Discover Larnaca

Cyprus at a glance

Cyprus is famed as a year-round sun-seeker’s paradise, renowned for its pristine seas, golden sands, and fine weather – the ideal destination for a dreamy spring/summer beachside break or a laid-back autumn/winter escape under blue skies. But there is so much more to this idyllic Mediterranean island than what first meets the eye.

Beyond the country’s famous shimmering coastline, a rugged interior blanketed with scented pines, citrus groves, and rambling vineyards awaits the intrepid traveller. And at every turn deep in this world of natural wonder, secrets from bygone days will dazzle the senses. A haven of craggy mountain landscapes, punctuated with awe-inspiring ancient sites, religious monuments, and quaint stone-built villages shed light on a remarkable history spanning over 10,000 years. The adventurous at heart can trek or cycle through lush nature trails and biking routes, while the artistically minded will find inspiration in rural folklore museums that stand as a testament to an intricate history.

As a true melting pot of cultures and civilizations where east meets west, Cypriot cuisine is just as impressive as its natural beauty and sites. Gastronomes can expect delicious local fare cooked to perfection, passionately dished up by warm-hearted locals in countless taverns. And no matter where you are, the ancient past and its captivating tales are intertwined with the present every step of the way in this country of remarkable contrasts. Visit the island’s cosmopolitan cities where a more forward-thinking creative spirit is alive and kicking, and you’ll spot grand historic buildings that sit side-by-side with glamorous restaurants, hip bars, cute cafés, independent shops, quirky galleries, and a new crop of fashionable boutique hotels.

Discover Larnaca

Larnaca may be the third largest city in Cyprus, home to the island’s biggest airport, but it has long been known as a quiet seaside resort, packed with historic buildings in its compact centre and celebrated for its casual coffee shop culture. But of late, Larnaca has another tale to tell as young entrepreneurs breathe new life into the city, pouring their creativity and passion into alternative art workshops, cosmopolitan eateries, and atmospheric beach bars. Now offering travellers the best of both worlds, there’s something for everyone in this ever-evolving city.

Join the cool crowds for a meal or drink in the newest hot-spots dotted across the recently revamped old town or enjoy a leisurely walk beside local families and visitors of all ages who congregate on the nearby palm tree-lined Foinikoudes Promenade. And when your feet tire, the area’s countless golden shores beckon. Whether you dream of relaxing with a good book and an indulgent fish meze by the water’s edge, or yearn for an action-packed diving or water sports adventure, you’ll soon discover that Larnaca offers endless moments of uninterrupted beachside bliss.

A world of history & culture

The seaside resort of Larnaca is fast transforming into a flourishing modern city, but a fascinating past and evocative tales colour every street corner. Hardly surprising, given that Larnaca (originally known as Kition) is the oldest living city in Cyprus, continuously inhabited since it was founded.
Kition was established by the Mycenaean Greeks in the 13th century and it fast became known for its wealthy port and a hub for copper trade. Kition is also renowned as the birthplace of the stoic Greek philosopher, Zeno, honoured with two statues in the town.
Since those early days, Larnaca’s prime location has attracted both traders and conquerors from around the world – from the Romans and Venetians to the Ottomans and the British – each leaving their unique mark on this remarkably diverse city, highlighted by its varied architecture, creative cuisine, and vibrant culture to this day. Larnaca is also known for its annual festivals and events, including the Anthestiria flower festival in the spring, the Flood Festival (Kataklysmos) in June, a summer festival of music and performing arts in July, and much more.

Must-visit sites

Take the time to explore Larnaca at a leisurely pace, as you soak up the rich local culture and fascinating history in the centre of town and beyond. Here is a shortlist of key attractions that deserve a place on your travel bucket list.

Larnaca Salt Lake and Hala Sultan Tekke

Located just outside the main Larnaca town hub, the Larnaca Salt Lake is the perfect spot to admire the natural world. Measuring 2,2 square kilometres, this lake is not only one of the most significant biotopes in Europe, but it’s also one of the most important habitats for waterfowl. 

