Protaras has managed to establish itself as a family resort, where, unlike neighboring Ayia Napa, a calm, pacifying atmosphere reigns. Local beaches seem to be specially created for families with children. Hidden in picturesque bays, they are protected from the winds and covered with the purest golden sand. The entrance to the sea is shallow, and the water is clear and warm. However, this does not mean that young people and tourists who prefer an active lifestyle will have nothing to do at the resort.
All the beaches of Protaras have a well-developed infrastructure, water entertainment centers operate everywhere, and the clean coastal waters lure divers with a variety of marine fauna. Boats, boats, yachts are moored at the berths on the resort embankment, waiting for tourists who are ready to go on a sea excursion or fishing.
In Protaras, guests are greeted by many cafes and restaurants with international gastronomy, as well as colorful taverns where you can enjoy authentic Cypriot dishes and excellent local wine. In the evenings, all the major hotels offer their guests a variety of shows, and outside of the hotels, nightlife lovers will find bars with live music, discos and clubs where the audience is entertained by famous DJs.
History of Protaras
The history of Protaras dates back to ancient times. It is assumed that in the IV century BC. e. on its territory there was a small Greek polis Lefkol. The main occupation of the local residents were crafts and trade, which flourished thanks to a large port arranged in a convenient bay of the policy. It was here in 306 BC. e. the future Macedonian king Demetrius I Poliorketus lay in wait for the Egyptian satrap Ptolemy, who controlled the island of Cyprus. In the legendary battle of Salamis that followed, Demetrius defeated his rival, as a result of which he fled to Egypt, leaving Cyprus to the Macedonian, albeit not for long.
Over time, Lefkol turned into an insignificant village, which, like the entire island of Cyprus, was either under the control of Byzantium or Venice, and in the 16th century came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, who ruled here for 300 years. Today, only ruins and Hellenistic tombs, discovered recently, remind of the ancient city.
The revival of the former Greek polis began in 1974, after the new Turkish occupation of the island. Then, located three dozen kilometers from Protaras, the resort Famagusta with its beaches and developed tourist infrastructure found itself behind barbed wire, on the territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. And at the disposal of the Greeks was only a small, 20 by 10 km, coastal plot of land, which the Cypriot authorities decided to turn into a recreation area.
Following Ayia Napa, which in a short time acquired the fame of a super-fashionable resort, Protaras, located next to it, got its chance. The picturesque coast with soft fine sand, a cozy quiet bay surrounded by a rock mass, did not go unnoticed by the captains of the tourist business. In just three decades, hotels, restaurants, taverns and cafes, discos and bars have appeared on the deserted coast, overgrown with bushes and fig trees. The development of tourist infrastructure in Protaras continues, and the number of people wishing to relax here is increasing from year to year.
Geography and climate
Protaras stretches along the east coast of Cyprus for 11 km. It is often called a village, town, town, but in reality it is a suburb of Paralimni. The center of this city is located 4 km from the coastline, and along it lies the resort area, which includes, in addition to Protaras, Pernera and Kapparis. In theory, these are separate resorts, but in guidebooks and tour search engines these neighborhoods of Paralimni are usually united under the general name “Protaras”. This resort area also includes such beach locations as Konnos Bay, Green Bay, Protaras Center (Fig Tree Bay or Fig Tree Bay).
Map of Protaras
In the north of Protaras, there is a buffer zone separating the Greek and Turkish parts of the island. The southern outskirts of the resort are bordered by the Cavo Greco National Park. It spreads over 385 hectares, 2 km north-west of Cape Greco – the easternmost point of the Greek part of the island. The cape, which is the southern tip of Famagusta Bay, conventionally divides the resort areas belonging to Ayia Napa and Protaras.
The holiday season in Protaras begins in April, when the temperature exceeds the 20-degree mark during the day. True, the weather this month is still unstable, and the water is quite cool – about + 17 ° С. In May, you can already sunbathe and swim at the resort. During the day, the air warms up to +26 ° С, at night it is about +15 ° С, the water is already quite warm: +21 ° С.
It is not too hot in the first summer month in Protaras: the air temperature, as a rule, does not exceed +30 ° С. The real heat begins here in July and lasts until mid-September. At this time during the day it is usually + 32 … + 36 ° С, and sometimes the temperature indicators are very close to the 40-degree mark. The water warms up to + 28 … + 29 ° С. Precipitation at this time is very rare.
