Ayia Napa beaches

Ayia Napa attracted its first tourists (mostly Scandinavian) on the back of its incredible beaches. There is a selection of idyllic powder white sand beaches. The water is crystal clear with a lovely blue-green color. The water tends to be quite shallow. Even if you are a swimming pool person, visiting Ayia Napa’s beaches will surely convert you. Every beach will have a water sports center so make sure you know the boundaries of the swimming and powerboat areas. Food, drinks, umbrellas and sun beds are all available for 2.5€ each but you need to get there early to reserve yours. Paragliding is widely available while bungee jumps come in and out of fashion.

Ayia Napa resort has 27 beaches, of which 14 have been awarded the blue flag award, more than any other resort in Cyprus.  In 2018, it was announced that Nissi Beach, ranked as 3rd in the list of the most popular beaches in Instagram A CNN feature ranked Nissi Beach as the best beach to visit for the month of July 2018. In 2011, it came first in the TripAdvisor list of the best beaches in Europe. In 2017, Makronissos Beach was chosen by Travel weekly as the third (3rd) best beach for Cyprus and Greece.

Nissi Beach is the most infamous of them all. In the height of the summer you need to get there early to reserve your patch. About 4 km from the central square. BBC Radio One has staged its beach parties here.

Makronissos Beach Just as nice (if not nicer) as Nissi Beach, a bit further away. At times less busy and more family orientated.

Grecian Bay Also known as Harbour Beach or Limanaki, or Pantachou Beach it is the closest sandy beach to the centre of Agia Napa. This is a beautiful beach that stretches along three coves to the east of the small fishing harbour. Not so fashionable as the two above, but just as nice a beach.

Sandy Bay (or Vathkia Gonia) a sheltered beach nestled between two headlands, It is popular with families and is more low key and quieter than its busy neighbor (Nissi)

Konnos Bay is truly one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and is very popular with locals and tourists alike, due to it being surrounded by mountains and having crystal clear waters. It is in the Cape Greko area and half of it is in Ayia Napa territory, while the other half belongs to Protaras.

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Partying in Ayia Napa

There is no better place to party in Cyprus than in Ayia Napa – the island’s dance capital. What was once an idyllic fishing village is now considered as one of the most popular vacation destinations on the island. During the day, you can head to the beach where you can soak up the sun and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean. Come night time, enjoy the bubbly atmosphere at the city’s public square where you can party till the wee hours of the morning. There is simply so much fun waiting to happen that boredom is not a known concept in the area.

Since most visitors going to Ayia Napa are there to experience its legendary party atmosphere, the best time to go is from June to August. But, if you can’t keep up with the wild antics of college kids, it is best to visit between the tamer months of October to May when the resort town is less crowded.

The party is brought to the beaches of Ayia Napa during the day. It’s gorgeous white and golden sand beaches swarm with holidaymakers, many are content simply lying on the sand and broiling under the sun, some take advantage of the warm and shallow crystalline waters while others are engaged in all forms of revelry from daring bikini pageants to drinking contests.

Two of the most popular beaches in the area are Grecian Bay and Nissi Bay because they are closest to the town centre. Nissi is more crowded because it often hosts beach parties and outdoor concerts. If you are interested in water sports then the beach to seek out is Pantahou while those who are looking for dramatic natural sceneries will delight in the rock sculptures of Palaces beach. If you have kids in tow, the family-friendly beach of Makronisos is a perfect alternative.

Of course, there is no leaving town without experiencing its famous nightlife. The main square is definitely the place to go when partying in Ayia Napa. But don’t get there until after 11 pm because the area is practically deserted before that. The site begins to stir close to midnight and after the clock hits 12 o’clock the clubs and bars on site are all pulsating with music, excitement and high spirits that will surely keep you on your feet until daybreak.

Most bars either have arrangements with clubs or are actually owned by the same people and if you will in some of the bars you can buy-one-get-one-free on some of their drinks and will give you free entrance ticket to popular club Castle or Starskys.

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Treasures of Marsala

If you are entering Sicily via Trapani Airport, you might want to check out the nearby town of Marsala before you head out to the island’s more popular destinations.

True, this coastal town cannot compare to the attractions of Palermo, Agrigento and Castellamare del Golfo but history enthusiasts will delight in what it has to offer. It is not only a gateway to the archaeological island of Mozio and home to a valuable archaeological museum, it also boasts of the famous Marsala wine that wine-drinking visitors will surely enjoy.

Begin your tour of Marsala at the tourist information office located right smack at the town center, along Via XI Maggio. It is a must visit place not only for a map of local attractions but also for bus timetables that are valuable for scheduling trips to your next destination. It is also good to know that the town is located along the railway line of Palermo to Trapani, so it makes a practical and convenient take off point to the rest of Sicily.

From the tourist information office, proceed to the nearby Piazza della Republica, also known as Piazza Loggia. The towering Duomo stands proudly at the center, adjacent to the handsome Town Hall and surrounded by charming architecture. It is the ideal place to get a feel of the local atmosphere, take a seat at one of the cafes or restaurants opposite the Duomo, order a refreshing drink and watch people idle by.

By the color of the walls of buildings and balconies with hard iron, the square is very much reminded of the squares of Spanish cities.

You can then proceed to Porta Garibaldi and learn what role it played in Garibaldi’s historic feat. Take lazy strolls along the winding alleyways and discover impressive palazzi with ornate balconies. Be on the look out along the way for bars and wine shops where you can sample the famous local wine and perhaps, buy a bottle or two. Wine lovers can even take a tour of the town’s wine cellars along the wine road or the Strada del Vino Marsala. Of course, don’t miss the Museo Archaeologico where you can take a closer look at the ancient Phoenician Punic warship, antiquated artifacts, exquisite ancient jewelry, and the magnificent headless marble statue of Venus.

Each stay in Marsala, no matter how short it is, can not be imagined without visiting the famous “Florio” winery. Florio is one of the oldest wine companies in Marsala and the history of wine in this city is interwoven with the history of this company. The Winery was established in far-off 1833 by Vincenzo Florio, who was the first Italian entrepreneur to be passionate about the production of Marsala wine.

Nowadays the Marsala Florio production still occurs here, even though a part of the historical cellars have been restored and available to be visited by those who want to discover the world of this famous wine. The cellars are easy to reach and they can be visited all year round.

The tour begins with eight gigantic vats, made at the end of the 19th century and still used for ageing marsala, and continues through different rooms and numerous aspects of historical interest to the actual Cellar, where about 5.500.000 litres of Marsala are kept in silence and peaceful stillness.

Finally, no Marsala visit is complete without a side trip to nearby Mozia. Take a ferry to the island and begin your tour at the museum. The facility provides valuable information that will help you gain a better appreciation of the ruins and the historical significance of the area.

Some of the items on display include a vast exhibit of terracotta masks and funeral stele but the main attraction remains to be the 5th century Greek marble statue known as Giovanetto di Mozia or the Youth of Mozia. From the museum, bring along a copy of the island map and simply wander around. Follow one of the many footpaths, consult your map and you will soon have a pretty good idea of what the sprawling ruins represent.

Also, don’t miss the salt pans and their windmills on the shore of Mozia and do not forget to pass by Museo del Sale if you want to check out how a windmill looks from the inside.

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