The town of Ayia Napa in Eastern Cyprus has established itself along with Ibiza and Magaluf as one of the party destinations of the Mediterranean. And in the small villages beloved of eco-tourists there’s little to do beyond the local taverna – lively though that may be on the right evening. So what else is available for visitors venturing out from their holiday accommodation for a holiday night out?
Limassol, like Ayia Napa, is a city for clubbers and holidaymakers looking to dance the night away, and other major towns such as Larnaca and Paphos also have a range of nightclubs playing everything from the most up-to-date international house and techno to less edgy Greek and European pop.
Nicosia has a more sedate and up-market nighttime scene, with the pedestrianised Laiki Geitonia area lined with stylish pavement cafes where the beautiful people sip strong Cypriot coffee. Along with other large towns such as Paphos and Larnaca, it also has a range of theatre performances throughout the year, so it’s worth looking out for shows in English or which you might otherwise find ways to appreciate. Cinema is popular, with most decent-sized towns having a number of screens, and as most films are shown in English with Greek subtitles they are accessible for tourists. Nicosia, Paphos and Limassol also have art-house cinema clubs which show a range of alternative and foreign titles. For theatre, cinema and other arts listings keep an eye out for Cyprus Weekly, the island’s main English-language newspaper.
For tourists looking for a flutter, a trip to the north of the island is necessary, as it’s home to Cyprus’ only casinos. Mainly catering to tourists from Turkey itself, the best casinos are to be found in upmarket hotels in Kyrenia and Famagusta.
Ayia Napa, to be expected, largely caters to party crowd with limited interest in tracking down good cuisine, but most other towns have restaurants and tavernas which will please most palates. The obvious choices are likely to be traditional tavernas, for their authenticity, because the huge range of mezze in a good taverna means there’s something to please everyone, and also because many have some form of entertainment – live music or dancing – on at least a few night per week, either intentionally or, if you’re lucky, down to your fellow patrons’ spontaneity. Coastal cities such as Limassol and Paphos are often also home to good fish restaurants, making the most of fresh local catches, and to an increasing range of international eateries, from the excellent Syrian Arab Friendship Clubs of Nicosia and Limassol to the Indian and Italian restaurants of Paphos.
Finally, many of Cyprus’ towns and cities host festivals of one kind or another during the year. Limassol has the annual wine festival [suggested link to wine & wineries page], while Larnaca is home to the Kataklysmos, the Festival of the Flood, five days of music, poetry and dance competitions, for which tickets often need to be booked in advance. Paphos hosts the Aphrodite festival in September and the Akamas festival in March, both of which focus on classical music, which is also performed year-round at the Markidion Theatre.