How to do Cyprus on a budget

September 28, 2023

By Robin Gauldie

Cyprus has a well-earned reputation for hot summers and winter warmth. Temperatures can reach 35C in July and August and rarely go below 15C, even in January and December – at sea level at least.

It’s a different story in the Troodos Mountains, where its highest slopes (which rise to almost 2,000m above sea level), are snowy from January to March. You’ll even find cheap skiing on the slopes of Mount Olympus, Cyprus’ highest summit.

So, with holidays on the cards all year round and plenty of hotels that offer luxury at a price, it's important to do your homework to keep the cost of your getaway in check.

Here’s where to stay, eat and play in Cyprus without busting your budget.

Where to stay on a budget

You can save money on your Cyprus holiday by staying in a self-catering apartment even if you don’t intend to do much cooking. Having your own fridge means you can stock up on soft drinks, beer and wine from the nearest market instead of paying hotel prices.

You can often find excellent deals too – a double room with a kitchenette at the Sea N Lake View Apartments in Larnaca, for example, starts at €35 a night in low season.

All over Cyprus, you’ll pay a premium for a hotel right on the beach. For budget deals, look for apartments, private hostel rooms or villas with pools on the outskirts of Paphos and Limassol. At Lima Sol House Hostel, for example, you can pick up a double room from around €40 a night.

What to eat on a budget

Eat like a local in Cyprus and your stomach will thank you as much as your wallet. Meaty snacks such as souvlaki and sheftalia, served up in pitta bread with onions, tomato and salad, hit the spot without needing to fork out on a full dining experience.

Don’t be talked into ordering the full meze platter in restaurants either – instead, do what Cypriots do: order dish by dish.

And, tempting as it is, seafood such as red mullet and lobster comes with a hefty price tag. Opt for squid and whitebait instead – you’ll pay around €10 - €15 for a generous plateful. Even cheaper are savoury pastries such as tahinopita (tahini pie), tiropita (cheese pie) and eliopita (olive pie) from local bakeries. They cost just a couple of euros each.

What to do on a budget

It’s the beaches that draw most people to Cyprus. You’ll find the best (and most crowded) sandy beaches around Ayia Napa and Protaras. Access to all beaches is free – but you’ll pay at least €2.50 a day for a lounger and the same again for an umbrella. You’ll find long, empty stretches of sand unsullied by sunbeds at Lara Bay on the Akamas peninsula, but you’ll need your own transport to get there.

Look beyond the beaches and you’ll find lots of things to do on a budget in Cyprus. Most major museums and archaeological sites, such as the spectacular ruins at ancient Kourion, cost upward of €5 to enter. The Cyprus Museum, however, is free to visit, as is the Open Air Sculpture Park on Limassol’s seafront promenade.

You won’t pay a cent to get into the famous ‘painted churches’ of the Troodos Mountains either, with their dazzlingly colourful 12th-century frescoes. The most accessible are inside the walls of ancient Agios Ioannis Lampadistis Monastery, near Kalopanagiotis village.

You’ll also find quirky little village museums full of embroidered costumes, jewellery, old photographs, embroidery and ceramics in villages such as Fiti, Fasoula and Kato Akourdalia.

How to get around on a budget

The cheapest way to get from Paphos and Larnaca airports to resorts is by bus. Local buses, including airport buses, cost a flat €1.50 for a single adult ticket within the municipal boundaries of Paphos, Limassol, Larnaca and Nicosia, or €5 for a one-day ticket.

Car hire in Cyprus can be a bargain, with rates starting at less than £20 a day in Paphos this October when booked online. Look for rental companies that offer ‘fair fuel’ policies – if the fuel gauge reads the same when you return the car as it did when you rented it, you won’t be charged extra.

Cycling is also a cost effective and fun way to get around the island’s cities. Look out for bike sharing systems such as nextbike in Limassol. Prices start from €2.50 for your first sixty minutes and then €1 for every additional hour.

Insider tips

  • Stay in a hotel where a buffet breakfast is included and you’re on to a good thing – Cyprus’ buffets are lavish, all-you-can-eat affairs that combine the best of British with local treats like Cypriot sausages, cheeses, cold meats, olives and lots of fruit.
  • The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) offers free guided walks around Paphos, Larnaca, Limassol and Nicosia on various weekday mornings. Feeling more energetic? Follow one of the island’s many waymarked walking trails – you can pick up free maps and guides at CTO offices in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Ayia Napa.
  • Make the most of Limassol’s festivals. There’s unlimited free wine at the Limassol Wine Festival, where for a small entry fee you can drink as much as you like, courtesy of Limassol Municipality and half a dozen local wineries. It lasts for nine days between October 7 and 15, 2023. In the lead up to Lent, you can enjoy free parades, concerts and dances, and local wine and food tastings at Limassol’s colourful Carnival (starting February 8, 2024).

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