The cultural focus for Cyprus is its capital, Nicosia and there is always a variety of events going on there. The good news is that Nicosia is very accessible as it is less than two hours journey from any of the other main towns.
Day time turns to night time swiftly in Cyprus with a really short period of dusk and the character of the towns change too as the tempo changes and restaurants open- many of them with entertainment and dancing too. There is a great choice of top things to do in Cyprus at night.
1. Enjoy a Mezedhes
Mezédhes (Mezé for short) is much more than a meal – it is an occasion! The translation of the word means ‘little plates’ and its history can be traced back in time to when housewives would present visitors with a selection of little plates with slices of the different foods that they had in the larder! The modern-day Mezé is a selection of 20-30 different seasonal dishes starting with a bowl of fresh bread and a selection of dips before moving onto vegetable dishes, fish, casseroles and grilled meat.
The portions are not huge, but are generous and are perfect for giving you a great taste of Cypriot cuisine. The best Mezés can be found in the traditional village style tavernas. Sharing a Mezé is very sociable and should be done in a leisurely fashion with several cool beers of glasses of wine with plenty of lively conversation and discussion too!.
If you enjoy fresh fish, head for a restaurant by one of the harbors and order a fish Mezé – you are definitely in for a treat!
2. Or A Greek Night
Many restaurants and hotels organize these events which are a mixture of traditional Greek/Cypriot dishes enjoyed to music (often the violin and laouto) and later in the evening, plenty of Cypriot dancing. There are often specialty dances including one where a male dancer balances more than a dozen glasses on his head whilst dancing – not to be tried at home!
Audience participation is enthusiastically encouraged and it doesn’t matter if you think you have two left feet because the dancers show you the steps and nobody cares if you get it wrong!
3. Relax with a Cypriot drink
There are many attractive places to enjoy drinks in the evening including several bars on the coast and in harbors with the added fun of being able to watch the fishermen head out to sea.
It has been proved that Cyprus was the first country in the world to produce wine and still does so today with some really excellent full-bodied reds made from the endemic varieties and some light fruity whites and rosé. Several local wineries are making their own sparkling wines too with great success.
Apart from wine; Cyprus produces several good beers including the really popular KEO made in Limassol and Carlsberg (made under license in Nicosia). In recent years, a number of microbreweries have opened in the main towns making a good selection of beers.
Some would say that the ‘national drink of Cyprus’ is the Brandy Sour which is a long cool cocktail made from undiluted local lemon squash and light Cyprus brandy, mixed with soda water and a dash of angostura bitters. The cocktail was devised by a barman at the Forest Park Hotel in Platres for King Farouk of Egypt who stayed there on two occasions. As a Muslim, he was prohibited from drinking alcohol but the Brandy Sour looked remarkably like iced tea and he was able to enjoy them!
Another Cypriot made liqueur that tastes really good when made into a long drink is Filfar. The original Filfar is orange flavored and tastes great with lemonade and ice.
4. Be a ‘culture vulture’
During the summer months, there are a variety of different cultural events taking place in the main towns and it is well worth asking in the local Cyprus Tourism Office (CTO) or the information desk in your hotel.
Nicosia regularly hosts concerts by international singers and orchestras and has welcomed such stars as Elton John, Pavarotti and Diana Ross who have performed in the wonderful setting of D’Avila Moat by the old city walls. The Pharos Trust hosts a variety of musical events in both Nicosia and Paphos (kouklia).
Limassol is situated on the southern coast of the island and its football stadium (Tsirion) is used for large pop concerts. If you are visiting in early summer, Shakespeare at Curium is an annual event that is well worth seeing. A group of amateur actors perform a Shakespearean play in the stunning setting of the open-air Roman theatre at Curium (Kourion) which is perched on a clifftop high above the sea. Throughout the summer, other events are held there including musical concerts and also among the pillars at Ancient Amathus (east of Limassol).
The annual two weeks Limassol Wine Festival takes place at the end of August/ first half of September in the town’s main park. It is really great fun with stalls advertising many of the country’s wineries with the chance to taste many different wines. There are plenty of food and gift stalls too and the chance to crush grapes the traditional way – using your feet!
If you are visiting Cyprus during the first weekend in September, all eyes will be on Paphos Harbour where an international opera company performs a well-known opera in the magical setting of the harbor, with the castle as a magnificent backdrop.
In the harbor town of Larnaca, much of the nightlife is focused on the Phinikoudes promenade which overlooks the sea. There are often evenings with traditional music and dancing and everyone has the chance to join in! Larnaca and Ayia Napa both sometimes host visiting music groups and solo artists from both mainland Greece and the UK.
5. A walk at sunset
Cyprus is known for its fabulous sunsets – especially in Paphos on the west coast. It is fun to enjoy a leisurely stroll by the sea at this time of the day in any of the coastal towns.
Limassol has an excellent coastal walk that starts in the Old Town and heads east towards Ayios Tychonas. The pathway is smooth and easy to use with pushchairs and wheelchairs and follows the coast, passing by numerous hotel gardens. There are several beach areas and bars where it is perfect to take a rest!
In Larnaca, Finikoudes promenade is the place where everyone likes to walk and an evening stroll before dinner is lovely. From the promenade, it is possible to walk eastwards into the marina and westwards towards the old part of the town and of course, there are plenty of tempting restaurants along the way!
Paphos harbor is always a popular place to stroll at any time of day, but it is particularly special at sunset and when the light goes as the lights in all the hill villages look really pretty.
6. Relish a sunset cruise
What better way to spend an evening than aboard a boat enjoying the sunset! Sunset cruises are available from all the main harbors including Paphos, Larnaca, Ayia Napa and Latchi on the northwest coast – and all the cruises include drinks and some include dinner (barbecues onboard are popular) and entertainment too.
7. Have a go at night diving
Night diving is really popular in Cyprus and is available in all the coastal towns – for all levels. Night dives tend to be shallow dives and are a completely different experience from day time ones. The underwater terrain around Cyprus is rocky and although you will not see much fish at night, you will see moray eels, octopus, shrimps and lobsters as they are all more active at night. If you are night diving near Protaras, the Green Bay Underwater Sculpture Park is a fantastic selection of sculptures and statues that lie in about ten meters of water. At Larnaca, there is the wreck of the MV Zenobia for experienced divers that is ranked as one of the world’s top ten sites. Limassol has two new wrecks – Constandis and Lady Thetis that were sunk to create artificial reefs to help expand marine reserves.
There are two very special things to experience wherever you are night diving; the first is to dive when it is the full moon as the moonlight really penetrates the water making everything very visible. Whilst you are diving, wave your arms about – you will be treated to an amazing light show called bioluminescence which is caused by tiny plankton.
8. Or night fishing
Night fishing is very different to say fishing and of course if you haven’t tried sea fishing… what better opportunity! There are fishing trips leaving from all the harbors several times a week and all the tackle is provided and each trip is led by an experienced local fisherman. There are 250 different types of fish found in the eastern Mediterranean, with tuna, snapper, and swordfish being the varieties that everyone wants to catch!
As well as offering a unique experience, night fishing is relaxing as you listen to the lull of the waves and it is also great fun as it is not unusual to see a falling star or meteor.