Ayia Napa a holiday hotspot
The resort at Ayia Napa, or Agia Napa as it can be called, is one of the most popular holiday spots on Cyprus. Beaches are strung out along the south east shore but the main resort centres around two streets; one parallel to the beaches and the other striking inland. The main clubbing area lies inland, to the north of the resort, with sandy beaches and small harbour to the south.
Ayia Napa takes its name from the ancient Greek word nape which means wooded valley. There is no wooded valley in Ayia Napa today, just a big urban sprawl.
Ayia Napa is now almost totally given over to package tourism with about 40 hotels, more than 200 apartments and a sprawling tourist village. In all there are around 19,000 beds to fill each summer.
Visitors enjoy an almost endless succession of clubs and bars that cater for an unending stream of youngsters out for a good time.
Despite Ayia Napa being noisy, brash and tasteless it is one of the most sought-after holiday destinations in the Med and attracts about one third of all tourist visitors to Cyprus.
One of the low points on an Ayia Napa holiday is bumping into drunk British squaddies from the base at Dhekelia out on a boys' night out of drinking in the street, dancing in the street, yelling in the street and throwing up in the street.
High points of Ayia Napa are the series of exquisite soft sand beaches, some warm shallow and crystal clear waters and all the watersports a thrill-seeking holiday visitor could wish for.
Limanaki is the main beach strip of Ayia Napa and is 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 out your sunbed are on and what island guide you consult.
Whatever, it's one long, straight stretch of sand that heads east for more than 1km. 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.