12 Must-See Monasteries in Cyprus

Looking for the most renowned monasteries in Cyprus? The island of Cyprus is home to some of the most beautiful monasteries in the world, each with its own unique history and importance.

Beautiful gold monastery sits on top of a mountain with green mountains in the background and blue sky
Kykkos monastery

This post lists 12 of the top monasteries in Cyprus and also contains a map so you can see where they all are. From the ancient monastery of Timios Prodromos, to the modern and imposing Kykkos Monastery, there are lots of culturally significant entries on this list.

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12 Must-See Monasteries in Cyprus

Remember if you are visiting monasteries, churches or any holy place in Cyprus you will need to cover up your shoulders and knees. I recommend taking a light scarf or sarong for this purpose.

Please note this list of monasteries in Cyprus is presented in no particular order.

1. Kykkos Monastery

The famous monastery of Kykkos is the most elaborately decorated of all the monastery buildings in Cyprus. It sits on top of a mountain peak at an altitude of 4,320 feet, and is dedicated to Panagia (the Virgin Mary). You can find it in the Marathasa region.

Kykkos Monastery, ornately decorated with a tiled path leading up to it.
Kykkos Monastery

Kykkos monastery is widely celebrated because it contains one of the three icons attributed to Agios Loukas, the Apostle and Evangelist.

The important icon is gilded with silver gilt and lies in a shrine made of mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell. This shrine sits in front of the iconostasis (a long, decorated wall topped with a line of icons that separates the sanctuary from the rest of the church). It was built during Emperor Alexios Komnenos I’s reign (1081-1118 AD).

2. Trooditissa Monastery

There are several monasteries in Cyprus with an unknown age.

The Trooditissa Monastery’s date of formation is unknown, but it is believed to have been founded during or just after the iconoclastic era (8th-9th century AD). The first record of Trooditissa is seen in a 14th century deed. There is also no evidence remaining from when Byzantium or Franks ruled here.

Trooditissa Monastery in Cyprus with a thatched roof, blue sky and green foliage.
Trooditissa Monastery

The monasteries in Cyprus were often built by hermits who had originally settled there, often living in caves and leading a life of spiritual struggle. This is believed to be the case for Trooditissa Monastery.

Trooditissa is located on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains.

3. Stavrovouni Monastery

This is one of the monasteries in Cyprus where the date of formation is known!

Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, founded Stavrovouni Monastery in 330 AD. The monastery is dedicated to the Holy Cross. The name of the monastery honours a fragment of the Holy Cross that the Saint brought back from her travels to the Holy Land. This holy relic is enshrouded in a large silver cross.

Stavrovouni Monastery in Cyprus round domed roof, blue sky, conical green trees.
Stavrovouni Monastery

This Monastery’s location gives breathtaking views of the area, including Larnaca bay. The monks who live here keep similar vows to those at Mount Athos in Greece. Women are not allowed on the property, however, one of the monks leaves occasionally to confess them.

With the exception of noon to 1pm, men may visit the Monastery of the Holy Cross daily from dawn till dusk. The monastery is located at the base of a mountain and boasts monks who are highly skilled in icon painting. Their work is well-renowned throughout all of Cyprus.

Further reading: 81 Unique and Exciting Things to do in Cyprus.

4. Timios Prodromos Monastery

Next on my list of Cypriot monasteries is the Holy Monastery of Timios Prodromos, or St John the Forerunner, or St John the Baptist.

The Holy Monastery of Timios Prodromos is located at Mesa Potamos, between Saittas and Platres. It has an all-male monastic community that may date from the 11th to the end of the 12th century, possibly extending to the 14th century.

Timios Prodromos or St John the Forerunner of Mesa Potamos . Courtyard with circular fountain and grey sky.
Monastery of St John the Forerunner of Mesa Potamos on Cyprus island

The monastery went into decline during the Ottoman Empire, as noted by Russian monk Barsky in 1753 when he observed only 1 abbot and 2 monks remaining. The temple was destroyed by fire in 1878 but reopened in 1912, only to be abandoned again 4 years later.

Bishop Meletios Metaksakis and Nikodemos Milonas had the idea to repurpose it as a hotel for tourists seeking a peaceful vacation destination.

The monastery operated as a hotel for decades until 1950. It remained abandoned until it was restored and inhabited in 2003 by the monks of Machairas.

5. Machairas Monastery

One of the most famous monasteries in Cyprus is Machairas Monastery. It’s situated on the slopes of Kionia at an altitude of 870 metres above sea level and lies in the valley of the Machairas mountains.

Contained within the monastery is the the miraculous icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary) of Machairas which is attributed to Agios Loukas, also known as Saint Luke, who was one of the twelve apostles.