In October, the heat recedes. This month the temperature rarely exceeds +30 ° С, usually during the day it fluctuates between + 25 … + 27 ° С, at night it drops to +16 ° С. The water also becomes cooler: +26 ° С. In November in Protaras you can still sunbathe at + 22 … + 24 ° С, swimming is also pleasant: the water temperature is +22 ° С. In addition, the resort maintains mostly dry weather. The maximum amount of precipitation falls on the winter season. At this time, the air cools down to + 15 … + 18 ° С during the day, and at night the temperature drops to an average of + 8 … + 9 ° С.
Attractions of Protaras
Protaras cannot boast of the old buildings typical of many Mediterranean resort towns. Local Greeks live in modern, functional houses with two or three floors. The courtyards are decorated with flower beds, flower beds with orchids, hibiscus, cyclamen. Somewhat away from the coast, there are relatively wide, busy streets lined with bars, souvenir shops, and car rental offices. From them, streams of smaller streets rush towards the sea, where guests are welcomed by various hotels and apartments.
Streets of Protaras
A beautiful view of colorful Protaras opens from the top of a 115-meter granite cliff, which is about a kilometer from the coast. Here is one of the main attractions of the resort – the Church of St. Elijah the Prophet. This modest Byzantine-style temple was erected in 1984 on the site of an old chapel. It is built from local sandstone and looks wonderful against the backdrop of vivid landscapes. The church looks especially impressive during sunset, in the soft illumination of the rays of the setting sun, and at night it is effectively illuminated by searchlights.
The doors of the temple are never closed. You can enter here and admire the wall paintings made in the traditional Byzantine style, see the carved wooden altar. At the entrance to the church, a “wish tree” is growing. Following the legend, locals tie ribbons to it or hang miniature locks, hoping that their most cherished desires will come true. Tourists follow their example with enthusiasm.
Church of Saint Elijah the Prophet in ProtarasView of Protaras from the cliff
Stairs to the temple
There are 153 steps leading to the temple and the observation deck at the top of the hill. After overcoming them, you can enjoy the dizzying views. To the east stretches the endless bright blue expanse of the sea, in the north you can see the outlines of Famagusta, in clear weather you can even see the Karpasia peninsula – the extreme eastern tip of the occupied part of Cyprus.
The staircase itself is also a local attraction. It is believed that if you count its steps during the ascent and descent, you can find out about the degree of your sinfulness. Those whose numbers coincide can classify themselves as sinless. If you have a discrepancy when counting, then the difference will be equal to the number of sins you have committed. Before climbing the mountain, tourists can gain strength in a charming shady park at its foot. And those who are not attracted by such walks should head to the nearby transport stop to get to the church by bus.
Curious tourists will be interested in visiting the Historical Museum of Protaras, located in the very center of the resort. Its exposition is deployed in two halls. The first one presents artifacts discovered during excavations in the town and its immediate surroundings: fragments of ancient frescoes, mosaics, sculptures, household items of the ancient era. The collection, shown in the second room, is dedicated to modern history and covers the period from the 19th to the 20th centuries. Of particular interest here is the collection of various vehicles, including both the simplest wheelbarrows and carts of the peasants, and the rich carriages of the local nobility. The exposition of old children’s toys and a collection of pottery are also interesting.
Oceanarium of Protaras
Right by the sea, there is the Protaras Aquarium, which is worth visiting with children. This name, perhaps, sounds too loud for this small shelter of representatives of the marine fauna, but here you can have a pleasant time watching a variety of exotic fish, piranhas, stingrays, turtles, crocodiles, penguins. For adults, a visit to the aquarium will cost 14 €, a child ticket costs 7 €. Those who wish to please goldfish and turtles can purchase food for 2 €.
Not so long ago, an elegant promenade was developed in Protaras, stretching for 4 km and connecting Pernera with Fig Tree Bay, Agios Nikolaos Harbor and Luma Beach. The coastal pedestrian zone has become a popular place for walks, jogging; along its entire length, platforms are arranged that lead to the sea and in some places seem to hang over the water. Benches were installed here, where it is pleasant to sit down to admire the seascapes.
From the embankment you can go to beach restaurants, playgrounds, marinas, where pleasure boats await holidaymakers. The Nissiotis pier is very popular among tourists. Here they take a selfie and meet the sunrise over the mirror-like surface of the sea. Beautiful views also open from the small picturesque harbor of Agios Nikolaos. A miniature snow-white chapel crowned with a blue dome gives a special flavor to this place. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas – the patron saint of sailors, fishermen and all people whose life is connected with the sea.
