Larnaca is a vibrant city located on the southeast coast of Cyprus, serving as the capital of the district bearing the same name. As the third-largest city in Cyprus, Larnaca is renowned for its picturesque palm-tree seafront, known as Finikoudes, and significant historical landmarks such as the Church of Saint Lazarus, Hala Sultan Tekke, Kamares Aqueduct, and Larnaca Castle.
The city stands on the ruins of ancient Citium, the birthplace of the Stoic philosopher Zeno. Modern Larnaca is not only a hub for tourism but also serves as the home to the country’s primary airport, Larnaca International Airport, and features a bustling seaport and marina. Its rich history, beautiful landscapes, and thriving economy make Larnaca a must-visit destination for travelers exploring Cyprus.
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Attractions and Things to do in Larnaca
1. Church of Saint Lazarus
The Church of Saint Lazarus is one of the most significant religious landmarks in Larnaca. It’s an impressive Orthodox church that was built in the 9th century over the tomb of Saint Lazarus. The church’s interior is adorned with intricate wood carvings and gold leaf, making it a must-visit for art and history enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the crypt beneath the church, where the tomb of Saint Lazarus is located. Modest attire is recommended when visiting.
2. Hala Sultan Tekke
Hala Sultan Tekke is a historic mosque situated near the Larnaca Salt Lake. It’s one of the most important Islamic sites in Cyprus and is believed to be the burial place of Umm Haram, the Prophet Muhammad’s wet nurse. The mosque is surrounded by beautiful gardens and offers a serene atmosphere.
Travel Tip: The mosque is open to visitors of all faiths, but it’s essential to dress modestly and observe silence, especially during prayer times.
3. Larnaca Salt Lake
Larnaca Salt Lake is a unique natural attraction that fills with water during the winter season and is visited by flocks of flamingoes from November until the end of March. In the summer, the lake dries up, leaving a stunning white salt crust.
Travel Tip: Visit during the winter months to witness the flamingoes and other migratory birds. Don’t forget to bring your camera and binoculars for bird-watching.
4. Kamares Aqueduct
The Kamares Aqueduct is a historical structure built in 1747 to supply water to the city from a source around 10 kilometers away. Its elegant arches and well-preserved condition make it a fascinating site for history buffs and photographers alike.
Travel Tip: The aqueduct is beautifully illuminated at night, making it an excellent spot for evening photography. There’s no entrance fee, so you can explore at your leisure.
5. Larnaca Castle
Larnaca Castle, also known as Larnaca Fort, is a historic structure located on the city’s seafront. It has served various purposes throughout history, including a prison and a museum. The castle offers panoramic views of the sea and the city.
Travel Tip: Take time to explore the museum within the castle to learn about the history of the region. The entrance fee is minimal, and the views from the top are worth the climb.
6. Finikoudes Promenade
Finikoudes Promenade is the lively seafront area of Larnaca, lined with palm trees and offering a wide array of dining and entertainment options. It’s a perfect place to stroll, enjoy local cuisine, and watch the sunset.
Travel Tip: The promenade is bustling at all times of the day, but it’s particularly vibrant in the evening. Try some local seafood dishes at one of the many restaurants overlooking the sea.
7. Pierides Museum
The Pierides Museum is a private archaeological museum that houses an extensive collection of Cypriot antiquities. It offers a comprehensive overview of the island’s history, from prehistoric times to the modern era.
Travel Tip: Allocate at least a couple of hours to explore the museum’s exhibits. Guided tours are available, providing in-depth insights into Cyprus’s rich heritage.
Unique Activities in Larnaca
1. Relaxing Cruise at Larnaca Bay
Indulge in a four-hour relaxing cruise around Larnaca Bay. This new activity provides a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle, allowing you to unwind and rejuvenate while soaking in the panoramic views of the bay.
Day Trips from Larnaca
From Larnaca, journey to Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus, and immerse yourself in its rich history by wandering through its ancient streets and observing the Venetian walls. Visit the Cyprus Museum to discover the island’s archaeological treasures.
Travel Tip: Remember to carry your passport if you plan to cross the border into the Turkish side of the city.
2. Troodos Mountains
Experience the breathtaking Troodos Mountains, where you can explore traditional villages, visit ancient monasteries, and delight in scenic viewpoints that overlook the entire island. Depending on the season, you can also ski or hike in this stunning region.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for changing weather conditions, especially at higher elevations.
3. Ayia Napa
Head to Ayia Napa, renowned for its pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and the awe-inspiring Sea Caves. Spend your day sunbathing, diving, or exploring the natural beauty of Cape Greco National Forest Park.
Travel Tip: If traveling during the summer months, be sure to stay hydrated and wear plenty of sunscreens to protect against the Mediterranean sun.
Where to stay in Larnaca
Larnaca is a beautiful coastal town in Cyprus, known for its long sandy beaches, modern buildings, water sports facilities, and rich cultural sites. The city offers a wide range of hotels to suit different preferences and budgets. From luxurious resorts to budget-friendly accommodations, Larnaca’s hotels provide a comfortable stay with access to the blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, vibrant sea-front avenues, and major attractions like Larnaca Castle and the Church of Saint Lazarus. Here’s a look at six distinct hotels in Larnaca:
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
San Remo Hotel (★ ★)
- Description: Located less than 500 meters from Larnaca Bay, San Remo Hotel offers an outdoor pool with a sun-lounger terrace and air-conditioned guestrooms with furnished balconies.
