Protaras Travel Guide
Fig Tree Bay © Glen Bowman
The holiday resort of Protaras on the southeast coast
of Cyprus has all the trappings of the larger and more frenetic
Ayia Napa, itself a few minutes' drive away. But it's far more
family friendly and boasts the best beach on the island: Fig Tree
Protaras is actually a town built on a piece of flat,
scrubby land expressly for the purpose of catering for British
holidaymakers. Just adjacent to the village of Paralimni, Protaras
consists mainly of a grid of restaurants, nightclubs, and shops
surrounded by numerous hotels and holiday apartment blocks. The
hodgepodge of architecture and concrete can get blistering hot in
the summer sun.
While Protaras lacks a genuine Cypriot atmosphere, it
has the magnificent golden Blue Flag beach, which stretches for 10
miles (16km) or so shelving gently into the crystal clear
Mediterranean, and further up and down the coast a choice of
secluded coves and inlets for those wanting more privacy.
Shopping The shops in Protaras may look a little tacky, but they provide
everything required by holidaymakers, from beach paraphernalia to
souvenirs. There are several hundred retail establishments in the
resort, including supermarkets, clothing stores, and jewellers.
Serious bargain hunters are advised to take a bus or taxi to
nearby Agia Napa where there is an abundance of stores selling tax
free designer goods. Local jewellery and leather goods are also
good souvenirs from Protaras.
Restaurants Protaras has dozens of restaurants and fast food outlets, mainly
catering for the usual tourist fare of pizza, curry, burgers, and
the like. Many local establishments are run by British expats,
while the many open-air seafood restaurants are ideal for local
fare. For Cypriot specialities, try Bambos, which serves a mix of
local and international dishes, or the Nicolas Taverna, renowned
for delectable kleftiko.
Nightlife The main street of Protaras awakens at night as the many discos,
bars, pubs, and clubs turn up the volume, drawing in the crowds and
holidaymakers up for a party. Many establishments offer live
entertainment or karaoke, and the discos feature English deejays
and laser lights. There are only a few nightclubs, and serious
all-night clubbers prefer to travel to Ayia Napa for the evening.
Recommended for an entertaining evening of dancing is Sfinx, the
bar at the end of the main road.
Activities The main beach at Protaras offers a vast range of water sports
opportunities and equipment hire, from paddleboats to jet skis. The
resort caters particularly well for children, most of the hotels
and apartment complexes offering excellent kids clubs. There are
two exciting water parks nearby at Ayia Napa, which provide thrills
and spills for all ages.
Most visitors enjoy a stroll along the clifftops of the
coastline, particularly in spring when the landscape is covered in
wild flowers. The more energetic can hike up the steep crag on the
outskirts of the resort to the Ayios Ilias Church with its amazing
views. Local operators offer several day trips, sea cruises, and
excursions to places of interest, like into the Troodos Mountains
or to explore the city of Nicosia.
Negatives Protaras resort is not aesthetically pleasing or scenic, and the
nearby village of Paralimni is also far from a quaint, authentic
Greek Cypriot town. Young clubbers may be disappointed in the
nightlife, which is more family-oriented, but there is the option
of travelling to nearby Ayia Napa.