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I lived and worked in this area of Cyprus for two years and spent numerous holidays over there. One of the most striking things about the area is the friendliness of the people who tend to come from the local villages.
Protaras is a purpose built resort with lots to offer in the summer season. The reason behind its development was the result of the main resort of Famagusta becoming inaccessible in 1974. There are some of the best beaches (outside of Northern Cyprus) to be found in this part of the island. Most beaches offer watersports including parascending, jetskis, waterskiing and pedaloes.
BEACHES * Fig Tree Bay is the most famous with its little island lying within the bay. The sand is quite fine and facilities include watersports, sunbeds and umbrellas. In the height of summer though I have found that you can hardly move - especially at weekends when all of the locals descend plus there are the people from Nicosia to contend with too. There is a reasonably priced restaurant at the top which have a superb range of sandwiches (both hot and cold)- only drawback is that a couple of the waiters try to chat you up if you are female!
* Konnos Beach - this is reached down a windy road and is about 3km outof the centre of the main resort. Make an effort to go there because this is probably the best of all the beaches. Again it has the watersports, sunbeds and a small cafe. The sea here is extremely clean and is gently shelving which makes it perfect for children. It is much less crowded than Fig Tree. * Ayias Trias - this is probably the least crowded of all the beaches in the area and is worth visiting on a Sunday. Most of the locals head for the more well known beaches.
* Other beaches worth considering are Pernera Beach, Kalamies Beach (especially for the superb restaurant nearby) and Blue Bay.
ACCOMODATION There are numerous purpose built hotels and apartments ranging from 2 star to 5 five star. Most of them are spotlessly clean although the food varies from hotel to hotel and from year to year. The best hotel I have stayed in to date is the Anastasia (a 4 star)in the Pernera area. Some of the other better ones that I have stayed in are Hotel Paschalia, Papantonia, Ausonia, and the Tsokkos Beach Hotel. One word of warning though is to look carefully at the location of the hotel. Some are quite away from the centre of the resort (watch for those located in Kapparis or Paralimni).NIGHTLIFE AND RESTAURANTS There are hundreds of restaurants aimed at tourists offering international menus. For the best food look at the places that are full of Cypriots. They tend to be the most basic looking places but have the best food. Some of the best eating places are to be found in the nearby villages. Ones to try include:
Markos El Greco on the edge of Paralimni(excellent moussaka and also crepes)
La Loudia towards the village of Vrysouilles (don't leave without trying the halloumi)
Vangelis in the centre of Paralimni which is the best place on the island have ever found for fish dishes.
There are numerous bars within the resort to suit all tastes. The more lively ones include The Ghetto and Knights. For those who want a more relaxing evening there are Irish pubs with live singers and numerous cocktail bars. For a wide variety of beers from all over Europe head for the Nautilus. The owner prides himself on providing as wide a selection as is humanly possible in a bar of this size. There are several clubs of varying standards but with Ayia Napa only a short taxi ride away, you don't need to worry.
SIGHTSEEING * There are numerous boat trips on offer which take you up to view the town of Famagusta. DO NOT book one through your rep. Instead visit a local travel agent who deals with Ayias Trias boats or book directly with the boat operator. They offer a full day out with food for about £8 CYP. This really is a bargain when you compare it to what the reps offer. They do have insurance too which the reps claim that many of the smaller operators don't provide.
* Take a trip up to the village of Dherynia to get a better view of the ghost town of Famagusta. This also gives you a chance to see where the locals live.
* Take a trip up to the little church of Ayias Elias. The best time to go is later in the day so that you can see the superb sunsets.
GETTING AROUND There is a local bus service that runs from Paralimni to Protaras to Ayia Napa from about 8am until 11.30pm during the summer season. All trips on the route cost around 55p (50 CY cents). This is the only form of public transport in the area aside from taxis. If you hire a car then they drive on the same side of the road as in the UK.
SUMMARY All in all this is a great family resort and also ideal for couples. The heat can be a little overbearing in July and August. The best times to visit are May and October when the resort isn't quite so packes with tourists.
WARNING The resort can be like a ghost town in winter. Some hotels do stay open all year but you may also find that there are lots of roadworks. You will find that you are better in a hotel half board during the winter season as there are a very limited number of eating places open.
Great op, im off to Protaras in 6 weeks and im so glad that its highly rated! Staying in Hotel Paschalia too which you mention to be a good one, so thats great! Even more excited about going now, just wish it was for two weeks! Thanks for the helpful advice! Katie.x
budgy-of-borg 18.04.2002 21:53
excellent op ;) and a good read. well done - Marg
belinda9 04.04.2002 21:23
Still haven't made it to Cyprus Marie, hope to go one day.