Places to visit in Ayia Napa, Xylofagou

Ayia Napa and Cape Greco of May 5, 2024


Before you lies the most romantic stroll along the Cypriot coast. You will find the most beautiful beach in Cyprus with white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water. Next, the Love Bridge awaits you, where you can take stunning photos. Then, marvel at the sea in the sea caves where, according to legend, pirates hid their treasures, and be impressed by the endless sea view from Cape Greco. Additionally, enjoy a walk through the park and the ornithological center, where, if you're lucky, you can see sea turtles at Raven's Arch and descend into the grotto under the Church of the Holy Unmercenaries. To top it off, dine at Isaac's Tavern on the Ayia Napa promenade and enjoy the sunset.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
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56.94 km
8h 36 m
Places with media

Nissi Beach is considered the best beach in Cyprus. Its lagoon delights visitors with its crystal-clear azure water, and a distinctive feature is the shallow sandbar that connects the beach to an island. Interestingly, the name of the island, Nissi, means "island" in Greek, which gave the beach its name. According to one ranking, it is even among the top twenty beaches in Europe.

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Adams Beach, located near Nissi Beach, is another popular spot in Ayia Napa, Cyprus. Known for its soft golden sands and clear turquoise waters, it offers a more relaxed atmosphere compared to the often bustling Nissi Beach. This beach is ideal for families and those looking for a quieter place to enjoy the sun and sea. The waters are shallow and calm, making it safe for swimming and perfect for children. Additionally, there are various amenities nearby, including restaurants, bars, and water sports facilities, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable beach experience.

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Agios Nikandros Forest Park is a serene natural area in Cyprus, offering a peaceful escape with its lush greenery and well-maintained trails. Named after Saint Nikandros, a monk known for his piety and dedication to helping the poor and sick, the park reflects his legacy of compassion and spirituality. It's ideal for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the island's native flora and fauna. The park contrasts the bustling beach areas, allowing visitors to experience the tranquillity of Cyprus's natural landscapes.

Landa Beach, known as Golden Beach, is near Agios Nikandros Forest Park. It is known for its fine, golden sand and clear, shallow waters, making it a favourite for families and those looking for a more relaxed beach experience. The beach has amenities, including sunbeds, umbrellas, and nearby cafes and restaurants, ensuring a comfortable visit.

Adjacent to Landa Beach is a picturesque bay, perfect for snorkelling and swimming. While the coastline here is not as karstic as some other areas, there are a few rocky outcrops, creating an ideal environment for exploring marine life. This bay is less crowded than the famous beaches nearby, offering a more secluded and peaceful environment for beachgoers.

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The Love Bridge is the most iconic photo spot on the Cypriot coast, surpassing the famous "I Love Cyprus" frame. People flock here to take pictures.

The name Love Bridge comes from the belief that it is the most romantic place on the island. According to legend, if you kiss while standing in the middle of the bridge arch and make a wish, it will surely come true. As a result, it has become a tradition for honeymooners and couples to visit this spot.

Kraken Cave is located near the Bridge of Lovers in Ayia Napa. It is a natural sea cave, part of the rocky coastline, with several notable formations and arches. This area, including the Bridge of Lovers and the Kraken Cave, is famous among visitors for its dramatic scenery and excellent photo opportunities.

The coasts of Cyprus vary, and I believe the most beautiful ones are in the island's southeast. Here, the sea erodes relatively high rocky shores, creating numerous caves and grottos that eventually collapse, forming arches or, as in this case, natural bridges.

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In such places, local daredevils often jump from heights of nearly ten meters into the sea, seemingly unaware of the spectators. Clearly, this is done to entertain the public, but increasingly, the audience remains indifferent. I hope this indifference will lead to the end of such reckless stunts. These antics are dangerous not only because they put the jumpers at risk, but also because each jump, especially with a running start, damages part of the arch, negatively impacting this beautiful site.

From this point, the view for photos is the most beautiful and the most popular. The arch, often called the "Lovers' Bridge," is clearly visible from here. If you visit at sunset, the hues will be the most stunning.