Visit the Salt Lake in the wetter winter months between November and March when it fills with water and attracts hundreds of flamingos that stop off to find food and refuge during their migratory journeys. The beautiful lake is backed by the Hala Sultan Tekke, an important Islamic religious monument built in honour of the Prophet Mohammad’s aunt between the 1760s and early 1800s by the ruling Ottomans. The mosque is open for visitors daily year-round, except on public holidays.

Church of Saint Lazarus

Built by Byzantine Emperor Leo VI in the 9th century, this meticulously restored church stands proud on its own square in Larnaca town centre. Visitors flock here to take a photo of the beautiful building, often cited as one of the most stunning examples of Byzantine architecture on the island. 

Not just a pretty site, it lies over the tomb of Saint Lazarus, said to have arrived in Cyprus after being resurrected by Jesus. He then lived in the town for 30 years, ordained as Bishop of Kition. Today, he is still honoured by a yearly Easter procession as his icon is carried through the streets of Larnaca. Be sure to also pop into the Byzantine Museum next to the church, housing religious icons, and relics. The Church of Saint Lazarus is open to visitors daily. The Byzantine Museum is open daily except Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and is closed on Sundays and public holidays.

Kamares Aqueduct

This Roman-style aqueduct built in the 18th century by the Turkish governor of Larnaca, Bekir Pasha, is named after its characteristic arches (the so-called ‘kamares’) in Greek. Located on the road heading out of Larnaca towards Limassol, the aqueduct once carried water into the town but was abandoned in 1939 following the introduction of modern pipes. 

The aqueduct today has been revamped with night-time illumination, while a walking path that connects to the Larnaca Salt Lake gives visitors the chance to enjoy a stroll by the ancient site. If you fancy a break, kick back on one of the area’s benches and take in the historic splendour. 

Foinikoudes promenade

If there’s one place you’ve got to visit in Larnaca, it has got to be the Foinikoudes promenade. The 600-metre-long coastal road – flanked on one end by a small marina and fishing harbour – is the ideal spot for a seaside stroll and the perfect place to watch the world go by. 

Towering palm trees frame the length of Larnaca’s famous promenade and the beach here is packed with sunbeds and umbrellas. Cafes, bars, restaurants, and hotels galore also line the promenade, usually buzzing with life in the spring and summer months. Various roads leading off Foinikoudes lead into the heart of the town and onto the well-known Ermou shopping street. 

Larnaca Medieval Castle (Larnaca Fort)

Once you reach the end of the Foinikoudes promenade, the Larnaca Medieval Castle awaits. Otherwise known as the Larnaca Fort, the castle houses the Larnaca Medieval Museum which sheds light on the history of the town, exhibiting artefacts and archaeological excavations from the Early Christian period to the Ottoman period. 

Interestingly, accounts documenting when the castle was first built vary, although it is largely believed to have been built during the Middle Ages to protect the town’s harbour. It was then transformed into its modern state during Ottoman rule. At the end of the Ottoman era, British rulers converted the castle into a prison. Today, many visitors head up to the top of the castle to take in the panoramic views of the promenade below, the surrounding town, and the glistening coastline. The castle is open for visitors daily, except Saturdays and Sundays in the autumn and winter months.

Zenobia Wreck

A rather different site to see, the Zenobia Wreck is one for thrill-seekers and lovers of underwater discoveries. Rated one of the ten best wrecks in the world and the top dive site in Cyprus, adventurers from all corners of the globe gravitate towards the Larnaca seas to catch a glimpse of this Swedish ferry that capsized and sank in 1980 on her maiden voyage from Sweden to Syria. All passengers were saved, and the 172-metre ferry settled on the 42-metre-deep seabed on her port side. 

The area surrounding the wreck has been designated as a Marine Protected Area (MPA), giving divers visiting the site the chance to enjoy all sorts of marine life including groupers and barracuda that often surround the sunken ship.

Bucket list beaches

Larnaca is blessed with countless palm-fridged sandy beaches and notoriously calm seas. Many have been awarded the Blue Flag certification and are ideal for soaking up the sunshine in relaxed style, while others are action-packed, offering exciting water sports and cocktails aplenty at hip and happening beach bars. Here is a glimpse of some of the best stretches of golden sand to soak up the sun.