Nissiotis PierChurch of St. Nicholas in Protaras
Valley of the Windmills
After driving or walking inland from the coast, you will find yourself in the Valley of the Windmills. It is an iconic landmark in Protaras. There is a whole complex of openwork masts with wind generators that feed water pumps with energy. With their help, all the surrounding fields are irrigated. For a long time, local peasants extracted water for irrigation of agricultural land with the help of windmills, gradually turning the scarce stony land into a blooming garden. But the time of the old windmills is long gone. Due to intensive irrigation, the groundwater level dropped and the wells dried up. We have to drill deeper and deeper and get water out of the wells using electric pumps. Today, a wide variety of vegetables are cultivated in this fertile valley, especially selected potatoes.
The picturesque valley of the windmills is a great place for romantic walks. Walking paths are laid between the windmills, along which tourists walk with pleasure, admiring the landscapes marked by nostalgic beauty.
On a dirt road or along one of the hiking trails leading from the resort, you can reach another distinctive attraction – the Agia Saranta (Forty Holy Martyrs) chapel. It is hidden in a cave formed by rocks, and pretends to be only a built-on turret. It is worth saying that this is not the only cave church in Cyprus, but only she was awarded the honorary title of “The most bizarre temple in the world.” A kind of visiting card of the chapel is its miniature bright blue door. It leads to a small depression in the rock, partially converted into a temple. Ten people who are here at the same time will be a bit cramped, but the atmosphere in the church is absolutely amazing. Semi-darkness always reigns inside, the only source of light is a crack in the cracked rock above. The sun’s rays making their way through it create a sense of divine presence among believers. Those wishing to take a good look at the chapel should arm themselves with a flashlight. However, you can see here only a couple of benches, a curbstone and icons on stone vaults. There are no servants in the chapel, and the entrance is always open.
The coast of Protaras is indented by many coves and bays, forming cozy hidden corners. The sea here is always calm and transparent to the very bottom, and the well-groomed coastal strip pleases with its purity. Entrance to all beaches is free of charge, but you will need to pay for the rental of beach equipment. A set of a sunbed and an umbrella will cost about 7 €, each item individually – 2-3 €.
A striking decoration of the Protaras coastline is the beach in Fig Tree Bay. It is famous for its crystal clear waters and is considered one of the best beaches in Cyprus. It is always crowded here: tourists with children love this place for its gentle descent to the water, young people – for the opportunity to do all kinds of water sports. The beach is serviced at the highest level, safety is provided by lifeguards, all conditions are created for people with disabilities.
Fig Tree Bay
The bay owes its name to either an ancient fig grove that spreads nearby, or a huge fig tree that “settled” right on the shore almost in the 17th century. There is an islet in the center of the bay, which can be reached by boat or swimming.
Luma is another popular Protaras beach. Its second name is Golden Coast, after the name of the hotel located right on the coast. The beach, nestled in the bay, is protected from the waves and is well equipped. The noisy, crowded Flamingo beach also boasts excellent infrastructure. And the Sunrise Beach, which stretches for half a kilometer, is famous for its elite: the most fashionable hotels of the resort are located on this part of the coast.
Konnos Bay beach is located 2 km from the center of Protaras towards Ayia Napa, away from the bustle of the resort. He hides in a cozy bay, at the foot of a hill immersed in greenery. Tourists with small children do not come here, since the descent into the water here is not too gentle, and the coast is rocky in some places. But lovers of secluded relaxation will like this beach. Even at the height of the season, there is no crowding here, and you can safely sunbathe on the golden sand, swim in the clear water, and dive from the rocks.
Konnos Bay stretches for 400 meters, and its quietest corners can be found at the extremes. Closer to the center, there are cafes, restaurants, rental shops for beach accessories, equipment for water sports.
A calm atmosphere reigns on the Kapparis Beach, in the area of the same name, north of the center of Protaras. It is also called MMAD – this is an abbreviation for the name of the police special rapid reaction unit, whose headquarters are located nearby. The sparsely populated Kapparis, with its golden sand and crystal clear waters, is popular with both tourists and locals.
On the coast of Protaras there are also completely wild beaches, where all the benefits of civilization are missing. Those who want to be alone with untouched nature rush to such places.
As befits a seaside resort, Protaras offers vacationers a variety of water activities. Tourists go water skiing (15 € for 15 minutes), jet skis and catamarans (20 € for 15 minutes), fly on parachutes tied to boats (40 € for two). Diving is popular here due to the crystal clear waters off the coast, the richness of marine fauna, and dozens of locations with wrecks. One dive in the daytime will cost 50 €, at night – 70 €. Those interested can take training and receive a certificate. For this you will need to pay 250 €.
