Ayia Napa city
Ayia Napa is a resort town in Cyprus, located in the eastern part of the island. Life on the local streets is in full swing 24 hours a day, and the popular swimming spots with their piquant contests and the incessant rumble of “tuber” remind of a bizarre hybrid of a beach and a dance floor.
Drowning in foamy parties, absorbing liters of exotic cocktails and dashingly dancing on the bar counter, Ayia Napa is the ideal resort for those “who like it hot” and crave the most unexpected adventures. And if in the daytime the tourists eager to drive are warmed by the burning rays of the Cypriot sun, then at night this task entirely falls on the shoulders of local bars and nightclubs, which, it is worth noting, they masterfully cope with it. Adepts of passive recreation and families with children, Ayia Napa will also find something to hook on and where to shelter: in the city limits and the outskirts of the city there are quite clean and secluded beaches that a desperate party-goer has never set foot on. The main thing is to book a comfortable family hotel in advance, since spontaneous searches for a room in local hotels in the midst of the high season is a deliberately disastrous undertaking.
The history of the resort
The name of the most youthful resort in Cyprus was given by an ancient monastery located in its center. The monastery itself was named in honor of the miraculous icon of the Mother of God found in these parts, which, according to historians, was hidden here by the Christian community, fleeing the persecution of the Byzantine emperor. At first, the Cypriots christened the image of the Blessed Virgin “Panagia Napa”, which in the local dialect was supposed to mean “Theotokos from the forest”, but later the phrase was shortened to Ayia Napa. Gradually, the grotto in which the icon was hidden was expanded to a full-fledged temple, and Ayia Napa began to call the entire area on the Mediterranean coast, stretching to modern Protaras.
Best time to visit Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa belongs to the subtropical zone, therefore the climate in the city is typical Mediterranean, characterized by long hot summers and short and very mild winters. The holiday season here lasts from April to November, but the peak of tourist dominance occurs in the summer months, when the air and water are at their maximum, and most entertainment establishments operate non-stop. The average temperature mark in July is +32 ° С.
In autumn, the youth get-together gradually fades away, and hotels sharply reduce the price level, therefore, during this period, the beaches of Ayia Napa are wholly owned by older vacationers and families with children. The most pleasant bonus that comes with the autumn months is the absence of scorching heat, while the water in the sea is still comfortable for swimming. The average temperature in Ayia Napa September is +22 ° С. The only thing that can spoil the impression of the velvet season a little is the torrential rains and winds that periodically visit the resort at this time of the year.
From November to March, a dead calm sets in in the city, so in the low season in Ayia Napa only fans of excursions rush. If you want to catch the Cypriot spring in all its splendor, it is better to plan your tour in April. For almost two months Ayia Napa literally blooms and smells, and city flower beds and the surroundings of the resort are covered with a variegated flower and grass carpet. In addition, in the spring local bars and nightclubs begin to emerge from their “winter hibernation”, which gives the tourist a chance to have a good break.
The beaches of Ayia Napa are a real Mediterranean fairy tale, and absolutely free: the entire coastline is considered a municipal property, therefore, anyone can spread their towel on its golden sand. The same rule applies to the coastal areas assigned to hotel complexes: not only hotel guests have the right to rest on them, but also everyone who pleases. Inveterate ecologists will be pleased to see the Blue Flag on local beaches: a prestigious European “indicator” of cleanliness and safety.
As for the tourist rating, the Nissi beach remains the most trendy and “busy” vacation spot. A wide strip of sandy shore with a clear azure sea, a developed entertainment industry and its own cozy bay has long become the resort’s business card. Due to the abundance of bars and nightclubs, Nissi can be called the most partying beach in Ayia Napa, however, despite the wide range of 18+ entertainment and sultry young ladies sunbathing topless, children in this part of the resort are also welcome. The descent into the sea in the Nissi area is gentle, so there is a real expanse for toddlers who cannot swim. However, for the younger generation in Ayia Napa, there are enough other pleasant places with a less unbridled contingent. For example, you can safely splash in shallow water and play volleyball at Grishn Bay and Landa Beach (aka Golden Beach).
