Larnaca is a beautiful port city which is situated on the south coast of Cyprus. Holding the title of the oldest city in all of Cyprus, Larnaca offers plenty of scenic and cultural sights. A perfect retreat for couples and families, Larnaca brings together a stunning Mediterranean coastline, a vibrant array of clubs and restaurants along with world class cultural sights.
The city is famous for its sandy strip beach, Finikoudes Beach, which is located in the city center dotted by a palm-line seaside promenade. The Mackenzie beach is another popular tourist destination which has buzzing bars on the waterfront. That’s not all!
Boasting a wealth of unmatched history, there is plethora of attractions to discover. With so much historical places to explore, it has plenty of museums and ancient sites to visit. The medieval fortress of Larnaca Castle that overlooks the sea, serves as an open-air theater and local history museum. You can see some of the finest Ottoman pottery, old weapons and early Christian artifacts.
While it may sound irresistible to lie all day on the beach and it may sound tempting to spend your entire Larnaca holiday on the beach, get a real taste of the real Cyprus by venturing away from the commercial beaches and tourist strip. Take a walk across the 17th century Larnaka Fort which is breathtakingly beautiful and give a glimpse of the opulent city Cyprus once was.
Byzantine Museum which is located the Church of Agios Lazarus is a must-visit. The church is considered to be the site where Lazarus returned to life, after Jesus raised him from the dead. The Pierides Museum is a trove of archaeology exhibits dating back to Neolithic times.
Larnaca offers the perfect balance between traditional culture and modern attractions that makes it a perfect escape for family vacations.
Ayioz Lazaros- Saint Lazarus, who was the patron of Larnaca, lived for another 30 years after his resurrection by Christ. Kition became his second home. In the 9th century, Byzantine Emperor Leo VI built a church on the site where St Lazarus was buried. The church is one of the finest examples Byzantine architecture in Cyprus.
Mackenzie Beach-Mackenzie Beach is also known as the jewel of the Larnaca coast. Being an island nestled in the palm of the Mediterranean Sea; it has golden beaches with crystal blue sea water, deepening gradually making it ideal for families. From food to large umbrellas for sun protection, the beach offers all. The beach has everything you need for a day in paradise.
Panagia tis Aggeloktistis- Situated in the northwestern end of the village of Kiti, which is 12kms away from Larnaka. The Church Panagia tis Aggeloktistis which means ‘built by angels’, was built in the 11th century. The church was erected over the ruins of an Early Christian basilica. The original apse survived together with one of the finest pieces of Byzantine art of the Justinian period, a rare 6th century mosaic of the Virgin and Child between two archangels.
Larnaca Salt Lake- The salt lake which is located southwest of Larnaca town, is a complexed network of four salt lakes namely Soros, Alyki, Orfani of different sizes. Three lakes out of the four are interconnected and spread across 1761 hectares. The fourth lake is the smallest of all and was once part of Orfani, but it was cut off due to the construction of Larnaca Airport runway.
Pierides Museum- One of the oldest private museum in Cyprus, The Pierides Museum – Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation has the largest trove of archaeological collection which contains the most characteristic and vital presentation of Cyprus civilization. Covering the major periods of Cypriot pre-history and history, the archaeological collection is housed in a colonial mansion that was built in 1815. The travelers can witness the collectibles covering 9000 years of the island’s history, starting from the Neolithic era through to the Bronze Age, the Geometric, Archaic, and Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine – Medieval ages.
The attractions in Larnaca are plentiful and will definitely add some entertainment, culture and history to your holidays. If you want to test your adventurous instincts, Alpha Divers Dive Center is a scuba diving institute that specializes in snorkeling, scuba diving and other water activities. If you do not want to go underwater, they also offer water sport activities like wave runners, parasailing, paddleboats, kayaking, aqua cycles and paddleboats.
You can also enjoy a camel ride in the countryside of Mazotos village which is situated just 15 minutes away from Larnaca. Kids can have a good time as the Camel Park also has a play area for children and many restaurants along with a swimming pool.
To spend some time on a beach, Finikoudes Beach is an ideal spot. Known for its cleanliness, this famous beach of South Cyprus has gained its name from the small palm trees that were planted over here in 1922. The main attraction of this beach is its grey sand, stretched across kilometers.
Cypriot cuisine is the cuisine of Larnaca and Cyprus. The Cypriot cuisine is closely related to Turkish and Greek cuisine. One can also taste the variety of other cuisines such as Italian, Byzantine, Catalan, French, Ottoman and Middle Eastern cuisines. There are many upmarket restaurants and café that cater to every sort of dinner and under any budget. However to make it easier for you, we have listed some of the best restaurants where you can satisfy your gastronomical needs.
