Visiting Cyprus for a holiday during an early winter month and particularly December may sound a bit off-season for most tourists but in reality, if you visit Cyprus in December, there are plenty of things worth exploring and in this guide, you’ll get the low down on the best things to see and do, best day trips, where to eat, and where to stay.
Thanks to the mild weather (as Cyprus is surrounded by the Mediterranean sea) as well as the blockbuster cultural and historic sites, the many hotels offering holiday specials, cultural events, and outdoor activities, your time in Cyprus will be as busy and adventurous as you’d like.
- Cyprus Weather during the winter season
- Where to Stay in Cyprus in December
- What To Wear In December In Cyprus
- What To Do In December In Cyprus
- Go On Day Trips To District Areas
- Visit historic Monasteries and the painted Byzantine UNESCO churches
- Get active outdoors
- Spend Time Eating: taste authentic local Cypriot cuisine
- Visit Cultural and Historic Sites
- Christmas in Cyprus
- Final Thoughts on Visiting Cyprus in December
Cyprus Weather during the winter season
While Cyprus for most of the year has generally warm weather, Cyprus in December is marked by mild weather conditions that do not typically reach extremely cold levels.
The average temperature during a Cyprus December day is between 18℃ in coastal areas whereas the mean temperature in Cyprus mountains is lower, ranging from 12 to 15℃.
The temperature drops to an average of 7 to 10℃ during the evening in Cyprus in December which is higher than in many other European countries.
Cyprus weather is characterized by a mild Mediterranean winter with fairly strong winds and a short-lasting period of rainy days and sunny spells/sunny days in between.
|Month||High / Low(°C)||High / Low(°F)||Rain|
|January||17° / 10°||63° / 49°||9 days|
|February||18° / 9°||64° / 49°||7 days|
|March||20° / 11°5||67° / 51°||5 days|
|April||23° / 14°||73° / 57°||3 days|
|May||26° / 17°||80° / 63°||1 day|
|June||30° / 21°||86° / 70°||0 days|
|July||32° / 23°||90° / 74°||0 days|
|August||33° / 23°||91° / 74°||0 days|
|September||31° / 22°||87° / 71°||0 days|
|October||28° / 19°||82° / 66°||2 days|
|November||23° / 12°||73° / 54°||4 days|
|December||19° / 10°||66° / 49°||8 days|
The sunny spells typically last up to seven days in Southern Cyprus. Rain showers also typically last up to 7 days.
The rainy season in Cyprus starts is October to February and December is the rainiest month on average throughout the year, surpassing the previous month in rainfall volume.
There is also high humidity during winter time which ranges between 65-95%.
While there is no extremely disturbed weather during December, it is not uncommon during the same day to experience rapid changes in climate conditions e.g. two hours of sunny spells alternating with brief rain showers.
In December, Cyprus also has enough snow volume to go skiing.
Where to Stay in Cyprus in December
The resort towns are still busy through the winter months, but so too are the ski resorts. Cyprus hotels with spas, indoor heated swimming pools, covered terraces for alfresco dining, and kids’ indoor activities are some of the features that can make a winter stay delightful.
Many of the large resorts use winter as an opportunity for pool maintenance and close their indoor and outdoor pools from November until mid-March.
Here are the some of the best winter seaside and mountain stays that keep all their facilities open:
The Ivi Mare – Designed for Adults by Louis Hotels – this Paphos resort offer full and half-board and some rooms have private outdoor hot tubs and spa facilities. There’s an indoor pool and the outdoor pool has a 10-seat hot tub.
Amara – Sea Your Only View – as its name suggests, this Limassol property offers only sea-view rooms. There a 4 swimming pools and a spa. The spa features an indoor heated swimming pool and the only seawater pool in Cyprus, (adult-only).
Casale Panayiotis – In Kalopanayiotis, a sensational mountain retreat on the slopes of the Troodos mountains, indoor fireplaces in the wonderful rooms, a private suite with spa use (the spa facilities and treatments are high quality), and a full English breakfast – this hotel is the ultimate Cypriot mountain hideaway.
