Larnaca or ‘Skala’ as locals call it, is the third largest city of Cyprus. Located in the south part of the island, it is ten minutes away from Larnaca International Airport and about half an hour’s drive away from the capital. Larnaca has been an up and coming destination in the past few years. First of all, its main street ‘Foinikoudes’ (meaning palm trees, taking its name from the palm trees that are lined along the street) is buzzing with life.
Secondly, the Mackenzie coastal area is the place to be for both locals and tourists, who want to party, dine or enjoy their drinks in one of its many spots. Thirdly, the newly revamped Tasos Mitsopoulos Avenue is ideal for walks by the sea and lastly, the old city centre is full of places to see, visit and discover. In addition to that, the Dekhelia area, a few minutes’ drive away from the city centre is packed with many hotels and other accommodation options. One thing is for sure, Larnaca, is a lovely holiday destination all year round.
Places to Visit
Built in the Mycenaean age, Larnaca used to be a major kingdom and port because of its important location in the Mediterranean Sea. You can track down its fascinating history by visiting the city’s major sites and museums. For example, the Ancient Kition location (Kition used to be Larnaca’s name in the ancient times), in the north west of the city where ruins of temples can be found and the Choirokoitia Neolithic Settlement, 40 minutes’ drive away. Artefacts from the prehistoric times to the Byzantine era etc., are exhibited in the Pierides Foundation Archaeological Museum and the Archaelogical Museum of the Larnaca District. On the other hand, a must visit is to the magnificent Salt Lake, home to near 85 species of migratory water birds. If you are lucky, during the winter months, you will see flamingos!
Nearby, there is also the Hala Sultan Tekke, one of the most important monuments of the Islamic World. The mosque is built on the tomb of Umm Haram, the Prophet Mohamed’s aunt who died, falling from a horse. Another mosque worth visiting in the city is the Grand Mosque Djami Jebir. Right next to it, at the end of the Foinikoudes Avenue, there is the Larnaca Castle. Built in the 14th century, it is now the home of artefacts from the early Christian Ages until the 19th century. St. Lazarus church (there is also a Byzantine Museum in it), built in the 9th century AD and Phaneromeni Church built around 80 BC, are important monuments in the city. Finally, in Larnaca district there are some beautiful villages you should check out, such as picturesque Lefkara famous for its lace and silver handicrafts and beautiful Kato Drys.
Things to do
Along Foinikoudes avenue and in the Mackenzie area, there are long stretches of beach, where you can sunbathe, swim and of course, do various water sports e.g. stand up paddle boarding ( SUP), water skiing and kite surfing. On the other hand, if you fancy spending your day in the sea, you should visit the Larnaca Marina, located at the beginning of Foinikoudes and get on one of the organised boat trips that sail around the area or even hire your own private yacht! Mind you, if you are a keen diver, the activity to most definitely put in your calendar, is visiting the Zenobia Wreck Diving Site. This impressive shipwreck, ranked in the world’s top, is about 16 metres deep, and it has many challenges, for both the amateur and the experienced diver.
Furthermore, the sea in Pervolia, Mackenzie, Dhekelia and Phoinikoudes are ideal for scuba diving, snorkelling or even something more relaxed, such as fishing. To fully enjoy the city and its surrounding areas, there are cycling routes you can take for example, the Rizoelia Forest route, the one that starts from the city’s beaches, passes through Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque and ends Meneou village and the Kofinou-Larnaca one. On the other hand, if you prefer, to explore the area on foot, you can take the European Trail E4, that passes from Larnaca and goes through pine forests, mountains and monasteries.
