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Panoramic Village

Mazotos, Larnaca, Cyprus                                                            

Places of interest in SE Cyprus

Makronissos Beach

Ayia Napa Town

Protaras Beach

Cape Greco


South East Cyprus

The area of south east Cyprus is famous for its fertile red soil, beautiful sandy beaches and spectacular coastline.  Over recent years this has led to a rapid increase in the number of tourists visiting the area and the development of its towns and resorts.  These include: Paralimni; Protaras; Ayia Napa; Ayia Thekla and Cape Greco, all of which are described in more detail below along with the kiddies favourite the WaterWorld attraction.


Following the Turkish invasion in 1974, Paralimni became the new provincial capital of the Farmagusta district remaining in the Republic of Cyprus.  At that time, Paralimni was a small town of some 8,000 inhabitants.  Since then the town has grown because of the influx of Greek-Cypriot refugees mainly from Famagusta, until its population is now around 12,000.

As an administrative town, Paralimni has fairly functional architecture and buildings and very little is left of the original village. Outside the town centre the houses are not very attractive, with many of them being flats in small rectangular blocks. This is more than compensated for however, by the beautiful gardens that are evident, especially when the trees and flowers are in full bloom during the spring time. Within the town square there are a number of small shops; three churches, one of which (Panayia) contains an interesting ecclesiastical museum; an open air theatre and a variety of small cafes and bars.  For most people however, the main attraction of Paralimni is its proximity to the coastal resorts of Protaras and Ayia Napa, which are served by a regular bus service.


Although Protaras is part of Paralimni, it has over the last 30 years, grown into a major tourist destination in its own a more sophisticated alternative to the lively resort of Ayia Napa which lies 8km to the west.  Protaras grew to be a holiday resort largely due to the beautiful sandy beaches in its vicinity. There are several excellent beaches, each developed to appeal to a particular type of holidaymaker. For instance, the main beach “Fig Tree Bay”, regarded as one of the most popular beaches on the island, offers a wide range of water-sports, while to the north the tranquil waters of Skoutari Beach, make for great snorkelling.  All in all Protaras has some 17 beaches of which 7 have been given the blue flag award, including Pernera, Louma and Potami Beachs.

The sea caves along the Protaras coastline are ideal for those who like to explore. There are unique rock formations, arches and hidden coves to appreciate and photograph. While some can only be classed as small crevices, others are ample caverns that you can actually enter. There are also little islets just off the shoreline to admire and one in particular is big enough to serve as a retreat for those who prefer to avoid crowded beaches, or enjoy swimming, as the sea by the main beaches can be packed with people taking part in water-sports.   The coastal location of Protaras also lends itself to various interesting day-time activities. Boat trips to Cape Greko, the south-easternmost point on the island, or Varosha, located in the Turkish part of Cyprus, are available daily during the summer months

 In addition to its beaches and wonderful coastline, Protaras is also famous for its wide range of  large hotels, cafes, bars and restaurants all of which contribute to the lively nightlife of the area - although this might not be to everyone’s liking.   Almost every pub and bar is equipped with wide-screen televisions showing not only sport but also popular sitcoms. Karaoke and Live entertainment are customary in pubs and bars, though the live performances tend to be tribute acts of renowned singers such as Elvis and Cher, rather than acts exhibiting traditional Cypriot culture. Even though there are not many nightclubs in Protaras, the majority of bars and pubs stay open until the late hours of the morning.  

There is a wide range of restaurants in Protaras, ranging from regular fast-food establishments such as McDonalds to restaurants that specialise in more exotic styles of cooking like Japanese cuisine. Only a few restaurants in Protaras however, serve authentic Greek-Cypriot food and a visit to Paralimni may be necessary to sample a traditional village Meze, or similar food.

Finally, Protaras also boasts an Ocean Aquarium with over a thousand species of sea life on display and the famous Ayios Elias church which stands on a rocky outcrop overlooking Protaras and provides spectacular views of the coastline and surrounding countryside.  The interior of the church is decorated with vivid paintings that cover the walls and the ceiling and depict various scenes from the bible.

