Ayia Napa is Cyprus’ undisputed party capital. Its name is on the lips on every twenty-something as soon as the summer rolls around and it never fails to disappoint. Rivalling the likes of Ibiza, Marbella and Magaluf, Ayia Napa is the playground that every reveller has ever dreamt of. On top of that, it is blessed with incredible weather.
However, if you thought Ayia Napa was all about partying until the early hours you’re wrong (well, only slightly). This once quiet fishing village has managed to retain some of its original charm. From white sand beaches to the Ayia Napa Monastery and the Thalassa Musuem – there is a little more to Ayia Napa than meets the eye.
Holidaying in this lively part of Famagusta may seem all about the bars and clubs but scratch the surface a little and you’ll why more and more people are planning 2019 Cyprus holidays.
A night to remember
Ayia Napa has not gained a reputation as being the ultimate party destination in Cyprus for nothing. The streets of the resort are lined with hundreds of bars and clubs providing an overwhelming amount of choice for any reveller. If you’re looking for epicentre of it all then take a stroll into Monastery Square.
Sat in the shadow of the famous monastery, which dates back to 1500, the square comes alive once the sun goes down. Chill out with a couple of drinks in the numerous open air bars to get your night started and then venture a little further into Ayia Napa. The resort welcomes some of the biggest DJs in drum and bass, R’n’B, dance, dubstep and everything inbetween so strap in for one of the best nights of your life.
As the sunshine of a new day peaks through the curtains, it’s time to start catching some rays. The place to be is Nissi Beach where the party comes to the shore. Get your place early as this stretch of coastline becomes busy as DJs and bands play throughout the day – even Radio 1 has called this place home during the summer months before.
If you’re looking something a little quieter then take a trip to Makronissos Beach or for true natural beauty then Konnos Bay is an absolute must. Split between Ayia Napa and neighbour this pine fringed beach is a popular destination with hikers heading for Cape Greco national park, divers and people who simply want a break from the craziness of Ayia Napa.
It is not all about partying as you can enjoy a spot of culture by visiting the Thalassa Museum, a gallery dedicated to the impact of the sea on the Mediterranean region. You can also stop by the Makronissos Tombs – a reminder of this party town’s humble past.
Why go to Ayia Napa?
Ayia Napa is everything you could expect from somewhere described as the “Disneyland of Cyprus”. It is a clubbing paradise with the biggest and best acts lighting up the town on a nightly basis but can also boast a beautiful shoreline and stunning scenery.
At just 30 minutes away from the airport, you can be kickstarting the party just moments after stepping off the plane.
Claims of sightings of the ‘Creature from the Depths’ have been numerous since the 1800s and while there is so-called “no evidence” of the monster the legend continues. If you are already terrified of the prospect of encountering the beast, fear not as this is a friendly monster, similar to its also lesser-spotted Scottish pal, the Loch Ness Monster.
Even if you don’t spot the Cypriot Nessy, exploring Cape Greco is a wonderful way to see a different side to Ayia Napa. This protected nature park sits between the party town and neighbour Protaras and is a beautiful spot to wander around. The luscious landscape is complimented by the turquoise waters lapping into the caves below. Arrive here at the crack of dawn and you will be rewarded with the most magnificent sunrise.
In the heart of Ayia Napa, amid all the partying, is a relic of the town’s past – the Ayia Napa Monastery. The monastery – which is in an area named after the icon of the Virgin Mary of Napi – was built during the 15th century under the Venetian occupation of Cyprus. It has been the home to monks during its hundreds of years in existence and remains a place where anyone can visit and find time for quiet reflection.
Another of Ayia Napa’s historical sites is the Makronissos Tombs. Carved into the side of a rock overlooking the Mediterranean Sea are 19 tombs dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. These strange and oddly, captivating sights can be easily accessed from Ayia Napa and offer an eerie opposite to the bright lights of the nearby town.
Naturally, one of the main attractions of Ayia Napa is the beaches. The town has a gorgeous coastline with beautiful white sand beaches and a deep blue sea. From the party atmosphere of Nissi Beach to the quiet calm of the coves of Cape Greco – these are blissful places to soak up the sun.
There is much more to Ayia Napa than its iconic nightlife. While revellers pack the famous Ayias Mavris strip, little do they know about the Ayia Napa Sea Monster. Like Greece, Cyprus also has a rich history of mythology and lurking around the shores of Cape Greco is a beast known simply as ‘To Filko Teras’.
Loved by kids and grown-ups alike the park carries the theme of ancient Greek mythology, naturally, and includes adrenalin-pumping slides such as The Fall of Icarus, Drop to Atlantis, The Quest of Heracles and the Serpentine Slides. There are also the child-friendly Odyssey River, Trojan Adventure and Zephyr’s Breeze. It is an incredibly fun day out for all holidaymakers and is a must-visit when you’re in Ayia Napa.