The Ayia Napa sea caves, particularly the "Sea Caves," offer breathtaking views and are a favorite for photographers, especially at sunset. This spot provides a perfect angle for capturing the arch against the backdrop of the sea, with the sunset adding a magical touch to the scenery. The sea caves, formed by centuries of erosion, are a natural marvel and a must-visit for those seeking stunning photographs and memorable experiences.

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Tetraena alba and Frankenia are two resilient plants found in the saline and arid regions of Cyprus. Tetraena alba, with its whitish leaves, manages excess salt by shedding its leaves and is used in folk medicine for gastrointestinal and skin issues. Frankenia, named after Swedish botanist Johan Franck, thrives in similar environments and is valued for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, treating digestive and respiratory conditions. Both plants showcase remarkable adaptability and traditional medicinal uses.

The sea caves of Cyprus are rich with various grottos, and local fishermen whisper tales of hidden treasures once concealed within them.

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The sea caves of Cyprus are a remarkable place to enjoy nature and contemplate its beauty and workings. The rocks often show a grayish-green tint due to copper oxide, as Cyprus is known for its copper deposits. The island's name may even be derived from the Latin word for copper. Waves crashing against the lower parts of the cliffs carve vertical columns, which are eventually eroded into grottos and caves. Over time, when these caves deepen, their roofs collapse, creating stunning natural formations.

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The transmitting station at Cape Greco, Cyprus, was established by the British in the early 1950s. Originally designed for military communications, it now serves as a relay station for the BBC World Service. The site remains under British control and is a restricted area, prohibiting photography and public access for security reasons. Its strategic location allows for effective broadcasting to the Middle East and parts of Europe, maintaining its importance in global communications.

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Cape Greco, named by the Venetians in the 16th century, translates to "Greek Cape." Its name was first mentioned in historical records during their rule. According to local legend, the area is home to a sea monster, said to be a giant sea serpent, which adds a mythical allure to the region. The Cape Greco National Forest Park offers stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, with clear blue waters and dramatic cliffs, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

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Cape Greco is a vital stopover for migratory birds traveling between Europe and Africa. During spring and autumn, thousands of birds can be seen resting and refueling. Notable species include raptors like the European honey buzzard and the red-footed falcon, as well as various songbirds and waders. The best times to observe these migrations are from March to May and from August to October, when the birds pass through Cyprus on their long journeys.

The Peace Monument at Cape Greco features sculptures of birds symbolizing peace and freedom. This monument, located in the national park, serves as a tribute to harmony and the natural beauty of the region. It is a popular spot for visitors, offering panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the surrounding landscape, further enhancing its symbolic message of tranquility and unity.

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Near the Peace Monument at Cape Greco, there's a hidden bench offering serene views of the peninsula, the lighthouse, and the nearby restricted British area. The lighthouse, built by the British in the early 20th century, aids in maritime navigation. This territory remains under British control as part of the UK's Sovereign Base Areas established in 1960. The bench provides a peaceful spot to admire the natural beauty and historical significance of the area.

The Cape Greco peninsula is especially beautiful with its less rugged cliffs and coastline eroded by the sea into sandy areas. Among this pristine nature, there's a particularly lovely bench where visitors can sit and enjoy the pure, natural surroundings.

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Cape Greco's peninsula, particularly around the Raven's Cave or Arch, is a picturesque area with sandy coastlines shaped by the sea. The National State Forest of Cape Greco hosts over 400 plant species, including 15 endemics, and more than 70 animal species, such as bats and butterflies. It’s also an important migratory habitat for birds. The area is home to significant European habitats, including seasonal lakes, posidonia meadows, and marine areas with seaweeds that provide breeding and protection for marine life like fish, dolphins, and sea turtles.

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The "Raven's Arch," formed by the partial collapse of a coastal cave, is located on the rocky Cape Greco near Ayia Napa. The bridge is just under 10 meters long and about 20 meters above sea level. Its name origin is unclear, possibly inspired by the graceful curve resembling a bird's wing. Locals also call it the "Lovers' Bridge," linked to a legend that couples who cross it will have a harmonious life. Sadly, erosion has made the arch unstable, leading to restricted access and concerns about its imminent collapse. Efforts are underway to preserve this iconic natural wonder.