What To Wear In December In Cyprus
If you are wondering what the December weather needs in terms of staying warm, it’s true you will need warm winter clothes like warm jackets over at least one long-sleeved layer, but there is no need to wear even warmer clothes as you might in other European winter destinations, e.g. heavy coats unless it’s very cold outside.
Some people, and especially tourists, choose to wear shorts and thin long-sleeve jackets or hoodies and pullovers on top but locals in Cyprus typically cover themselves more warmly! In the pic above, tourists are in summer clothes in Paphos in December, but below locals are dressing more warmly in the interior of the country.
Some common winter clothes you can wear during most December days in Cyprus are moderately warm jackets, hoodies, joggers, pants, long sleeves, thick dresses, and puffy/thick warm clothes on top paired with pants.
What To Do In December In Cyprus
Due to the mild Mediterranean winter and the brief rainy period in December, you can enjoy plenty of sights and activities undisturbed.
Here are some great ideas on what to do in December in Cyprus
Go On Day Trips To District Areas
Day trips in the district and especially mountainous zones in Cyprus are a great idea for many reasons.
First of all, they are easy to plan and execute as distances in Cyprus are fairly short and it takes typically less than 2 hours to travel from one district to another in Southern Cyprus.
Secondly, the scenery gains a cool and impressive allure with snowfalls on the highest mountains of Cyprus and waterfalls that are often surrounded by piles of ice and hail.
Thirdly there are many station restaurants and motels in the district you can stay overnight if you wish, offering rates at a low cost or discount for tourists.
If all that sounds great to you, then head out on a day trip or three to these excellent day trip destinations:
Kyperounta village in the Limassol district (approximately 35 minutes from Limassol city center by car), is a large village sitting in the Troodos mountain range with plenty of restaurants, shops, and historic churches to visit.
The Museum of National Struggle and the Museum of Folk Art are fascinating to visit, especially if the weather is poor.
Pomos and Pachyammos Villages
Pomos and Pachyammos villages in the Akamas peninsula are two small villages that combine both breathtaking sea and mountain sceneries as well as historical sites and Orthodox churches.
Pomos is only 60 kilometers to the north and east of Paphos so is an easy half-day trip. An incredibly ancient stone idol was found here, and there’s a cave where legend has it a dragon lived, a long beach, cape, and port. It’s a sleepy, unspoiled, holiday village.
Pacchyammos village is close by and you can hear the bells of Agios Raphael Church ringing out, but that’s about all. It’s wild and long beach has deep water and you’ll occasionally find a turtle on the beach.
This high-altitude mountain range in northern Cyprus is similar to the Troodos mountains in southern Cyprus.
From Nicosia you can’t but help see the enormous Turkish Flag painted on the slope of the Kyrenia (or Besparmak) mountain range. It’s 425 meters wide and 250 meters high and is lit up at night, just in case the Cypriots forget that Turkey claims this northern part of Cyprus. T
The mountain range is where you’ll find three defensive castles built in the middle ages that are popular day trip destinations: St. Hilarion Castle, Buffavento Castle, and Kantara Castle.
The ancient Kourion amphitheater in the Limassol district (approximately 20 minutes from Limassol town center), is one of the best ancient Greek historical sites on the island. It is also close to Kolossi Castle and the Sanctuary of Apollon Ylatis to round out a day trip.
Farmakas village in Nicosia district (at a distance approximately 43 kilometers from Nicosia city center) is an idyllic village in the foothills of Troodos mountains with stone-built houses and award-winning traditional spoon sweets made by Mrs. Eleni.
Kalopanayiotis village, a picturesque village nestled in the evergreen Marathasa valley in the Troodos Mountains with traditional homes, Orthodox chapels, and awarded holiday properties like Casale Kalopanayiotis. Here is where you’ll find the Agios Ionnis Lampadistris monastry with its magnificent frescoes.
Visit historic Monasteries and the painted Byzantine UNESCO churches
Cyprus, despite its small size, has an immense wealth of religious and historic heritage to showcase, and even if you hate beaches, I would come to Cyprus just for the archaeological and religious sites – it’s that amazing!
The Christian Orthodox monasteries in the four districts of Southern Cyprus are perhaps the greatest part of the Greek-Cypriot religious culture and heritage, as are the 10 10th century Byzantine frescoed churches. Above you’ve seen Agios Ionnis Lampadistris Monastery, and below is Timos Stavros church.
