Taking its name from an ancient nearby church, Ayia Thekla is a small coastal village south of Protaras. A peaceful setting that is still relatively undeveloped, the area has a small sandy beach and a tiny nearby island. Such attractive surroundings, coupled with the close proximity to Protaras, Paralimni and Ayia Napa have seen Ayia Thekla grow in to an up and coming residential area.
Ayia Thekla’s synonymously named church is considered one of the oldest landmarks in the region, dating back to the middle ages. According to local records, the monument suffered severe damages over the centuries at the hands of foreign conquerors.
About 4km to the south of Protaras, the rocky coast of Cape Greco marks lands’ end at the southeast tip of the island. Patrolled by a lighthouse and military installations, the furthest limits of the cape are strictly out of bounds. Further inland however, the cape’s idyllic clear waters are a perfect retreat for snorkelers or swimmers who want to avoid the busy beaches of nearby Protaras.
Approximately 5km north of Protaras, Kapparis is a growing locality on the borders of Turkish controlled Cyprus. A quiet location increasingly popular with holiday home buyers and retirees, visitors will most likely come to relax at nearby Fireman’s beach or to sneak a glimpse of Varosha, the cross-border ‘ghost town’ abandoned and uninhabited since the 1974 Turkish military invasion.
While Kapparis has a smattering of restaurants and bars, the area is nowhere near as lively as Protaras, making car hire a necessity for many holidaymakers. Visitors to the area can however participate in a variety of water sports at Kapparis bay.
Approximately 10km northwest of Protaras, Paralimni is the largest town in the local area with a population of over 11,000. In the aftermath of the Turkish invasion of 1974, this once insignificant village was transformed in to the administrative and financial centre of Greek controlled Famagusta.
Paralimni (translated in to English as “by the lake”) takes its name from a neighbouring stretch of water that rises in the winter months. A pleasant town with a sprinkling of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes, Paralimni offers a welcome escape from the tourist melee of the nearby resorts.
Three churches dominate the centre of the town, the most notable of which – Panayia – contains an interesting ecclesiastical museum. An open air theatre, attractive gardens and fountains can also be found just beyond the town square.
Situated on the northern outskirts of Protaras, Pernera is a small coastal resort popular with couples and families seeking a holiday destination away from the hustle and bustle of Ayia Napa and Protaras. Ideal for beach holidays, Pernera is less than 1km from three small sandy beaches that are quieter and less crowded than their shoreline counterparts in Protaras.
The centre of Pernera has a selection of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants to visit as well as a small but active harbour from where boat trips can be taken. Regular bus services are also available from the centre of the resort, offering transport to the livelier Protaras strip and Paralimni’s wide assortment of shops.