Protaras

Protaras and its neighbour Pernara were once separate village but are now linked by a plethora of holiday hotels, bars and restaurants following an explosion of tourism along this once sleepy stretch of coastline. Protaras is more suited to couples and families. Most of the all-in holiday hotels are packed along the shoreline strip and heavily geared to satisfying the needs of the package tour market.
The long, sandy beaches at Protaras are the main attraction and are as good as anywhere on Cyprus. Sands are more spread out than at Ayia Napa so it doesn't feel overcrowded.
On the outskirts of Protaras is the church of Prophitis Elias, a small attractive stone building on top of a rocky crag. It is well worth a climb to the top where there is a panoramic view of Protaras and the surrounding countryside. 

Travel to Protaras

Most holiday visitors to Protaras will fly into Larnaca International airport, a modern and efficient airport located about 65km west of the resort and linked by the main A3 road with Ayia Napa which lies just to the south-east of Protaras. Main roads in the Protaras region are generally good.

Buses services to Ayia Napa and then on to Larnaca are good and there are services to local villages although these are usually only once or twice a day. Many visitors rent their own transport or use the local taxis of which there are plenty.

Beaches

Fig Tree Bay Beach

South of Vrisi, beyond a small rocky cove, lies Fig Tree Bay, so-called after some ancient fig trees that once grew. Fig Tree Beach is considered one of the premiere beaches on Cyprus. A long crescent of soft golden sand is lapped by clear, shallow water, safe for children to paddle while adults indulge in all manner of water sports. An islet at the north end of the bay help keep the sea calm and is close enough to swim to.

The beach has Blue Flag status so the sands are clean and there are lifeguards on duty for much of the summer season.

Vrisi Beach

Vrisi is the main beach at Protaras. Actually, it's a 1.5km succession of beach strips variously called Protaras Beach, Sunrise Beach, some names generic, some named after the nearest hotel.

Vrisi is just one long stretch of sand with no discernible markers between the sections. A wooden boardwalk at the back of the beach makes it easy to wander from one part to another. Shallow water and a gentle, shelving coastline make Vrisi ideal for families with children, as does the almost endless array of watersports on offer. Scores of restaurants and fast food outlets cater to the tourist taste for pizza, curry, bangers, burgers and chips. Most restaurants are tied to the local hotels offering 'international' cuisine.

Nissia Loumbardi Beach

About half-way, about 2km south of Fig Tree, is a deeply indented headland and a cluster of small but attractive beaches popular with those who prefer to escape the crowds.

The south-east facing beach at Nissia Loumbardi has good road access and amenities and is set in a large well enclosed bay. There is a small car park above the beach to the north where boats tie up to a long rock breakwater that curves around the bay.

The beach has a Blue Flag and there are amenities at the hotels and at a small cafe. Excursion boats also favour stopping here so it is not always as quiet as you might expect.

Green Bay Beach

A short walk south from Nissia Loumbardi is the pleasant south-facing beach of Green Bay. Backed by trees and scrub, Green Bay sits at the head of a deep inlet on the south side of the long headland where boats cluster in a couple of well-protected coves.

Less easy to reach than its neighbour and at the end of a couple of dirt tracks, Green Bay remains a quiet beach that some find a welcome relief from the frantic sands at Protaras in the north and Ayia Napa in the east. A single row of sunbeds squeezes onto the narrow sandy strip and a beach cantina often opens in the summer. The sea here is exceptionally clear and snorkellers can often be seen exploring the rock formations around this part of the coast.

Konnos Beach

South of Green Bay is the beautiful sheltered beach of Konnos Bay, considered by many to be one of the best beaches in Cyprus. By road it's about 3km south of Protaras and 2km east of Ayia Napa and must be one of the most picturesque beaches on Cyprus and well sheltered from the winds.

Konnos is well hidden from the road that links Protaras and Cape Greko, surrounded by steep hills that rise right around the cove. Woods are mainly pine, juniper and acacia and there are views from the beach to Cape Greko and to Agios Anargiroi church.

Konnos beach has golden sand and the water is very pleasant and shallow, although the currents can sometimes make it a bit murky in the summer. Konnos beach has a Blue flag award so it is clean and safe. There plenty of water sports and visitors can enjoy cliff walks to the north to the popular Cyclops cave and to the south and the extraordinary cliffs of Cape Greko.

Pernera Beach

Pernera Beach is a sandy beach, facing and set in a small, enclosed bay with low hills on both sides and surrounded by hotels. The main road runs straight down to the beach where there is a decent sized car park.

The beach is very sandy and all the usual amenities are here including water sports and sunbeds. Lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer season and the beach is also suitable for the disabled. There are plenty of bars and restaurants nearby.

Just around the headland to the south of Pernera, along a coastal path past scores of hotel sun loungers, is the small sandy cove of Marlita, also called Karas beach, where there is a pleasant, gentle slope of good sand.


Sights

There are not very many sights around Protaras to interest the visitor. Most people are content to spend their time between beach and hotel and this is all-inclusive holiday hotel territory with little in the way of local colour outside the main town of Paralimni.
The area is known for commercial potato growing and there's only limited pleasure to be had from touring flat and seeming endless red-soil potato fields.


Things to Do


Cape Greko

To the south of Protaras lies Cape Greco, designated a National Forest Park in 1993 and relatively unspoilt with great natural beauty. The park covers 385 hectares and was once dense juniper forest but is now rather bare, although some areas are being replanted. The park is slowly recovering and has some rare orchids and other plant species that are found only on Cyprus.

On the park a small white chapel Ayii Anargyri in the park is a very popular venue for Cyprus wedding photos. The cape itself boasts a string of spectacular sea caves and large rocks out to sea with coastal paths above the cliffs with places, here and there, where you can clamber down to explore the sea caves.

Below the cape is a hermit's cave mentioned in several local legends and further east is a spectacular cave known as the Cyclops' Cave.

Kokkinohoria Villages

Literally translated as 'red villages' Kokkinohoria is the name given to the famous potato growing region of Cyprus and is taken from the deep red colour of the earth. The soil colour is quite striking, as is the landscape, which might reminds some of the Australian outback. Wind-powered water pumps add to the illusion.

The villages of Liopetri and Sotira are famous for their traditional basket-making, a craft actively encouraged by the Cypriots who have recognised it as a cultural heritage. There are also a number of beautiful chapels in these villages, and also in nearby Frenaros and Xylofagou, dating back as far as the 13th century.

Ocean Aquarium

There are mixed reactions from visitors to the Protaras Ocean Aquarium, which is widely advertised on leaflets around the resort. It boasts over 400 species of marine life, including sharks, piranhas, stingrays, tortoises, turtles, eels and sea urchins.

Profitis Elias Church

Although modern this church was built in the Byzantine style to replace a small room that was being used as a church. It is well worth the walk to the church and the climb to the top (about 100 steep stone steps) as from the top there is a breathtaking view of Protaras and the surrounding countryside. In the evenings the church is lit up.

The church is quite small inside but it will give you an insight into a local Orthodox church. The best time to head up there is either first thing on a morning or late afternoon when you can catch a spectacular sunset over the region.