If you are planning to visit a traditional Orthodox Christian monastery that is open to tourists in December, pick from this list of national treasures:
- Kykkos Monastery in the Nicosia district was founded by the Byzantine Emperor Costantinos Komnenos and is currently the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Cyprus.
- Machairas Monastery in the Nicosia district is an outstanding monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary at a high altitude near the village of Lazanias.
- Monastery of Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Amirous in the Apsiou village area in the Limassol district, a large all-nun monastery with two churches, a large guest room, and a shop with handmade products and religious books.
- Monastery of Agios/St. Neophytos in the Paphos district, near the scenic village of Tala, a historic monastery where Saint Neophyte himself has stayed alone throughout his life.
- Monastery of Timiou Prodromou/St. John The Forerunner is near Mesa Potamos waterfall in Limassol district. It’s an all-male monk monastery with distinct traditional architecture enveloped by lush plantations.
Other beautiful monasteries you can visit are the Agia Moni Monastery of St. Nicholas near Statos village in the Paphos district, the Trooditissa Monastery in Troodos Northern mountain range in the Nicosia district, and the Monastery of St. George of Symvoulas in Limassol.
The majority of the above monasteries are open to guests from 9 a.m to 6 p.m with no entrance fees (unless you are going as part of a group).
You can stay overnight in some of these monasteries, but of course, you need to always ask in advance for any available rooms for guests at least three days before you hope to stay.
The monasteries listed above don’t charge an extra cost for staying overnight. You’ll likely be treated with meals as well, but it’s an Orthodox Christian custom to leave a small donation in the churches of these Monasteries.
Get active outdoors
Cyprus in December is an ideal time for trying outdoor activities, even if it’s snowing or raining. The cold yet tolerable weather in Cyprus allows a wide range of winter sports.
Try these outdoor activities if you visit Cyprus in December:
Natural Hiking Trails and Waterfalls
Follow natural trails in Cyprus’ mountainous zones such as:
- the Millomeris waterfalls and trail hiking in the Limassol district,
- the natural trail of Agiasma between Kathikas and Peyia village in the Paphos district, and
- the Kalopanayiotis natural linear trail in the Nicosia district.
Ski, Snow Skate, and Hike in the Troodos Mountains and Mount Olympus
The Troodos area is the primary mountain range to head to during the snowy ski season, with a dedicated ski club offering courses and supervision by an expert. On Mount Olympus is the Sun Valley ski area. It’s even possible to learn Snowskating with husky dogs at Snow Skating Limassol.
Cyprus Ski Federation & Club website: https://www.cyprusski.com/
Snow Skating Limassol website: https://www.limassolskateschool.com/sled-dogs-snowskates.html
Test your limits with rock climbing in Gerakopetra in Akamas Peninsula, Cape Greco in Ayia Napa, or the Xeros Potamos (river) valley in the Paphos district.
Just make sure you wear the proper gear and go preferably with someone else for safety. These climbers are using rope
Go cycling with a rented mountain bike or a booked group in these great cycling spots:
- along Akamas ridge,
- the Mount Olympus area,
- the Lysos Loop,
- the Limassol Akrotiri route, or
- the Kyrenia mountainous zone in Northern Cyprus.
Cyprus December Swimming is not just for the brave-hearted!
No, not the many water parks that are so popular in summer (they’re closed in winter).
The average water temperature of the sea surrounding Cyprus in December is 17-19 ℃, so go swimming in:
- the clear waters of Blue Lagoon in Akamas,
- Nissi beach in Ayia Napa,
- Zygi in Larnaca,
- Cape Kormakitis on the northwestern tip of Cyprus,
- Paphos harbor near the changing rooms with showers.
If you also want to soak yourself in natural thermal waters in Cyprus in December, you can head to the thermal waters of Kalopanayiotis village and stay overnight in a nearby property or resort.
Other natural heated water spots include the sulfur spring waters of St. Anastasia in Theletra village in the Paphos district and Adonis Baths in the Akamas Peninsula.
