With 326 days of sunshine a year, Cyprus is one of Europe’s sunniest islands. And we don’t know about you, but when we see a forecast that fabulous, we immediately reach for the beach bag. Whether you’re all about sunbathing, swimming or scenery, this sun-kissed island is lovely in every season. From isolated bays and shallow family-friendly favourites to the birthplace of an ancient Greek goddess, you’ll be spoilt for choice with our picks of the best beaches in Cyprus.
When you first set eyes on the honeyed hues of Golden Beach, it’s obvious how it got its gilded name. This secluded spot is situated in the far north-east of the island, on a remote stretch of amber sand at the tip of the Karpas Peninsula. In fact, it is its isolation that makes it one of the best beaches in Cyprus. With only a smattering of sun loungers and one or two restaurants nearby, Golden Beach remains relatively untouched. Just remember to pack some carrots along with your sun cream. Yes, you read that right – carrots. Wild donkeys line the road to the beach and won’t let you pass until you pay the toll of their favourite treat. A small price to pay for a place this pretty.
A strip of sun-bleached sand and pebbles leading into shallow sea, Kourion Beach is unspoilt and uncrowded. At the western end of the beach, the water is swimmable and child friendly, while the breezy conditions make this a popular spot with windsurfers. The beach is also in a Sovereign Base Area (parts of the island that remain under British jurisdiction), so development has been restricted in a bid to preserve the natural beauty of the coastline. And for history-lovers, this unblemished beach is hard to beat. It’s located close to the ancient city of Kourion, where you can take a post-sand stroll to explore the Greco-Roman amphitheatre, beguiling ruins and ornate mosaics.
Close to the party scene of Ayia Napa, Konnos Beach is surprisingly serene. Set in a small cove that’s sheltered for swimming and paddling, it’s popular with holidaymaking families and locals alike. There’s everything you need for a long day of doing very little – sunbeds, a café and showers to rinse off the sand. And if lounging is a little too laid-back for your liking, hiking trails lead from the beach into Cape Greco National Forest Park; a landscape of pine trees and rugged cliffs serving up spectacular sea views. Finish your hike back on the beach for a refreshing dip in the bay.
The name of this beach is a little misleading. It’s actually around three miles long, making it the longest in Cyprus. It means, however, that there is plenty of space for sun-seekers and sandcastle-builders to share. The warm, shallow waters are welcoming for swimmers of all ages, with lifeguards on duty between April and October. A short walk from the beach is the Limassol salt lake. Visit in winter to see the migratory flamingos who make a pitstop here on their journey between Africa and Europe. Up to 20,000 of these pink-plumed creatures make their home on the lake each year. And who can blame them for wintering near one of the best beaches in Cyprus?
Loggerhead turtles come to the unspoilt sands of Lara Beach to nest, which is why it’s been kept blissfully free of facilities. This pristine, protected place can only be reached by 4x4. But once you’ve navigated the potholes of the dirt path, wild beauty awaits. As well as being a safe haven for turtles, this off-the-beaten-path beach is heaven for those who prefer peace and quiet to people and parasols. For a closer look at the local residents, don’t miss a visit to the Turtle Conservation Station where rescued hatchlings are protected from predators until they’re ready to head for the ocean.
For a fuss-free family beach trip, Fig Tree Bay ticks all the right boxes. This Blue Flag beach has clean sand and shallow waters (ideal for swimmers and snorkellers), as well as facilities for a more comfortable stay (toilets, restaurants, sun lounger hire). There’s also a tiny islet just offshore that’s close enough to kayak to. A regular on TripAdvisor’s annual list of Europe’s best beaches (it ranked 20th in 2023), Fig Tree Bay is frequently busy, but tourists are tempted here for a reason. If it’s an effortless, enjoyable day on the sand you’re seeking, you won’t be disappointed.
The last entry in our list of the best beaches in Cyprus is the mythical birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Petra tou Romiou (also known as Aphrodite’s Rock) is the name of both a beach and the rock formations that peek above the waves, where Aphrodite is said to have emerged from the sea. It’s also one of the island’s most iconic landmarks and firmly on the tourist trail. For something a little more serene, go west to Ranti Forest Beach; a secluded shingled affair where the stony landscape makes sea shoes a must. This captivating stretch of coast seems a fitting place for the goddess of love to be born, as you can’t help but fall for its charms.