Ayia Napa

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Ayia Napa
Αγία Νάπα (Greek)
View of Agia Napa beach located in vicinity of Nelia Beach Hotel.jpg
Official seal of Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa is located in Cyprus
Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa
Location of Ayia Napa within Cyprus
Coordinates: 34°59′N 34°00′E / 34.98°N 34.00°E / 34.98; 34.00Coordinates: 34°59′N 34°00′E / 34.98°N 34.00°E / 34.98; 34.00
Country  Cyprus
District Famagusta District
 • Mayor Yiannis Karousos
Population (2001)[1]
 • Total 2,693
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Website http://www.agianapa.org.cy/

Ayia Napa (officially romanised Agia Napa; Greek: Αγία Νάπα [locally [aˈʝanːapa]]; Turkish: Aya Napa) is a resort at the far eastern end of the southern coast of Cyprus.


The name Ayia Napa is derived from a Venetian-era monastery of the same name, located in the centre of the town, next to the square that today is the clubbing centre. The word "Ayia" (Agia) means "holy" in Greek. "Napa" is archaic and means "wooded valley" or dell. In ancient times the area surrounding the town was covered with thick forest.


According to local legend, the now renowned original icon was accidentally discovered by a hunter in pursuit of his prey. Upon discovery, the icon of the Virgin Mary was called Virgin Mary of Napa, eventually shortened and now known as Ayia Napa. The present monastery, built in 1100, was built around the cave, in honour of the Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa. According to local tradition, until 1790 no one lived within close vicinity of Ayia Napa. The first inhabitants were from Salonica, Greece. The name of the first inhabitant of Ayia Napa was Nikolaos Kemitzis from Thesalloniki. He arrived from Greece around 1790 and got married to a village located on the northern east part of Ayia Napa and Paralimni, the name of the village was Panayia. Soon after the marriage Kemitzis had a fight with the ottoman authorities which ruled Cyprus at the time, and decided to move near the monastery of Ayia Napa.


Cavo Greco natural park.

Geographically, Ayia Napa lies near Cape Greco at the eastern part of Cyprus, just south of Famagusta and forms part of a larger area known as Kokkinochoria ("Red Villages", a name derived from the red colour of their soil). It is a town of Famagusta District, in the remaining southern part of the district occupied by Turkish forces in 1974. Ayia Napa is about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Protaras, a town that has recently seen similar development, but still manages to remain low-key and remains more favourable for families and Cypriot locals.


Nissi beach
Ayia Napa shopping street during the evening
Bar in the SoWhite hotel in Ayia Napa by night

Ayia Napa attracts a large number of tourists, mostly British, Russian, Scandinavian, Greek, German, Swiss, Israeli and Lebanese, while in recent times there has been an increase in tourist arrivals from Italy, France, Serbia, Slovakia and Czech Republic, leading to a multicultural crowd in Ayia Napa and indicating an increase in Ayia Napa's popularity amongst people of various age groups from several countries in Europe and the Middle East. Ayia Napa features a number of bathing beaches, on which water sports such as water-skiing, windsurfing, canoeing, scuba diving and speed boating are popular. The Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) supervises the beaches and is responsible for protecting the interests of all tourists. The most popular of these beaches is Nissi beach on Nissi Avenue, which is very popular mainly with younger people in the summer and gets quite crowded; it offers great water sports facilities as well as a beach bar which plays music throughout the day and offers events such as foam parties and games. Another is the Harbour beach (also known as Limanaki (CTID) or Pantahou beach), which is one of Cyprus' longest beaches, and the longest in Ayia Napa. Harbour beach caters more for families. The New Golden Bay (or Lanta / Landa beach as it is known to the locals) is less crowded, but there are still a number of activities available. All 14 beaches in Ayia Napa have been awarded the EU blue flag for their level of cleanliness and facilities. Cyprus, with 53 Blue Flag beaches, has three records:

  • the most Blue Flags per capita in the world
  • the most dense concentration of Blue Flag Beaches
  • the most Blue Flag beaches and per coastline length in the world.

Beach parties are another popular form of entertainment in Ayia Napa, often featuring headlining acts from the UK House and Grime scene, such as Example (musician), DJ Fresh, Lethal B, Tempa T & Boy Better Know, while more recently there have been other more internationally acclaimed acts such as Tyga, LMFAO, Flo Rida and Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike. These beach parties mainly take place at Makronissos Beach Club near the Waterpark and the upcoming Ayia Napa Marina; the beach has come to be known as Kandi Beach as of late due to the name of the beach parties that regularly take place there.