- Price: 67€ per night
- Rating: 7.2 (Good)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Sun Hall Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Overlooking Phinikoudes promenade and just 50 meters from the beach, Sun Hall Hotel offers air-conditioned rooms and a relaxing pool.
- Price: 156€ per night
- Rating: 8.9 (Fabulous)
3. Budget Hotel
Amorgos Boutique Hotel
- Description: Conveniently located in the center of Larnaca, Amorgos Boutique Hotel offers contemporary accommodation with free private parking, just 100 meters from the beach and shopping center.
- Price: 88€ per night
- Rating: 7.9 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Sentido Sandy Beach Hotel & Spa (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located on a stretch of sand on Dhekelia Road, Sandy Beach Hotel offers lagoon-style swimming pools, 2 children’s pools, and a state-of-the-art spa.
- Price: 145€ per night
- Rating: 8.3 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Les Palmiers Beach Boutique Hotel & Luxury Apartments
- Description: Les Palmiers is a trendy hotel, right in the heart of Larnaca center, just 15 meters from Foinikoudes Beach.
- Price: 98€ per night
- Rating: 8.4 (Very good)
6. Hotel for Solo Travelers
- Description: Just 200 meters from the Mediterranean shores and 2 km from central Larnaca, Cactus Hotel offers neatly furnished rooms with balconies facing the pool.
- Price: 59€ per night
- Rating: 7.0 (Good)
Did you know? Facts about Larnaca
- Larnaca is known for its palm-tree seafront, Finikoudes, and significant landmarks like the Church of Saint Lazarus, Hala Sultan Tekke, Kamares Aqueduct, and Larnaca Castle.
- The city is built on the ruins of ancient Citium, the birthplace of the Stoic philosopher Zeno, and has a rich history dating back to the 13th century BC.
- Larnaca is home to the country’s primary airport, Larnaca International Airport, and also has a seaport and a marina, making it a key transportation hub.
- The name Larnaca originates from the Ancient Greek word ‘larnax,’ meaning coffer or box, and is informally attributed to the many sarcophagi found in the area.
- The Salt Lake in Larnaca fills with water during the winter season and is visited by flocks of flamingoes from November until the end of March, drying up in the summer.
- Larnaca’s landmarks include the Kamares Aqueduct, built in 1747, which brought water to the city from a source around 10 kilometers away.
- The city’s economy has been growing since 1975, with tourism playing a significant role. Larnaca’s airport and seaport became increasingly important after the loss of the Port of Famagusta and the closure of Nicosia International Airport.
- Larnaca attracts windsurfers from around the world, especially in autumn, with Mackenzie Beach hosting a windsurfing center and an extreme sports center.
- The city has a rich cultural scene with museums, art galleries, and festivals. The Festival of the Flood, or Kataklysmos, is celebrated in early summer with various cultural events.
- Larnaca’s cuisine is renowned for its seafood and local dishes involving beans, lamb, and fish. The beaches of Larnaca are lined with nearly identical seafood restaurants catering to tourists, offering a taste of local flavors.
FAQ about Larnaca
What Are the Top Tourist Attractions in Larnaca?
Explore the palm-tree seafront Finikoudes, Church of Saint Lazarus, Hala Sultan Tekke, Kamares Aqueduct, and Larnaca Castle. Discover the ancient ruins of Citium and enjoy the vibrant festivals like Kataklysmos.
How Can I Experience Larnaca’s Rich History and Culture?
Visit the Larnaca District Archaeological Museum, Pierides Museum, and the Folklore Museum ‘Kostas Kaimakliotis’ to immerse yourself in the city’s historical and cultural heritage.
What Are the Best Beaches and Water Activities in Larnaca?
Enjoy windsurfing at Mackenzie Beach, explore the fishing port “Psarolimano,” or relax at Phoinikoudes beach. Larnaca is a hotspot for windsurfers and hosts an extreme sports center.
Where Can I Taste Authentic Cypriot Cuisine in Larnaca?
Indulge in local dishes like fasolaki, louvi me lahana, and grilled lamb (souvla) at the seafood restaurants lining the beaches of Larnaca.
What Are the Transportation Options in Larnaca?
Larnaca International Airport and Larnaca Port are the city’s main transport hubs. Public transport is served by buses, and the city’s bus routes and timetables are easily accessible.
What Are the Must-Visit Neighborhoods in Larnaca?
Explore Larnaca’s neighborhoods like Skala, Prodromos, Faneromeni, Drosia, Kamares, Vergina, and Agioi Anargyroi to experience the local lifestyle.
What Are the Annual Festivals and Events in Larnaca?
Join the Festival of the Flood (Kataklysmos) in early summer, and don’t miss the Larnaka International Marathon and the FIVB Beach Volleyball SWATCH Youth World Championship.
How Can I Explore Larnaca’s Natural Beauty?
Visit the Larnaca Salt Lake, which fills with water during the winter and hosts flocks of flamingoes. Explore the panoramic view from Oroklini Hill and enjoy the city’s hot semi-arid climate.