Flights to Nicosia
Known by most of the world as Nicosia, and by the Turkish as Lefkosa, Nicosia is the largest city and capital of both northern and southern Cyprus. It’s been a city divided since 1974 though in recent years that ‘border’ has become more open and generally tourists can travel fairly freely between the two sides.
Flights to Nicosia no longer come to the Nicosia International Airport as it was abandoned following the troubles in 1974. Today, the main airport for flights to Nicosia is the Larnaca International Airport (airport code: LCA), and there are frequent shuttles to Nicosia from Larnaca. Flights to Nicosia (arriving at Larnaca) are offered from South Africa with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, both stopping in London, and a flight with KLM will take you through Amsterdam. You can also travel via Cairo with either South African Airways or Egyptair.
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The Tourist Attractions of Nicosia:
Cyprus is a popular beach holiday destination but Nicosia proves that there’s more to Cyprus than just the beaches! This cosmopolitan city offers ample shopping and dining opportunities as well as culture and entertainment, making this a popular city destination throughout the year.
Nicosia is an interesting city – on the one hand you have the southern side of the city which is visibly thriving. This is where the majority of the city’s population lives and this is where many tourists will spend the majority of their time. In the northern part of Nicosia, known by the Turkish Cypriots as Lefkosa, it’s a different story. There’s a far smaller population and most of the rest of the population of Northern Cyprus lives some distance away. This has meant the northern part of Nicosia has become run-down and relatively untouched since the city was divided in 1974. It makes for an interesting visit though; seeing the contrast between the two sides.
Northern Nicosia – Lefkosa
Though it’s the more run down part of Nicosia, Lefkosa still offers things to see and is worth visiting just to see the contrast if nothing else. You’ll see mosques, Turkish flags and places named Ataturk Square here. Look out particularly for Selimiye Mosque (also known as St Sophia Cathedral). It was built in 1228 and the two minarets of the mosque make this a famous landmark.
The indoor and outdoor markets are popular too and you can buy some wonderful Turkish products here such as local cheese, olive oil, Turkish delight and more.
Southern Nicosia undoubtedly has many more attractions than Lefkosa does. These include numerous museums dedicated to various times in Cyprus’ history such as the National Struggle Museum, plus more generalised historical museums include the Cyprus Museum, the Leventis Municipal Museum, and the Byzantine Museum.
You can visit numerous shops in Nicosia, including very modern department stores and swanky designer stores but for a real taste of traditional Cyprus you should venture off from some of the larger more travelled streets and visit some of the small, quieter side streets. You’ll find an eclectic mix of different shops here, plus traditional Cypriot cafés and restaurants that the locals frequent.
When Should You Visit?:
As a city destination you can visit Nicosia at any time of the year. Summers are the most popular as this is a time when the Mediterranean climate gives the city hot and dry days with average highs getting up to nearly 37C in July and August. Winters are mild but wetter, though rainfall is low in Nicosia. The average high in January is still a pleasant 15C.