Machairas Monastery in the hills of Cyprus surrounded by trees. Angular domed roof and white window boxes.
Machairas Monastery, Cyprus

According to legend, during iconoclasm between 8th-9th century AD (when all religious images were destroyed or banned across much of Europe and Asia) an unknown ‘hermit’ secretly brought this icon to Cyprus. The Holy Icon stayed with the hermit in the cave until he passed away in 1145.

Divine Grace Ignatios and Neophytos found the concealed cave. To get to where the icon was, they were given a knife by a mystical hand which they used to cut through the bushes surrounding it. Consequently, Panagia’s icon was called “Machairiotissa” (machairi is Greek for knife). The monastery was eventually constructed on that same spot and kept that name too.

6. Agios Neophytos Monastery

Of all the monasteries of the island, the monastery of Ayios Neophytos contains the most well-preserved quarters of the original Saint who formed it.

The Agios Neophytos (Saint Neophytos) monastery is located 10km outside Paphos, near the village of Tala. In 1159, Saint Neophytos founded the monastery, which at the time, did not hold his namesake. He resided there until his death 85 years later in 1219.

Agios Neophytos monastery with bench in the foreground and paved floor.
Monastery of Agios Neophytos

The main small church within the monastery was built around 200 years after the Saint’s passing, and pays tribute to the Virgin Mary. It contains many beautiful Byzantine religious icons.

The monastery museum houses exhibits from ancient times and the Byzantine period. The cave with Saint Neophytos’ cell (Enkleistra) is also worth seeing. The Enkleistra is an enclosure carved out of the mountain by the hermit himself, which contains some of the finest Byzantine frescoes dating from 12th to 15th century.

This is where Saint Neophytos committed his life to Christ, spending most days fasting and praying. Today, you can still see the table fashioned from rock, and the stone platform where he slept. His grave is also preserved.

7. Chrysorrogiatissa Monastery

Most monasteries in Cyprus have an amazing view of the mountains, and this one is no exception.

Chrysorrogiatissa monastery is located in a picturesque area near the village of Panagia and the forest west of Paphos district. It was founded by the monk Ignatius in 1152 AD, who discovered Moulia – the miraculous image of Virgin Mary – while he was in Paphos.

The tradition says that Apostle Luke painted this miraculous image. Ignatius moved the picture to the mountain and then built a monastery which was dedicated to Virgin Chrysorrogiatissa.

The monastery, which was built in 1770, houses a significant collection of icons and treasures. The church is located in the centre of the monastery, and its frescoes date back centuries. Among the most impressive pieces in the monastery is an image of Christ and Virgin Mary that was painted by St Luke the Evangelist.

The monastery is also home to a centre of Byzantine and post-Byzantine icons as well as other treasures. Recently, an Ecclesiastical Treasury was built adjacent to the main entrance of the monastery. In front of the entrance there is also a café-restaurant with breathtaking views.

8. Agios Minas Convent

The first convent on my list of monasteries in Cyprus.

The convent of Agios Minas dates back to the 15th century, located in Vavla village. The building has Byzantine and Gothic styles with traverse ribs. It includes a church, cloisters and other monastic buildings.

Agios Minas white walls with arches and potted plants in courtyard.
Agios Minas Convent Courtyard

In addition to their religious duties, the nuns at this icon-painting convent also sell fruit preserves they make themselves.

In order to enter the monastery, be sure to dress modestly as is common practice in many monasteries and churches on the island. I recommend taking a scarf or sarong as a cover-up.

9. Agios Georgios Alamanos

The Agios Alamanos is another convent (for nuns) on my list. It is located near the villages of Pentakomo and Mongroulli within Cyprus’ Limassol district.

Agios Georgios Alamanos convent with blue sky and blue sea
Agios Georgios Alamanos Monastery

The Agios Georgios Alamanos Monastery is more popularly known as the Agios Georgios Monastery or the Agios Georgious Alamanaou Monastery. It is a Greek Orthodox monastery (or convent) for nuns that was built in the 12th century. The monastery is dedicated to Saint George, who is one of the most well-known saints in all of Cyprus.

10. Monastery of Ayia Napa

The Ayia Napa Monastery was restored in the 14th century, now serving as an iconic attraction for pilgrims and tourists alike. Situated 1km away from the popular tourist resort of Ayia Napa, it is easy to reach for lots of holidaymakers.

an old stone building with a palm tree in front of it.
Ayia Napa Monastery

This type of architecture is quite unique in Cyprus. It’s an Italian Renaissance style monastery known as the “Saint Forest” that derives its name from the icon discovered at this spot.

Nowadays, the ancient monastery operates as a museum and all confession and communion services are conducted in an adjacent cathedral. You can visit the bell tower of the old monastery to appreciate its unique icons and light candles.

The grounds of the former monastery regularly play host to church gatherings, conferences, and festivals.

