A Sightseeing Day Trip to Ayia Napa and Famagusta
Your one-day trip to Ayia Napa, Famagusta, Salamis, and Varosha (Ghost Town) can start from either Larnaca, Nicosia, or Limassol. Even if you’re staying in any of these cities, you can still take a day trip and explore all the must-see places on our list. Since Ayia Napa is a tourist hot spot, it is always crowded with visitors. To make your one-day tour as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible, get a rental car from the airport. Alternatively, there are similar tours offered by many tour operators in the area. You can also take taxis if you wish.
You can choose the starting point of your trip based on the season you will be travelling to Cyprus. Whether you start from Salamis or Ayia Napa, you should know that in the spring season, mornings are the best time of the day to go for a swim thanks to the warm and calm weather. Afternoons, on the other hand, are often very windy and chilly. It, therefore, makes sense to start your tour from Ayia Napa and enjoy a swim at one of the beautiful Ayia Napa beaches like Nissi Beach. This beach is one of the most poplar beaches in Cyprus and tends to get very busy, except on spring mornings and autumn. But if you travel in summer, days will be very hot so exploring Salamis and Famagusta will be quite uncomfortable under the intense heat of the sun. You will probably want to spend the whole day on the beach when it’s that hot. It will be better to start your tour early in the morning when it’s a little cooler followed by a refreshing swim at a beach in Ghost Town and again at the end of your trip at one of Ayia Napa’s beautiful beaches where you can enjoy watching the sunset with a drink in your hand.
Here are the sights and attractions we will be exploring on our one-day trip to Ayia Napa and Famagusta:
Kamaru Tou Koraka
Famagusta old town
Ayia Napa boasts many ancient archaeological sites and is home to Europe’s largest water park. This former fishing town is now known as the party capital of Cyprus, offering numerous attractions and beautiful beaches. In this Mediterranean resort town, there is plenty to do and see and you can experience them all in a day.
Your first stop is at Nissi Beach, a well known beach in Ayia Napa. Nissi Beach is situated on a beautiful island with the finest white sand and turquoise blue waters. This beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cyprus. During summer and early autumn, Nissi Beach Cyprus can often get very crowded with tourists, so if you wish to find a quieter beach to relax on, take a half an hour walk to Makronissos Beach or Landa Beach, where there are far less tourists about.
A 20-minute drive from Nissi Beach will take you to Cape Greco. Located at the southern end of Famagusta, Cape Greco forms part of Ayia Napa and mostly consists of sea caves. You can drive around the cape and stop by wherever you want to take photos of the stunning scenery. One of the must-visit sites in Cape Greco is the famous Love Bridge. This breath-taking natural rock formation is in a shape of a white-rock arch bridge that’s approximately 6 metres long. It is located on the shore close to the eastern entrance of Ayia Napa. The entire bridge was formed naturally without any human intervention and is a great place to take some photos. It is called a Love Bridge because it’s believed that if couples kiss each other while standing in the middle of the arch and make a wish, it will come true. You can take a walk over the bridge and once you reach the other side, you can jump in the crystal clear water to cool down.
The other great photo opportunity is at Kamaru Tou Koraka. It is located in the Ammochostos district of Ayia Napa and its naturally formed stone arch is definitely worth seeing. This picturesque rock bridge is a symbol of Cape Greco peninsula and is especially beautiful in the late afternoon when the sun sets. Rock Bridge is considered to be one of the most famous attractions and there is also a pretty little church nearby called Kostol with amazing views of the sea.
The next stop is Varosha Famagusta, also referred to as the Ghost Town. You can reach Varosha in just under an hour by driving from Cape Greco. Varosha is an abandoned city in southern Famagusta. It used to be a bustling tourist resort before the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, and it's still under the Turkish rule to this day. Public entry to this ghost town is forbidden but you can visit the beach located around 4 km north of this area. You’re not allowed to take pictures or videos of the place. At the nearby beach, there is a bar, sun chairs and umbrellas so you can relax for a bit before heading to Famagusta. Be sure to walk to the very end of the fence that separates the beach from Varosha. It will give you a better idea of just how big this abandoned city is.
