When people think of the resorts of Agia Napa and Protaras (Ammochostos region) it is most often the dreamy beaches and the heady nightlife that spring to mind, but the region offers families more than just picture-perfect white sands and turquoise sea, and its nightlife is certainly not exclusively for partygoers!
Agia Napa has the island’s first and largest water park. Water World has over 50 attractions and a fun Ancient Greece theme. This is a full day outing with plenty of thrills and spills (I prefer to stay on the Lazy River myself!) and there are also several food and drink outlets in the park. Adjacent to the water park is a go-carting track for older children (and young-at-heart adults!).
The resort has the island’s first permanent – and largest – fairground (luna park). Paliatso Parko has expanded over the years to offer rides for all ages, and it is totally worth opting for the wristbands. They might seem pricey at the offset, but with unlimited rides you will soon have enjoyed your money’s worth – and a lot more (children seem to like the repetitive nature of going on fairground rides over and over again!).
If you head to the harbour it’s ‘all aboard’ for a unique family boat trip. The Black Pearl is a pirate-themed day cruise with actors dressed the part; lots of fun and games, and food and drink on board. The Nemo Submarine is also a popular choice with its lower deck where children will delight in seeing the varied sea life through the submerged windows. There are many more boat trips available so it’s a good idea to take a walk down to the harbour and see what is operating at the time.
The Thalassa Municipal Museum of the Sea is a great museum for children with its natural history exhibits in the basement; lots of skeleton displays and a huge replica of the ancient Kyrenia ship. The modern design of the museum and the layout of the exhibits offer an interactive experience and a fun learning opportunity whilst on holiday!
The life and soul of Protaras is its tourist strip that bustles with colour and lights in the evening and offers many themed establishments that are perfect for an entertaining meal with the family. The Magic Dancing Waters show, two mini-golf courses (with arcade games), and a small funfair along the strip also provide something for children to see and do, and if that isn’t enough, the choice of ice-cream parlours will surely do the trick!
Protaras is home to the island’s only aquarium – Protaras Aquarium – which has an indoor aquarium with tanks of diverse and vibrant fish and an outdoor area with other creatures, including exotic fish and turtles that you can feed. Don’t forget your sunscreen if visiting in the hotter hours of the day!
A newer attraction that is fast gaining in popularity is the Mermaid Cruise where ‘real’ mermaids tell their stories and swim around the boat. The two-hour programme also includes a treasure hunt, face painting and glitter tattoos – all with a sense of mystery and magic that the whole family will enjoy.