11. St. Nicholas of the Cats Monastery

About 10km from Limassol lies St. Nicholas Monastery, which was founded by Saint Helena in 327 AD and is well-known for its feline inhabitants.

It is said the cats were brought to the premises at Saint Helena’s request as a way of keeping venomous snakes away. Ever since then, the cats have been given love and kindness by Cypriot citizens all over.

a group of cats sitting on a porch.

After falling into disrepair following the Middle Ages, this monastery was restored in 1983. It is populated by 100 cats and a small number of nuns who maintain the grounds and tend to their feline friends (who enjoy fish donated on St Nicholas’ Day!).

There are flower gardens and a store selling local olive oil and handcrafted souvenirs.

12. Timios Stavros Monastery

Steeped in history and culture, the Timios Stavros Monastery of Omodos village in Troodos dates back to the 3rd century. It has since been renovated many times but serves as a local parish church today.

Legend states that Saint Helena donated various relics to the monastery centuries ago, such as portions of The Holy Cross, the remains of Saint Nicholas and Philip the Apostle.

an old building with a clock tower in the background.
Monastery of Timiou Stavrou

During the 16th century, Ottoman Turks invaded and pillaged the monastery. However, by early 19th century it was restored due to Russian artists’ work in creating intricate wall-paintings for the 18th-century cathedral.

Even though it is now inactive, this sacred site continues to attract visitors from far and wide. All buildings are maintained impeccably as a testament to their historical significance.

Map of 12 monasteries in Cyprus

How to use this map: click the tab on the top left to see the list of places. Click the blue icons on the map to see more information about each place. Click the star to add to your own Google Maps.

Cyprus monastery tours

Here are some tours currently available, if you would rather let someone else sort all of the transport and logistics for you.

  • Private tour to four monasteries from Larnaca – this is a great private tour which takes you to 4 of the monasteries on this list in one day! The monasteries are: Kykkos, Trooditissa, Ayios Georgios Alamanos and St. Nicholas of the Cats.
  • Shore excursion to Omodos and Kykkos from Paphos – this tour is excellent for cruise passengers. It will pick you up at the cruise port and take you into the mountains, including a winery visit, Kykkos monastery and the birthplace of Aphrodite.

There are more Cyprus monastery tours on Viator.com.

Viator is my favourite tour company, because I always have a really positive experience with them. However you may prefer to book through Get Your Guide instead.

Travel advice for your trip to Cyprus

The island of Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Cyprus is from April to October, when the weather is most pleasant.

I recommend renting a car for your trip to Cyprus (I use Discover Cars – a brilliant car comparison site). Always remember that in Cyprus they drive on the left!

The currency in Cyprus is the Euro (or Turkish Lira if you cross the border into Nothern Cyprus – click here to read my post about crossing the border).

Below are some helpful links for your trip:

My travel essentials for Cyprus

Here are my favourite travel products for trips to Cyprus. They are all easily and quickly available on Amazon Prime:

Where to stay in Cyprus

There are many excellent towns in Cyprus to base yourself in, but for monasteries I recommend Paphos as you have good access to the Troodos mountains from here. However you might like to take a look at my post 8 Great Towns in Cyprus before making your decision.

If you decide to go with Paphos (which is also very convenient for the airport) then here are some hotel recommendations from Booking.com:

You can also check the best Paphos hotel deals on Booking.com.

The good thing about using Booking.com for hotels is that you can reserve your room immediately (for free) to lock in the price, then cancel it later (also for free) if you need to. No money changes hands up front if you don’t want it to.

Paphos castle. Square castle on the sea, with the sea in the background and the beach in the foreground.
Paphos Castle

FAQs about monasteries in Cyprus

What are the oldest monasteries in Cyprus?

Stavrovouni is the oldest recorded monastery in Cyprus, dating back to the 4th century. The earliest evidence of this comes from its written reference in the Byzantine period.

What is the dress code for Kykkos monastery?

The monastery is open during the day, but there is a strict dress code that must be respected. Legs and shoulders must be covered for both men and women. Men should wear trousers where possible. A scarf like this one can be worn to cover bare arms or legs. It’s a good idea to pop one in your bag so you can cover up when needed.

What is the oldest monastery still in use?

The oldest monastery still being used today is thought to be the monastery of Saint Anthony in Egypt. It was built between 298 and 300 AD.

What is the most famous church in Cyprus?

The most famous church in Cyprus is probably St John’s cathedral in Nicosia. There are also some incredible mosques in Cyprus too.

Photos of Cyprus: The mosque of Hala Sultan Camii, Larnaca

You may find my other Cyprus posts interesting too:

Pin it for later – 12 must-see monasteries in Cyprus

I hope this post has helped you plan your tip to see monasteries in Cyprus. Thank you for reading.


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