Ayia Napa is a resort in Eastern Cyprus located 40 kilometers from Protaras: one can get here from Paralimni by a commuter bus. First settlement was founded here in the times of the Byzantine Empire. When the area was under the Venetian rule the Ayia Napa («the holy alley in the woods») monastery was built in the village.
In the second part of the 20th century the village started to grow and finally became one of the main resorts on the island. Today it is still very popular for its clean sand beaches, gift shops, restaurants, and especially clubs – Ayia Napa night life is what brings young people from Europe, Great Britain and the US here every summer. Families with kids can visit the Paliatso adventure park and the Black Pearl pirate boat, while hiking in Capo Greco – one of the most stunning places in Cyprus – will most likely become an unforgettable experience for everybody regardless of age.
Want to know where to go and what to do in Ayia Napa? You may find a lot of useful information below.
Cultural sites in Ayia Napa
The Thalassa (also known as the Thalassa Museum of the Sea) is a maritime museum in Ayia Napa located at Krio Nero Avenue 14. The replica of the Kyrenia ship created in 1985 by the Hellenic science center and the full-scale model of the papyrus vessel from the Mesolithic period are exhibited here. Visitors can also have a look at sea fossils (fish, shells, corals etc) that are 60 – 135 million years old, sea organisms, stuffed fish and mammals and sea and lake birds in their natural habitat.
Temporary exhibitions and cultural and educational family events are also regularly held at the museum. Admission fee is charged (discount for children, students and groups is available). Museum working hours vary depending on the season.
The Ayia Napa monastery is located in the city center. It is believed, that the main relic of the monastery, the Panayia Napa icon dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was found in the cave by a local hunter many years ago. The icon must have been put there in the times of aniconism and was not much disturbed during the following centuries. The church, and later the monastery, were built above the cave where the icon had been discovered.
Today there is a historical museum with free admission at the monastery. Religious services are held at the new church nearby. The museum features a collection of old icons, temporary exhibitions and cultural events are also held at the yard.
The Saint Antonius chapel is located between Paralimni and Sotira villages not far from Ayia Napa. Saint's feast day is celebrated on the 17th of January.
The Saint Thekla chapel is located several kilometers from Ayia Napa, on the border with Sotira village, and the Saint Anargyroi church with a sacred spring nearby can be found in the eastern part of the city.
The Agios Epifanios chapel overlooks the ruins of the ancient Palaiochori settlement. The Saint Barbara chapel in the west of the city was built under the Byzantine rule, and the Ayia Mavri pillar helps to fight diseases (as legend has it).
The Farm House museum is located at the main square of Ayia Napa. Here visitors can see Cypriot furniture, working tools, household items, and other objects connected with rural living: a weaver's loom, carved pieces of furniture, lacy coverlet, ceramics etc. There is also a plough in the yard and the gift shop on the territory of the museum.
One more historical place of interest in Ayia Napa is an the old aqueduct that had been used to provide the monastery and the whole district with water for many centuries. The results of archaeological excavations proved that even older aqueduct had existed here in the Roman times.
The Cape Greco, the most eastern point of the island, is a huge park and a natural resort in 8 kilometers from Ayia Napa. Rare plants (including orchids, irises, crocuses and colchicums) grow here; fauna of the park is also unique. There are walking trails and bicycle routes, picnic areas, observation decks and different sport facilities at the park. Those who are interested in historical and architectural landmarks can visit the Aphrodite's Sanctuary, the Cyclop's Cave and the Saint Anargyroi church.
According to the local legend, a sea monster lives next to the cape. In Greek mythology it is referred to as Scylla, but local fishermen, who claim to have met the monster, assure visitors that it is much more friendly than the one described by ancient Greeks.
There is a village called Makronissos not far from Ayia Napa. In the end of the 20th century 19 ancient tombs and a small chapel were discovered there. This archaeological objects are considered to date back to Hellenistic or Roman periods.
The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park is located next to the Marina hotel. Metal and stone sculptures made by modern artists from all over the world are exhibited here. Admission is free, the park is open 24/7.
Tourist attractions in Ayia Napa
The Paliatso adventure park is located at Nissi Avenue, 5340. There are roller-coasters, merry-go-rounds, an observation wheel, a «ghost train» attraction, 5D-cinema, a giant «pirate's ship swing», a shooting gallery, sport facilities and board games and a few thrill rides for teens and adults at the park. Restaurants, cafes and icecream parlours are also open to the visitors.
If you are on vacation in Ayia Napa with family or friends, be sure to visit the WaterWorld waterpark, where visitors find themselves inside the stories of ancient Greece. There is the Zeus slide, the «Trojan Adventure» attraction, the Poseidon lazy river and the Aphrodite's bath at the waterpark. Pizzas, burgers, fish and chips, pancakes and other dishes are served in several restaurants and cafes located on the territory of the park.
There are over 10 beaches in Ayia Napa. Most of them are marked with a «Blue Flag» — an international sign of high water quality and safety.
