Summer 19 in Europe – Birthday in Ayia Napa
Having a birthday in June makes it the perfect time to travel abroad as unlike the UK, most Northern Hemisphere countries will be consistently warm/hot, prices are still fairly decent and places are lively but not too hectic. This year, I decided to travel for my birthday and we found ourselves going to the party town of Ayia Napa in Cyprus!
To get to Ayia Napa, you have fly into Larnaca airport – as well as Larnaca and Ayia Napa, you can also get to Nicosia, Limassol, Protaras or Paralimni from here.
There are small airport buses which cost €9 one way to the cities and run every hour at various times. Ayia Napa is about 45 min drive away and there are 2 bus stops to get off at depending where your hotel is…you’ll likely get off at the main square.
Cypriots drive on the left hand side of the road which is a nice surprise for any Brits wanting to rent cars. You can rent other various modes of transport to get around town including quad bikes popular with the guys!) We rented electric scooters for €2.50 an hour which was perfect for checking out our local beaches on the first day.
Where to stay
Bellini Hotel – the hotel is yards away from Toga strip club so you’ll never have to worry about directing your taxi driver!!! It’s a lovely and quiet hotel (important for recovering in the day) with a pool and was reasonably priced for the time of year. It’s 15-20 minutes walk to town and the strip plus close to many restaurants and the beach so was perfect for us.
I was solo on my last day so checked into Seasons hotel right by the main square which is adult only and quite boujee. I got upgraded to a suite (dressing gown and slippers included) due to poor cleaning of my original room so kudos to the receptionist for responding to well to that.
Cyprus has beautiful beaches and there are so many to choose from whilst in Ayia Napa. Nissi beach is the most well known and for that reason is super busy so here are other alternatives we checked out during our stay:
Pernera Beach – this has a path along which you can ride your scooter down to the beach. It’s small, intimate and great for relaxing before a big night out.
Makronissos Beach – this is pretty family friendly and much bigger than Pernera. Sun lounger and umbrellas hire cost €2.50 each for the whole day..absolute bargain!
Landa Beach – we spent my birthday here checking out the watersports. We went literally coach surfing which is a fun way to get an adrenaline rush on the water (for only €10).. Other options include jet ski and paragliding..they only accept cash for these activities so come prepared.
Blu Hotel is situated on Landa beach and we wandered in to found ourselves at a corn on the cob party and then got to enjoy their stunning poolside!
Food on the beach isn’t the best and pricey for what it is so come prepared with snacks!
The beautiful outdoors
I managed to find a couple of beautiful spots around town which you have to check out if you get the time:
Love Bridge – this is a naturally formed rock bridge which is supposed to make your wishes come true if you stand on it whilst kissing bae. Don’t worry if you are baeless as it is still a beautiful to appreciate!
Sculpture Park – an open air park and features a large number of sculptures with the sea in the distance which is beautiful. The park is free to enter and is a 2 minute walk up the hill from the Love Bridge.
To get to these attractions from town, take the 101 bus to Marina Hotel bus stop and the 102 from the opposite side of the road to go back to town (costing only a few euros round trip).
Cape Greco National Forest Park – I didn’t get a chance to visit this but check it out if you can as all the guides say it’s amazing for hikes, seeing animals in nature and just unwinding. It’s quite a way from the town centre so would need at least half a day to get the most out of it.
My travel mission is to find culture wherever I go so this party town was going to be no exception!
Ayia Napa monastery – This is in the centre of town and it’s free to wonder through parts of the grounds of the monastery. The other part is being restored so I can only imagine would look great once reopened. However I did learn a bit about its history… it was originally discovered in the 10th century when apparently a man was led to the icon of the Virgin Mary here and the cave was turned into a holy site. Over the centuries, the church dedicated to her and then the monastery was built and has survived into the modern day.
A little further on is said church which has a very beautiful car park depicting portraits of angels and holy people. The inside is small but very extravagantly decorated.
Thalassa museum – a great place to learn about the rich history of Cyprus, the importance of its geography e.g. Venetians using Cyprus’ ports to access Eastern Mediterranean (Famagusta, Larnaca), its close proximity with the Middle East and the fact elephants and hippos used to live freely on the island! For me, the biggest surprise was Aphrodite’s connection to Cyprus… I won’t give too much away.
It’s €4 entry for adults or €2.50 for students.
My top tip for eating around Ayia Napa is to actually eat Cypriot food as it is so good! Other cuisines can be done well, especially around the town centre. Here are the places I ate at which stood out for me:
Passaggio – we had dinner at this Cypriot place near our hotel which was incredible. I recommend the meat meze which was €17 pp..for 3 people, the 2 person menu was more than enough!
En Yevo tavernaki – another traditional restaurant which is also perfectly instagrammable. I had vine leaves stuffed with rice and pork mince, chips and salad, freshly made lemonade for €13.25 plus I was given complimentary fruit afterwards. The service here is A1.
Los Bandidos – an incredible Mexican place on the strip which has fun vibes. They give you a large Mexican hat when you sit down which was cute. We had chimichangas which were made really well and their strawberry daiquiris are the one. This was for my birthday dinner so they gave me a free birthday drink and a dance!
La View – which describes itself as a fusion restaurant and one thing they fused well were all the flavours they chose! Plus the restaurant overlooks the whole town so is perfect for dinner just before sunset.
One of the main reasons people visit Ayia Napa is for the partying of course. We witnessed everything from hen dos and wedding parties to post exam partying to all the birthday celebrations (including mine of course). There’s plenty of ways to party at night and during the day:
Boat party – everyone should try this at least once! We did the Fantasy Boat party which €55 for half a day. The drinks on board were very cheap outside of the included hour and there was plenty of dancing and jumping into the sea.
The strip is the main place to party and has many bars and clubs to check out whilst you’re there. The bars we went to were Igloo Bar, Hollywood Boulevard, Napa Square Bar, Ambassadors Bar, and Havana Lounge (in order of liveliness). Club reps will be out offering you various drinks deals for each place and entry will be free. Drinks are cheap too considering it’s in Euros!
Also along the strip are clubs, all of which have an incredible playlist and good vibes. Black and White seemed to be the most popular and entry was €10. Castle Club is a close contender where we managed to negotiate €5 entry. We were there for the opening night of Sin which was free as part of their promo…it was chaos that night but I’d be interested to see how it fares alongside the other clubs as it gets going.
In the rest of the town centre are plenty of nice bars to check out away from the madness if you need to. These tend to be a bit more expensive however. I had drinks on the second night of my birthday celebrations at Pepper Lounge Bar where you can also do shisha.
Ayia Napa final words:
There’s no denying that it’s a party town so a lot activities are geared towards that. However I was pleasantly surprised to find other cultural and nature activities which you can do to escape from this. The good thing is that it’s on the mainland so you can go to another more authentic or less touristy part of Cyprus easily during your stay. For me, it was a fun 5 days but at times felt like the younger sibling to Ibiza (which is for hardcore partygoers..check out my post on it here).
Comment below your thoughts on Ayia Napa and if you plan to or have visited any party destinations this summer!