ProtarasProtarasProtaras
16355

Protaras Sights

There are not very many sights around Protaras to interest the visitor. Most people are content to spend their time between beach and hotel and this is all-inclusive holiday hotel territory with little in the way of local colour outside the main town of Paralimni.

The area is known for commercial potato growing and there's only limited pleasure to be had from touring flat and seeming endless red-soil potato fields.

Villages in the Protaras area tend to be more workmanlike than quaint and roadside restaurants are few and far-between. Be prepared to face squadrons of bikes and scooters on all the roads and lanes around Ayia Napa and Protaras as holiday visitors head to and from the various beach resorts that lie along the coast.

Most visitors will head south to Cape Greko where there are impressive sea caves along the indented shore and where a forest park lies a little inland.

Cape Greko

Napa Palaces

To the south of Protaras lies Cape Greco, designated a National Forest Park in 1993 and relatively unspoilt with great natural beauty. The park covers 385 hectares and was once dense juniper forest but is now rather bare, although some areas are being replanted. The park is slowly recovering and has some rare orchids and other plant species that are found only on Cyprus.

A Cape Greco visitor centre was opened for holiday visitors in 2011 and it has lots of information on the park while a small white chapel in the park is a very popular venue for Cyprus wedding photos.

The cape itself boasts a string of spectacular sea caves and large rocks out to sea with coastal paths above the cliffs with places, here and there, where you can clamber down to explore the sea caves Below the cape is a hermit's cave mentioned in several local legends and further east is a spectacular cave known as the Cyclops' Cave.

A British Army radar station bars visitors from a large area of the cape but on the headland of Cape Greco is a lighthouse and visitors can visit the ruins of an ancient temple to Aphrodite.

Paralimni

Napa Paralimni

The small town of Paralimni adopted the mantle of administrative centre for the east of the island after Famagusta was taken over by the Turks in 1974. It's an unprepossessing, somewhat shabby, little town but with a pleasant paved central square with a couple of interesting churches, some restaurants and shops.

The town is noted for it's excellent gardens — worth a visit in spring when the flowers are in full bloom — and for its ceramics. The town is also noted for its dancers and folk poets, regarded as the island's best. Local dance troupes and performers are in great demand at social events, weddings, fairs and festivals.

Deryneia border

Napa Deryneia

Many visitors interested in Cyprus history and politics will head to Deryneia to peer across the border that separates North and South Cyprus, although the practice is becoming increasingly redundant as the North opens up to more visitors.

The village is notorious for the beating to death of a young Greek Cypriot ,Tasos Isaak, during a peaceful protest in 1996 and the shooting of another,,Solomos Solmou, three days later as he tried to climb a flagpole in no-man's land in protest at the death of his friend.

Graphic wall posters describe the shock of the events. There are a couple of viewing platforms, the best being Annitas — one of the last buildings that was not occupied when Turkish troops halted their advance in the area. The empty and abandoned former Greek Cypriot resort of Variosa can be seen from here, much as it was in 1974.

Kokkinohoria villages

Napa Kokkino

Literally translated as 'red villages' Kokkinohoria is the name given to the famous potato growing region of Cyprus and is taken from the deep red colour of the earth. The soil colour is quite striking, as is the landscape, which might reminds some of the Australian outback. Wind-powered water pumps add to the illusion.

The main villages have little to offer the tourist, devoting themselves to the more lucrative potato crop but the rural atmosphere is in stark contrast to the garish coastal resorts.

The villages of Liopetri and Sotira are famous for their traditional basket-making, a craft actively encouraged by the Cypriots who have recognised it as a cultural heritage. There are also a number of beautiful chapels in these villages, and also in nearby Frenaros and Xylofagou, dating back as far as the 13th century.

Pyla village

Napa Pyla

The village of Pyla found itself stuck in the UN buffer zone between north and south and, extraordinarily, both sides appear to live there in peaceful co-existence.
UN peacekeeping patrols seem a little unnecessary as Greek and Turkish cafes sit harmoniously enough on opposite sides of the main square with a token UN checkpoint between them.
Greeks and Turks live in mixed neighbourhoods and wander at will across a border, although they would need a pedantic passport check just up the road in Nicosia.

Ocean Aquarium

Protaras  Aquarium

There are mixed reactions from visitors to the Protaras Ocean Aquarium, which is widely advertised on leaflets around the resort. It boasts over 400 species of marine life, including sharks, piranhas, stingrays, tortoises, turtles, eels and sea urchins.

The Ocean Aquarium offers a day-trip escape from the heat of the beach but some visitors are less that impressed by the cramped quarters of the penguins and crocodiles which can make for a depressing sight.

Described by some as shabby and unkempt, it has prompted alarm at overpriced tickets and expensive food as well as poor displays and empty fish tanks.

Others claim it a great day out and the Aquarium is set in beautifully maintained gardens where there is a small souvenir shop, although the emphasis is on cheap trinkets more than quality mementos.

Resorts

© 2010 - 2017 Aldelyme UK