Walk on a “pirate” ship
You should definitely make a sea voyage. A three-hour excursion on a pleasure boat as part of a group costs 12-20 €. There are also interesting sea excursions with the possibility of fishing. The cost of such a 4-hour trip is 80 € per person. Individual yacht rental will cost from 200 € per hour.
You can have a wonderful time in the Cavo Greco National Park, which occupies part of the territory of Cape Greco. More than 400 plant species are protected here, about three dozen of them are endemic. A great time to visit the park is the flowering period of orchids, daffodils, crocuses, and irises.
The park has hiking trails, bicycle routes, observation platforms, and benches for rest. There is also a picnic area. The 2-kilometer Aphrodite Trail runs along the coast of Cape Greco. It leads to the place where an ancient temple dedicated to the goddess once stood.
National Park Kavo Gkreko
In the park you can go diving, exploring underwater caves, parasailing, rowing, horseback riding, fishing, and mountain climbing. On the cape itself there are a number of places from where you can dive into the depths of the sea, and many extreme lovers come here just for this pleasure.
One of the most popular evening entertainment in Protaras is the one-hour show “Dancing Fountains”. The performance can be seen daily from April to November. Each “dance” of the fountains is accompanied by certain music: classical, national, pop. For the final chord of the show – an imitation of a volcanic eruption – a very ominous but impressive music was selected. More than a hundred fountains, half a thousand searchlights, a pair of laser installations, systems that create smoke and fire effects are involved in the grandiose performance.
Dancing fountain show
Those wishing to dine before the start of the show are invited to reserve a table through the official website of the Magic Dancing Waters show by paying a show + dinner ticket. If you buy a ticket without the “dinner” service, you will have to look for a table that will be free by the time you arrive. It is better to come here in advance, at least an hour before the start of the performance. The cost of tickets for adults is 19 € (without dinner) and 34 € (including dinner), for children, respectively, 12 € and 22 €. The buffet opens at 19:30 and the show starts at 21:00. By this time, it is better to finish your meal, since all the lights go out.
Not far from the fountains, there are two very popular stylized bars in the resort – Flintstones and Sfinx, you can easily drop in here after the show. It is worth saying that the nightlife of Protaras is quite lively. Bars are open here until 02: 00-03: 00, but after midnight most of them no longer cook food. You can order only a limited set of dishes.
Бар FlintstonesBar Sphinx
The resort has bars of various categories. In some establishments, guests come just to drink beer and watch broadcasts of sports competitions, in others – to listen to live music or dance, “charged” with tequila (3-5 € for 50 ml) or a cocktail (on average 5 €).
Most of the shops located in the tourist area of Protaras are open seven days a week and lunch breaks. Supermarkets open their doors at 08:00 and close at 22: 00-23: 00. A number of minimarkets where you can buy everyday products serve customers around the clock. The range of goods presented in Protaras is similar to that offered in other resort centers in Cyprus.
Souvenir shops in Protaras
The most popular among tourists are stylish ceramics and handmade lace – napkins, tablecloths, towels, clothes and even umbrellas. Craftsmen from the village of Lefkara specialize in weaving lace. In Protaras, their products can be found in specialized stores. At the resort, it is worth buying spectacular and inexpensive jewelry made of gold and silver. Many silver items – earrings, rings, bracelets, as well as dishes, decorative interior items – also come from Lefkara.
Such solid souvenirs as fur coats and other fur clothes are still in demand. Many shops specialize in the sale of leather goods, but keep in mind that really high quality goods cost at least 40 € here. Glasses can be called a non-standard local souvenir. In Protaras, stylish frames and ready-made glasses are presented in a wide range and are inexpensive.
Tourists traditionally buy delicious goat cheese at the resort (it is vacuum-packed and suitable for transportation), local honey and jam (350 ml – € 5-6), Cypriot wine, carob syrup, baklava, Turkish delight. Olive oil will be a tasty and healthy purchase. It is sold both in tiny containers and in liter bottles (cost – from 2 to 20 €).
In Protaras, tourists will find more than a hundred culinary establishments, where national and international cuisine is presented. For a taste of authentic Cypriot food, head to one of the traditional taverns, where food is prepared with local ingredients and recipes handed down from generation to generation. At the same time, in each of these establishments, you can taste a dish to which the local chef has brought his signature touches.
