What to do in Ayia Napa?
Welcome to Cyprus, travellers! Are you planning your holidays in Ayia Napa this year? That’s great! To make the most out of your trip it’s important to put together a plan, a “bucket list” so to speak, of all the things you want to do and see. Depending on the duration of your trip, and how much time you want to spend exploring, your options will vary. Maybe you want to work on your tan at the beach? That’s cool – we’re sure everyone is going to be jealous when you get back home! Nevertheless, make sure to allocate at least a little time to seeing all the amazing locations Ayia Napa, and the surrounding region has to offer – just a heads up, this list involves a lot of beaches and beach-related activities! Ayia Napa is famous for its countless beaches, but also for its lively nightlife scene and wide range of restaurants, covering almost every cuisine imaginable.
Facts about Cyprus
The world’s oldest wine label comes from Cyprus. Commandaria dates back 5000 years!
Cyprus is the first nation to include the shape of its country of its Flag.
The first Olympic Medal won by Cyprus was at the 2012 London Games
More than 45 Beaches in Cyprus have been awarded the EU Blue Flag for Cleanliness & Safety
Nicosia, the capital of the island, is the only capital that is divided between two nations!
Cyprus has sunshine for 300 days a year. Make sure to pack your sunscreen!
AtoB’s Ultimate 10+1 Things to Do in Ayia Napa
1. Nissi Beach: The name comes from the word “Νησί”, meaning island – can you guess why? —- Yes, indeed, there is an island 70-or-so-metres off the shoreline, which can easily be swam to. This beach remains one of the most popular in Ayia Napa, with countless tourists and locals flocking to it every summer season. There are beach bars, watersports dudes, and even a church on the beach, because… why not? Distance: 3km/1.9mi from Ayia Napa.
2. Sea Caves: Legend has it that pirates used to hide their stolen loot in these caves, maybe there is some left behind – yarr! Aside from hidden treasure, these caves and the surrounding sea are one of the most picturesque locations in Ayia Napa, making for very instagrammable moments! You can choose to book a tour to visit these caves, or even head to them alone. Depending on the season, they can be overrun by tourists, or you can be lucky and find them mostly deserted! Most importantly, be sure to mind your step, as the rocks can get slippery! Check out our no.11 location to find a cave that few tourists know of! Distance: 5.3km/3.3mi from Ayia Napa.
3. Ayia Napa Sculpture Park: Ancient civilizations in the region were big fans of sculptures, this is immortalised in the sculpture park, with works of art reminiscent of that era, as well as countless modern additions depicting everything from animals to people and abstract objects. It is within walking distance of the central square and is especially beautiful in the evening.
4. Ayia Napa Strip: Perhaps one of the reasons Ayia Napa became synonymous with “party-town” in most of Europe, is due to this strip. It is an entire street with bars and clubs one after the other. It can be slightly intimidating for first-time visitors, but is usually just a fun time when the sun goes down. Most of the clubs and bars will have PR people standing outside, just waiting to entice you in with “deals”. Top tip: always bargain with them, as you can almost always cut a few euros off the price. If they say no, just move on to the next one and try again!
5. Makronissos Tombs (and Beach): Although heading to an ancient burial site before hitting the beach may sound the most exciting – those who get excited by words such as Sarcophagi, loculi, and sepulchres are in for a treat! The tombs date back from the Hellenistic and Roman period, and although having been looted heavily over the centuries, still offer a glimpse into burial practices in the ancient Mediterranean region. Distance: 3.8km/2.3mi from Ayia Napa
6. Thalassa Museum: Let’s stick with the historical stuff for a little longer and talk about this museum. The name itself comes from the Greek word for the sea “Θάλασσα”, so you can kind of guess what the bulk of the exhibits will be about. Due to its location, it’s only natural that Cyprus would have a long history of sea-related activities. At the museum you can see ancient ships and numerous forms of clay receptacle used to transport goods back in the day. The museum also holds a number of cultural events throughout the year, so make sure to check out the calendar on their website for more info.
7. Ayia Napa Monastery: You may feel inclined to visit this monastery to appreciate its centuries-old architecture, or just to have a little prayer. The monastery itself has its roots during the Venetian period of Cyprus’ history, and it was allegedly the first building erected in Ayia Napa, and thus where the name of the town comes from. Napa means “wooded valley”, whereas Ayia means “holy”, thus in the common tongue, the town would be called ‘holy wooded valley’ – doesn’t really have a great ring to it, does it?
8. Kamara tou Koraka: Translates to “the crow’s arch”, although it is also affectionately also called “Love Bridge”, and is a natural bridge-formation located close to Cape Greco (see below). If you want to capture the best sunset available in eastern Cyprus, then this is your go-to place. Although, you will likely need a car (or bike) to get here, it is definitely worth the trip! Words can’t do it much justice, so we recommend just searching for pictures of it, you’ll definitely want to go there then! Distance: 7.2km/4.5mi from Ayia Napa
9. Blue Lagoon: There are a few beaches in Cyprus with this imaginative moniker, but this one is definitely one of the finest. If tales of the clearest, bluest, most beautiful waters have reached your ears, then likely you were being told about the Blue Lagoon in Ayia Napa. Well, we are here to tell you first-hand that the legends were true. The water is so clear you can see the bottom as if there were no water even there! So, if you like to scuba, then this is the place for you! Distance: 7.7km/4.6mi from Ayia Napa
10. Cape Greco: An article on Ayia Napa could not be complete without including this peninsula (that’s a fun word to say!). It is a hotspot for tourists who want to experience the natural environment of the region, with a number of caves, as well as a diving spot (not for the faint of heart). It is located in between Ayia Napa and Protaras; we recommend renting an offroad vehicle to make the most out of the trip. Distance: 8.3km/5.2mi from Ayia Napa
11. Hidden sea cave under Ayioi Anargiroi Church: Just a few steps past the church, is a stairway, which descends into the perfect hidden spot for relaxing! If you arrive early in the morning, you can be sure to set up your stuff in privacy. Make sure to be very careful, as the rocks are quite slippery and can be dangerous! Distance: 7.1km/4.2mi from Ayia Napa.
Fot. Claus Ableiter/ CC BY-SA 3.0)
Fot. Alex Liivet/ CC0 1.0
So, what are the best things to do in Ayia Napa?
Well, although everyone’s definition of the perfect vacation are different, we are pretty confident that if you add a few of these picks to your vacation bucket list, you are sure to get the most out of your trip to Cyprus. If you are planning to visit other cities in Cyprus, then make sure to check out our other guides, as well as our helpful guides on how to get from one city to the other with all the available transportations methods. Just for reference, we have guides on how to get from: Nicosia to Larnaca, Paphos to Polis, Limassol to Ayia Napa, and many more!
We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy holiday in Cyprus, and look forward to seeing you soon!
Happy Travels and Καλό Ταξίδι!