A 10-minute drive away is the medieval walled city of Famagusta, located on the east coast of Cyprus. It is home to the deepest port on the island. You can park in the old town and take a stroll through the city. Don’t forget to buy some tasty Turkish honey and apple tea. The old town’s Venetian, Ottoman, and Roman influences can be seen in every building's architecture. The walls that surround Famagusta are huge, and the Othello Castle is where the famous Shakespeare’s play, Othello, took place. There are several historic buildings and churches, one of which is the impressive 14th century St. Nicholas Cathedral that has been converted into Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque. This mosque is one of the most important monuments in Northern Cyprus and a must-see site.
The last stop is at the ancient town of Salamis, which is only a 15-minute ride away from Famagusta.
Salamis is an ancient city on the east coast of Cyprus, 6 kilometres from the new Famagusta. It was the capital of Cyprus back in 1100 BC and was occupied by the Assyrians, Persians, and Romans before a major earthquake destroyed most of the city. The famous Salamis ruins Famagusta were excavated and date back to the Roman period. These excavations include a theatre, gymnasium, and the temple of Zeus Salaminos. There are also the remains of the Kampanopetra Basilica from the Byzantine times found on this site. This is a great place to end your day trip to Ayia Napa's top attractions.
Where to Eat in Famagusta
There is a great Turkish kebab restaurant called Aspava next to this mosque.
Where to stay in Ayia Napa
If you need a break from all the partying in the Ayia Napa nightclubs, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a place to stay on this island. We’ve made your search easier by recommending the following luxury hotels in Ayia Napa:
Vassos Nissi Plage Hotel
The Vassos Nissi Plage Hotel is located a 2-minute walk from the popular Nissi Beach and overlooking Larnaca Bay, this brand new 4-star hotel is ideally placed close to the town of Ayia Napa. Its location is great in the low season as Nissi Beach gets very crowded in the high season.
The same can be said about the Adams Beach Hotel, Nissi Beach Resort, and the Atlantica Aeneas Resort. All of these hotels are located right on Nissi Beach. The Atlantica Aeneas Resort, however, is located on the other side of the street.
Atlantica Aeneas Resort
With one of the largest swimming pools in the island, this recently renovated hotel and spa is located just a 5-minute walk from Nissi Beach, set on a 14-acre landscaped garden.
Adams Beach Hotel
Nissi Beach Resort
This 4-star award-winning hotel has amazing views of the sea and is nestled among 100,000 metres of tropical gardens. It has 3 swimming pools and offers more privacy as it's located on the secluded part of Nissi Beach.
Alion Beach Hotel
Although this 5-star hotel doesn't look very modern or attractive from outside, its location is excellent, even in the high season. The hotel is directly opposite Pantachou Beach and close to Glyki Nero Beach, which are both less crowded than Nissi Beach during summer. Furthermore, this hotel is within walking distance to the famous attraction, Love Bridge, which is only 400 metres away.
Atlantica So White Club Resort
The So White Hotel is in an excellent location, just 200 metres from the less crowded Landa Beach and a 13-minute walk to the popular Nissi Beach. This hotel has been uniquely designed by one of the world's top designers with white-washed exteriors and tranquil surroundings. What makes this hotel different is its less 'touristy' look than all the others in the resort.
Still not found the right hotel?
Travel Hacks Northern Cyprus
You are not permitted to travel to north Cyprus with your rental car. Rental car companies forbid driving to the Turkish side. If you do go however, be aware that you will not be covered by insurance. You will have to buy an insurance cover at the Turkish border, although it won’t actually cover you. Since you’re not allowed to cross the border with your hired car, the car rental company won’t provide you with the insurance cover.