Radisson Blu Hotel
Brand new hotel with spacious nicely decorated rooms. Nice outdoor pool with comfortable sunbeds…
The rooms are great, huge, clean and with 2 king size beds. Also we have appreciated the personnel…
Golden Bay Hotel
Clean, fairly spacious comfortable rooms, lovely view, good standard of food, friendly staff…
I liked almost everything, the breakfast, the beach, the very clean pools, the room view…
Palm Beach Hotel
Sea is just in 30 seconds of walk, very comfortable bed and pillows, very clean room and good…
The layout of the building, and grounds were beautiful. The service provided was excellent…
The Ciao Stelio Deluxe
The best hotel I’ve ever been. Delicious food, friendly personal, good room. They do their best…
For the cheap price, you couldn’t ask for more: a clean and spacious room, close proximity to…
Selected Holiday Rentals
Mesogios House Suites
We stayed in Mesogios house several times, in different apartments. They are all superb…
Very clean, bright and spacious with all the standard amenities you’d expect. Host was gracious…
Finikoudes Luxury Apts
Ease of access, own secure parking space, 5th. floor swimming pool and great views. Apartment…
Fantastic view and location directly at the sea and in the city centre. High comfort of the apartment…
Lazuli Beachfront Apt 253
Awesome sea view, furnishing and lighting in the flat. Friendly and welcoming staff. Nice welcome…
Lovely position overlooking the beach, Apartment was clean,Spacious,and had everything we needed…
what a beautiful villa, really clean and comfortable. It far exceeded all our expectations…
Amazing Villa. Nearby beach and a street full of restaurants, souvenir shops, supermarkets and…
Find your Stay on the Map
In Larnaca, there are many beaches where you can enjoy the sun and the sea. First and foremost there is the long stretch of beach, along Phoinikoudes promenade. The water is shallow (as in most beaches in this district), and the sand is dark coloured. Along this beach, there are some fully equipped beach bars where you can lounge and enjoy your drinks, food and snacks. If you would like to combine, partying until the late hours and spend some time at the beach, the Mackenzie Area is ideal. Packed with restaurants, cafes and bars, this is the place to swim, sunbathe, see and be seen.
On the other hand, to get some peace and quiet, we recommend driving to more remote beaches near Larnaca. For example, in Pervolia village, there is the Faros beach, located near the lighthouse, then there is the Mazotos beach, the Alaminos beach, the small bay in Agios Theodoros village, the CTO beach in Pyla village that runs along the Dhekelia area, the Dasaki Pylas beach, surrounded by trees and the Yannathes beach, in Voroklini, to name just a few. Most of those beaches have blue flags, water sport, lifeguard facilities and sunbeds and lounges for rent.
Food & Drink
This is the place of some of the best restaurants in Cyprus. To start with, check out Larnaca’s many fish and seafood restaurants. Most of them are located along the Tasos Mitsopoulos Avenue, although there are quite a few good ones in Dhekelia area and in the coastal villages of the district. If you fancy local food and specialities, good news! In the city of Larnaca you will find some of the best traditional taverns and restaurants in the island. Kebab, sieftalia, halloumi and lountza – cured pork – on the grill, olives, slow cooked meat in the plinth oven, roasted vegetables, cracked wheat cooked with tomato sauce, are only a few of the delicacies served in the local taverns in and around the city.
On the other hand, in Larnaca you will also taste excellent Japanese food, Chinese, Lebanese, Italian, fusion cuisine, Greek food, pub food served with a twist and so on. There are many good restaurants along the Phoinikoudes promenade, while it is worth discovering some excellent places in the old town. Furthermore, in the Mackenzie area, a good food scene has developed in the past few years, that you should most definitely check out. Lastly, along the Dhekelia road, you will find some really good places to eat, such as two excellent Indian restaurants.
Bars & Clubs
In the past few years, the place to have fun in Larnaca has been the Mackenzie area. There are more than fifteen bars along the promenade and in front of the beach. During the day, most of them operate as beach bars, but during the night, the coloured lights are turned on, the guest DJs start playing their music and as the night progresses, Mackenzie turns into a big party neighbourhood. Especially during the summer months, there are many events taking place in the area, such as live performances from famous Greek bands and singers, DJ sets from world-renowned artists, theme parties and so on.
In the city, especially in the old part, cocktail bars have emerged in the past couple of years that are worth checking out, while if you are a rock music and blues lover, Larnaca has some really good bars that play this kind of tunes and serve a wide array of beers. And of course, along the Phoinikoudes area there are quite a few choices, from an oriental themed bar to pubs and bars that you can have a great time. To just relax and chill out, head to the bars in the outskirts of the city, where you can listen to lounge and deep house music and sip your cocktails and chilled wine a few metres away from the sea.