Best for couples – Faros Beach

For your own little slice of heaven away from it all, head to Faros (Lighthouse) Beach, located in the village of Pervolia, just south of Cape Kiti –  13 kilometres outside Larnaca. This 500-metre Blue Flag strip is the perfect spot to unwind with your other half as you relax to the soothing sound of the gentle waves lapping against the shore and let your gaze drift across the horizon. 

There are plenty of sunbeds to choose from here and none are crammed too close together. The waters are shallow and calm, and facilities on the beach include toilets, showers, and changing rooms. A small beach bar serves drinks and snacks so you won’t go hungry, and the nearby lighthouse is ideal for romantic moments à deux as the sun goes down.  

Best for beach bars – Mackenzie Beach

Just a stone’s throw from the Larnaka International Airport runway, Mackenzie Beach is the place to be if you love a bit of action. For a start, this 1-kilometre sandy strip is ideal for plane spotting and crowds often gather here to watch the aircraft go by overhead. It’s also packed with some of the town’s most popular beach bars, attracting regulars from Larnaca, Nicosia, and beyond. 

As the night sets in, the area transforms into a premium party destination, but by day, you can enjoy a more relaxed cocktail, albeit among a crowd of hip and young beachgoers. If fun out at sea gets you ticking, Mackenzie Beach also offers all sorts of water sports for the ultimate adrenaline rush. And when the hunger pangs kick in, the seafood fancies dished up in the area’s fish restaurants should hit the spot.

Best for convenience – Foinikoudes Beach

Centrally located along the Foinikoides Promenade, this Blue Flag beach is convenient in every way. Not only will you find all amenities and facilities that you need on the spot – toilets, showers, changing rooms, and water sports – there are also heaps of dining and entertainment options in the vicinity to keep everyone happy. Ideal for families, parents can chill out on the sunbeds while young children enjoy a splash in the calm shallow waters. And if you’re travelling with restless teenagers, they can easily pop into the nearby fast-food joints or ice cream parlours. Keep in mind that it does get crowded here, especially during the weekends, but with countless sunbeds and umbrellas to choose from on the 600-metre strip, you should be able to carve out a little space of your own.

Best for an idyllic escape – Alaminos Beach

Very few travellers know that this beach – otherwise known as ‘secret paradise’ – even exists. You do have to veer away from the city to find it, but it’s well worth the drive. Located by the tiny Larnaca village of Alaminos, about 25 kilometres outside Larnaca centre between Mazotos and Ayios Theodoros, you’ll need to turn off the main road to reach this little off-the-radar gem. 

Choose your sunbed on this organised sheltered bay and simply get lost in the pages of a good book, especially on quieter weekdays. In the summer months, a little beach bar caters to hungry crowds and anyone after a cold beer. The only downside is that the beach bar does tend to play louder music on busy days, so be sure to opt for a sunbed away from the speakers if you don’t like to listen to music by the water’s edge.

Best for the whole family – Pyla (CTO) Beach

Another Blue Flag beauty, Pyla Beach (also known as the CTO beach) is a great spot to spend the whole day with the kids, especially if you’re staying on or close to the Dhekelia Road. This organised stretch is backed by greenery and boasts its own beach volleyball and beach tennis courts, while countless facilities ensure a stress-free day out including toilets, changing rooms, sunbeds, a children’s playground, and countless water sports options. 

The waters here are usually calm but can sometimes get a little choppy, much to the delight of older kids, while there is plenty of space along the shoreline for a game of beach rackets. When you’re feeling peckish, keep in mind that the on-site restaurant serves food, drinks, and ice-creams. 

Best for seaside lounging – Kastella Beach

Just a fifteen-minute walk from central Larnaca, this small beach is a slice of paradise if you’re dreaming of comfy sunbeds and a day of sheer leisure under the shade of wicker umbrellas. Close to the Larnaca Fishing Shelter, you may like to combine a sumptuous fish meze lunch at one of the area’s famous fish taverns with a day of beachside lounging at Kastella. Rest easy on these golden Blue Flag shores in the knowledge that the beach bar will cater to your every desire, whether you want to down an icy frappe in local style or indulge in a juicy fruit platter.

