We had a fantastic time cycling in Cyprus and want you to have a similar experience.
Below you’ll find our top tips for ensuring you have the cycling holiday of a lifetime in Cyprus.
Note: if you're looking for cycling routes, where to stay, when to visit etc to plan your Cyprus cycling holidays, you need our main cycling guide to Cyprus, which is here.
Written by John Maskell
Preparation for your Cyprus cycling holiday
1. If you plan to ride any of the Troodos mountain roads, we’d suggest bringing a compact chainset with a 11-28 cassette. That said, the gradients are not that bad and one of our group managed to ride up to Mount Olympos (1952m) on a time trial bike!
2. There are a few bike shops in Paphos that cover the main makes of bikes, but even so bring a spare hanger, inner tubes and a bike pump (and know how to use them). Our packing list has more suggestions. For most needs while you’re in Paphos, Cyprus, try the very good “Ride Easy” bike shop: more details of several bike shops are in our Cyprus destination guide.
3. The daytime temperatures all year round are between circa 15 and 32 degrees celsius, so you might sweat a lot. Bring two large water bottles and some hydration tablets. As well as the obligatory sun tan cream. Most of the hill villages have free potable water stations which are generally located near the village church. Cafes and restaurants are happy to fill water bottles and the water is drinkable.
Cyprus cycling maps
4. Most of the roads in Cyprus have very good road signs, but given Cyprus is some three times the size of Mallorca and has plenty of forests you can get lost! It is best to cycle with a GPS computer and to have downloaded route files before heading out (you know where you can find lots of tried and tested routes - here!). As Cyprus is part of the EU, if you are coming from Europe, your Garmin should automatically have the base maps.
Cyprus road conditions
5. We found the roads in Cyprus in very good condition with little traffic on them. For example early on Saturday morning in April, when we rode in the Paphos Forest we did not see a car for two hours. The roads are nice and wide so are suitable for beginners too.
6. Be aware there can be debris / rock falls on the roads after storms: so keep your wits about you.
7. Remember to cycle on the left hand side. There are plenty of signs to remind you of this. Cyclists from the UK/USA, also remember signs are in the metric system / distances are in kilometres.
8. We found that many of the road signs in Cyprus seemed to have been shot at several times by either rifles or shotguns. We've noticed the same thing in Corsica. We understand that this is in part due to the fact that national service in Cyprus is compulsory, after which people get to take their gun home to defend against any further Turkish act of aggression. We found the locals extremely friendly and did not see any “rednecks” with gun racks: honestly we found it was an extremely safe place to cycle.
9. Beware the wild mouflon (sheep), especially when descending at speed! We also saw a poster in a cafe sharing details of the snakes of Cyprus - though we didn't come across any ourselves (fortunately).
Cyprus cycling routes
10. The coast road is for “nice” cycling trips, whilst the roads going up into the Troodos mountains in the middle of Cyprus are for those who want a more adventurous and much more interesting ride. Riding up into the mountains has two parts to it: the first is a ride from the coast up to the plateau where the majority of vines and fruit trees grow, the second part is steeper from this plateau up into the forests and Mount Olympos itself within the Troodos mountains. You can find our route guides here.
11. The temperature is most likely going to be around 15 to 25 degrees in the off season and 25 to 35 degrees in the summer, so you may be losing up to a litre of fluids per hour in the saddle. We used the free water taps in the villages and the cafes to top up our water bottles. Make sure you take this seriously - heat stroke is very unpleasant and can strike fast.
12. Remember that the weather on the coast will be different to that in the Troodos Mountains. For example, there are ski runs at Mount Olympus which is nearly at 2,000 metres above the coast: so whilst it might be 20 degrees when you leave your costal hotel, it could be 5 degrees and raining in the mountains. Check the weather at both places before venturing out and we would advise packing a light jacket just in case.
Other things to know about cycling in Cyprus
13. It’s a good idea to be familiar with the rules of the road in Cyprus.
14. It is advisable to use either Paphos International Airport or Larnaca Airport as it is illegal to land in the Turkish occupied Eastern side of Cyprus and then cross the UN controlled partition to the Republic of Cyprus.
15. The tap water is very drinkable.
16. Cypriots tend to speak good English. Cyprus uses the Euro and is part of the Eurozone. We found that shops prefer cash. None of the cafes we came across were expensive.
17. Cyprus coffee is very strong and is served with a glass of water. You can order it
plain (sketo), one teaspoon of sugar (metrio) or two teaspoons of sugar (glyki). Milk
is never added and the thick layer at the bottom is not consumed. Alternatively if you
do not fancy going “local” ask for a coffee with milk and it will most likely be instant
Nestle with milk.
18. When we left Paphos International Airport, we found that the staff at oversized baggage were keen to try and confiscate our CO2 cannisters. To get around this, we got an email from [email protected] giving us permission to carry up to 4 CO2 cannisters on our British Airways flight and stuck the email to our bike box. Even with this “permission email” from the British Airways Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor, you might still get your cannisters taken, so you might want to just bring a hand pump instead.
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