Apart from fantastic sandy beaches and a wide variety of restaurants and nightlife, Ayia Napa also has various places of cultural and general interest to visit, from Ancient churches to museums. Here is a selection of the most popular attractions which are definitely worth a visit:
‘Thalassa’ Municipal Museum of the Sea
Located in central Ayia Napa, the ‘Thalassa’ museum is a more recent addition to the resort, housed in a modern multi-purpose building. The museum aims to promote awareness of the marine heritage of Cyprus from prehistoric times to the present day. The main exhibit is a life-size replica of a 4th century Greek trading century ship which sunk off the coast of Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus.
Marine Life Museum
Founded in 1992, the Marine Life Museum is located in the lower level of Ayia Napa's Town Hall. It was the first natural museum of its kind in Cyprus, exhibiting both past and present marine life. The museum’s main purpose is to educate visitors about the importance of preserving marine life in Cyprus whilst promoting the study and research of it. All specimens in the museum were removed from their natural habitat after death.
Exhibits include the reconstruction of a dinosaur seabed, fish fossils, shells, sea urchins, sea turtles, sea plants and more.
Address: Ayias Mavris 25 (within the premises of the Ayia Napa Municipality)
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 09.00-14.00 and Thursday: 09:00-14:00, 15:00-18:00
Located in the centre of Ayia Napa, close to the village square, the monastery is the best known landmark of the area. In ancient times, the location of the monastery and the village as they exist today, was covered with a thick forest, visited only by hunters from the neighbouring villages.
According to local legend, many years ago a hunter visiting the forest of Ayia Napa came across a cave and upon entering found an icon of Saint Panayia (Mary, mother of Christ). Upon his discovery, he and the rest of the inhabitants of the small village built a small church on top of the cave in honour of his find. The church was named ‘Virgin Mary of Napa’ which was eventually shortened to the name Ayia Napa, and can still be visited today. The monastery of Ayia Napa, was later built around the cave in honour of the Virgin Mary of Ayia Napa.
According to local tradition, until 1790 no-one lived within close vicinity of Ayia Napa. The first inhabitants who actually appeared and settled were twenty men from Salonica, Greece, and so began the village of Ayia Napa.
Situated between Limnara beach and Cape Greco stand the Ayia Napa sea palaces. These rocky cliffs have been sculptured over the years by the sea, forming wonderful formations on the rocks. Although there are no specific structures, the admirable formations give the impression of a fine work of architecture, hence the name ‘palaces’. The reflected light along with the crystal waters form a stunning picture that is best viewed from the numerous boat trips available to this area.
20 different tombs dating back to the Neolithic period. Macronissos Tombs are found near the Dome Hotel and Macronissos Hotel, Ayia Napa.