Holidaying in Ayia Napa is all about discovering new experiences and what could be better than a bungee jump? The Napa Bungee is somewhat of an institution and has been going since 1983. Feel the buzz of plunging 200 feet on a giant elasticised cord and, if you can keep your eyes open, you will get an incredible view of Nissi Beach and the surrounding area. Such is the popularity of Napa Bungee that some holidaymakers have even taken the plunge moments after their wedding ceremony.
As new experiences go, there are not many more rewarding than scuba diving. Ayia Napa’s location makes it a haven for divers as they explore the caves, tunnels and canyons close to the resort. The town has a host of scuba diving schools where you can hire equipment and learn the essentials from a qualified instructor. Say hello to the Mediterranean dwelling sealife and create a memory that will last a lifetime.
Ayia Napa is just as lively during the day as it is once the sun sets and there are plenty of activities to keep you entertained before the big night. One of the most popular attractions is WaterWorld – one of the largest water parks in Europe.
By far the most popular stretch of shoreline in Ayia Napa is the infamous Nissi Beach. The party from the night before continues through the day with some of best DJs in the world rocking the Nissi Bay Beach Bar. Have a spin on a banana boat, try your hand at jet skiing, have a leisurely trip on a pedalo, take on fellow holidaymakers at volleyball and if all that doesn’t float your boat, you can simply top up the tan.
Opt for a little more refinement at Makronissos Beach. A little further away from the party atmosphere of Nissi, this is a more family orientated affair and is much less busy than its neighbour. Another which is a bit lower key than Nissi is Grecian Bay, the closest beach to the centre of Ayia Napa. Known locally as Harbour Beach or Limanaki, it covers three coves close to the area’s fishing marina.
Enjoy the most majestic view of sunrise and sunset at Konnos Bay. Split between Ayia Napa and nearby Protaras it forms the gateway to the Cape Greco national park. Spend the day relaxing on the golden sands by the crystal clear and as night draws in sit back and watch the glorious sun disappear over the horizon. It is a spectacular performance and something you simply have to experience.
One of the staples of a party resort is stunning beaches and Ayia Napa certainly doesn’t disappoint. It has a collection of beaches from the raucous to the subdued while all providing breathtaking views across the Mediterranean. They are the ideal meeting spot, somewhere to shake off the hangover or enjoy the sunrise.
Ayia Napa is home to a host of Cypriot tavernas serving up the very finest food the country has to offer. Swing by the likes of Ambeli Tavern, Stamna, Taverna Napa and Limnara and discover a new taste sensation. Limnara not only has delicious eats such as pastourma, a spicy Cypriot sausage, or ttavas, a traditional stew made with rabbit, but the restaurant provides magnificent views over Cape Greco.
When you’re craving for something to eat after a big night out then you won’t be stuck for choices. The main strip is lined with takeaways and late-night cafes that are ready to supply you with a delicious souvlaki, a traditional Cypriot kebab.
No matter what you’re hungry for you will find it in Ayia Napa. From American to Mexican, Indian to Russian there will be somewhere to serve up something to satisfy that rumbling in your stomach. However, if you want a true taste of your surroundings then it would be rude not to sample authentic Cypriot cuisine.
The once quiet fishing village comes alive when the sun sets. Ayia Napa is transformed into a party paradise and it doesn’t stop until the sun comes back up. Rivalling the likes of Ibiza, Majorca and Marbella for its raucous nightlife, you will not be stuck for somewhere to dance the night away. From hip hop, dubstep, house and EDM to chart hits, cheesy anthems and rock – you can find your flavour in Ayia Napa.
As the night begins the popular spots of Monastery Square and the strip (Ayias Mavris) begin to fill up. Grab a couple of cheap drinks by the harbour at bars such as Golden Arrow and Tommys or Simos Magic and Sea Cavern closer to the square where you’ll find drinks for €2.
However, if you’re looking for a something a little more upmarket then enjoy the classier vibes of Pepper, Cafe Central or Jello. Here you can treat yourself to a couple of cocktails and relax in a chilled out atmosphere before the real party begins.
Ayia Napa wouldn’t be Ayia Napa without its clubs. The town has no less than 12 clubs dotted around its expanse ranging from the pop heaven of Carwash Disco, the iconic Castle Club to the club cum swimming pool River Reggae and the glamorous Soho Club. Most don’t open their doors until after midnight and the party keeps going until breakfast time.
Admission can range from €10 to €25 depending on the events and which guests are appearing. However, you can also pick up free admission tickets from bars and PRs around the town.
If you want somewhat of a guided tour of these popular haunts then there are numerous organised bar crawls happening almost every day. These can also include free entry to some of the more exclusive clubs so are a great way to ensure you hit all the major hot spots of Ayia Napa.
Ayia Napa’s nightlife speaks for itself. Rows upon rows of bars, streets packed with holidaymakers, the world’s best DJs playing every night – you have everything you ever want in this corner of Cyprus.