Ayia Napa, the small seafront resort on the southern coast of Cyprus, has triggered several taglines. From ‘the paradise of the Mediterranean’ to the ‘sun-worshippers Mecca’, it is seen by different people in different ways. That is because its beauty and appeal varies according to the season and according to the visitor’s expectations.
Ayia Napa in the summer
Located in the District of Ammochostos (Famagusta), a short drive away from the enchanting nature of Cape Greco, Ayia Napa has many distinct features by itself. To begin with, the beaches of Ayia Napa rank among the most beautiful, long-stretched sandy beaches on the island. This is the area with the highest concentration of EU blue flag beaches in Cyprus. Apart from the sugary sands, the colour of the sea at Ayia Napa is a mesmerizing, glittering turquoise-sapphire-azure blue. The sand and the sea combined with the long dry sunny period of the year that often starts as early as April and can last till the end of October, make Ayia Napa one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in the region. Thousands of tourists come here to enjoy swimming, water sports and sunbathing during the day, followed by evenings spent in pubs, cafés and traditional taverns, before enjoying the nightlife that lasts till the early morning hours.
The Winter Period in Ayia Napa
During the winter months, Ayia Napa shifts into a slower, quieter gear. The beaches still attract strollers, while cyclists are drawn to the coastal cycling paths and hikers seek the beauty of the area’s nature trails that wind their way through the rich endemic flora. It’s a very different destination, as the natural beauty of lush greenery replaces the magnetic attraction of the sandy beaches, and the mild winter temperatures are ideal for outdoor sports and leisure activities.
This is also a great time to explore the surroundings of the resort, an area dotted with smaller villages known as the ‘Kokkinochoria’ – the fertile red soil villages known also as the area that produces large crops of the delicious, world-famous Cyprus potatoes. Tour the district, meet the local farmers, visit miniature churches and chapels, and in general experience rural life and the hospitality of the local communities.
It happens all the time: The first visit to Ayia Napa is usually during the summer, but sooner or later holidaymakers discover the ‘other face of Ayia Napa’ – the tranquility and serenity of the winter months – and often come for extended winter stays. And finally, many realize that the real beauty of Ayia Napa is in its changing seasonal character, which makes it a very special destination any time of the year.