Several hotels and apartments are situated on Nissi Avenue, the main road of Ayia Napa, including Nissi Beach Hotel & Kaos Hotel Apartments amongst others, in addition to a large number of cafes/restaurants and bars, offering various cuisine types to visitors including local taverns with Cypriot cuisine, Pizza places, Steak Houses, Pubs offering English Breakfast, Chinese Restaurants etc. On the end of Nissi Avenue is Archiepiskopou Makariou III Avenue, another main road in Ayia Napa, offering lots of high-end cafes & bars, the "I Love Ayia Napa" monument, Square and Bar Strip on its upper end and the Ayia Napa Harbour and Harbour Beach (Limanaki) on its lower end.

The Square, central to the town, is filled with restaurants, night clubs and shops, such as The Castle Club (often featuring in DJ Mag's Top 100 Clubs in the world list), Club Sin, Black & White, Nightmare-horror maze and Nikitas' Steak House. Ayia Napa has changed its image somewhat over the years, from a fishing village to a typical Mediterranean resort and has now found its place as a multicultural town, catering for all tastes. Ayia Napa has strict laws on the use of laughing gas and throughout the years almost everyone caught using it has been arrested. If found using laughing gas tourist can face up a minimum of 1 year in prison and has to be carried out within the country of Cyprus.

Cape Greco national park is a ten-minute drive from the centre of Ayia Napa and is considered one of the most beautiful places on the island offering sightseeing, cliff jumping, bike riding and a variety of other activities. It is one of the most famous spots in Cyprus for the lovers of photography due to its picturesque nature, caves, cliffs, clear waters and trees. You will often see couples who just got married taking their wedding photos in various spots around Cavo Greko, such as the old tree in the entrance, Crow's bridge, Ayioi Anargiroi Chapel, Blue Lagoon, and also Konnos Bay, a beach surrounded by mountains and naturally a favorite with both locals and tourists due to its beauty and the fact that it is generally quiet. It is also known for being shared between Ayia Napa and Protaras, split down its middle with an imaginary border.

Ayia Napa center at night.

Wreck Diving in Ayia Napa[2][edit]

The creation of the Ayia Napa Artificial Reef program started in May 2015, by the purposely sinking of the fast Patrol Military Vessel Kerynia as a pilot project. The Cyprus Dive Center Association led by I Dive Tec Rec Centers Plc, Managing Instructor, Andy Varoshiotis, in cooperation with the municipality and the ministry of agriculture undertook the tender for cleaning the vessel according to the Barcelona convention requirements for dumping and made the wreck safe and marine life friendly for incubation. The Kerynia FPV, is a spectacular wreck dive due to the marine life gathered around the ship and is expected in few years that marine life will multiply.

The wreck offers some of the best underwater images fancied by underwater photographers due to the clarity of the water and the great visibility.

Hydro-logic Features[edit]

The Mediterranean is a sea between the continents of Europe and Africa. It is composed of several basins. The basins of Albora, Algiers, and Tiran are in the western section while the basins of Ion and Levant are in the eastern section. It is a large water mass extending east-west some 4000 kilometers from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Anatolian coast and 800 Kilometers north south from the Adriatic coast to Libya. The deepest point is some 5000 meters in the basin of Ion south of the Greek mainland.

Diving in Ayia Napa[edit]

The more we dive in Cyprus waters, the greater our surprise at the variety of Red sea marine life that has become well established in this area. The parrot fish of the Red Sea have clearly established themselves around Cyprus and most recently trigger fish and lion fish. You will also see large and small Mediterranean groupers, and an abundance of sea bream and damselfish. Our experience in more than 20 years of diving Cyprus waters has been a steady increase in the numbers and variety of fish. This is in contrast to many other Mediterranean dive sites.


Hard and soft corals are now rare in the Mediterranean. Cyprus however has a growing panorama of brightly colored coral varieties. Further out into the open sea one will find large vividly colored sponges and a mat of associated plant life. these provide excellent cover for octopus, scorpion fish, john dory fish, cuttlefish, Mediterranean plaice, stingrays, amber-jacks, cuckoo, and moray eels. These are only a few of the splendid examples of marine life awaiting the observant diver. The Eastern Mediterranean has been classified among the most oligotrophic regions of the World’s oceans.

