Once a small fishing village in the south-eastern corner of Cyprus, Ayia Napa is now a hotspot for holidaymakers looking for a lively vacation. Over 250,000 clubbers travel to Ayia Napa each summer and the atmosphere in its bars and nightclubs is nothing short of explosive.
Ayia Napa is located in the centre of the market garden area of the island, with 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 also a quaint harbour.
Located a few miles from Ayia Napa is the more restrained resort Protaras, 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 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.
Top name watches, sunglasses, clothing, cameras and jewellery are available at prices much cheaper than in the UK. Shops and boutiques are generally small and friendly and are generally open until 11pm every night except Sundays. Good souvenirs can be bought here, including beautiful embroidered Lefkara lace, original ceramic pottery, artistic silver jewellery, baskets, woven and silk goods and high quality leatherwear.
With countless restaurants serving everything from the romantic and traditional, to fast food and pub-grub, 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. Holidaymakers should try the Cypriot fare, 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 syrup).
Ayia Napa at night
with bars, discos, nightclubs and bouzouki clubs open well into the early hours of the morning holiday makers soon realise that it is essential to take an afternoon siesta! Most hotels have their own nightly entertainment with a resident band, and Greek nights with folk dancing. The resort’s clubbing scene is legendary with big name DJ’s appearing frequently at some of the popular clubs.
The long sandy beaches along the coast of Ayia Napa are washed with warm waters that provide many 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 Agia Thekla (a small offshore island), Makronisos Beach (a cluster of three sheltered bays) or to the historical city of Larnaca. Jeep safaris around the island itself are popular, with attractions like the Caledonian Falls and the Byzantine Monastery of Kykkos waiting to be explored.