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Crow's Wing at Cape Greco in Cyprus is a breathtaking spot known for its stunning natural beauty. The area offers dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea. In spring, the scenery is particularly captivating, with vibrant wildflowers blooming and the landscape still lush and green. The sea sparkles under the sunlight, and the sky is a vivid blue, creating a picturesque contrast that is truly mesmerizing. This season is perfect for visiting, as the temperatures are mild, and the environment is at its most vibrant, before the summer sun has fully taken its toll on the vegetation.

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Ayioi Anargiroi Church, located at Cape Greco in Cyprus, is a charming and historically significant site. This small chapel is dedicated to Saints Cosmas and Damian, known as the Holy Unmercenaries (Ayioi Anargiroi), who were renowned for providing medical care without accepting payment. Their dedication to healing and selflessness has made them revered figures in the Christian faith.

The church is built on a spot that is believed to be associated with miraculous healings and is especially significant because of the natural cave underneath it, where the saints are said to have lived and healed the sick. The original chapel dates back to the early Christian period, although the current structure was built more recently in the 1950s.

The church's location on the picturesque cliffs of Cape Greco adds to its allure, offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea. Its simple whitewashed architecture, typical of Cypriot chapels, is complemented by the stunning natural surroundings, making it a popular site for both locals and tourists.

In terms of its historical and religious significance, Ayioi Anargiroi Church has been a place of pilgrimage for many years. It has been maintained and restored over the years by local authorities and the Church of Cyprus, ensuring it remains a revered and well-preserved site.

The church attracts visitors year-round, including pilgrims seeking blessings, tourists drawn by its beauty and history, and locals who come to celebrate the saints' feast days. Managed by the Church of Cyprus, Ayioi Anargiroi Church continues to be a beacon of spiritual significance and a testament to the enduring legacy of Saints Cosmas and Damian.

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Saints Cosmas and Damian, to whom Ayioi Anargiroi Church at Cape Greco is dedicated, are revered figures in Christian history. They were born in the 3rd century AD, in the region of Arabia (modern-day Syria). These twin brothers were brought up in a Christian family, which profoundly influenced their lives and values.

Cosmas and Damian studied medicine in Syria and became highly skilled physicians. They decided to use their medical knowledge to help others without accepting any payment, hence their title "Anargyroi" (Unmercenaries). Their selflessness and dedication to healing earned them great respect and admiration. They believed that their ability to heal was a gift from God and that they should share this gift freely with those in need.

The brothers traveled extensively, providing free medical care to the sick and the poor, treating both physical and spiritual ailments. Their reputation for miraculous healings spread far and wide, attracting many people seeking cures.

Despite their good deeds, Cosmas and Damian faced persecution during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, a time when Christians were often targeted. They were arrested and subjected to various tortures, but they miraculously survived these ordeals unharmed. Ultimately, they were beheaded around 303 AD, becoming martyrs for their faith.

The cave beneath Ayioi Anargiroi Church is believed to be a place where the saints lived and performed many of their healing miracles. This natural cave, situated in the cliffs of Cape Greco, is accessible to visitors. A staircase leads down into the cave, offering a serene and spiritual experience.

Inside the cave, visitors can see a small chapel and an iconostasis, along with icons and religious artifacts that pay homage to the saints. The atmosphere within the cave is quiet and reflective, providing a sense of connection to the history and miracles associated with Saints Cosmas and Damian. The cave and the church above it continue to be significant pilgrimage sites, drawing those seeking spiritual solace and healing.

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Zangooly Cave is a fascinating and mysterious natural formation located near the Ayioi Anargiroi Church at Cape Greco, Cyprus. This cave, like many others in the region, has its own unique characteristics and local legends.

The name "Zangooly" is derived from local folklore and storytelling traditions. It is believed that the cave was named after a mythical sea creature or spirit said to inhabit its depths. According to legend, this creature is known as Zangooly, a benevolent being that dwells within the cave and occasionally ventures into the surrounding waters.