Grilled octopus at Andama TavernОбед в Traditional Cyprus Tavern Protaras
All taverns serve meze – a kind of culinary mix consisting of a series of snacks. First, dips and breads, salads are offered, followed by grilled food, side dishes, desserts. Traditional Cypriot dishes include kupepya – a dish of grape leaves stuffed with rice, onions, tomatoes, tava – a meat stew with spices and onions, sheftalia – spicy chopped meat cutlets wrapped in a lamb or pork gland, kleftiko – lamb baked in oven of the same name.
A hearty meal in a tavern costs about 15 € per person, including a drink. Kafkaros Tavern, Traditional Cyprus Tavern Protaras, Andama Tavern are popular in Protaras.
Kafkaros TavernAndama Tavern
Happy Days Authentic Mediterranean
For lovers of Mediterranean cuisine, head to Happy Days Authentic Mediterranean for excellent seafood dishes. The most delicious and fresh seafood, according to many tourists, is offered in the Ocean Basket restaurant located near Flamingo Beach. A plate of seafood for two will cost 29 € here. In the evenings, queues often line up at this institution, you have to wait until the table is free.
Italian cuisine is deliciously prepared at Molti Cafe. The trendy Koi Bar serves traditional Japanese cuisine, while the cozy Wan Chai Restaurant offers Chinese cuisine. The best pastries in Protaras can be found at Rossos Bakery. Wonderful coffee and ice cream are also served here. Street fast food in the resort is also present. You can have a quick bite for 7-8 €.
Where to stay
In a fairly miniature Protaras, more than one and a half hundred hotels have been built. Most of them are located on the first line, but from any hotel in the resort you can get to the sea very quickly. There are only four five-star hotels here, the overwhelming majority of hotels belong to the 3-4 * categories.
Among the most luxurious hotels is the recently opened Sunrise Jade with an average cost of living of 250 €. It is located in the very center of the resort. A little cheaper, you can stay at the Grecian Park Hotel 5 *, built a 5-minute walk from the center of Protaras.
Sunrise Jade Hotel
Grecian Park Hotel
Among the four-star hotels, Golden Coast, Sunrise Beach, Capo Bay have good reviews. Daily accommodation here costs from 90 to 200 €, depending on the season and room class. A double room in a three-star hotel costs approximately 75 €.
Golden Coast Beach HotelSunrise Beach HotelCapo Bay Hotel
In Protaras, it is possible to rent an apartment, paying from 30 € per day. Prices for renting villas by the sea start from 500 €.
OSEA buses run along the coastline of Protaras from 08:00 to 23:00. Directions to Konnos and Paralimni are served by routes No. 703, 706, 708, 714. The ticket price is 1.5 €, the ticket can be bought from the chauffeur. Children under 6 do not need to pay for travel. It is convenient to buy a 7-day pass for 20 € immediately upon arrival at the resort.
In the evenings, night buses leave the streets and serve passengers until 04:00. The journey costs 2.5 €.
Many tourists prefer to travel by taxi. Boarding costs 4 €, each kilometer – 0.75 €. The night rate is 15% higher than the day rate.
How to get there
The nearest international airport is Glafikos Clerides, located 68 km west of Protaras, in Larnaca. To the international airport in Paphos – 188 km, it is located on the southwestern tip of the island of Cyprus.
Buses leave from Larnaca Airport to Protaras hourly. Travel time – 1 hour 30 minutes, fare – 8 €, child ticket – 5 €. A taxi ride will cost about 50 € (at night – 60 €).
From the center of Larnaca to Protaras from 08:00 to 18:30 regular bus number 711 runs. It runs infrequently and makes many stops along the way. The trip takes about two hours. The ticket price is 1.5 €.
Reputable hotels send their own transport for arriving groups of tourists, this service is included in the tour price.
There are no regular bus routes from Paphos airport to Protaras, you will have to get there by public transport with transfers, the journey will take at least 5 hours. From the terminal of arrivals to the center of Paphos can be reached by bus number 612 (end – “Kato Paphos”) or number 613 (end – “Karavella”). Intercity Buses run from these stops to Protaras. The timetable depends on the season. It is most convenient to take a taxi with luggage. Transfer cost – 145 €, travel time – 2 h. 30 min.
Car rental is available at both airports. Driver’s age – from 21 years old, minimum driving experience – 1 year. The cost of renting a small car starts at 20 € per day. Please note – left-hand traffic is accepted on the roads of Cyprus.