AGIA NAPA (often appearing as Ayia Napa), 35km east of Larnaka, is not everybody’s cup of tea. If you want peace and quiet, or to commune with nature, or to get to grips with traditional Cypriot life, go somewhere else. But if you’re young and want the company of people of your own age and lots of stuff to do, or if you’re a family with teenagers who are easily bored – or if you find bars and restaurants flamboyantly advertising their presence with giant cows, or elephants, or huge cocktail glasses mounted on their roofs funny rather than tacky – this is one of the best holiday areas in Europe. The area is certainly overdeveloped, but no more so than any other typical Mediterranean package-holiday destination.
Though much of the resort’s appeal is down to its nightlife, there’s now a lot more to it than that. Its remarkably compact centre sits behind a surprisingly charming small harbour (Limanaki) with some fine stretches of sand, notably Nissi beach, running west from here. Look out too for Agia Napa Monastery and the excellent Thalassa Museum, the fine amusement park in the centre of town, and the colossal Waterworld Waterpark to the west.
In addition to larger-scale projects like the Sculpture Park and the Love Bridge, Agia Napa municipality has invested time and money in a range of street art, from the “Mermaid and the Fisherman” in the harbour area through pictures dotted around the area to the rather naff “I Love Ayia Napa” sculpture in the centre of the town.