The rock is believed to be the birthplace of the Goddess Aphrodite, and rumor has it that if you swim around the rock three times you are sure to find your true love. The rock is just off-shore from a small pebbly bay, which is a lovely place for the kids to play whilst you appreciate the natural beauty of the coastline.
These are just a few of the amazing historical sites Cyprus has to offer. With such a glorious setting, history trips have never been so enjoyable for explorers young and old. Only one question remains, where will you go first?