Ayia Napa Travel Guide
Ayia Napa © Paul167
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 atmosphere in its scores of
bars and nightclubs is nothing short of amazing.
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's 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 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.
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 cheaper prices 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
Restaurants Variety is the spice of life when 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 is on offer. Whether it's a Big Mac or fish 'n
chips, Chinese or classic French, you won't have to go far to find
Visitors are well advised to try the Cypriot fare, particularly
in the delightful traditional tavernas clustered around the
harbour. Highly recommended is the typical Cypriot meze
platter, made up of between 15 and 30 island dishes. Other local
specialities include taramosalata, tzatziki,
moussaka, stifado (beef or veal stew),
afelia (pork and red wine), and loukoumades
(doughnuts dipped in syrup).
Nightlife Holidaymakers in the resort soon learn that it's essential to
plan an afternoon siesta if they are to make the most of the
sensational nightlife for which Ayia Napa is world-renowned. The
Cypriots' appreciation for the good life and good times comes to
the fore after sunset, 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 water sports, including water-skiing,
windsurfing, sailing, canoeing, pedal boats, motorboats,
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 and cities, even Jerusalem or Cairo, for a night or two
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
slower. 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's possible to enjoy peace and quiet.
The natural beauty of Cape Greco makes it one of the
first locations in tourists' itineraries. The unique headland
stretches out into the gorgeous blue ocean, with fascinating shapes
peeling off from the cliffs into the shore waters. There are also
trails which... see full details