The Turkish insurance cover can be bought directly at the border; it costs around €25 for 3 days or €35 for 10 days.
You don't need your passport to cross the border as a European citizen. You can just use your ID card.
In case you were wondering, your passport won’t be stamped with a Turkish visa.
Border crossing does not take much time. You can cross it within 10 min. each time.
The Turkish border checks for customs when leaving the Turkish side again and they will even check the boot of your car.
What to Wear / Pack
There is no specific dress code for this trip. Choose your clothes depending on the season you are visiting Cyprus. Bear in mind that if you intend to visit a mosque in Famagusta, then you need to bring a scarf to cover your hair and wear appropriate clothing like a long-sleeve top.
With all the beautiful beaches around the resorts, you will definitely need to bring your swimsuit and a towel with you.
A summer hat to protect your face and neck from the burning sun.
Passport for border crossing if you are a non-European, or just an ID card if you're European.
Where is Ayia Napa located?
Ayia Napa is a Mediterranean resort town located at the south east part of Cyprus with a population of around 2800 inhabitants.
Is Ayia Napa Greek or Turkish?
Ayia Napa is in the southern part of Cyprus and not under the control of Turkey. The northern part of the country is the Turkish side.
Which airport is closest to Ayia Napa?
Larnaca Airport is a 40-minute drive away from Ayia Napa and the closest airport.
What’s Ayia Napa nightlife like?
Most bars on the main square in Ayia Napa open from 8pm and don’t get busy until 11pm. The Ayia Napa night clubs open from 1am and some stay open until 8am. If you go early enough and buy a drink, you can get free entry. The Ayia Napa clubs offer a wide choice of venue that suits everyone’s taste or style. Whether you want a crazy night or a romantic one, you will find the right club in this resort. Keep in mind that the busiest part of Ayia Napa is the main square and the strip, where all the bars are on the side streets. These bars and clubs get packed by midnight. All in all, Ayia Napa has 12 nightclubs and most of them close by 5am.
Are there direct flights to Ayia Napa?
No, you must fly to Larnaca Airport.
What’s the distance from Larnaca to Ayia Napa?
Around 49 km.
Where are the best beaches in Ayia Napa?
Nissi Beach Ayia Napa is a 12-minute drive away and very popular during the tourist season. For a quieter beach, Makronissos Beach is a 14-minute ride from Ayia Napa. Another beautiful family-friendly beach is Landa Beach with pure white sand and lots of facilities for children and adults. If you're into water sports, Konnos Beach is a great option.
Can I visit an Ayia Napa beach in spring?
Yes. The beaches of Ayia Napa are quieter in spring and the best months to visit are April and May. Mornings are the ideal times to go for a swim as it can get rather windy or chilly in the afternoons.
Is Famagusta Beach worth visiting?
Silver Beach is one of the best beaches in northern Cyprus located a few kilometres from Famagusta. It has all the facilities sunbathers need and is less crowded during spring and autumn.
Is Ayia Napa family friendly?
Ayia Napa isn’t just about partying all night. This town is increasingly becoming popular among families with children. The beaches aren’t the only attractions since this town is fairly large and offers other great activities that are family orientated. For example, Park Paliatso in the heart of Ayia Napa is a 25,000 sqm funfair located on Nissi Avenue. This park boasts more than 25 attractions and caters for children of all ages. There is a large indoor play area for the little ones and plenty of rides to enjoy at this park. Ayia Napa also has 3 go karting tracks, one of them being suitable for smaller children. It is located opposite Nissi Avenue.
Where are the best Ayia Napa restaurants?
Ayia Napa is a food lover’s paradise and has a wide range of restaurants serving international cuisine and traditional Cypriot dishes. With so many great places to eat in, it would be impossible to list them all. Some of these restaurants are located close to the port, while others are dotted around the town centre. There is certainly something to suit all tastes and budgets.
When is Ayia Napa in season?