Drinking & dining

Cyprus is a slice of heaven for gastronomes as delectable flavours from the Middle East and Greece combine in exquisite unison. Unsurprisingly, locals take great pride in preparing recipes passed down through the generations, each enhanced with aromatic Mediterranean herbs that delight the palate with every bite. 

Traditionally, Larnaca is particularly famous for its fish restaurants serving a medley of dishes known by locals as ‘psaromezes’ (fish meze). During weekends and public holidays, local families often gravitate towards the Piale Pasha and its small fishing shelter or the nearby Mackenzie strip for a taste of the fresh catch of the day brought to dry land by the local fishermen. Seafood indulgences aside, a new wave of restaurants around town satiate patrons with a modern twist on tradition and international fusion cuisine. Come evening, the hip old town is the place to be for a perfectly crafted cocktail as mixologists work their magic in trendy next-gen bars.

A spot of shopping

If you’ve got the shopping bug, Larnaca won’t disappoint, especially if you love getting hold of local produce and crafts during your holidays. For ceramics made by local artisans and other treasures that feel genuinely Cypriot, be sure to navigate the maze of streets cradled by whitewashed buildings in the old Turkish Quarter (Skala). Enjoy a walk back in time and pop into little shops filled with unusual finds.

Most of the narrow roads leading off the central Foinikoudes promenade are also lined with souvenir shops packed with seashell magnets, postcards, handicrafts, and other holiday memorabilia. Jewellery boutiques in the area cater to all tastes, whether you are looking for natural gems or fine silver, and there are plenty of upmarket stores selling designer brands and high-street fashion along Zinonos Kitieos Street. 

The nearby Ermou Street is also known for its high street stores and international fashion chains selling clothes, make-up, and accessories, while the Metropolis Mall (the biggest on the island) is located just a few kilometres outside the town hub and is ideal for shoppers and families looking for shops, cafes, and entertainment in one indoor location.

Day trips

Once you’ve taken in all that Larnaca has to offer, we recommend venturing further afield to discover the charm of Cyprus’ capital or the beauty of famous seaside resorts on the island’s dazzling east coast. Be sure to also satisfy your wanderlust in quaint Cypriot villages that capture the island’s authentic spirit and visit ancient sites bound to leave you wide-eyed.


Cyprus’ capital of Nicosia – the last divided city in the world – is one of striking contrasts where old meets new every step of the way. Undoubtedly, this thriving city is the ideal place to get a feel for contemporary island life as smart-suited city dwellers dash to their next meeting, while the hip, young and beautiful sip on their Freddo cappuccino (the more fashionable take on the traditional frappe) in the city’s third wave coffee shops. But there is also another story to be told in Nicosia; one of an ancient past and rich cultural heritage that captivates visitors keen to explore the capital’s older part of town surrounded by the grandiose Venetian walls built to defend the city in the 16th century.  

Start your journey of discovery in the central Eleftheria Square, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects as a link between past and present, and stroll down the commercial Ledra Street before you sip on a strong Cyprus coffee with the locals on the pretty Faneromeni Square. Then, traverse the old town and head towards the equally impressive Chrysaliniotissa neighbourhood, home to old mansions, small galleries, workshops, concept stores, cafes, and the impressive Famagusta Gate – the most significant gate in the Venetian Walls. End the day with a bite to eat at one of the neighbourhood’s restaurants that satiate the taste buds of well-dressed locals night after night.

Ayia Napa & Protaras

Nowhere screams Mediterranean paradise quite like the side-by-side seaside resorts of Ayia Napa and Protaras. A mere 40-minute drive from Larnaca, both are renowned for epic seas and award-winning white-sand beaches celebrated as some of the best in Europe. Run barefoot across the powdery sands of Makronissos Beach, soak up the sun’s rays on the lively Nissi Beach, or take in the phenomenal aquamarine views across Konnos Bay. 

