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Ayia Thekla Village on the coast near Ayia Napa

Less than four miles to the west of Ayia Napa lies the little village of Ayia Thekla, named after the ancient shrine of Saint Thekla, hewn into the coastal cliffs near the local beach.

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Ayia Thekla basically didn't exist prior to the Cyprus Property Boom

 
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Driving through Ayia Thekla along the coastal road, one gets the impression of passing through an extended villa development rather than a Cypriot community. There really is nothing much here aside from a large number of homes sold to eager British property investors between 2004 and 2008, and you’ll find few of the amenities and facilities which usually come as part of a functional settlement.

There’s a kiosk/convenience store, and at the last count there was a taverna, but that’s about it. Anything else, such as the week’s shopping, or a romantic meal out, requires a trip to nearby Ayia Napa, or even further afield. Nevertheless, the locality boasts a sizable British population, all of whom will readily testify that one of the things they love most about Ayia Thekla is the fact that it’s quiet. Read on...

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So aside from a bunch of happy Brits, what else is there in Ayia Thekla?

Well, for starters there’s a naturally sheltered sandy beach. It’s not exactly huge, being only about two hundred yards from end to end, but a small island about a hundred yards offshore makes it a sheltered spot to swim even on the choppiest of days. During summer, Ayia Thekla beach is a fairly popular spot with Cypriots, who come here early at weekends, and tend to stay all day preparing their barbecues, while their kids swim and play in the shallow water.

A few yards to the east there’s Ayia Thekla church. This is the only thing most websites ever talk about when referring to the village, simply because there’s so little else they consider worth mentioning. Now apparently this church has been destroyed quite a few times since Medieval times, mainly by Arab raider who were obviously offended by its presence, but that’s not really important, is it? Suffice it to say that the church as it stands now is not the ancient original one.

 

The Beach at Ayia Thekla

Ayia Thekla Church

 

What is ancient, however, is the Shrine of Ayia Thekla, a rock-hewn chamber in the coastal cliffs beneath the church which is dedicated to the 1st century saint. There seems to be some confusion about this place, as it’s often mistakenly referred to as the tomb of St Thekla, when she was in fact buried in Ma’loula, Syria.

Interestingly enough, many locals believe the saint’s influence to be beneficial to their love-life, and so the tomb/shrine keeps being chipped away at, as young Cypriot couples come here to pray to Thekla, and leave with little pieces of rock for use in love potions.

And then, of course, there’s Waterworld, the island’s largest waterpark. It’s not strictly speaking located in Ayia Thekla, but it’s less than a mile to the east of the village. With a definite Greek Mythology theme running through all its slides and pools, Waterworld is hugely popular with locals and tourists during the summer season.

The park is open from the beginning of April to the end of October. This does vary slightly each year, depending on Cyprus' weather. Getting in is also getting more than a little expensive these days, with adult prices for the 2010 season now standing at €32, whereas children under 12 can get in for €18.

Our verdict: It's a great (but overpriced) water park, and if you're part of a small group you're able to hire a boat for the afternoon, and cool down in a secluded cove somewhere around Cape Pyla, for about the same price.

 

The Waterworld Waterpark near Ayia Thekla and Ayia Napa

It has to be said that Ayia Thekla's main attraction stems from its proximity to Ayia Napa. Indeed, rental properties in this tiny settlement have proven popular with many tourists looking for lower cost holiday accommodation within easy reach of the bustling resort's many pubs, clubs and other entertainments.

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The East Coast's Resorts

When mention is made of Cyprus' east coast resorts, most people will invariably think of Ayia Napa, and its bad reputation, when the Famagusta peninsula is practically teeming with excellent beaches and resort facilities.

One only needs to look at the east coast between Cape Greco and Paralimni to find some of the best seaside spots on the island. In fact Protaras' beaches are, if anything, easily the match for Ayia Napa's, while smaller localities like Pernera and Kapparis all boast their own beauty spots.

 

Disclaimer. Please note that the information given on this website is displayed for guidance purposes only. It does not replace the need for professional advice, either legal or otherwise. E&OE

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