The Makronissos beach is located not far from the WaterWorld waterpark. Its shallow waters are ideal for small kids. There are sunshades and sunbeds, changing stalls, restrooms, showers and water sports equipment rental at the beach.
The Konnos beach is located not far away from the Cape Greco. White sand and transparent water make this place especially attractive for tourists; yachts often drop anchor here.
The Nissi beach includes two joint areas: the big (and sometimes overcrowded) beach and the more isolated one. Beach services are offered in both locations.
The Black Pearl pirate boat is the replica of the ship from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie which offers cruises from the Ayia Napa harbour. The cruise program includes visiting of the caves in the Blue Lagoon, a performance from entertainers, swimming at sea and a pirate's dinner.
The Breakout escape quest in Ayia Napa is located at Ayia Napa Square Seferi 13. Participants can choose one of two plots — «an asylum» or «a casino». To find a key from the locked room for a limited period of time they will have to use logic and work as a team.
The Olympian Divers diving center is located at the Sandy Day beach. Speical diving test program is offered for children 8-9 years old. Those who want learn more about diving may sign up for two or three days long intensive course.
Where to fly a flyboard in Ayia Napa? The Flyboarding Cyprus platform is located at the Nausicaa harbour. Test flight includes safety training and lasts 20 minutes. All the equipment is provided at the spot. More experienced sportsmen can sign up for individual trainings with an instructor.
The EMW Go Karts karting is located next to the WaterWorld waterpark. It is the only karting in the city with one short but curving track and a cafe.
The Nightmare ghost house at Aleferia 9 is a perfect attraction for those who like some thrill in the middle of vacation. Visitors are invited to walk through a dark maze where, as organizers claim, they will meet somebody or something that will make them scream. Kids are not allowed to visit the Nigthmare house.
The Napa Bungee space is another source of adrenalin for Aiya Napa visitors. Bungee jumping requires safety training. There is a bar and a swimming pool at the spot. For an additional fee photos of the jump and T shirts with Napa Bungee logo are provided.
Restaurants in Aiya Napa
There are several restaurants at the Adams hotel located next to the Nissi beach. The Glasshouse luxurious restaurant on the top floor of the hotel overlooks seashore and the harbour. The menu is changed depending on the season, as only fresh local seasonable produce is used for cooking here.
Guests of the hotel can also visit the Socci sushi bar, the Victory pub, the Atlantis restaurant, the Dionysos tavern and several other cafes.
The Sage restaurant is located at Kriou Nerou, 8. Appetizers from seasonable produce, italian pastas and risottos, vegetarian and seafood meals are other dishes are offered here. A special children's menu and a wine list are available on demand. Live music concerts are held at the restaurant from time to time.
The Taverna Napa Mediterranean cuisine restaurant is located at Democratias 15. Wood-fired grill is used here for cooking meat and fish. Guests of the Taverna Napa can also order meze, famous Commandaria wine and Cypriot coffee here.
The Quadro restaurant (Odos Kryou Nerou, 7) serves Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. Appetizers, salads and meals (pastas and risottos) with seafood are really good here, and pizzas are baked in a wood stove. Limoncello or schnapps come along with a check as a compliment from the Chef.
The Blueberries restaurant was founded by two Englishmen in 1985. It offers appetizers with halloumi and arugula, shrimp cocktails, traditional starters and sauces (meze, tzatziki, tirokafteri and other), fish and seafood meals, steaks, grilled food, chicken and, of course, such traditional Cypriot dishes as moussaka, stifado, sheftalies and chicken shashlik.
The Los Bandidos Mexican restaurant is located in Ayia Napa Square. Here you can try «Mexican» meze, fajitas, quesadilla, guacamole, burrito, nachos and other dishes. The restaurant is also known for its tradition to serve Margarita cocktail in water-bottles.
The Golden Arrow is an English pub where guests can not only drink beer or wine but also have a solid breakfast. British and mediterranean cuisine is served here. In the evenings live music concerts and karaoke parties are held at the pub. The address is 21 Archiepiskopou Makariou III.
The Garden of Eden restaurant is located in the western part of the city in 500 meters from the waterpark (Nissi Avenue 144). There is a large children's playground with slides, a bouncing castle and a swing next to the restaurant. Wedding parties and other events are held in the spacious hall. Greek, Mediterranean and International cuisine is served.
The Dione restaurant is located on the seashore, next to the Adamas Beach hotel (Nissi Beach Avenue). Fresh fish dishes, chicken, steaks, pasta, sandwiches and vegetarian meals are served here. There is also a cafe with desserts and hot drinks, a bar and a belvedere on the territory of the restaurant. Children can spend time at the playground.
Where to try Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine in Aiya Napa? Visit the Zaatar restaurant at Nissi Avenue. Meze sets are served with hummus and falafel here, hookah is available, and belly dancing is performed in the evenings.