The busiest time of the year for this resort is from June to end of August. During summer, world famous DJs host lots of big events. However, Ayia Napa is actually in season from April until October, when most bars and clubs open early and close late. If you want to avoid the heat wave, the best time to visit this resort is spring or early autumn. November and early December are also great months to visit Ayia Napa as the temperatures are up to 25 degrees Celsius and the water is still warm enough for a swim.
What’s the Ayia Napa weather like?
Winters in Ayia Napa are mild with average temperatures reaching 16 degrees Celsius during the day and 7 degrees Celsius at night. Summers are hot with top temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius in August. In spring and autumn, afternoons tend to be chilly and windy with temperatures of up to 18 degrees Celsius.
How far is Ayia Napa from Famagusta?
Approximately 18 km.
How far is Nissi Beach from Ayia Napa?
Just under 6 km.
How far is Varosha from Famagusta?
Approximately 4 km.
How to get to Ghost Town from Ayia Napa?
To get to Varosha, you must cross the border to the Turkish side, but you won’t be allowed to take your rental car over the border. While many people will still drive over the border with their rental cars, it is important to bear in mind that you won’t be covered by insurance in the event of an accident. You can take a taxi, bus, or go there on a guided tour.
What are the best things to do in Ayia Napa?
See our one-day tour itinerary above.
Where is the ancient Salamis Cyprus located?
The ancient Greek city of Salamis is located on the east coast of Cyprus, 6 kilomtres from the new Famagusta.
When was Salamis discovered?
Salamis was founded by Teucer in 1193 BC, the archer who came to the island after the Trojan war. The archaeological excavations of Salamis started from the late 19th century and were in progress until 1974. Many of the ancient finds are housed in the British Museum in London.
How far is Salamis from Ayia Napa?
Around 37 km.
Where is Famagusta?
The walled city of Famagusta is located on the east coast of Cyprus and is a major port in the Turkish Cypriot region of northern Cyprus. It has a population of around 41,000 inhabitants.
Is there a church in Famagusta?
The St. Nicholas Cathedral is located in Famagusta. However, it has been converted into a mosque by the Ottomans after the conquest of the city.
Why was Famagusta abandoned?
The Turkish army invaded north of Cyprus in a coup and all the inhabitants fled the old Famagusta during the invasion. Varosha has remained abandoned ever since the Turkish occupation and entry is forbidden to the public.
Can you visit Famagusta in winter?
Yes. In January and February, Northern Cyprus still enjoys moderate warmth and blue skies but rain is common so make sure you bring your raincoat and jumper for the chilly evenings. The archeological sites are less busy during winter and you will get to have the place mostly to yourself. Be aware that the beaches of Famagusta tend to be windy but you can still take a stroll through the old town and enjoy its sights.
How far is Cape Greco from Famagusta?
Around 24 km.
Where is Cape Greco?
4 km east of Ayia Napa.
Can you swim at Cape Greco?
Yes, at low tide, you can go swimming and even snorkelling at the national park
How high is Cape Greco?
It’s 50 feet high.
Can you drive to Cape Greco?
Yes, the driving distance is around 10 km.
What is there to see in Cape Greco?
The Cape Greco National Park is a natural haven with many trails and sites to explore. In fact, Cape Greco offers hikers a total of 9 nature walks. For starters, there are the sea caves that start from the stunning whitewashed chapel of Agioi Anargyroi and lead all the way to the natural rock bridge of Kamara tou Koraka, which is a natural masterpiece with the most beautiful scenery. This walking trail will take you around 1.5 hours to complete, while the 3km long Aphrodite trail will take a little longer to explore. Cape Greco is a paradise for snorkelling and diving enthusiasts due to the fact that it’s rich in marine life and offers the best underwater experience. At Cape Greco, you not only have the perfect photo taking opportunity, but you can also admire the sea views on the famous Love Bridge. There is also the Cape Greco Environmental Centre that offers 3 aquariums, exhibitions, and souvenir shops.