Geologically, Zangooly Cave was formed through the natural processes of erosion and weathering over thousands of years. The action of the sea against the limestone cliffs of Cape Greco has carved out numerous caves and grottoes, creating intricate and beautiful formations.

The cave is known for its striking natural beauty, with clear, turquoise waters that create an inviting and serene atmosphere. It is a popular spot for snorkelers and divers, who are drawn to the cave's underwater features and the diverse marine life that can be found there.

One of the intriguing aspects of Zangooly Cave is its association with the local legend of the Cape Greco sea monster. While there is no concrete evidence of such a creature, stories persist among local fishermen about encounters with a mysterious being. These tales often describe the monster as a gentle giant that occasionally tears fishing nets but otherwise poses no harm to humans. This legend adds an element of mystery and allure to the cave, making it a popular topic of conversation among visitors and locals alike.

In addition to its natural beauty and folklore, Zangooly Cave is significant for its contribution to the local ecosystem. The cave and its surrounding waters provide a habitat for various marine species, contributing to the biodiversity of the Cape Greco area.

Overall, Zangooly Cave is a place where natural beauty, geological wonder, and local legends converge, offering visitors a unique and memorable experience. Whether exploring its waters or simply enjoying the stunning coastal views, Zangooly Cave is a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Cape Greco.

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Ayia Napa, a charming town on the southeastern coast of Cyprus, is renowned for its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and rich history. The name "Ayia Napa" translates to "Holy Forest" in Greek, derived from a 14th-century Venetian-era monastery of the same name located in the heart of the town. This monastery, built around a cave, played a significant role in the town's development and remains a popular tourist attraction.

Historically, Ayia Napa was a small fishing village that remained relatively quiet until the 1970s. With the rise of tourism in Cyprus, Ayia Napa transformed into a bustling resort town, attracting visitors from all over the world. Its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lively atmosphere have made it a favorite destination for holidaymakers.

One of the town's highlights is its picturesque harbor area. The promenade around the port is particularly beautiful, offering stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea and the array of boats docked in the marina. This area is perfect for a leisurely stroll, with plenty of seating areas, cafes, and restaurants where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenic views.

The harbor area also features convenient amenities such as ample parking and well-maintained public restrooms, making it an accessible and comfortable spot for tourists. The promenade is especially charming in the evenings, when the lights from the boats and waterfront establishments create a magical ambiance.

Ayia Napa's combination of historical charm and modern attractions makes it a unique and delightful destination. Whether exploring its historic sites, enjoying the lively nightlife, or simply soaking in the beauty of its waterfront, visitors are sure to find Ayia Napa a captivating place to experience.

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Isaac Fish Tavern, located near the port of Ayia Napa, is a beloved local establishment known for its fresh seafood and traditional Cypriot hospitality. This family-run tavern has earned a reputation for serving some of the finest seafood mezze in the region, a culinary tradition deeply rooted in Cypriot culture.

In Cypriot taverns like Isaac Fish Tavern, mezze refers to a series of small dishes served as appetizers or a full meal, designed to be shared among diners. The seafood mezze at Isaac Fish Tavern is particularly popular, featuring an array of delicacies made from the morning's catch. This tradition of using the freshest ingredients is vital; locals believe that a tavern's reputation hinges on the quality and freshness of its offerings. A tavern that fails to serve fresh fish and seafood quickly loses the trust and patronage of the local community.

At Isaac Fish Tavern, guests can enjoy a variety of dishes, including grilled octopus, calamari, mussels, and various types of fish, all prepared to highlight the natural flavors of the seafood. The tavern also prides itself on baking its own bread and serving homemade wine, which perfectly complement the meal and add to the authentic dining experience.

One of the most enchanting aspects of dining at Isaac Fish Tavern is the setting. As the sun sets, it casts long golden shadows over the port, creating a magical atmosphere that enhances the charm of this seaside tavern. The combination of delicious food, warm hospitality, and stunning views makes every visit memorable.

Isaac Fish Tavern operates daily, typically from around 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM, though it's always a good idea to check for any changes in hours, especially during different seasons. This popular spot is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the true flavors and traditions of Cypriot cuisine.