Note: all sun loungers and equipped relaxation zones on Ayia Napa beaches are paid.
For relative silence, fine-grained sand and the cleanest sea with a gentle bottom without a single stone, it is customary to go to Makronisos. The beach does not promise exuberant fun and alcoholic marathons in the Nissi style, but it will more than satisfy the need for peaceful relaxation and romantic get-togethers against the backdrop of Mediterranean sunsets. The main benefits of civilization available to guests of Makronisos are free Wi-Fi, a diving center, beach property rentals and a cute bar with a tempting cocktail range. On Sandy Bay, too, everything is decorous and noble, so mothers with children are frequent guests here. The beach is located in a small bay and attracts, first of all, with a developed infrastructure, as well as suitable conditions for paragliding. For those who are going to soak up Ayia Thekla (also known as Ayia Thekla), it is worth getting slippers in advance, since the entrance to the sea is rocky here. The rest of the place is considered quiet and decent, so beach goers are, as a rule, connoisseurs of relaxed rest and snorkelers. For your information, the coastal caves of Ayia Tekla are home to many species of nimble fish, so there will be a lot of things for fans of underwater photography here.
Another Blue Flag holder scattered his possessions a couple of kilometers from Ayia Napa, west of Cape Greco. Kermiya Beach (the second name is Limnara) enjoys a reputation as a paradise, where people go for a weekend to get away from the resort bustle for a while. The range of entertainment here is also quite decent: someone cuts the waves of the lagoon on a surfboard, someone dives, and someone books a place on a pleasure yacht to rush along the coast with a breeze.
Ayia Napa nightlife
Tourists eager to “get away” in Ayia Napa are waiting not only for beach disco bars, but also for the whole Club Quarter. Labeling travelers have long dubbed the resort the Cypriot Ibiza. However, despite the dancing and alcoholic euphoria that takes the city captive at nightfall, Ayia Napa is slightly inferior to its Spanish competitor in gloss and luxury. Nevertheless, the nightlife at the resort is unique in its way, which once again confirms the ambiance of the local clubs. If you want to be sure of this, take a look at The Castle Club (Louka Louka Str.). The building with an exterior in the style of a medieval castle has three dance floors, which can simultaneously accommodate up to 2000 clubbers.
The legend of Club Street is the Senior Frogs disco bar (Agia Mavri Str.). Despite the fact that the musical accompaniment here, according to reviews, often rolls into a frank retro, cocktails in the bar are one of the most delicious on the coast. More pretentious holiday-makers besiege the entrance to the Soho Club (Grigori Afxentiou Str.): The establishment “takes” the clientele with glamorous interiors, free admission for girls and VIP-zones. Well, since the situation obliges, the prices here are an order of magnitude higher than in other similar places. If nostalgia is overwhelming, stop by the Red Square Bar (Katalimata Str.).
Beginning at 9 pm, Ayia Napa bar barkers generously endow passing tourists with flyers that guarantee the flyer “giver” free admission to a bar or a drink, so if you are eager to bypass the maximum number of clubs, but are afraid to stay aground, use this opportunity … Those who do not like hanging out on the dance floors, but yearn to feel the atmosphere of the city at night, are ready to take the Nightmare ride (Eleftherias Str.) Into their smothering arms. Walking through the labyrinths of the institution and unexpected encounters with horror characters promises an uncontrollable rush of adrenaline, so do not forget about the stop word (the name of the attraction), which automatically stops the execution and releases the tourist-martyr into the light of day.