Nevertheless, it is well known that the Levantine Basin and especially Cyprus, host high biodiversity at a low biomass. Overall, a total of 84 bryozoan species and six corals were identified, representing four taxonomical orders: Ctenostomata, Cheilostomata, Cyclostomata and Scleractinia. The species composition compared between sampling stations from MEDITS revealed a high spatial heterogeneity. Similarly, the Mazotos shipwreck community was dominated by bryozoans while the total species composition represented not only its’ adjacent areas but a large part of the coastline as well, as resulted after comparisons with MEDITS sampling stations. The structure, composition and number of species from the all sampling stations, were found to be affected by the temperature, mean depth and direct sunlight. In the Protaras area there is around 8 coral species that can be observed within recreational diving limits.


Water movements or currents are created by three factors – wind, the rotation of the earth, and the density and pressure of water. the interaction of these factors with the surface of the Mediterranean Sea. The rivers flowing into the Mediterranean can only renew one-third of the water lost due to evaporation. As a result, there is always a continuous surface current from the Atlantic Ocean into the Mediterranean. The is also a small flow of water from the Black Sea through the Bosporus, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles Strait. The water that comes from the Atlantic Ocean continues along the Northern shore of Africa after passing through the Strait Gibraltar.

This current is stronger in the summer when evaporation is at the highest level. The salinity and density of the Mediterranean increases through evaporation. The water that becomes dense sinks to the bottom and the excess dense bottom water then returns as an undercurrent to the Atlantic Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. This circulation from the Atlantic Ocean permits the Mediterranean to renew itself continuously and breathe as an internal sea.

To research more about the Cyprus Coastal Ocean Forecasting and Observing System (CYCOFOS), a sub-regional forecasting and observing system in the Eastern Mediterranean Levantine Basin, which covers the coastal and open sea areas of Cyprus, Cilician and Lattakian basins and the Eastern Levantine Base.

Waterworld Themed Waterpark[edit]

WaterWorld Themed Waterpark (Ayia Napa) is the biggest themed waterpark in Europe.[3] Waterworld Waterpark in Ayia Napa has received international recognition for marketing and innovation from a spectrum of the Waterpark associations around the world winning over 27 awards to date. The prestigious awards have been presented to Waterworld annually since first opening its doors in 1996. More recently, Waterworld Ayia Napa has also won the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Attractions Award 2015 and this year again The Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015.[4] The Greek mythological setting has been carefully planned over the years and the whole park is resplendent with Greek columns, fountains, plazas and statues of all the Greek Gods.

All of Waterworld’s major attractions tell their own mythological tale, including the mighty Poseidon’s Wave Pool which stretches over an incredible 3000 square metres. According to Greek mythology Poseidon was second only to Zeus. This year Waterworld introduced an amazing programme of in-house entertainment, including children’s games, dance aerobics and the fabulous Greek-themed acrobatic show! The prestigious Waterworld in Ayia Napa will be upgrading its facilities again for the 2016 season.

In the Greek mythology-themed waterpark there are upgraded attractions, extensive relaxation areas for parents and playground areas for children. It also has several catering outlets and a gift shop. Waterworld is open 7 days a week during the Summer season. Waterworld Ayia Napa received further worldwide acclaim when it was named and featured by CNN Travel as one of the world’s top 12 waterparks.[5] It presented Waterworld’s ‘Fall of Icarus’, the world’s first Boomerango ride and the’ Drop to Atlantis’ three person raft ride with the huge Greek temple façade. These rides were designed, built and themed exclusively for Waterworld Ayia Napa by leading Canadian manufactures.

Waterworld in Ayia Napa offers something for every age group and this variety of world class attractions.


Cyprus is known for its handicrafts and boutiques. While in Ayia Napa, the shops are interspersed with outlets selling designer sunglasses and watches. A large number of clothing shops have recently opened on Nissi Avenue and Archiepiskopou Makariou Avenue.


Ayia Napa Monastery is the best known landmark of the Ayia Napa area. It has a charm that represents a time when Ayia Napa was a sleepy fishing village. It seems that in ancient times, the location where the monastery and the village exists today, was covered by thick forest, visited only by hunters from the neighbouring villages.

Museums, ruins, arts and culture[edit]

Thalassa Museum.
Interior of Thalassa Museum.

The town contains a number of museums. The Tornaritis - Pierides Museum of Marine Life was founded in June 1992 in Ayia Napa and is located at the lower level of the Town hall. It exhibits past and present marine life, scientifically classified. Its main purpose is to show the marine fauna of Cyprus and the Mediterranean, helping the study and research of this part of Natural History, but also to stress the importance and necessity of preserving the marine environment.

