|Stood by the infamous I <3 Ayia Napa statue at Ayia Napa Square|
We stayed at the Tasia Maris Beach Hotel in Ayia Napa which is on Nissi Avenue and placed in between Nissi Beach and Ayia Napa's central town. I'll admit I was a little worried about staying in Ayia Napa as I had always thought that it was a place like Magaluf, filled with people who are ready to party, and we wanted a relaxing week. However, I needn't have worried as Ayia Napa is a beautiful town that is rich with culture and history and the strip is hidden away at the top of the town.
Day 1 & 2 - Nissi Beach and Ayia Napa
The first two days were spent relaxing by the pool and getting to know our surroundings. The hotel was absolutely fabulous, with a large swimming pool and pool bar and delicious food (we were all inclusive so didn't stop eating!). Across the road from the rear of the hotel was a small beach called Sandy Bay. From here you could walk along the beach path for about ten to fifteen minutes to the neighbouring Nissi Beach, which had beautiful clear waters and bright white sands - it really was stunning.
|Pretty umbrellas at Nissi Beach|
Day 3 - Ayia Napa Monastery and Protaras
On our third day we decided to venture out of the hotel and explore the East coast. While it is lovely to relax and catch some rays, Dan and I love adventuring and visiting new places so I was really excited. We got an all day bus pass for five euros and headed in the direction of Protaras, a fishing town on the East coast which has become a tourist hot spot in recent years. On the way we stopped at Ayia Napa Monastery. It was a really beautiful building surrounded by a high wall with a peaceful court yard filled with flowers and lots of trees and ponds with ducks. We lit candles inside the church and walked around the court yard reading about the monastery's history.
From there the next destination was Protaras. We actually got off at the wrong stop so ended up in a little village just outside Protaras. It was really pretty there with lots of seaside restaurants and beautiful blue skies. We sat down for some yummy pizza before walking along the shoreline to the town. Cyprus is such a breathtaking country. Everywhere you look there is a piece of beauty, whether it's the pretty buildings, the rolling waves or the indigo sky.
|Pretty views on our walk to Protaras|
|Such a beautiful country|
|Nom nom - this pizza was to die for|
|A little boardwalk into the sea|
Day 4 - Cape Greco and the Sea Caves
On the way to Protaras we passed a stop for the national park of Cape Greco and the sea caves, so the next day we decided to head back on the bus to explore this exciting part of the island. Something I didn't know before I headed to Cyprus was that it is 'the island of love' and is the mythical birth place of Aphrodite. Legend has it that Aphrodite was born in Cape Greco at the sea caves so we were really keen to see what the place had to offer.
|My lavish hiking gear included a bikini and a top with some sandals that broke after 2km.|
|The stunning caves by the turquoise sea|
Day 5 was spent at Ayia Napa's Waterworld Water Park, which is the largest themed water park in Europe. It's set up as a mythical Greek world with crazy slides all based on a different Greek god. We got our thrills on crazy drop slides and relaxed on rubber tubes around the lazy river. It was a really fabulous day.
Day 6 - Famagusta
Our last full day in Cyprus was spent on a coach trip heading to the northern part of Cyprus which is ruled by the Turkish military after the Turkish invasion of Famagusta in 1974. We had to pass through border control to head into the Northern part of Cyprus and it was quite a strange feeling. Honestly, I felt quite uneasy as it was run by the military and we were warned not to take photos if there were any soldiers nearby and that we were not allowed to buy certain products. In 1974 local Greek Cypriots fled from Famagusta as Turkish air strikes bombed the coastal part of the city which was flourishing thanks to tourism and British investments, and Famagusta is now inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and run by the Turkish military. Those Greek Cypriots are not allowed to enter into Famagusta and into northern part of the island.
|Ruins in the centre of Famagusta|
|Absolutely stunning architecture|
It's safe to say we had the most amazing week in Cyprus. We spent our days either exploring the stunning island and learning about its incredible history or sunning ourselves and relaxing by the pool with cocktails in hand. Our nights were spent looking in the little shops and bars, and one night we rented some motorised scooters and travelled up and down Nissi Avenue - myself at the speed of a snail with Dan whizzing past laughing hysterically at me. The island is so pretty and has so much to offer - my heart is definitely still there.
Cyprus, it's been a pleasure.
Lots of love,