If you’re thinking of a holiday in Cyprus, Larnaca should be high on your list of destinations in which to base your stay. With a large supply of hotels to suit every need and budget, some of the islands best beaches, the region full of historical sites, a gourmet selection of international cuisine and the renowned friendliness of the people why look any further?
Here we have selected just a few of the highlights you can expect to enjoy and make your holiday live in your memory for years to come.
1. Finikoudes Beach and Mackenzie Beach
Let’s start with one of the main reasons why Cyprus is such a popular holiday destination. After all those hours of hard work, isn’t the idea of relaxing on a golden sandy beach, listening to the gentle lapping of the waves, with the sun gliding across a blue sky just what your mind and body have been asking for? Larnaca city is based around the famous Finikoudes Beach. The beach has extensive golden sands and a palm tree lined promenade filled with cafes, restaurants and bars.
Move 2 km south along the Larnaca beachfront and you’ll come to the chic Mackenzie beach where restaurants abound. At Mackenzie trendy meets avant-garde. Here you can feel you have arrived somewhere truly special. But be warned, some who came to Mackenzie on holiday never leave!
Beyond the cityscape, if the beach you’re looking for is more natural and less crowded, head to the gems of Cape Kiti Beach or Perivolia. Here is a world apart from the hum-drum of modern life. Here you will be transported to a place time forgot and the waves will whisper to you as the siren voices of ancient Greece spoke once to sailors who passed by.
2. Upward to Lefkara Village
If the glistening waters of Larnaca’s beaches set your imagination racing, then let it be fulfilled with a trip to Larnaca’s glistening gem in the foothills of the Troodos mountains. Lefkara is the home of hand-made lace – a tradition which has been going on in Lefkara since before anyone can remember. Such is the intricacy and skill of its Lace makers, Leonardo da Vinci came here in 1481 to buy a lace cloth for the altar of Milan’s cathedral. The patterns will weave their magic across your sense of sight and touch.
Lefkara is also bestowed with a second virtue… it’s beautiful architecture and winding streets. When you have bought the cloth of your choosing then its time to wander the alleys and find a cafe to your taste. As you drink your coffee think of your next destination on your exploration of Cyprus. Will you be called further into the high mountains and cooler air or back down to toward the shore where Aphrodite once made the same choice?
3. Arise – Lazarus!
It can be hard to get up out of the sun-chair as evening draws in. But here in Larnaca, all things are possible and history sets a precedent. It was here that Lazarus died and then decided he just couldn’t tear himself away from such a beautiful place. So he arose from the dead and made Larnaca his home (then known as Kition) for over 30 years of extra life until he finally decided it really was time to leave. He was buried in the beautiful Agios Lazaros (Church of St. Lazarus). The church was built in the 9th century by Emperor Leo VI and was carefully restored in the 17th century.
Worth a visit to see early examples of Baroque wood-carving and well-preserved architecture of domes supported on multiple columns as if they are floating above the nave. The remains of Lazarus from his final resting place were transported to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and then on to Marseille. Even in death, Lazarus continued to journey!
4. The Salt Lake and Hala Sultan Tekke
Sitting between Larnaca centre and the international airport is the Salt Lake, one of the glories of Cyprus. Here each Spring you will see large flocks of flamingos standing serenely in the vast shallow waters. As the heat of the summer descends, the waters evaporate to leave a white crown of crystal salt, like a giant ice-rink in the heat. A tourist pathway goes all around the Lake and makes a wonderful excursion from the city centre.
As you circumnavigate the lake, your eye will be drawn to the enchanting sight of the Hala Sultan Tekke. This is a simple mosque and place of pilgrimage for those of the Muslim faith, as the site marks the spot where Umm Harma, the wet-nurse of the prophet Muhammad, fell to the ground from her horse and died. The mosque is open for all who wish to visit.
If we haven’t yet convinced you to make Larnaca your first choice when coming to Cyprus, consider that you will also benefit from close proximity to the main international airport on the island, thereby reducing transfer times when you arrive and getting your holiday started without delay!
Cyprus is full of wonders, but a stay in Larnaca is surely the icing on the cake. We hope to welcome you soon to our beautiful corner of this fabulous island.