I wrote a Travel Tuesday blog post about my first Cyprus town – Larnaca. You could read it here if you missed it.
Today’s Travel Tuesday blog post is about the capital city, Nicosia.
So if you’re planning a trip or even considering moving to the island country, let me share my honest and raw review with you.
Very Strong City Vibe – Nicosia in Cyprus
Being someone who grew up in a city and is currently living in one, my soul always craves island life and coastal living.
My solo trips helped me clarify what types of towns and islands resonate with my personality and lifestyle.
My top favorite travel destination is Bali – because not only is the island vibe and culture super strong there, you have all the modern restaurants, cafes and bars. So unlike small coastal towns in Italy or other European countries, Bali truly has it all!
I write more about how I uncovered my true self in previous blog posts, so you can do a search and read to learn more.
Nicosia reminded me so much of Dubai. Fast-paced, and everyone’s in a rush. People are focused on materialistic things, but they look unhappy and stressed. They can afford nice things and are dressed nicely, but you can tell they’re not happy and look tired. They have food delivery options similar to the ones in Dubai.
Yes, the city’s layout is different, and there’s no beach. It’s all inland, and the city is shaped like a big circle.
So if you’re looking for a laid-back, relaxed island lifestyle, Nicosia is not the place.
Also, I was there during the Christmas/New Year’s season, and everything was closed for a few days.
All restaurants and cafes close during the Christmas and New Year’s public holidays. I spent those days walking around and exploring the town like I usually do at any destination.
Let me share some of the positives from my ten-day stay in Nicosia…
What was Positive in my Stay
The city has a rich and interesting culture, with all the different groups living there.
I spent much time learning about the culture from museums and art galleries, walking around, and talking to people.
I also joined a walking tour organized by the tourism board, and it was a great experience.
The tour guide was from Nicosia, and she was so nice to show me the Turkish side of the city on my last day. We drove there in her car and saw some of the main sights on that side.
Like Larnaca, the city is family-oriented, and there aren’t many interesting things for singles.
I visited the top bars and tried to see the nightlife, but the town centres on married people with kids.
Life From a New Perspective
The entire country and trip made me see my single status and life from a new perspective. You can read about my transformative experience in this blog post. It was truly deep and intense. I’ll share about the last town next week!
Another important thing to note about Nicosia and Cyprus, in general, is that they use pork in most traditional dishes.
As someone raised Muslim (I don’t practice anymore), it was disappointing not to be able to eat Moussaka or kebab. Imagine going to Cyprus, spending an entire month in the country and not having Moussaka!
The only traditional Cypriot (or Greek) dish I could eat was lamb chops, which were chewy.
Another lamb dish is Kleftiko. That’s seasonal, so I couldn’t try that dish either! Imagine how horrible this can be for a real foodie like me! I love food and Moussaka, but I couldn’t have any because my system is not used to eating pork, and I didn’t want to take the risk.
I like how even this blog post’s ‘positive’ section naturally turned into a negative one! LOL
Positive Experiences From the Trip
OK, let me share more positives from the trip before I return to bashing the place as I did.
The highlight of my Nicosia (and Cyprus) trip was the New Year’s Eve dinner and party at my hotel. There was a cool jazz band, a DJ after dinner, and a wonderful crowd! It was the best way to start the year, and I’m so grateful and happy for that experience!
I shared the highlight of my one-month trip in this blog post and you can read all the details here.
The weather was also lovely throughout the time that I was in Nicosia. So that’s another plus.
There’s much to do during the day – museums, walking tours, and art galleries. So if that’s all you want to do, then great.
But the nightlife options are very limited if you like to go out to bars, listen to great live music or dance.
I’m also grateful for the hotel location. It was within walking distance of the new and old parts of town. So that was perfect for someone who likes to walk everywhere. Everyone drives in Nicosia – just like Dubai.
Visit First Before Moving
If you’re considering moving there, I highly suggest you visit first to see if the place matches your vibe.
Also, the Cypriots don’t like foreigners. The place is very clicky; even people who have lived there for years will tell you this.
Anyway, I’m glad that I went and experienced everything for myself. Apart from it being a winter vacation trip, I was also exploring if the country is somewhere I would consider moving to. Well, I guess you have the answer now!
Another thing to know about Cyprus is that the country feels outdated. It feels like they’re stuck in the past. Bali, for example, doesn’t have that vibe at all. Because of the plethora of eateries, cafes, bars and boutiques, you feel like you’re in a modern place there.
I will end my post here because more bad things will be revealed if I go on.
Here are some of my favourite shots from my ten days in Nicosia.
Stay tuned for next week’s story about Pissouri Bay!