 Ayia Napa

The town of Ayia Napa has been known since the 1990s as the party capital of Cyprus.  Although it still has a very lively atmosphere during the months of June to October, Ayia Napa is no longer the clubbing paradise that it used to be.  Whilst there are still many bars and clubs throughout the town, increased government control has reduced some of the more obvious excesses.  There is much more to Ayia Napa than nightclubs and bars, and it is well worth a visit even for families with children.  

Ayia Napa and its immediate local area has numerous golden sandy beaches, most with blue flag status. The most popular beaches are Nissi Beach/Nissi Bay which is 2km west of Ayia Napa and attracts thousands of tourists every year; Pantahou Beach - sometimes called Grecian Bay - which runs easterly from the Ayia Napa harbour for around a kilometre; Makronissos Beach which is 5km to the west of Ayia Napa and is really a cluster of 3 sheltered bays with golden sand and gently sloping beaches; and Landa Beach which lies between Nissi and Makronissos beaches and which tends to be slightly quieter than its neighbours.  All of Ayia Napa’s beaches offer a full range of water sport facilities (including water-skiing, windsurfing, scuba diving etc), bars, cafes and, in the busier parts, fully stocked restaurants.

Other attractions in Ayia Napa include the old fishing harbour which has had a complete facelift and now includes an open air theatre, fountains and cobbled stone pathways with quaint cafes and restaurants that overlook the Mediterranean;  the old Venetian Monastery in the centre of Ayia Napa; the Museum of Marine Life; the ancient burial site known as the Makronissos Tombs and the Waterworld theme park which is described in more detail below.

 Ayia Thekla

For those visitors wanting a quieter life than that provided in Ayia Napa, the small village and beach of Ayia Thekla provides a much more restful experience.  Located some 5 kilometres west of Ayia Napa, Ayia Thekla is named after the ancient shrine of Saint Thekla, built into the coastal cliffs near the local beach.  The village itself is basically very small and resembles a small linear villa development.  The local beach however, is much more attractive with its naturally sheltered sandy beach and a small island about a hundred yards offshore making it an ideal spot for lounging or swimming the day away.  Ayia Thekla beach is also very popular with the local Cypriots who tend to stay all day enjoying their barbecues, whilst their children swim and play in the shallow, calm waters.


Then of course there is Waterworld, the largest water-park in Europe.  Although not strictly  in Ayia Thelka, it is less than 1km to the east of the village. With a distinct Greek mythology theme running through all of its slides and pools, Waterworld is hugely popular with locals and visitors throughout the summer months. The park is open daily from 10.00am to 6.00pm, and from the beginning of April through to the end of October - depending upon the weather.  Entrance prices for the 2010 season, were €32 for Adults and €18 for children, 12 years old and under.   The site has a wide range of facilities including 18 exciting rides; a gift shop; at least 5 different restaurants and/or food outlets; free car parking area; free umbrella and sun loungers; on site photographic facilities etc.  Full details can be seen at the Waterworld web site, and a visit is really a must for any family,  especially a family with small children.

 Cape Greco

Cape Greco is the Cypriot version of Lands End.  Located just 3km from Ayia Napa, Cape Greco is a headland that juts out into the Mediterranean at the most south-easterly point in Cyprus.  Designated as a national park, the area is famous for its flora and fauna, and spectacular coastlines.  For many visitors, Cape Greco is a walkers paradise that provides a welcome relief from the lively attractions of either Protaras or Ayia Napa.

Travelling on the road from Cape Greco to Protaras, you will reach Konnos beach, one of the prettiest beaches in all of Cyprus.  Konnos Beach is a picturesque strip of sand in a tiny cove, cradled by rocky headlands and topped with pine forest. Many visitors come here by boat from Agia Napa or Protaras, as it's much the easiest way to reach the beach. The west side of the beach is taken up with jetties and moorings for the pleasure boats, but the rest is simply made up of golden sand and crystal clear water. The beach also has plenty of facilities including car parking, restaurants, tavernas, sun loungers and all the other things that are necessary to make it a perfect day.