Beach hopping aside, avid explorers can put their best foot forward in the rugged Cape Greco National Forest Park where cliffs plunge dramatically into crystalline seas. Experience-seekers keen on an underwater adventure can even make a splash at the Museum of Underwater Sculpture Ayia Napa (MUSAN). Once the sun dips behind the horizon, there are plenty of lively restaurants and bars to soak up the vibrant nightlife with an appetizing drink in hand.

Lefkara village

No trip to Cyprus is complete without visiting one of its bucolic villages. And the Larnaca district gem of Lefkara (located about 40 kilometres outside Larnaca on the foot of the Troodos mountains) may be a traveller hot spot, but it has still managed to retain its traditional charm. Once a breezy summer haven for Venetian nobles, Lefkara is not only famed for its terracotta-roofed houses, pretty chapels, and charming coffee shops, but it is also world famous for its ‘Lefkara lace’ or ‘Lefkaritika’, included on the UNESCO ‘List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’. 

The lace-making tradition dates to the fourteenth century and is a proud symbol of Lefkara identity to this day, much to the delight of avid shoppers who can pop into countless shops lined with handmade lace from floor to ceiling. And because Lefkara is also renowned for its filigree silver, you’ll also spot glistening silverware on display in shop windows around town.

Stavrovouni Monastery

Commanding a prime spot on a dramatic rocky peak some 40 kilometres outside Larnaca, the Greek Orthodox Stavrovouni Monastery is regarded as one of the oldest monasteries in the world. Legend has it that it was founded in the 4th century by the mother of Constantine the Great, St. Helena. Stavrovouni is dedicated to the Holy Cross and is famed as one of the few places where one can see a fragment of this cross left behind by the Saint. 

Strict monastery rules mean that only men can enter the monastery, although many travellers visit the area to take photos from the outside and explore the stunning natural landscape that surrounds the holy building. The monastery is open to men daily and is closed on public holidays.

Tochni village

Although not as well known as Lefkara, the peaceful rural community of Tochni is well-worth visiting if you’re after a taste of quintessential Cyprus. Located 36 kilometres outside Larnaca, this little village is one of the oldest on the island, attracting cyclists, horse-riders, and other independent travellers who stop off for an overnight stay in one of the renovated village houses before exploring the Tochni nature trail southeast of the village and the surrounding countryside. 

A cluster of village houses here paints a pretty picture, most built with the traditional light-coloured ‘Tochni stone,’ while the beautiful 19th century Church of Agiou Konstantinou and Agias Elenis is a picture-postcard site atop a pretty bridge. Interestingly, the church is believed to stand over the ruins of a much older temple built by St. Helena when she visited the island in 326 B.C.


One for the history buffs and lovers of the great outdoors, the Neolithic settlement of Choirokoitia is undoubtedly one of the most important archaeological sites on the island. It’s also one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the Eastern Mediterranean, occupied from the 7th to the 4th millennium B.C. The UNESCO World Heritage Site, located on the slopes of a hill about 30 kilometres outside Larnaca, sheds light on the evolution of society in the region and life in prehistoric times. 

On-site excavations have exposed flat-roofed circular homes built from mudbrick and stone, protected by successive walls. Be sure to also check out the reconstructed cylindrical dwellings that give visitors a better idea of what these houses would have looked like in Neolithic times. Choirokoitia is open daily all year round but is closed on public holidays.

Where to stay

No matter what your personal taste or style, there’s bound to be a hotel in Larnaca to fit the bill, home to a slew of chic hotels that have recently opened their doors in the seaside city. To really enjoy everything that Larnaca has to offer on foot, book a stay in the centre of the city for easy access to all key sites and amenities. Here, old mansions have been renovated to their former glory and transformed into intimate boutique hotels, attracting independent travellers after a vibrant taste of local culture and life.