Lithos Bar & Grill- The Lithos Bar & Grill has been opened since 2006 and has recently been fully renovated. The bar offers a variety of spirits, beers and wines from all around the world. The Lithos is also famous for serving quality food for both and international cuisine.
Campanario Steak House- The original steak restaurant in the city is located in a typical Cryptic house. Among its famous dishes are Cheese Delight Steak, Beef Wellington and the chocolate ice cream cake.
Moti Mahal- This one is the most popular in Larnaca due to its central location and unmatched cuisine. The menu offers Asian as well as Indian food. The dishes are often prepared with fresh raw materials that make it more desirable as people get excellent food. Worth a visit!
The official language of Larnaca is Turkish and Greek. Most of the population speaks Greek; however you will find that they speak good English. The Cypriots speak and understand the language completely; also you will find most of the signboards, and majority of the menus written in English.
The official currency of Cyprus is Euro. On 1st January, 2008, the Euro replaced the Cyprus pound and became its official local currency. One Euro is divided into 100 cents. The Euro coins are available for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent. All banks operating in Cyprus offer foreign currency exchange services and quote the exchange rates of the Euro against all major foreign currencies daily.
Hotels, showrooms, shops and restaurants accept credit cards, travelers’ cheques, euro-cheques and banknotes of major foreign currencies. Also some of the major credit cards are accepted in Cyprus.
Travelling to Larnaca is easy. Depending on your nationality, the requirement for documents varies. Citizens of European Union countries Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway may enter Cyprus with their national identity card and passport for up to 90 days stay. They don`t need visa to enter Cyprus albeit their identity card must bear a photo.
Travel visa for non-EU countries includes travel visa and multi-entry visa. Both the visas are valid up to 90 days only and the duration of visit shouldn`t be exceeded. They can apply for visa nearest Embassy or Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus before planning any visit. Full lists of procedures and requirement are available on the website of either the Cyprus Government (www.cyprus.gov.cy).
Larnaca in Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate with dry, long summers between the months of May and October and mild winters from December to February. Summers are pleasant with clear blue skies and cool sea breeze blowing at the coastal areas. Winters are mild with snow and rain on Troodos Mountains. Best months to travel to Larnaca are April and May.
Larnaca International Airport is the main international gateway to the country which is located 4 km southwest of Larnaca. It is also the largest airport in the countryand is located at a close distance to other tourist destinations such as Ayia Napa and Limassol. Paphos International Airport is located on the southwestern coast of the Island.
Currently there are two active international airports in Cyprus, located in Larnaca and Paphos respectively. Both the airports handle more than 7 million passengers between them, annually. The summer season is the busiest and there are plenty of world class airlines providing services to major destinations. Most of these flights are serviced by the Cypriot national airline carrier Cyprus Airways or the Greek carrier Aegean.
Travelling through a pre-booked taxis or buses is the smartest way to travel to and from airport as there are very limited options you will find at the airport. Cab services are excellent and superior, unless you are able to drive yourself or catch a ride. Although the buses and shuttles that are pre-scheduled are available, they lack the flexibility.
Other Transport Options
Being a relatively small city, Larnaca doesn’t offer much transport from the airport. But the good thing is that due to its small size, it is easy to advance in it regarding transportation. If budget is not the constraint, hire a cab; otherwise take the bus no.21 from the airport, which arrives in the center of the city.
An excursion from Larnaca to other destinations in the city enables many possibilities. Although the public transport in Larnaca underwent a huge transformation with considerable improvement there are still not fully developed to answer the needs of tourists who come to the city. Thus if you want to travel to different city, reach the central bus station, which is in the Lauforos Atinion boulevard. From here buses to Nicosia, Ayia Napa, Limassol and Paphos are easily accessible.
The airport of Larnaca of course serves also for inner flights, and another possibility is a transportation system of public taxis which go up to Limassol and Nicosia.
Buses can make your city tour exciting as well as convenient. The public transport system is spacious, cheap and convenient all year round. The route covers almost the entire city with long duration and frequent service. The buses to adjacent cities and places run every half an hour, providing the most economical way to experience Larnaca.
Getting around in Larnaca can be easier if you know how to drive. There are many car rentals available for the tourists. You can rent a car and experience the city like a local. Also you can hire a taxi if you are not sure about driving in a complete foreign land. The taxis will charge according to the distance covered and a meter set besides the driver. Sometimes taxi drivers can refuse to go by meter, so bargain and fix the price before getting ahead with the journey. The taxis operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.