Protaras is part of Paralimni, which is a town in the free Famagusta district of southeast Cyprus. It is also known as the “Land of the windmills”, referring to the town’s past where the landscape was covered with windmills. Paralimni hasn’t always stood where it is today. It is believed that the town was moved from the hillside in the 15th century, to avoid exposure to sea pirates, to where it is now, while the area of Protaras is where the old city-state of Leukolla once stood.
Staying in Protaras
Protaras is a small place, packed full of charm. If you are looking for a quiet relaxing time or somewhere to take the family then this is the location for you. Geared up for tourists you can find everything you will need to make your vacation enjoyable. In addition to the restaurants and bars, you will also find a bank, travel agents, hire shops, estate agents and tourist information centre.
If you go self-catering you’ll find an abundance of supermarkets selling everything from fresh produce to cleaning products and souvenirs, but if you prefer to be waited on then you will be spoilt for choice as you can eat anything from fantastically fresh sea-food to Indian, Chinese and of course Cypriot food. For those with a love for comforting British food, you will find that most eateries cater for this too, not to mention the globally recognized chains of McDonalds and Pizza Hut, which are also situated along the “D” as Protaras is known locally.
A must visit is the Hippocampus Lounge Restaurant. It’s chic with a nautical feel, evident from the boats hanging on the walls, the circular windows and the seahorse motif. The restaurant offers not only top quality food but also the service to match. The hosts are very attentive and will make you feel like you are the only visitors they have had all day, when clearly the place is full. This is Cypriot hospitality at its best.
For the perfect start to the day, their full English Breakfast is highly recommended, costing only €5 and cooked to perfection. You will not be disappointed.
Visit the Hippocampus Lounge Restaurant at any time of the day to sample anything from traditional Cypriot dishes, to seafood and pizzas, which are freshly prepared by the restaurant’s chef.
With a plethora of things to see and do, you will not be able to resist wanting to explore the fantastic surroundings nearby. It is worth it to hire a car or bicycle to go exploring the landscape. Cape Greco is approximately 10 minutes drive away. Here you can look out over the cliffs at the spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding towns. Cape Greco is a protected nature park and depending on the time of year that you visit the island, there are a vast array of wild flowers to be seen.
Also nearby is the town of Ayia Napa with its golden beaches, a further five minutes’ drive on from Cape Greco.
The beaches of Protaras are amongst the most beautiful on the island. Tucked away in the shadow of a cliff, the seas are calm and the beaches protected from the wind.
Figtree Bay beach has to be one of the cleanest but equally one of the busiest of all Protaras’ beaches. With beautiful white sand and shallow crystal blue water, it is an excellent beach for children. Within swimming distance of the beach is an island which people often go to explore, however do take care as it is quite sharp and rocky.
Watersport activities are popular here. You can try your hand at anything from snorkelling, to banana boat rides, jet skiing or just enjoy a relaxing Pedalo ride.
If relaxing with a good book or topping up your tan is more your preference, there are plenty of sunbeds and umbrellas available to hire for the day at a cost of €5.
Stefans is also another nice beach to visit with the same amenities as Figtree Bay beach.
For some time out from the beach, try the Fantastico Mini Golf course; the children will love it. Tucked away at the back of some shops at the end of the square, you will be forgiven for thinking that it isn’t worth the bother walking up the beaten track to the course but once you get there you will see why this is a hidden gem. With arcade games, fun fair rides and of course the golf course, there will be something there for children of all ages. The park also has a cafe which sells a selection of snacks and the best frappes (cold milky coffee drinks) I have ever tasted.
The nightlife in Protaras isn’t as rowdy as in the neighbouring town of Ayia Napa. However, due to Ayia Napa being only 15 minutes’ drive away, you can easily take a taxi there and back without braking the bank. For those who wish to stay and party in Protaras, there are a few clubs that play anything from Michael Jackson to Westlife. The pubs also have live tribute bands as well as Zorba dancing, Karaoke and DJs playing customer requests. Fools and Horses is a lively bar with cheap drinks and great entertainment.
The beautiful town of Protaras really is a one-stop shop and has everything you need for a perfect vacation. It’s the reason holiday-makers return to the town year after year.