Do you want to travel to Larnaca? Cyprus’s third largest city lies on the southern coast, making Larnaca weather sunny and hot for almost the entire year. Larnaca International Airport is the main airport of Cyprus and along with the seaport, it handles the bulk of the traffic that arrives in Cyprus. With its beaches and balmy weather, Larnaca is a great last minute holiday destination for Brits seeking some sun ‘n sand.
The city’s palm tree lined seafront is one of the most photographed and well recognised areas of the island, and this is a great place to people watch whilst enjoying an ice cream or coffee on the outdoor terraces of one of the many stylish cafes.
But there is so much more to this city than coffee and cake shops as you will discover when you travel Larnaca!
Larnaca is one of the most popular spots on the island for bird watching thanks to the famous Salt Lake, which draws over 70 species, including the island’s most popular migrants – pink flamingos!
The salt mines from the lake once created Larnaca’s biggest industry and gave it its ancient name of Salina. Salt is no longer extracted from the lake due to pollution, but it is still a popular tourist attraction as seen on TV’s Katie and Peter: The Next Chapter and a holiday to Larnaca would not be complete without a trip here!
The city is also known for being a creative area. On the outskirts of the city lies the picturesque village of Lefkara, known for its world famous Lefkara lace.
As you wander the winding, cobbled streets of the village of Lefkara, you will see the local women creating the lace and embroidery works as they have for centuries. Each piece is unique and can take weeks to create so it is not cheap, but the work is of very high quality. One of the most famous buyers of Lefkara lace is said to be Leonardo Da Vinci.
The city also has the second largest port on the island, where you can see the yachts of the rich and famous. Leaving the marina and driving east up the coastal road and turning north at the bay’s vortex, you will come across the village of Pyla.
Pyla is the only village on the island where Greek and Turkish Cypriots still live alongside one another. Here you will have a unique chance to spot both Greek and Turkish cafes in the same village square. The village remains peaceful, and the UN retains a presence there.
Larnaca Last Minute Holidays – Attractions to Visit
A 4000 year old city is bound to offer plenty of sightseeing and Larnaca attractions don’t disappoint! If you feel like dragging yourself away from the marina, its palm trees and your Haagen Daz ice-cream, the following places make interesting trips!
The ancient city of Kition lies in the north of Larnaca. Archaeologists have yet to discover the majority of the city’s remains but there is still plenty to see, much of which dates back to the 13th century.
Highlights include Phoenician temples and remnants from the Bronze Age. The site is open from 7.30am to 2.30pm on weekdays. Apart from the months of July and August, opening times on a Thursday are 3pm to 6pm.
The Statue of Zeno
Zeno was the founder of the school of Stoicism, an ancient Greek philosophy which teaches the ability to become unresponsive to various emotions. The son of a merchant, Zeno was born in Kition and studied the teachings of other famous Greek philosophers such as Socrates.
It is sometimes joked that visitors need to follow his stoic teachings when in Cyprus, in order for them not to lose patience with the island’s laid back way of life! Sadly, Zeno committed suicide aged 72, but his statue remains for all to see along Larnaca’s seafront promenade.
Hala Sultan Tekke
At the southern shore of the salt lake, you can find the mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke, which is one of the most popular Larnaca attractions. The beautiful mosque, surrounded by palm trees and fountains, is an important Islamic site and many Muslims make a pilgrimage to the site each year as it the burial place of Umm Haram who is said to be an aunt of the prophet Mohammed.
Another room inside the building holds the grave of Chadija, the grandmother of King Hussein of Jordan. The mosque is open every day from 8am, but closing times vary throughout the year. It is free to visit, however donations are expected.
Nestled on top of the mountain of the same name is this famous monastery. The name comes from the Greek words Stavros, meaning cross and Vouno meaning mountain. This literally translates to the mountain of the cross.
Getting to the monastery is not for the faint hearted! Not only is it located 2192 ft above sea level, but you have to drive up a steep, winding mountain road to reach it (Cyprus mountain roads are always a little scary!).
According to legend, the monastery was founded by the mother of Constantine the Great, the Empress Helena, but despite this acknowledgement women are forbidden from entering the building. Photography is also prohibited. On the same road is the Constantine and Helena chapel. You need to ask the monks for the key to this chapel if you wish to see it.
The friendly monks of this monastery expertly paint religious icons which you can buy as souvenirs. It is open daily, but closes during lunchtime.
Djami Kebir – the Grand Mosque
This is the mosque that you can see from Larnaca Fort. The Djami Kebir (meaning large mosque) was built in the 16th century and is still a popular place for Muslims to visit. The mosque was previously named the Latin Holy Cross Church.
St Lazarus Church
North of Larnaca Fort is the church of St Lazarus (Ayios Lazaros) which was built in the 9th century. It is said to hold the empty grave of Lazarus, who was resurrected by Christ before travelling to Cyprus where he became a bishop. His body is believed to have been moved to France.
Larnaca beaches may not be the most famous on the island but they have plenty to offer visitors. Most of them are not very touristy compared to some other areas, and so they are great for those people looking to escape the crowds.
The beaches here are long and very safe for children. Many beaches have pebbles as well as sand. Be sure to check out some of the lesser known beaches, such as Pyla Beach.
Keen divers will also have a treat visiting the world-famous shipwreck Zenobia off the coast of Larnaca, which offers some off the best opportunities for Cyprus diving.
Blue Flag beaches in or near Larnaca include: Castella, MacKenzie, Phinikoudes
This is the most well-known beach in Larnaca, and without a doubt the most crowded, as it is the one closest to the main promenade. If you don’t mind crowds, you will enjoy this beach as it is so close to all the main shops and restaurants in the area.
Because of its location away from the main city centre and close to the airport, MacKenzie beach used to be quite uncrowded but it is becoming more popular all the time.
You will still find a few days, particularly outside of peak season, where you can escape the hoardes of tourists here.
This Larnaca beach has good facilities available. There are many good places to eat close by and great watersports available at this beach, including jet-skiing and snorkelling.
This is a really lovely, sandy beach surrounded by clear, turquoise water. The beach is about two miles from the charming village of Pyla with its traditional restaurants. A lot of tourists still don’t know about Pyla beach so it is not too crowded.