Attractions and entertainment
For those weary of the sun, sea and foam parties, the resort has quieter entertainment. In particular, the local Ayia Napa monastery is one of the top most visited attractions in the city. Over the centuries-old history of its existence, the monastery has accumulated a decent number of tales and myths, so it is better to take a guide for the excursion, who knows how to captivatingly tell about the most outstanding moments of the biography of the institution. Another unusual and noteworthy object is located in the courtyard of the monastery – a silk tree, which, according to legend, is at least 600 years old.
Walking along the city streets can be combined with a visit to the Thalassa Sea Museum, whose exposition will show visitors all kinds of ocean creatures, as well as a skillful copy of an ancient Kyrenian ship that sank off the coast of Cyprus in the 4th century BC. e. You don’t have to go far to go down to the stone tombs of Makronisos: ritual rock structures are located next to the beach of the same name. According to historians, these similar crypts were built by the ancient Greeks, so archaeological expeditions to the rocky sites of Makronisos are frequent guests.
Relaxing in Ayia Napa and not spending money on a subscription to a local water park is a real blasphemy. In any case, the children will never forgive you for this. For a more entourage adventure, take a look at the resort harbor, where the legendary Black Pearl anchored. Unlike its cinematic prototype, this boat lets everyone, young and old, aboard. A voyage in the company of fearless corsairs will cost around 35 EUR, which includes an exciting excursion, swimming in blue lagoons and funny quests for children and adults. Fans of extreme entertainment and letting off steam can be recommended to visit the local Luna Park Parko Paliatso. The rides here are aimed at the most diverse audience, so while the younger generation will peacefully “spin” on retro carousels,
DSLR owners, newlyweds and divers usually book excursions to Cape Greco. The former are attracted by incredibly photogenic landscapes, the latter are attracted by romantic sunsets and the so-called “lovers’ bridge”, and the third are attracted by the legend of a mythical monster living in the ocean depths, which has been spoiling the life of local sailors since the time of Homer. Having explored the most secret parts of the cape, it is worth at the same time to walk to the national park “Kavo Greco”, where you can ride bicycles and horses, admire the rarest varieties of crocuses and orchids blooming in park beds, play pranks in the Cyclops cave and, finally, arrange a wedding photo session in the background the charming church of Agii Anargiri.
From Ayia Napa, you can rush to Famagusta, a city of difficult destiny. The port once saw better times, and its luxurious beaches in the Varosha quarter were literally occupied by the Cypriot elite. But, after the political coup in 1974, the Greek Cypriots were expelled from here by the Turks, after which the luxury resort turned into a “ghost town”. Today, the apocalyptic ruins of Varosha are of interest only to excursion groups: of course, tourists will not be allowed into the quarter itself, but hardly anyone will forbid anyone to observe the city turning into a pile of concrete from the outside.
Do not forget
- Take a photo against the backdrop of the Ayia Napa mermaid and the farmer – surreal monuments installed in the resort harbor and city center.
- Lie on the Nissi beach and test drive your own cardiovascular system by jumping from a 50-meter bungee.
- Visit the tiny house-museum of local life, located next to the Ayia Napa monastery.
- Take a walk in the park of modern sculptures on the outskirts of the resort, along the way trying to comprehend the creative idea of the creators of such extraordinary monuments.
- Buy a ticket for the Slingshot ride in Luna Park and “fly away” into the night sky, announcing the resort surroundings with heartbreaking screams.
Where to stay
The most expensive hotels in Ayia Napa are concentrated in the Nissi beach area. Most of the hotels are 4 and 5 star options for family travelers. As the distance from the sea increases, housing prices in the resort become cheaper. In particular, you can find a relatively inexpensive hotel in the city center: unlike the fashionable beach area, economy hotels are already in charge here. Well, since almost all the drinking and entertainment establishments of Ayia Napa are located in its center, rooms in this part of the resort are rented mainly by cheeky and thrifty youth. There are relatively few four-star hotels in the city center, which can be explained by the specifics of the area: due to the noise and the hectic nightlife, well-to-do tourists prefer not to stay here.
