The coast of Ayia Napa is blessed with a string of sandy beach bays that extend both east and west, all with easy access and most with tourist facilities. It’s not only noted for its outstanding blue flag beaches it’s also the undisputed party capital of Cyprus and its number one holiday hotspot.
Pantahou is the main beach strip of Ayia Napa and it’s found just west of the harbour. The Cypriot name is Pantahou but this strip of sand is variously known as Limanaki Beach, Harbour Beach, Ayia Napa Beach, Kryo Nero or Greko Beach depending on which part of the beach you set your sunbed and what island guide you consult.
Whatever, it’s one long, straight stretch of sand that heads east for more than a kilometre. It curves around a long bay and must have been an astonishingly beautiful spot before the rash of supremely ugly hotels were constructed along the shoreline.
Pantahou may not be considered as chic as neighbouring Nissi but thousands still pack the sands in the summer and all the usual tourist facilities are there, sun beds, sea sports and restaurants.
Being long and deep, Pantahori only rarely seems crowded but, being more exposed than some other beaches it can get a little windy and the bigger waves crash on the shore, especially in the afternoons if the wind blows from the south.
The sands nearest the harbour can get strewn with debris and offshore rocks collect gobs of seaweed. The sea and sand gets cleaner the further east you go.
The first beach west of Agia Napa is Loukkos tou Manti and the better-known Katsarka. Loukos tou Manti is a small and narrow strip of sand with a shoreline strewn with rocks. The beach turns to stone and shingle at Katsarka which is about at about 800m long and there are even more underwater rocks than are found at Loukos tou Manti. There is a small concrete jetty but no shade, not a tree in sight. Someone has dumped some sand here at some time but to little effect. Both of these beaches are a fairly bleak prospect given the large number of very good beaches nearby.
Pernara beach neighbours Katsarka and is a very pleasant spot. There is a decent access road to the beach which is sandy if narrow. Rocks have been heaped out to sea to create a breakwater which helps to keep the shallow waters calm in windy weather. Pernara beach is about 200m long and a little exposed but shelter can be found among trees at the back of the beach. There are a few amenities such as sun beds and cafes but not much else. There is a short walking trail that leads from the harbour and over the headland to
Vathia Gonia (Sandy Bay) Beach
Vathia Gonia beach is also called Sandy Bay (for obvious reasons) and this is the main beach before the hugely popular Nissi Bay that lies a little further to the west. The Cypriot name translates roughly as ‘deeply angled’ and pretty much describes the setting in a long and well protected inlet with low, rocky stretches reaching out left and right. At the head of the cove is a good beach of white sand with the usual sun beds and sea sports. The beach is very deep so it rarely feels crowded here. There is also is some good snorkelling in the cove and a number of walking trails nearby.
Nissi is the most popular beach in the area and lies about 3km kilometres west of Ayia Napa. This is where the boys parade their pectorals and the girls tan torsos. It’s strictly come Gucci here and you can’t afford to be seen in anything but the latest designer beachwear. Nissi takes its name from the small islet (Nissi means island in Greek) connected to the beach by a wide sand bar which splits the huge sandy beach into two, creating shallow, sheltered waters that are ideal for children to play. Plenty do — Nissi beach attracts thousands of young visitors every year. Nissi very well sheltered from the wind and sea swells and the beach has every type of water sport imaginable. Windsurfing, jet biking, banana riding, bungy jumping — it’s all here.Music blares from several beach bars so this is no place to take a nap. Behind the beach bars are cafes, pubs, restaurants and shops to service the multitudes. The beach gets packed in summer and the early morning arrivals get the best spots.
Right at the western end of Nissi Beach is a small cove of sand called Latchi Beach. Some large rocks have been dumped out to sea and covered in concrete to create a sheltered spot. It looks better than it sounds and can make a welcome break from the crowds on Nissi.
Latchi may be small but there are the usual amenities and there is good road access to the beach. Trouble is a giant water park looms over the beach so you can’t escape the excited screams. The beach is sandy and the waters shallow and protected so this is a nice beach for families, although the sea can get stony underfoot in places.
This beach is medium sized — about 300m long beach and is midway between Makronisis beach and the hugely popular Nissi Bay. It’s also known as Golden Beach and is quieter that its more popular neighbour though the proximity of nearby hotels and good road access means it can still get quite busy. The beach is well protected and quite deep so there is plenty of room but no natural shade. Sand dunes bank up the slope to the east and rock pools are found on both sides of the beach, Landa translates roughly as ‘water pool’.
A cluster of bays forms the popular beach area around the headland at Makronisis or Makronisos, about 6km from Ayia Napa. There are three main bays, one to the west, another south west and a third south east and all three are well sheltered with fine white sand. These beaches are very popular with local Cypriot families and have all the usual services. The beaches are deep so there is plenty of room for the many visitors which often include families with children enjoying the shallow, sheltered sea. Makronisis beaches are also highly favoured for beach parties so they can sometimes get both busy and noisy.