Ayia Napa in south-eastern Cyprus is renowned as a party destination for holidaymakers in search of beaches and booze. However, if you scratch the surface of the resort, you’ll find it has more going for it than just bars and booze.
There’s no denying that you can drink and dance and relax on beaches to your heart’s content if you take holidays to Ayia Napa, enjoying bar crawls, foam parties, booze cruises and more. However, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore the area’s history and landscape. Once a simple fishing village, this coastal spot boasts a 14th century monastery, churches, sea caves, a forest park and more.
Explore the beaches
You may not know it, but Ayia Napa is home to no fewer than 14 Blue Flag beaches. If you head to Nissi Beach, you can enjoy a range of watersports, including para-sailing and pedalos. Although its western end is a tourist magnet, you can get some peace and quiet by venturing to the east.
For an altogether more low key experience, try Sandy Bay. This sheltered spot is located between two headlands and is popular among families. For great views over the resort, you can climb the surrounding rocks and, if you’re feeling peckish, it’s a short stroll to the selection of nearby restaurants.
Another relaxed option is Grecian Bay. Also known by its official name Glyki Nero, meaning sweet water, this long stretch of white sands sprawls from the harbor to the Ayia Napa sea caves.
Take to the seas
If you fancy taking to the seas while on vacation in Ayia Napa, you can take your pick from a variety of boat trips. Aside from the ever popular party boats, there are plenty of sightseeing excursions on offer, most of which depart from Grecian Bay. For instance, you should check out the Dolphin Boat Safari. This fast-paced ride travels right into the sea caves and gets up close to the cliff edges at Cape Greco. It also provides opportunities to swim and snorkel and, occasionally, dolphins can be seen.
Immerse yourself in the Cape Greco National Park
No holiday to Ayia Napa is complete without a trip to the Cape Greco National Park. Located just a few miles from the resort, this relatively unspoilt area covers 385 hectares and is home to magnificent sea caves. It also contains juniper forest and various species of flowers and rare plants. Wildlife such as hares, hedgehogs and foxes can commonly be seen there too, as well as over 80 species of birds.
In addition, the park contains a small chapel dedicated to AgioiAnargyroi and this charming white building is a popular location for wedding photos. Other Cape Greco highlights include a lighthouse located on the headland and the ruins of an ancient temple that was devoted to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Discover the history
Right in the middle of the village stands the Ayia Napa Monastery. Surrounded by an imposing wall, it’s constructed like a medieval castle and it is the most iconic landmark in the area. Meanwhile, the sycamore tree positioned in front of the south gate is thought to be over six centuries old.
These are just some of the resort’s more interesting features. It’s not hard to step off the party tourism trail in Ayia Napa and, if you do, you’re in for a real treat.