This lively half-kilometre of soft, golden sand is well known for two things. First, its broad, shallow stretch of warm enticing ocean, which makes it irresistible to the delicate hungover sensibilities of the party-hard Ayia Napa crowd that flocks here in the daytime. Second, the island of Nissi, which is accessible along a narrow sandbar that becomes walkable at low tide. Pop over and experience a moment of serenity, before getting gingerly back on the disco horse at one of the many popping beach bars.
Far out on the island’s (genuinely) wild west coast, Lara Beach is tricky to reach, and with very good reason. Loggerhead and green turtles all migrate here during the summer months to lay their eggs, part of a delicate life cycle that’s been going on unchanged for aeons. Reaching Lara takes a wee bit of planning, and most likely a 4x4 (or boat) hire, but when you make it the splendid isolation and untamed vibe of this idyllic cove are well worth shelling out for.
Seen from above, it’s hard to escape the fact that Makronissos Beach resembles the tail of a fish – or, more likely, a party-loving dolphin. Three separate beaches hug the fringes of this quirky mini-peninsula, all of them a shade more family friendly than 5km up the road in Ayia Napa proper. Every summer it hosts a music festival – Craig David played recently, and it’s hard to imagine a nicer spot to be taken for a drink on Tuesday, or chill by Sunday.
If the thought of lying stock still on a towel and idly sunning yourself for hours on end leaves you cold, Paramali Beach is the one for you. Renowned among the local kitesurfing community for its consistent winds and deep, agreeably choppy waters, this quiet, undeveloped stretch of sand – don’t expect restaurants and posh cocktails here – is a magnet for adrenaline junkies. Beach bums need not apply. But blow-ins are more than welcome.
Fig Tree Beach
Named after – you guessed it – the shady, nodding trees lining its edge, this Protaras hotspot is nothing if not versatile. Gently shelving into the cleanest sea you’ll find at any popular bathing spot – the sheer numbers of fish prove it – it’s safe and fun for kids, with plenty going on for active watersports keenos, and there are stacks of nearby restaurants if you get peckish. Cyprus has more isolated, and arguably prettier beaches around – but the tourists and locals who flock here rightly couldn’t give a fig.