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A Quick Look at Cyprus' Administrative Districts

The Republic of Cyprus is divided into five* administrative districts, Paphos, Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca and Paralimni, which is what remains in the south of the former Famagusta Province.

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Given its relatively small size, Cyprus' districts are surprisingly diverse

 
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From the forest-clad slopes of the Akamas and northern Paphos province, through the Troodos Mountains and on to the coastal reaches of eastern Cyprus with its splendid beaches, Aphrodite's Isle offers its visitors and residents a widely varied assortment of scenery and entertainments.

Nicosia District | Paphos District
Larnaca District | Famagusta District
Limassol District | The Troodos
Administrative Information

 

Map of Cyprus, marking Paphos and Nicosia District

Larnaca District (Province) - A Mix of Rural and Cosmopolitan Atmospheres

Oi Finikoudes, LArnaca's promenade
Oi Finikoudes, Larnaca's Promenade

 

Home to the Republic's largest international airport, Larnaca has been the main gateway into Cyprus since the Turkish invasion of 1974. Consequently, the surrounding region has continued to attract not only a diverse expatriate population from across Europe, but also a range of international businesses which have established bases here.

Together, these factors have produced a locality with a truly cosmopolitan feel. Indeed, walking down Oi Finikoudes, the town's main promenade, on any given summer's day, one is likely to be overhear a great variety of languages in the multitude of cafes, bars and restaurants lining the beach-front road.

Across its eastern reaches, Larnaca District tends to be mainly agricultural in nature, with countless farming villages scattered throughout the province's expansive stretches of coastal plain. By and large, these tend to be unpretentious, utilitarian places, although a few of them do display the traditional charm and atmosphere that has made Cypriot village life so attractive for expatriates from around Northern Europe.

Of these, Oroklini, Pervolia and Pyla are probably the most noteable examples. Located within Larnaca's commuter-belt, these little communities have experienced a substantial growth in population during recent years, as an increasing number of foreign professionals and retirees have chosen to take up residence in the region.

 

The Medieval Keep at Pyla Village
Pyla's Medieval Keep

Venturing west across the province, the costal plains gradually give way to a landscape consisting of gently rolling hills. Once again, this region is mainly agricultural in nature, with a collection of little farming villages nestled in the myriad little valleys running towards the Mediterranean Sea. Watching over this landscape is Stavrovouni (Mountain of the Cross), a towering hill which is home to a massive fourth century monastery. Though the drive to the top is a lengthy one, at least by Cypriot standards, the view you're rewarded with on a clear day is well worth it. The monastery itself a rather monumental affair, and is reputedly home to a piece of the Holy Cross, so if you're into Christian history, you might want to consider taking a tour. Beware though, because women are not allowed within the monastery's walls, for fear of over-exciting the local monks.

Once again, this part of the district is home to a substantial expatriate population, most of which is concentrated in the western villages of Maroni, Psematismenos and Zygi.

All in all, Larnaca District has plenty on offer for both visitors and residents. And while the province itself may be predominantly rural in nature, it also boasts one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan towns in Cyprus. What's more, the region itself is perfectly located for easy travel across the entire Republic. In fact, from Larnaca itself, it's possible to reach almost anywhere on the island in less than two hours.

The 4th Century Stavrovouni Monastery
Stavrovouni Monastery, towering over the coastal landscape

Map of Larnaca District from Google Maps

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Limassol District (Province) - Much more than Cyprus' commercial heartland...

Ancient seaside Basilica at Kourion near Limassol
Ancient Basilica on Kourion's Seafront

 

Although Limassol District itself is usually referred to as the commercial heartland of Cyprus because of its major city, this is somewhat misrepresentative for the province as a whole. Once you get away from Limassol, most of the district is comprised of craggy costal cliffs rising into the Troodos Mountains, charming, picturesque Cyriot villages such as Laneia, Omodos and Koilani, and quite frankly more archaeology than you can shake a stick at.

It really is somewhat unfortunate that this region is often perceived by tourists as being secondary to Paphos and its surroundings, when it actually boasts so much more to see and do, if only one is willing to venture a little off the beaten path.

As well as the predictable beaches (mainly man-made) and leisure activities, the area immediately around Limassol also boasts a profusion of archaeological monuments, including Amathus, Kourion and an assortment of others, ranging from ancient history to Medieval times.

On this part of the island the coastal plain is just a narrow strip, so the bulk of Limassol District is given over to the gradually rising slopes of the Troodos Massif. Most roads run towards Mount Olympus with its associated tourist colony, but one need only venture off the beaten track by a mile or two to find an assortment of traditional villages, dotted along the hillsides in clusters of charming stone-built houses.

 

Quaint Village Street in Laneia
Picturesque Side Street in Laneia Village

From the holidaymaker's point of view, the most popular of these is without doubt Omodos, famous for its annual flower festival and its traditional atmosphere. Over the past few years, however, the growing annual influx of visitors has been noted by the local population, and Omodos is now rapidly turning into something of a little tourist trap. Those looking for a taste of traditional Cypriot village life may be better advised to pay a visit to Laneia (the Artists' Village), off the main Limassol/Troodos road.

If you have a love of wine and the art of viticulture, you will also find a profusion of wineries to explore in this neck of the woods. There are over twenty of them strewn throughout the province, and the slopes north of Limassol just happen to be the region responsible for producing the famous Commanderia wine, prized since the Middle Ages for its uniquely rich character.

Ultimately, Limassol District is well worth a visit, regardless of whether you're after sandy beaches and entertainment, in search of history and the traditional Cyprus, or looking to taste the local vino.

Pomos Marina and Coastline
The Kouris River Valley, north of Limassol

Map of Limassol District from Google Maps

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* Yes, we know it's actually six for Cyprus as a whole, but for the purposes of this section we've concentrated solely on the districts still located south of the border with the TRNC.

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Larnaca Town

Built mainly on the ruins of ancient Kition and boasting a rich history, Larnaca has been one of the island's main hubs of international trade for thousands of years. Today, it is a bustling hybrid between commercial centre and holiday resort.

With plans underway to re-develop the town's entire sea front and construct a massive new marina, Larnaca is getting ready to further extend its reputation as a premier holiday destination.
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Limassol Town

Limassol too is working hard to further its reputation as an international destination with the construction of a new marina. Unlike Larnaca, however, Limassol's endeavors are aimed more at the Middle Eastern market than into Europe, as the town already boasts a sizeable Arabic and North-African expatriate population.
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Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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