Situated in the eastern waters of the Mediterranean, the island of Cyprus has long been a popular destination for beach lovers, owing to its consistently warm weather, calm crystalline waters, and soft, powdery sands. From quiet, protected areas to epic party spots, here are a few of the best beaches in Cyprus.
Blue Lagoon Beach
Located north of Pafos, on the edge of the Akamas Peninsula National Park, Blue Lagoon Beach offers a peaceful, rugged alternative to the busier beaches in the resort-dominated areas of the island. Here you’ll find warm, crystalline waters, but not a lot of sand, and most people who come here do so to swim rather than sunbathe. Getting to the beach involves a bit of a commitment, as you'll need a boat or a solid 4WD to get there. Fortunately, there are a ton of companies offering charters and group cruises out to the lagoon.
If you prefer taking in views of the ocean without the sun-lounger scenes that dominate many of Cyprus's tourist areas, then Lara Beach on the Akamas Peninsula might be just what you're looking for. The beach here is a designated protected area, owing to its abundance of green and loggerhead turtle nesting sites, which means no lounge chairs, no water sports, and few facilities (although there is a restaurant with a terrace overlooking the beach if you want to grab a drink and watch the sunset).
A short drive from Pafos, in the Peyia area, Coral Bay Beach is one of the best swimming beaches in the region, attracting families, young singles and solo beach goers alike. This golden stretch ensconced on either end by limestone headlands offers shallow, calm waters that make swimming a breeze plus an abundance of places to eat, drink, and be merry day and night.
Cape Greco and Konnos Beach
If you've ever received a postcard from Cyprus, chances are you may have seen an image of Cape Greco's iconic Kamara tou Koraka rock formation. While there are a few small spots to swim right off the coast of the trail-filled national park, if proper beach time is what you’re after, you’re best off heading to the adjacent Konnos Beach, one of the best sandy beaches in Cyprus. It is accessible from the rocky cape via a cliffside hiking trail and offers calm waters and fine golden sands.
Aphrodite’s Rock and Beach
Officially known as Petra tou Romiou, or Rock of the Roman, Aphrodite’s Rock and Beach is a popular stop-off spot on the coastal highway that connects Pafos to Limassol. You won’t find the powdery sands and rows of loungers common to the resort district, but what the beach lacks in amenities it makes up for with legend – the sea stack that dominates the view here is believed to be the place where the goddess of love, Aphrodite, was born from the frothy sea. Adventurous travelers with proper footwear can climb up to the top for great views of the Mediterranean. There is also a small parking area across from the beach (accessible via an underground tunnel) with toilets and concessions.
The collective name for a series of three interconnected beaches, Makronissos Beach was once known as a party destination, owing largely to the Kandi Fest, aka the Kandi Beach Party, which was held here for years. These days, Makronissos attracts more families than it does ravers, owing to its soft white sands, calm waters, and ample watersports opportunities, especially during daylight hours. The shoreline here is also the site of the Makronissos Tombs, a series of 19 rock-hewn tombs and a sanctuary that date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Fig Tree Bay
Also known as Protaras Beach, the cozy beach at Fig Tree Bay is among the best family beaches in Cyprus. Named after a fig tree that has stood here since at least the 17th century, this little spot offers plenty of facilities, including sunbed rentals and changing rooms, and there’s a lifeguard on duty during the high season. However, the real draw here – especially for families with young kids – are the shallow, crystalline waters that make wading in a breeze.
A couple of miles west of Agia Napa, Nissi Beach spans around 0.3 miles (600m), leaving plenty of room for the large crowds of vacationers who come here to sunbathe on the beach’s powdery sand and swim in its calm waters. The beach gets its name from the small island, or nissi if you speak Greek, situated a short swim or wade from the shoreline. While the waters here are just right for young swimmers, the scene is decidedly more adult, and beach parties set to loud electronic music are a regular occurrence during the summer and autumn months.
Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance before traveling during Covid-19.