All too often overlooked in favor of the beachfront coastal resorts, the Cypriot capital offers an intriguing glimpse into modern-day island life. Nicosia’s (Lefkoşa) most unique claim to fame is its status as the world's last divided capital and the imposing ‘Green Line’ provides a visual marker between the Turkish-ruled Northern Cyprus and the southern Republic of Cyprus.
South of the border, Nicosia’s top attractions include the grand Presidential Palace and the main tourist quarter of Laiki Yitoniak, which lies within the 15th-century Venetian-built City Walls that still encircle the center. Today, much of the colonial architecture has been spruced up with modern shop fronts and terraced cafés, but there are still some historic gems to be found. Be sure to check out the 18th-century St John’s Cathedral, once an Orthodox monastery, and the 15th-century House of the Dragoman; uncover the capital’s long history at the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia; and take in the views from the Ledra Observatory in the Shakolas Tower.