Ayia Napa Travel Guide
Overview Once a small fishing village in the southeastern corner of
Cyprus, Ayia Napa is now a hotspot for holidaymakers looking for a
lively vacation - over 250,000 clubbers swarm into
this party capital each summer and the phenomenal atmosphere in its
scores of bars and nightclubs is nothing short of explosive.
Located in the centre of the market garden area of the island,
Ayia Napa also boasts a string of superb golden sandy beaches and
vestiges of its cultural heritage - there is a Venetian decorated
monastery fronted by a 600-year-old Sycamore tree, and a quaint
harbour filled with colourful fishing vessels. Just a few miles
from Ayia Napa, the resort of Protaras is more restrained and is
much more suited to family holidays. Both resorts have excellent
beaches, the most famous being Fig Tree Bay.
Other popular beaches include Nissi Beach and Nissi Bay, two
miles (3km) west of Ayia Napa; Cape Greco to the east, where the
challenge is to leap from the rocks into the sea; and Konnos Bay,
just past Cape Greco, where there is a beach café and
speedboats for hire.
Ayia Napa © Paul167
Shopping Shopping in Ayia Napa is pure pleasure for locals and
holidaymakers alike, with real bargains to be had particularly on
designer goods. Top name watches, sunglasses, clothing, cameras and
jewellery are available at prices up to 30 percent cheaper than in
the United Kingdom. Shops and boutiques are generally small and
friendly, opening until 11pm every night except Sundays. The local
handcrafts make for good souvenir shopping, including beautiful
embroidered Lefkara lace, original ceramic pottery, artistic silver
jewellery, baskets, woven and silk goods and high quality
leatherwear. Major credit cards are accepted everywhere.
Restaurants Variety is the spice of dining out in Ayia Napa, where countless
restaurants specialise in a host of cuisines from around the world,
everything from the romantic and traditional, to fast food and
pub-grub being on offer, holidaymakers won't be disappointed.
Whether it is a Big Mac, fish 'n chips, a Chinese or formal French
you fancy, you won't have to go far to find it. Visitors are well
advised to try the Cypriot fare, however, particularly in the
delightful, traditional tavernas clustered around the harbour.
Highly recommended is the typical Cypriot 'meze', made up of
between 15 and 30 island dishes. Other local specialities include
taramosalata, tsatsiki, moussaka, stifado (beef or veal stew),
aphelia (pork and red wine), and loukoumades (doughnuts dipped in
Nightlife Holidaymakers in the resort soon learn that it is essential to
plan an afternoon siesta, if they are to make the most of the
sensational nightlife for which Ayia Napa has become
world-renowned. The Cypriot's appreciation for the good life and
good times comes to the fore after the sun sets, with bars, discos,
nightclubs and bouzouki clubs open well into the early hours of the
morning. Most hotels have their own nightly entertainment with a
resident band, and Greek nights with folk dancing are offered. The
resort's clubbing scene is legendary with big name deejays
appearing frequently at some of the popular clubs.
Activities The extensive, silvery sandy beaches along the coast of Ayia
Napa are washed with warm waters that provide a myriad of
opportunities for watersports, including water-skiing, windsurfing,
sailing, canoeing, pedal boats, motor boats, parasailing, scuba
diving and snorkelling. The Cyprus Tourism Organisation supervises
the beaches, many of which have Blue Flag status. Holidaymakers can
take excursions from Ayia Napa to places like Ayia Thekla, four
miles (6km) to the west, with a small offshore island, Makronisos
Beach, a cluster of three sheltered bays, or to the historical city
of Larnaca, 25 miles (40km) along the coast. Jeep safaris around
the island itself are popular, with attractions like the Caledonian
Falls and the Byzantine Monastery of Kykkos waiting to be explored.
The island's position in the Mediterranean also lends itself to
making excursions to other countries, even Jerusalem or Cairo, for
a night or two of sightseeing.
Negatives Generally Ayia Napa is clean, well ordered and favoured by all
types of holidaymakers. Those who do not enjoy noise and bright
lights, however, are advised to stay clear of the central monastery
square area, which is where most of the popular nightclubs are
situated. The main clubbing season is between June and September,
and during this period the resort is packed with young people from
all over Europe. Older holiday makers may prefer to enjoy the
resort during the 'shoulder' months (April, May, October and
November), when the weather is still good, the sea relatively warm,
but the tempo quieter. The island can be windy, but the geographic
locations of the surrounding beaches means that it is possible to
find a sheltered beach even on windy days. Nissi Beach tends to be
overcrowded, but there are other beaches within easy reach where it
is possible to enjoy peace and quiet.