Limassol to Nicosia (Lefkosia) is a simple and convenient daytrip with interesting scenery from the southern coast to the Cypriot interior and here you’ll find two itineraries as well as the must-see Nicosia attractions. Here’s a complete guide to how to have a perfect day getting from Limassol to Nicosia, and exploring a fascinating old city.
Nicosia (or Lefkara) is an old walled city and the only contemporary European capital still divided. It is split by the “Green Zone” between Nicosia and North Nicosia, and both can be visited on a daytrip from Limassol to Nicosia.
Cyprus may be the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, but it is still small enough to fully enjoy it in one week. No matter where you decide to stay for your holiday in Cyprus, you can easily take a day trip from almost any city to another.
Still, if you plan to explore everything Cyprus has to offer, then perhaps Limassol is the best choice as your base. As the second biggest city on the island, it offers a cosmopolitan holiday and a glimpse into Cyprus’ coastal lifestyle as well as being close to the center of the long southern coastline.
Similarly, if you are wondering where to travel from Limassol, Nicosia is an unbeatable choice. After all, it is Cyprus’ largest city, as well as the only one located in the island’s center. So you can experience a different side of the country.
Just like Limassol, Nicosia combines modern and traditional architecture, contains lots of museums and archaeological sites to visit, and offers hours of wandering along shopping streets full of cafes and restaurants.
Travelers can journey from Limassol to Nicosia through some beautiful countryside by bus or car. There is no direct flight between the two cities – the nearest airports are Paphos and Larnaca.
What is the driving distance from Limassol to Nicosia?
- The Limassol to Nicosia distance is about 62 kilometers. However, the road distance is about 90 kilometers, while the travel time by car shouldn’t take more than an hour in normal traffic.
- In different circumstances, such as rush hour in Nicosia, it could take up to one hour and a half or more. However, the driving time will also vary depending on the transportation you will use.
Limassol to Nicosia Bus Routes
The average bus between Limassol and Nicosia is one hour and forty-five minutes but can be longer on weekends and holidays.
Although there are several tours operated by private tour guides for a day trip to Nicosia, travelers can also use public transportation, which is cheaper and quicker. Cyprus’ public bus network is called Intercity Buses and is formed by green buses connecting every city on the island.
The Limassol to Nicosia route starts from New Port Passenger Building and arrives at Archiepiskopou Makariou III Ave. There is a bus service every few hours from Limassol to Nicosia. For more details, the timetable and ticket prices, check the Intercity Buses website.
Limassol to Nicosia Bus Times
Buses run hourly between Limassol and Nicosia. On weekdays the earliest departure is at 05:30 in the morning, and the last bus departs at 21:30.
On weekends and holidays, the first bus is at 07:00 and the last at 22:30 at night. All services run directly with no transfers required and take approximately one hour and forty-five minutes.
Overall, the bus schedule from Limassol to Nicosia and back gives enough time for visitors to explore the city. So, depending on each individual’s schedule and bucket list, there are many things to do while in Nicosia.
Nicosia Intercity Bus Station
Most of Nicosia’s attractions, museums, shops, restaurants, and other establishments are in the center and specifically within the old town. It’s best then to take the intercity bus from New Port – Passenger Building in Limassol to Solomou Square in Nicosia. The square’s location is within minutes from the city’s heart and close to most tourist attractions.
Limassol to Nicosia By Car
If you’re planning on seeing more of Cyprus than just your beach environment, a car is highly convenient and one of the few places I wholly recommend hiring a car online before you arrive.
But in case you prefer to take a taxi, you will notice several around Limassol offering their services at reasonable prices. The cheapest starts from €65 from Limassol to Nicosia.
Tip: There’s a large difference in the quality of the many car rental agencies in Cyprus. Don’t let the person showing you the guy skirt around the car in 30 seconds and ask you to agree it’s all fine – spend time checking out scratches, dints, tires, etc. Better still, pre-book online before you go with the reputable Discover Cars.
Best Things to Do and See En-Route
First of all, the route between the two cities is beautiful. Whether you are taking a bus, a taxi, or a rental car, you’ll pass traditional villages, forested landscapes, sea and mountain views, and even archaeological sites.
If you travel by car, you can choose between various routes that showcase different aspects of the island. Also, you can form your own tour on your terms. And finally, the travel time is quicker, you don’t need any transfers, and you can choose your vehicle and what time you prefer to depart or arrive.
