Cyprus’ east coast has a reputation for being something of an insomniac. Over the years, Ayia Napa has really earned its nightlife stripes, thanks to a neon strip full of bars. But all-night partying is just one chapter of the story. This town has a golden beach, a massive waterpark, and a leafy waterfront promenade, where you can sample every style of cuisine within earshot of the waves. It has plenty for couples and families, and is the perfect destination for weddings.
Party nights are Ayia Napa’s calling card, but there’s more to this lively resort on Cyprus’s southeastern tip than foam parties and fishbowls. Between the clubs and karaoke bars, there are cobbled streets, harbourside tavernas and a peaceful Medieval monastery. You’ve also got 14 fantastic beaches to choose from.
Blue Flags flutter everywhere in Ayia Napa – all 14 beaches that spool the eight-kilometre coastline have got one. And each of them comes with its own personality.
On Cyprus’ southeast corner, Nissi Beach is only a stone’s throw from full-throttle Ayia Napa, but really they’re worlds apart. Even if its superstar beach does get quite lively by day, come evening Nissi Beach prefers to live life in the slow lane.
A regular fixture on the world’s top beaches list, Nissi Beach is a Blue Flag-winning arc of pearl-white sand that melts into the turquoise sea. It draws a young crowd for its daytime beach parties, but there also are plenty of quiet spots around its edges. Best of all, just offshore is a little island – that’s what ‘nissi’ means in Greek – which is home to a buzzing watersports centre.
Of course, Ayia Napa goes all out at night. If it’s 2-for-1 drinks, buzzing clubs and foam parties you want, you’ll find it here. But there are also plenty of trendy – and quieter – beach bars for chilled-out cocktails by the sea. And it’s surprisingly well-suited to families, too, with a good line-up of live entertainment and hypnotists.