This is one of those weird articles where talk about something really random. There’s not going to be much structure or anything. I’m just gonna talk. That being said however, I actually had to check and make sure I hadn’t written something like this before. So, today, we are going to talk about a random thing. The journey from the capital of Cyprus to the city in which I live. A journey that takes 1.5 – 2 hours, depending on traffic.
Why am I talking about this?
Well, it’s a trip I’ve made a few times in the last few weeks. I often don’t need to go to Nicosia (Λευκωσία in Greek) but I have family up there now and it’s nice to visit. In Cyprus, it used to be that Nicosia was the big, scary capital. The other cities were just little towns. Over the years though, there’s pretty much nothing you can get in Nicosia that you can’t get in Paphos or Larnaca. Alright, there’s no IKEA in Paphos or whatever, but this is a country of over 1 million people. How many IKEAs do we need?
The journey from Paphos to Nicosia is a single road. Funnily enough, the trip from Nicosia to Paphos actually goes through most of Cyprus’s districts – Paphos and Nicosia themselves, but also Limassol and Larnaca too. This is all done via one main motorway. There IS a way to go from Paphos to Nicosia without passing through another district. but it does require a long, arduous mountain trip. No one wants to do that though, so the motorway it is!
It’s actually a stupidly simple trip. You get on the motorway in Nicosia and follow it all the way to Paphos, passing through Limassol as you do so. Google Maps would probably tell you to take the A1 motorway, then A6 motorway. but it’s still the same stretch of road. The road is still the same, it’s just its name changes as you enter and leave Limassol.
The trip is a pretty nice, relaxing one though.
Getting out of Nicosia is somewhat tricky. But once you’re on one of the many dual carriageways, it’s not too hard to find one that leads to the main A1 motorway. Once you’re on the motorway though, that’s it. Literally the only thing you need to do is watch out for the split between Larnaca and Limassol. If you somehow manage to head towards Larnaca rather than Limassol, that’s fine. There’s multiple junctions on which to switch back.
It’s basically smooth sailing all the way to Limassol.
Leaving Nicosia is actually somewhat like leaving a major city in the UK. You have your city area, which fades briefly into residential, before going straight into industrial. But then, suddenly, it’s all forests, with villages nearby. A mixture of both pine trees and leafy trees. Although some parts haven’t recovered from the fires that tear through during the summer.
You only pass though the Larnaca district a little, you don’t actually get close to Larnaca. But along the Larnaca road is where you first see the sea. It’s only brief, behind some hills, but it’s there. Larnaca is just as nature-filled as the outer part of the Nicosia district is. However, there’s fewer trees. The pine trees all but vanish, and you’re left with a more rocky landscape. That being said, while you are driving past hills and the like, it’s not actually that hill-y in some parts.
As you ever the Limassol district though, things change.
Not only is Limassol flatter, but it’s closer to the sea and a lot more industrial. You catch glimpses of not just industrial areas and factories, but electricity plants too. Limassol’s also rather weird because there’s a part of it where you can see cruise ships and skyscrapers, before going back to residential and industrial areas. And then you drive through Limassol itself.
Limassol itself is not fun at all, and the only sucky part of the trip. The motorway passes directly through the middle of Limassol, with tons of traffic and junctions. The speed limit drops down to 80, and there’s far more traffic, not just intercity traffic but intra-city traffic as well. It’s not as bad as it used to be though. Limassol used to have multiple roundabouts that you HAD to pass through. Now the city has nice, shiny flyovers, so you can avoid the city-bound traffic.
Once you’re out of Limassol though, you’re all clear.
Maybe I’m biased, but the Limassol – Paphos part of the motorway is the nicest. You have rolling hills, you drive over bridges and you drive through the only road tunnels in Cyprus. The terrain is rockier and lacks the forests of Nicosia, but it actually looks a bit similar to Californian terrain.
The best bit is as you pass Pissouri and get close to Kouklia. You go from a rather steep, hilly road to being able to see the ocean. The road actually drives about 500m away from the shore, intertwining with the “old road” that the motorway replaced. You can also catch glimpses of the majestic Aphrodite’s Rock. Although locally it’s called “Πέτρα του Ρωμιού” (Rock of Romios). The two myths are that it was either Goddess Aphrodite’s birthplace or a massive rock thrown by a Greek hero to crush an invading army.
The only downside to this part is the very last segment of the motorway, but only because it’s kinda boring, compared to the scenery between Pissouri and Kouklia. Paphos’s industrial zones are also kinda just… there.
But overall, it’s a really nice, relaxing trip.
And the great thing is, it only takes an hour on a half on a non-busy day.