Here are the best things to do on your way to Nicosia and within the old city on both sides of the Green Line.
Route 1: Limassol – Troodos – Nicosia
This route is specifically for those who decide to drive to Nicosia.
The road distance is about 90 miles (145 km) but the driving distance and slow speed through the mountains, means it will take you about three hours.
Alassa is a small village known for the curious apparition of Saint Nicholas’ sunken church. It’s located by Kouris Reservoir which is the largest dam in Cyprus.
You can only see all of it when the water is very low, usually only a handful of times a year.
Although small, Alassa’s ruins and ancient Roman mosaics are perfect (you must see the mosaic taken from here to the Limassol Museum of Eros and Aphrodite). The remains of a Bronze Age city were discovered here in the 1980s, including a palace.
Lofou is built at 800 meters altitude featuring traditional mountainous architecture that is recognized by UNESCO as an architecturally important village. It is built amphitheatrically into the hill and is an enchanting wine village with vineyards and restored traditional homes decorating the hills.
Omodos is a picturesque village with cobblestone alleys, a beautiful square, and traditionally built houses. In the heart of the village sits the imposing and majestic Monastery of the Holy Cross. The historic monastery is said to have been established before 327 A.D. by St Helen.
Platres is one of the most popular mountainous villages for locals and tourists.
For this reason, there is more tourist infrastructure here than almost anywhere else in the Troodos Mountains. It suffered during Covid and is looking a little worn. You can trek from here along one of the nature trails to discover one of the highest waterfalls in Cyprus.
Kakopetria is the last village you’ll pass before arriving in Nicosia. It is built on the foothills of the Troodos Mountains in the Solea valley. Similar to Platres, this is one of the most visited mountainous villages.
You must stop here to visit the historic Byzantine church of Saint Nicholas Stegis!
Route 2: Limassol – Lefkara – Nicosia
This route is also for those traveling by car.
The road distance is about 120 kilometers and the driving distance will approximately take two hours.
Located close to Pentakomo village and a short distance from the hotel district of Limassol, Governor’s Beach is one of the most popular resorts on the island. It is characterized by the chalk-white rocks that extend into the blue sea. The beach has calm, pristine waters and fantastic nature walks along the coastline.
Choirokoitia is a well-preserved settlement from the Neolithic Age listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So, for those looking to learn more about Cyprus’ history, this is a good start. Here, visitors will find several remains, as well as reconstructed houses that showcase the people’s living conditions.
Finally, before arriving in Nicosia, Lefkara is the last stop. It is a village located in the Larnaca district, and it is said to be the birthplace of Cypriot folk needlecraft art. Admire the village’s art also known as “Lefkaritiko” by browsing at the several traditional street shops.
Where to go in Nicosia
For those interested in ancient history, Cyprus Museum should be at the top of your list.
It has an extensive collection of artifacts from the Neolithic period right up to the Byzantine era. The most famous exhibition is of the hundreds of terra-cotta figurines dating back to the 2nd millennium B.C. It’s the largest and oldest museum in Cyprus but it will be moved to a new site in the next couple of years as it can only display a fraction of its collection.
Nicosia’s Old Town Neighborhood
The best way to experience Nicosia is through the city’s old narrow streets with traditional Cypriot architecture in the old town’s neighborhood.
It is a tourist area featuring traditional restaurants with authentic Cypriot cuisine, local wine and spirits, and shops with souvenirs, folk art, and crafts.
After an invasion by the Turkish army in 1974, Nicosia became the only capital in the world divided into two parts.
A large part of the city is within North Cyprus, which you can cross over to from the Ledra Palace Crossing Point in the city’s center. You can also walk along the Green line, a UN Buffer Zone to see remnants of the 1974 war such as abandoned houses and empty streets.
Tip: You must take your passport if you plan to cross into North Nicosia, it’s a very quick and painless process. Make sure to see the Büyük Han – it’s one of the most important and interesting buildings in Cyprus.
Nicosia’s Venetian Fortifications
The first thing you’ll notice in Nicosia is the impressive Venetian walls surrounding the old city.
The walls were designed to form a massive star. Today, instead of a form of security, the walls feature gardens and parks and are often used for concerts and other festivals.
The most notable gate is the Famagusta Gate which is used as a cultural center and exhibition.
The Limassol to Nicosia distance is an easy endeavor with Intercity buses not requiring any additional transfers. And if you are traveling by car, you are in for an amazing tour through the Cyprus countryside by taking either of the routes described above.