Cyprus is one of those holiday destinations that has something for everyone. It’s steeped in history and culture, offering no end of excellent architectural destinations at one end of the scale. If, on the other hand, you want to enjoy some of the most decadent lifestyle Europe has to offer, you’re also in luck. Its mix of Greek and Turkish influences make it a unique island paradise - and its miles of coastline are home to truly spectacular beaches. If you’re up for some sun, sand and superb sightseeing, then you’ll find everything you want in our pick of the top 10 beaches in Cyprus.
Located in the legendary party destination of Ayia Napa, Nissi Beach has earned itself a reputation as the beach for lovers of nightlife. Stretching for half a kilometre along the coast, it’s one of those year-round beaches that is loved by families, couples and anyone else who comes to appreciate its pristine sand and beautiful clear water.
Variously dubbed one of the best of Cyprus’ beaches, in Europe and even the world, Fig Tree Bay is a sandy delight with shallow waters that are perfect for a paddle. It gets its name from the fig trees that fringe the 500-metre beach, and its appeal is pretty broad - you can enjoy a range of water sports such as water-skiing and parasailing, or explore the areas referred to in song by 1970s English musician Peter Frampton.
If you prefer to avoid the herds, then there is a lot to recommend Konnos Bay, a more secluded beach which is highly-rated by locals - who are likely to know their stuff, let’s face it. Thanks to its sheltered position, Konnos Bay offers calmer waters than most locations, and this relaxed feel transmits to the area more generally, with lots of chilled-out restaurants close at hand.
Located close to Nissi Beach, Makronissos is like the quieter brother of that popular party beach; many holidaymakers consider it to be the best beach in Ayia Napa thanks to its soft sand and pristine water. The free parking at the beach will be welcomed by many travellers, while the onsite beach bar will attract plenty of others. One bit of advice is to get there early, as queues for parasols and loungers can get pretty long.
Mackenzie Beach does divide opinion among fans of Cyprus beaches, it’s only fair to admit that. In its favour are excellent sand and superb infrastructure, which mean that you won’t lack for things to eat and drink or for sunbathing equipment. It’s also quite quiet and relaxed most of the time, but its proximity to the airport does mean that the peace can be fractured by aircraft coming in to land on an occasional basis; though for some people that may have a certain charm to it.
Variously also spelt Latsi, Lachi and Lakki, this quiet beach doesn’t have much in the way of facilities, so you won’t find bars and restaurants on site and it's advisable to bring a picnic if you’re making a day of it. You should absolutely do this, too, because the absence of large crowds means you’ll get to pick your spot on what is a gorgeous beach with a mix of fine sand, clean water and breathtaking scenery.
Located on the NW coast of Cyprus, the Blue Lagoon is every bit as captivating as its cinematic title makes it sound - the waters really are that piercingly turquoise shade you’ll see in tourist brochures. You must, absolutely must take the opportunity for one of the many glass-bottomed boat tours, which allow impeccable views of the sea floor and marine life (and also offer free wine).
Unlike many of the other beaches, Finikoudes is located close to a town centre, and that’s no bad thing given the positive and friendly atmosphere offered by the town of Larnaca. Excellent promenades are fringed by a great selection of bars, restaurants, shops and many other attractions. Entry to the beach is free, with loungers and parasols very reasonably priced.
The word “legendary” might be overused in the present, but you can use it here without anyone being able to contradict you. That’s because this beach marks the spot where the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, first appeared to the people. Looking at the bay, it’s hard to blame her - it is a scene of tremendous natural beauty, although maybe it was the chance for a spot of snorkelling (very affordable and lots of fun) that attracted our goddess.
On the south coast of the island and overlooked by the Hill of Kourion, Episkopi offers everything for the thrillseeker, with the strong winds common to this part of the coast making kite surfing a hugely popular pursuit. They also make for very strong currents, so swimming is prohibited on the east side of the resort - but you won’t mind too much, because there’s so much to look at that Episkopi is well worth the trip.
Cyprus has a long and storied history, having been ruled over by numerous civilisations and being located on the fringe between Europe and the Middle East. Short journeys in any direction can place you in Greece, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Lebanon or Egypt. As that location may suggest, there are plenty of differing cultural influences on the island, and if you can haul yourself off the beach for a while there will always be something intriguing to explore.
For as long as you are on the beach, though, there is still plenty to appreciate about the beaches of Cyprus, which vary between pre-club party spots in the East, legendary outposts in the West, and extreme sports in the South among plenty of other options. It’s really not so much about checking out which beach here is the best for you. Where will you dip your toes in the ocean and wriggle them in the sand on your next Cyprus trip? Let us know on Insta or tweet us @justhooit!