There was a time many moons ago when Coral Bay was the best kept secret of Cyprus holidays. However, over the last decade or so, the fame of this pretty little coastal town has spread far and wide, and it's now one of the premier destinations on the island. Whatever sort of holiday you're looking for – be it a shopping extravaganza, a culinary odyssey, an alcohol-fuelled adventure or simply a lazy week on the beach – you're sure to find plenty to keep you occupied in Coral Bay. Just in case you're stuck for ideas, here are some suggestions on what to get up to during your stay.
First and foremost, Coral Bay is famous for the silky stretch of unblemished sand that gives the town its name. The 600-metre strand has Blue Flag status, meaning the levels of cleanliness and water-quality are guaranteed, while there are plenty of watersports and snorkelling opportunities for the more active beach bum to get stuck into.
Package holidays to Paphos are popular around this area, but if the throngs of tourists attracted by Coral Bay's celebrity become a nuisance, nearby Potima Bay is a far more relaxed affair. Shuttle buses run between the two every quarter of an hour.
Bric-a-brac and souvenir stores jostle for position in Coral Bay Avenue, as the artisans of the region offer their finely-crafted wares. As well as jewellery, pottery, lace and ornaments, the boulevard also sells plenty of local produce so family and friends can try some Cypriot food-based delicacies.
Loukoumi is Cyprus' answer to Turkish delight, Commandaria is the traditional sweet dessert-wine which often accompanies them, and you'll also find locally produced halloumi.
If you don't find what you're looking for in Coral Bay's admittedly diminutive retail district, nearby Paphos will surely satisfy. The daily market has all manner of wares on offer, while the big designer boutiques can be found on the streets of Gladstonos and Mylona.
There's a rich and hearty gastronomy attached to this beautiful island. Don't leave without trying a platter of mezze – similar to Spanish tapas, these are a medley of different dishes, allowing you to sample tastes of the country's cuisine without filling up on any one meal.
Other specialities of the region include afelia – a pork, mushroom and potato dish in which the meat has been pre-marinated in red wine and flavoured with coriander seeds. There's also koupepia, a must-try in Cyprus – stuffed vine leaves that can be eaten hot or cold, depending on their ingredients and personal preference. Whatever you end up ordering, you're sure to leave Coral Bay with a satisfied stomach.
While Coral Bay doesn't enjoy anything like the nightlife reputation of Ayia Napa at the other end of the island, it can still hold its own when it comes to pubs and clubs. The main strip is lined with chic and stylish cocktail bars serving up delicious drinks all night long, while the evening normally kicks off with a live band or tribute act.
After the strike of midnight, the entertainment moves on to the dancefloor, with DJs spinning dance, techno, R'n'B and all manner of other music until the wee hours of the morning.