As for the level of hotel service and prices, both the first and the second in Ayia Napa are quite high. So, for example, even in the most budget hotel, a tourist has the right to count on a room with air conditioning and Wi-Fi, but all these benefits of civilization will cost more than a similar “package” in neighboring, less popular resorts. The cost of accommodation in the Ayia Napa “treshka” in the high season ranges from 60 to 100 EUR, a room in a four-star hotel located in the coastal zone will cost 90-140 EUR, and it is not possible to rent an apartment in a local “five” like Grecian Bay less than 170-200 EUR. In addition, the service of at least half of the local hotels is “tailored” for guests with children, which implies the presence of all kinds of “goodies” for young tourists, from a children’s menu to enchanting show programs,
Useful Information: Due to the growing popularity of the resort, accommodation in Ayia Napa during high season should be booked at least a few weeks in advance.
Food in Ayia Napa
There are two ways to solve the issue of catering at the resort: to shoulder this task on the shoulders of hotel chefs by choosing an institution with a full board or all-inclusive system, or to get acquainted with the local cuisine in numerous restaurants and cafes on your own. Despite the fact that the basis of the resort menu is all kinds of fast food, you can try traditional Cypriot food in Ayia Napa in any tavern. By the way, the owners of local food outlets cannot be blamed for the stinginess of the owners of the local catering outlets: the portions in the cafe are almost always huge.
The first place in the list of local delicacies belongs to meze, which is an assortment of meat and fish delicacies. Of the must-eat Cypriot dishes, tourists also name moussaka (a Mediterranean variety of domestic casseroles), Greek cabbage rolls “dolmades”, pork kebabs “souvlaki” and baked eggplant salad “melinzanosalata”. Fresh and deliciously cooked seafood in Ayia Napa can be found in every self-respecting tavern. The prices for all this yummy are typical resort ones, that is, they are decently overpriced. The cost of meat dishes starts at 9 EUR, seafood like octopus and mussels costs 18 EUR, and a snack with a giant sandwich will cost 6-7 EUR. If you come to the resort not only to sunbathe, but also to practice your culinary arts, local supermarkets are at your disposal,
Holidays and special events
Despite the fact that each high season in Ayia Napa is one continuous youth carnival, the resort periodically covers with a wave of all kinds of religious holidays and festivals. The Cypriots celebrate Maslenitsa especially magnificently, arranging theatrical performances and parade processions on the streets. In May, the city is visited by the Anfestiria flower carnival, during which the resort is immersed in flower arrangements. In October, a medieval festival unfolds its tents near the walls of the Ayia Napa monastery, which provides residents and guests of the city with the opportunity to participate in funny costume contests, listen to medieval music, as well as watch fire shows and staged fights.
Traditional Cypriot delights such as honey, olive oil, soaps, wines and emblematic souvenirs can be purchased at resort shops like Taste of Life and Planet Store. It is worth stopping by Brilliance Jewelery to admire the elaborately cut diamonds, or to buy yourself some jewelry, if finances permit. Fashion gurus usually do not recommend updating your wardrobe at the resort, but if necessary, in Ayia Napa you can get hold of inexpensive clothes from no-name brands. But the prices for the products of eminent manufacturers in local stores are not the most attractive.
For something a little more authentic, head to Lefkara, famous for its delicious lace. The products, of course, are not cheap, but given that the products of lace makers were presented as a gift to the Pope himself, it is worth spending money on it. In addition to patterned napkins and openwork tablecloths, silver jewelry made by local craftsmen is usually taken away from Lefkara. Painted ceramics can be found in almost every provincial shop, barely leaving the resort. But for baskets made of vines, it is highly recommended to take a ride to the village of Liopetri.
Ayia Napa is a small resort and it is not difficult to get around it on foot. Those not keen on such extreme economy can rent a bike, scooter, or the fun version of the local electric vehicle iGo, which is a pumped-up version of the children’s tricycle with an electric motor. There are special road lanes for cyclists in the city, so you don’t have to maneuver in the traffic flow, risking your own life.
