Cyprus is the third-largest island in the Mediterranean, and has scores of fantastic beaches, many of which have been awarded Blue Flags for the clarity of the water and the huge range of facilities on offer. You will truly be spoilt for choice, with options for all kinds of visitors, whether you’re looking for places to party, are hoping to try out lots of water sports or just want to relax in stunning natural scenery. To make things easier, we’ve picked out some of our favourites, from beaches with a serious party scene to remote headlands where endangered turtles come to nest. These are our top five beaches on Cyprus – let us know which ones you like!
1. Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa
Perhaps the most famous beach on the island, Nissi is a gorgeous curve of white sand dipping into impossibly blue waters. It’s one of the main summer nightlife hubs on the island, with scores of fantastic beach bars and clubs catering to a glossy young crowd of holiday makers and locals. The beach offers a host of activities, from water-skiing to banana boats. It’s not just for party people, though – this beach is also very popular with families, and the clear waters are safe for children. When the tide is low in the spring, a sand bar is revealed that links the beach with the little island that gives the beach its name. A pretty spot full of flowers and plants, it provides a breather from the heaving crowds.
2. Governors Beach, Limassol
Located about a 15-minute drive east of Limassol, this stunning beach is actually a series of dark sand coves that back onto some beautiful white cliffs and are accessed by staircases down the rocks. Considerably quieter than the main resorts, it’s a very popular beach with locals and is ideal for chilling out. There are few facilities, but all the basics are covered: you’ll find sunbeds and parasols to rent, plus a couple of places to eat and drink.
3. Lara Bay, Coral Bay
If you really want to leave the crowds behind, make for Lara Bay on the Akamas Peninsula. It’s an ideal day trip if you’re staying in Coral Bay, Polis or Latchi. The bay is home to a series of breathtaking and completely unspoilt beaches, including a turtle nesting site and conservation centre. The access road is unpaved, and best reached by 4×4 (local tour operators offer jeep tours to the bay). You’ll need to bring your own parasol, and there is only one remote restaurant in the area, so pack a picnic. For utter peace and tranquillity in a stunning location, Lara Bay can’t be beaten!
4. Makronissos Beach, Ayia Napa
Ayia Napa famously has the best beaches on the island, and this is another of its stunners. While Nissi is best known for its nightlife and water sports, beautiful Makronissos is just as popular, but attracts more families and a lower-key crowd. It features fine white sand, crystal-clear shallow seas (ideal for younger kids), and you can walk around the coast to find your own secluded corner. There are plenty of facilities, including sunbeds and parasols for rent, along with a wide choice of places to eat and drink.
5. Mackenzie Beach, Larnaca
This hugely popular beach enjoys Blue Flag status and is a favourite with all kinds of visitors, whether you’re travelling with the kids, your partner or a group of friends. The 1-kilometre-long, sandy beach has a huge range of facilities for water sports, including water skiing, wind-surfing and diving. Diving here is particularly good, thanks to the incredible clarity of the water and the presence of the Zenobia wreck, considered one of the world’s best dives. Young children will be happy building sandcastles and jumping waves in the shallow sea, and there is a wide choice of restaurants and tavernas available for eating and drinking. In the evenings, it becomes a trendy nightspot, with an upbeat mix of locals and holiday-makers.