Milliou village also has heated waters with a spa resort and a heated pool, sitting on the river valley and allowing direct access to the natural thermal waters of the lake.
Spend Time Eating: taste authentic local Cypriot cuisine
While there are hundreds of restaurants catering to tourists even during winter in Cyprus, if you want to taste authentic Cyprus or Mediterranean cuisine favored by the locals, it’s best to go beyond the borders of the city.
The following restaurants and taverns combine great food, service, and views of the winter scenery all across Cyprus.
- Kaledonia Rotis Tavern/Restaurant in Pano Platres of Limassol district, serving traditional dishes in a cozy atmosphere and offering a welcoming service.
- Costa’s Tavern in Coloni village in the Paphos area, serving one of the biggest and best local meze ranges on the island. The tavern also has live music every Wednesday and weekend.
- Symposio Tavern in Pelendri village in the Limassol district is renowned for its farm-to-table meze and its rustic atmosphere, and small folk art museum.
- Ampelothea Tavern at Omodos village in Limassol district, serving fresh traditional food–from breakfast to dinner.
- Ais Giorkis Tavern in Kakopetria in the Nicosia district has an interesting fusion of Cretan Greek and Cyprus cuisine at affordable prices.
- Militzis Traditional Tavern in the Larnaca Finikoudes area is a restaurant and tavern famous for its souvla and casserole dishes.
- Taverna Ropas in Paralimni, serving local fresh food and sweets in a welcoming ambiance.
Most restaurants and tavernas in Cyprus don’t require booking in advance, especially if there are only 1 or 2 people during lunchtime. If there are 4 or more, it’s always best to book a table beforehand.
Visit Cultural and Historic Sites
Even though the weather in Cyprus during December can get very windy at times, you can still explore plenty of cultural, historical, and archaeological sites.
If the weather outside doesn’t allow it, you can visit a museum of ancient or traditional/folklore items.
Here are some exciting suggestions:
- Kato Paphos Archaeological Zone – this enormous site contains ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval remains. The Lighthouse of Paphos, an ancient Greek amphitheater and Asclepion, and a medieval castle are some of the sites you’ll come across as you wander the poorly signposted large area.
- Kato Paphos Archaeological Zone -The Tombs of the Kings are one of the world’s most important and interesting archaeological sites that show the influence of Egyptian culture, religion, and architecture over Cyprus during their period of rule.
- Kato Paphos Archaeological Zone – Roman mosaics. One of the best-preserved sites in the world for exquisite Roman mosaics is built beside and on top of the ancient Greek city that came before Roman occupation. The House of Dionysus is a standout but many important mosaics are outside in the open air because of a lack of funds to preserve them.
- Cyprus Folk Art Museum in Nicosia is a gothic architecture building that dates back to the 15th century and hosts a range of local tools, art, pottery, and other folk items.
- Paphos’s Medieval castle and harbor, are perhaps the most distinct landmarks of Paphos town for both Venetian and Ancient Greek ruins.
- Ayia Trias Basilica in Famagusta hosts old Byzantine church ruins that reference the early Christianity era in Cyprus.
- Fikardou Rural Museum in Fikardou village in Nicosia is a small stone-built museum hosting an array of rural art objects.
- Grand Mosque, located at the heart of the Old Turkish zone of Limassol city, is surrounded by beautiful palm trees and stones.
- The Archaeological Museum of Limassol displays statues, sculptures, and objects that date back to the Neolithic age.
Other notable places and activities you can try out while visiting Cyprus in December include watching the island’s most exotic guests – the pink flamingos in the salt lakes of Larnaca, exploring the old towns of Nicosia, North Nicosia, or Paphos, and indulging in some retail therapy at a Cyprus shopping mall.
Christmas in Cyprus
Shops and malls in Southern Cyprus are all primed and decorated for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays, making a must-visit if you a fan of the festive atmosphere. Read a comprehensive guide to the events and tradtions of a Christmas in Cyprus.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Cyprus in December
Despite December being a low-season month, you still have many options to explore, and the prices of Cyprus luxury hotels, and smaller resorts as well as holiday property and vehicle rentals are cheaper.
So if you fancy an adventurous and cool holiday off-season and at a lower cost, you should definately visit Cyprus in December!