When renting a scooter or a bike at a resort, it is worthwhile to first agree with the rental employee about the boundaries of movement, since most companies prohibit their clients from leaving the city. Well, for those who have planned a sightseeing tour of the surrounding area, it would be wiser to splurge on an ATV, which is equally comfortable to drive on both “polished” tracks and bumpy country roads. As for rental rates, for a day to rent a bike in Ayia Napa, they ask from 5 EUR, a scooter will cost 15 EUR, and an ATV or buggy – 50 EUR.
If you don’t want to steer yourself, you can trust the resort buses. Most often they go to neighboring towns and villages to buy souvenirs or to the beaches. All buses leave from the central square of the resort, but the timetable directly depends on the tourist season. In the summer, this type of transport snoops along the city streets every hour, but in the winter, the necessary route will literally have to be caught. Taxi in Ayia Napa is a separate topic. There are many cars, they are all comfortable, but due to constant traffic jams in the high season, it is not very pleasant to ride them. The minimum cost of the trip is usually 5 EUR.
Before renting a car, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of local traffic rules. In particular, in Ayia Napa, as in all of Cyprus, left-hand traffic. Speed limits also apply here:
- 50 km – a trip within the city;
- 80 km – restriction for country roads;
- 100 km is the maximum permissible speed on highways.
The resort also has a specific system of fines. So, for example, you can get a tidy sum of money smoking in your own car if you have a child in the cabin with you.
A car rental in Ayia Napa can be rented by a driver aged 25 to 70 years. Persons under the age of 25 also have the right to get behind the wheel, but under special conditions: if they have driving experience (from 2 years), as well as for an additional fee. It is better to conclude a rental agreement right at the airport of Larnaca, and here the tourist has a choice: to stay at international offices like Europcar, Herz, Avis, or to trust local companies. Rates per day of operation of an economy class vehicle start at 20 EUR.
If you do not take into account the traffic jams that clog the roads of the resort during the high season, then the movement along the streets and surroundings of Ayia Napa can be called comfortable. However, get ready for the fact that you will have to search for free parking in the city for a long time and, most likely, to no avail. In summer, all parking lots are packed to capacity, and in such cases, only paid parking can help out, the tariffs for which start from 0.5 EUR / h.
Ayia Napa is a safe resort in all respects. And yet, provoking city thieves with your own carelessness and ostentatious well-being is not worth it, especially since there are safes for storing especially valuable things in every hotel. Another enemy of tourists who come to Cyprus during the high season is the local sun. It is very easy to get burned or sunstroke here, so spending on sunscreen cosmetics and hats in Ayia Napa can be considered as justified as possible. Travelers who decide to rent a scooter should immediately get a helmet: firstly, in order to protect their heads in the event of an accident, and secondly, so as not to run into a fine.
How to get there
To get to Ayia Napa beaches, you will first have to get to the nearest airport to the resort in the city of Larnaca. From domestic air carriers Aeroflot flies here, and from foreign – AirBaltic, Emirates, Air Berlin. In addition to traditional flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg, you can also fly to Larnaca from Yekaterinburg and Krasnodar.
The section of the road between Larnaca and Ayia Napa can be taken by taxi (the price of the issue is from 40 EUR), or by bus. The second option is relatively cheap, but less convenient, since you first need to buy a ticket for bus number 425 to get from the airport to Larnaca, and upon arrival in the city change to route number 711, which departs from the Archbishop Makariou C Avenue 1 stop (beach area Finikoudes) in the direction of Ayia Napa. The ticket price is 1.5 EUR. A faster and more expensive option is the Intercity Buses, which do not stop at all stops, so the journey from Larnaca to Ayia Napa will take about 40 minutes. The ticket price in this case will be 4 EUR.