On Cyprus’ southeast corner, Nissi Beach is only a stone’s throw from full-throttle Ayia Napa, but really they’re worlds apart. Even if its superstar beach does get quite lively by day, come evening Nissi Beach prefers to live life in the slow lane.
A regular fixture on the world’s top beaches list, Nissi Beach is a Blue Flag-winning arc of pearl white sand that melts into the turquoise sea. It draws a young crowd for its daytime beach parties, but there also are plenty of quiet spots around its edges. Best of all, just offshore is a little island – that’s what ‘nissi’ means in Greek – which is home to a buzzing watersports centre.
Behind the beach are little side streets dotted with picturesque gardens and authentic Greek tavernas serving up the catch of the day. Plus, along the main Nissi Avenue, there’s a handful of souvenir shops and supermarkets. Everything’s within walking distance, even WaterWorld – a supersized waterpark with 18 thrilling rides.
A 5-minute bus ride away is Ayia Napa. This resort has a nightlife to rival Ibiza’s, and it has a really good shopping scene, too, with scores of designer boutiques. But in the middle of the day, around Ayia Napa’s shaded squares and Medieval monastery, you get a taste of its quaint village feel.