Thalassa, the Municipal Museum of the Sea in Ayia Napa, is dedicated to the enhancement, promotion and preservation of the marine heritage of Cyprus, from prehistoric times to the present. Located at the centre of Agia Napa, the Museum displays marine artifacts and serves as a centre for educational programmes and community cultural events. The Museum houses sculptures, engravings, ceramics and paintings of seascapes made by some of the greatest 19th and 20th century Greek and Cypriot artists.

The Makronissos Tombs are found west of Ayia Napa village. They are an ancient burial site, located at a stepped road, which leads down to a rectangular entrance. The entrances were originally closed with one large or two smaller calcarenke slabs.

The Ayia Napa Sculpture Park, which is located in the east side of Ayia Napa, was recently completed. an initiative of the young mayor Yiannis Karousos under his strategy complete tourist experience. the sculpture park was inaugurated in May 2014 with the organisation of the 1st Sculpture Symposium of Ayia Napa. 17 sculpts were created on the site with participation's from Cyprus and Greece. the municipality now continues to the organisation of the 2nd Symposioum, which now has received an international Status with participants from Europe, US, Middle East and Cyprus.


The Ayia Napa Festival was first held in September 1985 and has been established as an annual event since, usually over the last weekend of September. It takes place in Sepheris Square in Ayia Napa Monastery. The festivities reflect the historic, cultural and agricultural traditions of Ayia Napa and Cyprus as a whole. The programme includes theatrical performances, operas, concerts and Cypriot and foreign folk dancing. Famous artists visited the festival such as Nana mousxouri, Marios frangoullis, Viki Leandros, George Dalaras, the Tenors of the 21st Century of Moscow

Ayia Napa Youth Festival[edit]

The Ayia Napa Youth Festival was established in 2010[6] when the Ayia Napa youth council, accepted the proposal of its president Yiannis Karousos and decided to organise a festival similar to the large music festivals of Europe, combining activities and music. The festival is based on several principles such as free entrance, the headliners to be chosen by the public, a charity goal, a social responsibility message attached to it; all styles of music are welcome. At the first festival which took place at the harbour square of Ayia Napa more than 10,000 people visited the festival during the three-day period with bands such as the Greek reggae act Locomondo, the pop-rock band MPLE and the hip hop band Stavento featuring Ivi Adamou. Also 25 bands performed, most of them in the music styles of rock and metal. In 2011 the Ayia Napa Youth Festival became international and included the band Stratovarius, Sabaton, Rotting Christ, Nightstalker, and 20 bands from all over Europe and Cyprus. The 3rd Ayia Napa Youth Festival took place on 24 and 25/9 2012 with popular rock artists on its roster such as Vasilis Papakonstantinou, Katsimixa brothers, Nighstalker and many other bands from Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

World record[edit]

Following the proposal of Mayor Yiannis Karousos,[7] then President of the Ayia Napa Tourism Committee, on September 16, 2007, the world's longest chain of syrtaki dancers (an ostensibly traditional Greek dance) danced to Zorba the Greek in a successful attempt to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. The chain had a total of 268 members of eight groups dancing in step to Zorbas. Then Ayia Napa Mayor Antonis Tsokkos said the aim of the event was to send the message that the village was interested in Greek culture and to promote the tourist resort abroad. Head of the cultural services of the Municipality Maria Tofini said that according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the dancers had to perform in synchronised step for the attempt to qualify. The event drew the attention of tourists and locals, many of whom danced to Zorbas on the beach and in the sea.[8] This record has since been lost but there will be another attempt to reclaim it on September 28, 2014, as part of the Ayia Napa Festival activities. The attempt will take place on Archiepiskopou Makariou Avenue and the dances that will be performed will be the Greek "Zorbas" and "Kalamatianos" dances as well as the Russian "Kalinka" dance. The event is expected to draw the interest of many locals and tourists alike, in addition to professional dancing groups who will take part in the attempt.

The Ayia Napa Walk of Fame - Square[edit]

In order to honor the famous personalities and artists which visited and still visit Ayia Napa, the City of Ayia Napa in 2013 has inaugurated the Ayia Napa Fame Square. Famous Singers, Djs, Artists, Politicians are inducted to this square. The idea was based under the Complete tourism experience strategy which the municipality of Ayia Napa is following. Artists such as Psarantonis, Mario Frangoulis, the Tenors of the 21st Century, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk are just a few of the stars placed. the star square was created in the city center under an effort to attract visitors by creating points of interests in the city center.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Ayia Napa is twinned with:



Proposals of Yiannis Karousos - Guinness Records for Ayia Napa

External links[edit]