The summer ended, it’s mid of fall, but there are still some places on the globe where sun is still shining not less than in July. One of those places is an island located in the middle of Mediterranean sea, called Cyprus. This is a place, where everyone can find an activity that needs: to hike to Troodos mountains and have a great view from above, explore the ancient history, have lazy days spent at the beach or doing water sports, such as diving, parachuting, snorkeling and even surfing. So let’s see what our small adventure brought us this time.
We had very short but nice trip to the Eastern part of Cyprus, could walk around 3 main places of this region: Nicosia
, the capital of the Cyprus, Larnaca
, the third largest city and Ayia Napa, the best place for the beaches. But let’s have a look on each of them one by one. And let’s start from the main rout of this trip, which is Ayia Napa
. This is indeed one of the best places for the leisure, parties and water sports. We stayed here a bit less than 2 days. Of course it wasn’t enough to have full overview of this amazing place, but we didn’t miss a minute to explore every corner that was possible. Beginning of October is already considered as the end of the beach season. It’s assumed that it should be less crowded than in summer. But as the weather was perfect, there wasn’t any empty spot in this city, at the beaches.
The area has many small and big beaches, which differ from each other by sand color and size, by smooth or rocky beaches, by water color and deepness. Some of them were like wild beaches, but the best ones were located in front of the luxury hotels. Every beach is named and has nameplates showing the direction. The first beach we visited was the closest one to our hotel. It was called “Katsarka” beach. This was a small rocky beach with almost no sandy spots to “lay down” under the sun. But what was different here comparing with other beaches visited was the “sand”. Why? Because instead of the sand under your feet you’ll find tiny shells, all colors, all types. This was cute, amazing, unbelievable. Loved it.
The other one was a little bit far, but still almost in the city center, called “Pernera
”. This beach had yellow sand, but when you enter the water, there were all small and big stones and it was quite hard to “walk”. And it wasn’t enough deep to swim. So you’d need to walk for some 50-100, or even more meters to be able to swim. Although the beach had “Blue flag” for the best quality, clean and crystal clear water. Like all other public beaches, here also save guards are always ready, if anyone would need a help.
A little bit far from “Pernera” there was another beautiful beach called “Blue sandy bay”. This was also one of the beaches that was in front of some big hotels. The beach was surrounded with many cafes and restaurants. There were even few spots for relaxing massages, where were boards with message “if you don’t like, don’t pay” J The sand was still soft and yellow, but was a little different than in “Pernera”. The water was still clear and shiny. Near this beach there was a small hill, where you could walk up and look around as from a view point.
The last beach that we checked was “Nissi
” beach, probably the best one in Famagusta region. It’s the biggest one on this area, with the softest sand, light yellow color, the clearest water, and the best views. All tourists are coming here to spend the best time in Ayia Napa, as there is no other beach like this. It’s also no deep, so you can still walk few hundred meters and water would be up to your shoulders. And it’d be still so clear that you’d be able to count all sand pieces or fishes swimming around you. There is also a small peninsula here, that’s connected with the main beach by a small path, still covered with a small layer of water, so you can just walk from the beach to it. And from here you’d have an amazing view to the sandy beach, blue horizon and a small rocky caves. If you stay here more, you’ll have the most perfect sunset in Cyprus. If you’re lucky to have full moon while spending vacations in Ayia Napa, then you’d also see the moon twice bigger than usual.
At the evening, when it’s already dark outside, walk on the streets of the city. On every corner there are small and big restaurants that have menus on the entrance for you to check if you want to have something from here or would like to check the other ones. Anyone can find what he looks for, any taste, any cuisine, starting from local Greek to Mexican, Chinese, and even Russian. Yes, the most of the tourists we met there were Russians. Everything was customized for Russian speakers, even menus had Russian pages except Greek and English.
Despite of beaches, Ayia Napa is famous for its parties and nightlife. The evenings are light and active here, but the real fun starts at night, after 12am. There are many youth that come here especially for night parties, fun and adventures. But I never saw anyone drunk on the streets or someone behaving badly to others, at least on the hours when we were outside. All streets are surrounded with blossomed trees and fruit trees. You’ll see figs, oranges (but don’t even think to eat them, as they are kind of artificial 😱), lemons, olives (believe me, they are not tasty from trees) and some more. Just the view of this mix of flowers and fruits will fill your day with positive vibes. And cats, they are everywhere, on the beaches, in the streets, near the restaurants. Everywhere!
At a daytime streets are almost empty. You’d see just a few people having drinks on street cafes or in the shops. Everyone is going to beaches starting from early morning, as the water is so nice, so warm, that nobody wants to waste a minute. Group of friends, couples or families with kids, all were enjoying the water and a smooth sun rays on the best beaches of Ayia Napa.
In the downtown of Ayia Napa, just behind the Ayia Napa Monument, there is a main Monastery. It was built around the 15th century, while Cyprus was conquered by Venetians.
According to the local tradition, the cave, which has been made into a church was found by a hunter and in the church he fund the icon of the Virgin Mary. His dog first saw the glowing light of the icon and began to bark. When the villagers heard that the icon was found, many people started to visit the holly area. The icon must have been placed in the cave for safekeeping during the period of the icon fights (7th and 8th centuries) and that is how it was saved. During the 14th century, the cave was built and then it became a temple.
Another tradition mentions that the daughter of a rich aristocratic Venetian family ran away to seek refuge in this area. The woman had ran away because her parents wouldn’t allow her to marry someone who wasn’t an aristocrat. Around 1500 it is said that a rich Venetian woman built the church, some rooms and a flour mill with her own money. An olive mill was built later on during the Turkish occupation. Slowly a women’s monastery was established as well as a Latin chapel. The Latin chapel operated at the third part of the temple after the entrance. The large fig tree next to the monastery (which is huge nowadays!) was said to have been planted by the Venetian woman. When her death was near, she built the stone memorial. She then asked to be buried inside it, next to the tree.
Towards the north side of the square is a monument with the head of a wild boar. Over the monument is the two-story building in which the Venetian daughter originally live in. Towards the west of the church is an ancient chapel which according to the tradition the Virgin Mary had laid down to rest there.
Again, next to the Ayia Napa monument, there is a stone made medieval style gate standing, which is an entrance to the main square. Here it’s already several years that medieval festivals are being organized in October. Must be curious to participate or at least be as a beholder on this festivals, to inspire with the spirit of old times.
Definitely this is a great place to spend vacations with the ones you love, would that be an active nightlife or a relaxing tanning on the beaches, everyone would find the best activity in this paradise.