Ayia Napa is Greek for "Santa Napa", the patron saint of the town, whose Venetian-era monastery is in the centre of the town, next to the square which today is the clubbing centre...
Located in the far eastern end of Cyprus, Ayia Napa has become synonymous with clubbing on the island, becoming a popular destination for families, young party-goers and couples of all ages, being a "dance party capital", similar to Ibiza in Spain. In particular, it has become popular as the summer holiday destination for followers of London's UK Garage & Grime music scene since the late 90's, whereas more recently it attracts House music crowds and DJs such as Paul Van Dyk, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, DJ Fresh and acts such as Example, Lethal B, Tyga, Flo Rida, LMFAO & Boy Better Know. British tourists were traditionally the most prevalent here, along with a fair share of Scandinavians, Germans, Swiss and some Lebanese (due to proximity), however in the past few years there's been a considerable surge of Russian and East-European tourists, as well as Italians & French. Beyond its raunchy clubbing scene, Ayia Napa attracts tourists world-wide on account of its fun-loving (some would say, totally hedonistic) outlook by night and its sandy, Mediterranean beaches and clear blue waters by day.
Most travellers arrive at Ayia Napa by flights to the island of Cyprus that land at Larnaca airport. From there, it is a 35 to 45 minute taxi ride to Ayia Napa. Some people fly in from Paphos Airport which is about 2 hours away, but sometimes flights are much cheaper.
Intercity buses run from Larnaca to Agia Napa (40-45 min) and on to Paralimni (1 hour), with a single ticket costing €4, a one-day ticket €7 and a seven-day ticket €33. Students get a 50% discount if showing a valid student card to the driver (although only student cards from Cypriot universities are supposed to be valid, in practice this is not enforced by most drivers).
If arriving from the airport, bus 417, 418, 419, 425 and 429 will take you to central Larnaca (ask for the Central police station), where the intercity buses stop (although they actually depart from nearby Finikoudes beach)
Bus 711 also runs from Larnaca to Agia Napa stopping in the intermediate villages (rather than taking the motorway), so it takes about 1 hour 45 min and should be avoided. It's cheaper though (€2.50 one way). http://www.cyprusbybus.com/blogdetail.aspx?id=9
Depending on your negotiation skills and whether you're using a prearranged hotel pick-up service or simply hailing a cab outside the airport, the total fare should be somewhere between €5.50 (if using buses) to €55, but not more.
Ayia Napa attracted its first tourists (mostly Scandinavian) on the back of its incredible beaches. There is a selection of idyllic powder white sand beaches. The water is crystal clear with a lovely blue-green color. The water tends to be quite shallow. Even if you are a swimming pool person, visiting Ayia Napa’s beaches will surely convert you. Every beach will have a water sports center so make sure you know the boundaries of the swimming and powerboat areas. Food, drinks, umbrellas and sun beds are all available for 2.5€ each but you need to get there early to reserve yours. Paragliding is widely available while bungee jumps come in and out of fashion.
Clothes shops, shoe shops & furs can be found along Nissi Avenue and Archiepiskopou Makariou Avenue, as well as a large number of souvenir shops.
The Square should be your first choice for nightlife in the area. Although the area is a lot smaller than you might expect, there is a lot packed into the area and there are plenty of cheesy places to drink. Main bars include Bedrock, the Castle Club and Ice. Be aware that competition between various bars is phenomenally fierce and most if not all bars employ promotional staff who will constantly accost you on the street with special offers such as "2 for 5" (2 drinks for 5€) with free shots or drinks. These people are exceptionally persistent and will even go as far as to grab you should you refuse to acknowledge them. Although they pose no threat they can be very annoying. Be particularly aware of those trying to promote Toga Toga or Moulin Rouge, the main strip clubs on the island. Toga Toga has agents who are very persistent and will harass you multiple times on their moped during your stay. However, if you're interested, it is always worth haggling with them as they sometimes give you tickets for free. Moulin Rouge are less intrusive but be very careful about insulting their PR staff. By all means, listen to the various PR people if you're partially interested because they can get you genuine deals in bars and clubs, but remember that ultimately these people's sole aim is to make you poorer and them richer, so politely tolerate but don't fall for their efforts to try and "make friends with you". However, it can be amusing to distract them from their job and try to engage them in long conversation. Watch out for two guys that come around asking if you want to come on a boat party, as in 2004 several boat party operators were arrested for organizing drunken orgies aboard their boats .
Clubs and bars are open until daybreak and as a result, the 'scene' doesn't really begin to pick up until around 11-ish. Patrons who are used to attending bars from 8PM and heading to a club around midnight will need to reset their body clocks. The square is practically deserted until 9.30PM while most clubbers don't even bother going out until after 11, and most clubs close after 2AM and after party clubs open from 4AM till early morning. Those expecting a cheap night out are also going to be slightly disappointed. Drinks prices are generally the same in most bars and aren't dissimilar from prices in continental Europe. Watch out in clubs - in Castle Club, even something as casual as a bottle of beer can be painfully expensive. Admission fees can also be high, but canny clubbers should be able to find a good deal. Promo people can be quite helpful in this regard, they will often find them approaching people during the day on the beach, handing out flyers with invites or coupons and such and if you know where you're planning to go, you can usually pick up cheaper advance tickets. Also worth mentioning that most bars either have arrangements with clubs or are actually owned by the same people, a sort of a "cartel" if you will - one of the bars behind Castle (Red Square) offers buy-one-get-one-free on some of their drinks and will give you free entrance ticket to Castle or Starskys.
For an area that's fueled by alcohol and tourists determined on going wild, Ayia Napa seems to suffer very little from anti-social behavior. Provided you observe general bar and club etiquette you are extremely unlikely to encounter any trouble from other clubbers, locals or the police. The atmosphere in general is a very laid-back and positive, which offsets the fact that your night out is probably going to be more expensive than the one spent in your hometown.
If you are looking to get away from it all and relax with your family in privacy, then a holiday villa may be the right choice for you. By renting a private villa, you will have your own kitchen, living/dining room, bedroom and in many cases your own private swimming pool. Renting a villa provides you, not only, with more space and privacy but may also be a more economical option rather than staying at a small hotel room. A villa can usually accommodate a minimum of 4 people, and the rental price is charged per week making it more cost-effective than staying at a hotel.