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Located near Isaac Fish Tavern at the port of Ayia Napa, the St. George Chapel is a small yet significant religious site. This charming chapel, dedicated to St. George, one of the most beloved saints in Cyprus, adds a touch of spiritual and historical depth to the bustling harbor area.

The St. George Chapel was built in the mid-20th century by local residents who wanted to honor St. George, the patron saint of many seafaring communities. Its construction was a community effort, reflecting the deep-rooted faith and traditions of the people of Ayia Napa. The chapel is designed in the typical Cypriot architectural style, with a simple yet elegant whitewashed exterior and a red-tiled roof, blending seamlessly with the picturesque surroundings of the port.

St. George holds a special place in the hearts of Cypriots. Known as a protector and miracle-worker, St. George is often invoked by those seeking protection from danger, particularly among fishermen and sailors. His image is commonly found in homes, churches, and boats across the island. The veneration of St. George is deeply woven into the cultural and religious fabric of Cyprus, symbolizing courage, faith, and resilience.

The chapel's location near the port is particularly meaningful. It serves as a spiritual sanctuary for fishermen and travelers, providing a place for prayer and reflection before embarking on or returning from their voyages. The proximity to the sea highlights St. George's role as a guardian of those who work and live by the water.

Today, the St. George Chapel is a beloved landmark for both locals and visitors. It is not only a place of worship but also a site of cultural heritage, offering a glimpse into the religious traditions that have shaped Ayia Napa. The chapel's serene atmosphere and its connection to the history of the port make it a must-visit spot for those exploring the area.

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The statue Άγαλμα Φτερωτού Ικάρου, or "Statue of the Winged Icarus," is a striking monument located on the waterfront of Ayia Napa, Cyprus. This contemporary sculpture was created by the artist Yiota Ioannidou and unveiled in 2016.

The statue depicts Icarus, a character from Greek mythology known for his daring flight too close to the sun, which ultimately led to his fall. In the myth, Icarus and his father Daedalus attempted to escape from Crete using wings made of feathers and wax. Despite his father's warnings, Icarus flew too high, causing the wax to melt and resulting in his tragic descent into the sea.

The "Winged Icarus" statue in Ayia Napa captures the moment of Icarus in flight, symbolizing ambition, freedom, and the human spirit's quest to reach new heights despite the risks. The statue's location by the sea adds to its dramatic effect, serving as a poignant reminder of the myth and its lessons.

This monument is a popular attraction in Ayia Napa, drawing both locals and tourists who admire its artistic representation and the story it conveys. The statue also enhances the cultural and historical ambiance of the Ayia Napa waterfront, making it a notable landmark in the area.

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The Red Cliffs near the village of Xylophagou in Cyprus are a fascinating destination for nature lovers and history enthusiasts. Close to the British military base in Dhekelia, the area features a functional military training ground just a couple of kilometres from Xylophagou. Here, you can find an impressive array of military vehicles, including four tanks and five armoured personnel carriers (APCs), specifically the FV432 Trojan, the primary tracked APC of the British Army in the 1960s and 1970s. Although they were replaced by other vehicles in the 1980s, some Trojans remain in use. Visitors can explore one of these APCs, noting the unique right-hand driver's position and the armour riddled with bullet holes and shrapnel from training exercises.

Nearby, you'll find a tank graveyard with Chieftain tanks, significant British battle tanks in the 1960s and 1970s, renowned for their firepower and heavy armour. These tanks, some now sadly in disrepair, also served in various international conflicts, including in Israel, Jordan, Iran, and Kuwait. If you navigate around the cape with Regina Tower, you'll encounter more military vehicles and the cyclopean concrete structure of a loading dock at the cliff's base.

Visitors should plan to arrive during daylight hours, as the route to the coastline is challenging and nearly impossible to navigate in the dark. Despite the difficulties, the stunning sunset views over the cliffs are well worth the effort.

Caution is advised as entry to the training ground is prohibited, and British forces may patrol the area. Do not touch any military artefacts you might find.

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