If you would like to see more of the island but do not want to venture too far out, then there is plenty to see nearby. Protaras and Ayia Napa have churches and museums to visit and Cape Greco is a must see for those keen on nature and photography. A little further out you will find the villages of Dheryneia and Liopetri showing how times and traditions have changed over the years, developing Cyprus to what it is today.
Venturing into the tourist area of Protaras, we come across the chapel of Prophet Elias. It is built on a granite hill with almost vertical sides. In order to reach the chapel, one has to climb a set of 153 stone-built steep stairs, but once you get there, the view is mesmerising and a very popular spot to watch the sunset. The church is even more spectacular when it is lit up at night.
Although the church was rebuilt in the 1980’s, the interior is truly remarkable with classic icons common in Greek Orthodox churches. Outside the church is a tree of remembrance where tying something to the tree marks remembrance of a loved one.
Cape Greco is a headland on the south-eastern coast of Cyprus, between Ayia Napa and Protaras. Now a protected national park, Cape Greco offers you the chance to get in touch with nature. Some of the most beautiful flowers can be found in this park which will certainly put a smile on your face.
Hiking, cycling, fishing, bird watching and scuba diving are just a few of the activities that can be enjoyed at Cape Greco. The crystal, clear waters invite scuba divers to explore the depths off the steep cliffs. The waters are very popular with deep-sea fisherman and snorkelers.
Again, a popular spot for watching the sunset, the views from Cape Greco are truly mesmerising.
Ayia Napa, once a small fishing village, and now the clubbing capital of the island, is home to one of the oldest buildings on the island. This charming medieval monastery, dedicated to ”Our Lady of the Forests”, stands in the middle of the village surrounded by a high wall. Both the village and the monastery take their name from the ancient Greek word for wooded valley “Napa”– a reference to the morphology of the area in the past. Built like a medieval castle around 1500 AD, Ayia Napa Monastery is the best known landmark of the village as well as of the surrounding area. The monastery is partly built underground and cut into the rock.
The ancient sycamore tree in front of the south gate is believed to be over 600 years old.
The monastery was restored in 1950 and in 1978. Now it has become an Ecumenical Conference Centre serving churches in Cyprus and the Middle East. A new church built in 1994 south-west of the monastery is also dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
During the summer months, the monastery is open from 09.30 – to 21.00 hrs and during the winter, from 09.30 – 15.00 hrs
The THALASSA Municipal Museum was opened in August 2005, and it is directed by the Pierides Foundation, in association with the Hellenic Institute for the Preservation of Nautical Tradition and the Tornaritis-Pierides Marine Life Foundation.
The Museum is located at the centre of Agia Napa and it has the sea as a subject-matter. It is the first museum of its kind across the Mediterranean region with main principle to present to the audiences, the local and foreign visitors, the impact and the significance of the sea upon the history of the island. The exhibits of the museum cover a chronological span, from paleontological to historic periods until present times.
The museum is a three story building made by marble, onyx, wood, metal and offers unique experiences appealing to all our senses with its ‘bird eye view’. It incorporates seven levels and the paleontological, geological, archaeological, marine life exhibits are presented in underground showcases, where the visitors are able to walk and view the objects from the top, in modern showcases, exhibits freely placed in the museum whereas other they are hanging from the roof.
An attractively designed cafeteria, a gift shop, an open air amphi theatre and a multipurpose hall for periodic shows, lectures, seminars, and workshops supplement this contemporary Municipal museum complex.
Ayia Napa has one of the most interesting discoveries. In the village of Makronissos, discoveries of an ancient burial site were made. In 1989-90, Ayia Napa Municipality sponsored intensive excavations of the rock-cut tombs, which have been the target of illegal digging since 1872. Until today, 19 tombs have been excavated as well as a small sanctuary to the east and an ancient quarry next to the cemetery.
The tombs generally consist of a stepped road, which leads down to a rectangular entrance. Most of the chambers are almost identical. The dead were placed in clay sarcophagus, which were originally covered with three flat titles. The tombs were used during the Hellenistic and Roman period.
The Makronissos Tombs can be visited daily and there is no admission charge.
The Deryneia Folk Art Museum is found in an old, traditional house at 2, Demetris Lipertis Street. The displays are organised in collaboration with the Cyprus Handicraft Service.
The indoor and outdoor areas, as well as, the exhibitions with the different household items and farming tools show how functional the Cypriot, traditional house use to be. All items have been kindly donated by the residents of Deryneia and other neighbouring areas. The presence of Mrs. Margarita and Mr. Varnavas Hadjiliassi give life to the place and are happy to give tours of the museum.
In the courtyard there is an oven which Mrs. Margarita often uses to bake bread and rolls.
Mr. and Mrs. Hadjiliassi donated the Folk Art and Craft Museum to the Community, in memory of their three children who they lost at an early age. The museum has also been declared a scheduled building and was renovated by the Municipality under the supervision of the Town Planning and Housing Department.
Liopetri is also situated in the south-eastern corner of Cyprus around 15 minutes drive from Protaras. It is one of the villages commonly known as the “Kokkinoxoria” which means “red soil” and is a characteristic of all the villages on this part of the island. This soil is famous for its fertility and is said to grow the best potatoes.
Liopetri has adapted from the small fishing village it use to be and now is a picturesque setting with natural beauty, deserted mines and wild plantation.
From the river there is a rock that the locals call “karavopetra” and has a spring of potable water next to it. The serene blue sea, the forest and the chapel of Saint George compose a unique landscape.
The river is also used as a natural fishing bay by professional and amateur fishermen as well as small tourist boats because of its shape. Fishermen mend their nets during the daytime and in the evening venture out to see who can get the best catch.
In Liopetri you can also see the on-going tradition of basket-weaving. Visitors can also admire what is left of an old Venetian watch tower, see a 16th century church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the church of Ayios Andronikos from the 15th century with its octagonal dome and murals.
The river of Liopetri with its unique setting remained unexploited for many years. Recently the Government and the Community Council have scheduled and approved projects regarding its improvement.
The Occupied Famagusta Cultural Centre was built at the Deryneia Roadblock where all the anti-occupation demonstrations for Famagusta and our other occupied parts have been taking place since 1974.
There is an observatory where visitors can borrow binoculars to see from a distance the beloved town. There are projections of films about Famagusta in the multivalent hall of the Centre. Both tourists but also locals, pupils of primary and secondary schools come in their hundreds to see the Centre. Many schools have included the Cultural Centre in their programme of educational trips.
Other events, such as, artistic exhibitions (photography, painting and sculpture) are held there. During the summer months other cultural events are organised in the small amphitheatre. The Centre is also used for seminars, congresses and lectures.
All information given to visitors can be found in different languages and is free of charge.
The Ayia Napa Sea Caves can be found at Cape Greco. These caves have been formed due to the sea pounding the cliffs over millions of years. For those feeling adventurous and like exploring, you can climb down to sea level and walk along the caves. Some caves are so deep that you can go right in.
For those that are keen photographers, this place is great for taking photos. With the different shapes in the landscape, you can be creative and experiment with your camera. This is one of the best places to catch the sunset.
Situated some 25km northwest of Larnaka (Larnaca) town, the environs of the dam at Dasaki tis Achnas serve a stopover in autumn and spring for migratory birds, including the Glossy Ibis, the Pied Kingfisher and flamingos.
Part nature reserve, the dam is home to a variety of fish such as the crayfish, carp and silver bream. Fishing is permitted in one part of the dam, but all fish caught must be thrown back. Built in 1987, the dam has a capacity of 6.8 million cubic metres. On the far side is the Lakeside Park picnic site.