The capital of the Republic of Cyprus is also its cultural heartbeat. Overlooked by most visitors, reduced to a day-tour jaunt from beach resorts, Nicosia (or Lefkosia, as it's officially known) is a curious and fascinating mix of vibrant street life, confronting division and rich history.
Nearly everything of interest lies within the snowflake-shaped Venetian walls. Inside the Old City, the lively, contemporary cafe and bar scene punches well above its weight for a city so small, while a bundle of museums and a series of looping lanes lined with colonial-era buildings, churches and mosques reveal an evocative history. Meanwhile, if you brush up against the sandbag and oil-barrel barriers of the Green Line (the UN Buffer Zone) you’ll get a sense of the surreal and sad present-day state of limbo for the world’s last divided capital.