For a totally laid-back beachside break in four-or five-star luxury, the Dhekelia Road is home to an array of hotels and resorts with large swimming pools and lush landscaped gardens right by the sea. Ideal for families or couples yearning for a carefree break, you can enjoy everything you need within the grounds of your resort. And if it’s total tranquility in nature that you’re after, the villages speckled across the Larnaca countryside should be right up your street. Book a stay in a renovated village house or small agrotourism bed and breakfast for the ultimate holiday experience immersed in tradition as you get back-to-basics in rural style. 

Useful information

No matter what your personal taste or style, there’s bound to be a hotel in Larnaca to fit the bill, home to a slew of chic hotels that have recently opened their doors in the seaside city. To really enjoy everything that Larnaca has to offer on foot, book a stay in the centre of the city for easy access to all key sites and amenities. Here, old mansions have been renovated to their former glory and transformed into intimate boutique hotels, attracting independent travellers after a vibrant taste of local culture and life.

For a totally laid-back beachside break in four-or five-star luxury, the Dhekelia Road is home to an array of hotels and resorts with large swimming pools and lush landscaped gardens right by the sea. Ideal for families or couples yearning for a carefree break, you can enjoy everything you need within the grounds of your resort. And if it’s total tranquility in nature that you’re after, the villages speckled across the Larnaca countryside should be right up your street. Book a stay in a renovated village house or small agrotourism bed and breakfast for the ultimate holiday experience immersed in tradition as you get back-to-basics in rural style. 

Currency, cards & tipping

The Euro is the official currency of Cyprus. It is still common to pay with cash, but credit cards are widely used and accepted in most establishments.  Banks islandwide offer foreign currency exchange services and you can also withdraw cash from ATMs around the country, both in the major cities, all seaside resorts, and some of the larger villages. When paying for a meal, a 10 percent tip is considered polite, although not obligatory.


Cyprus is a year-round holiday destination with hot summers and mild winters. The months between May – October are perfect for a beach holiday while the cooler yet often sunny months between November – April are best for exploring ancient sites, cities, and important landmarks. Temperatures generally fluctuate between winter lows of 15°C to warm highs of 35°C in the summer. During short spells of intense summer heatwaves, temperatures can reach 40°C. 

Between mid-December to the end of February, the peaks of the Troodos Mountains towering 1952 metres above sea level are usually blanketed in snow, welcoming ski and snowboarding enthusiasts.

Transport & getting around

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Med spanning an area of 9.251 square kilometres but is still small enough to explore with ease. There are no trains in the country and the best way to get around is either by car, taxi, or bus. Driving is on the left-hand side of the road, and at roundabouts, priority is given to the right side. 


Airport Transfer Buses link all the island’s cities with both Larnaka and Pafos International airports. Find out more about times and routes on  Interurban buses also link major cities daily, while urban buses link different areas within towns, operating throughout the day. Routes are extended until late in the evening during the high season in specific tourist areas. If you are staying in a rural location, some buses do link most villages with the nearest town, but the frequency is limited. For more information on the public transport service by bus in Cyprus visit 


It’s easy to rent a car in Cyprus and it’s one of the best ways to explore everything the island has to offer.  The roads are fairly well maintained, and road signs are both in English and Greek. Cars for hire are located at both Larnaka International Airport and Pafos International Airport, while well-known car rental firms are also located in all major urban hubs. Most offer a wide selection of vehicles depending on your needs, including compact economy cars, family cars, SUVs, convertibles, and 4x4s. Rates vary depending on the car category and the time of year.


While taxis are the most expensive mode of transport on the island, they are easy to find in big centres or towns and most hotels usually cooperate with a trusted taxi service. Most taxis operate both within town/city centres and also travel between towns. It’s always wise to book a taxi in advance, but many can be hailed from the street or picked up at ranks. All urban taxis should have metres, but if you do hop into a taxi without a metre, it’s always advisable to agree on a fare before starting your journey.


Cyprus is in the Eastern European Time Zone and Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. Like most countries in Europe, Daylight Saving Time is observed in Cyprus. 


The official language of Cyprus is Greek and Turkish, but English is widely spoken around the island.


The three-pin electrical sockets in Cyprus are type G. The standard voltage is 240V and the standard frequency is 50Hz. Travellers can safely use all appliances that operate with a 220-240V requirement.