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Your guide to Larnaca
All About Larnaca
Cyprus’s third-largest city, Larnaca, is set on the shores of Larnaca Bay along the island’s southern coast. With attractive beaches that can be enjoyed year-round, visitors have been flocking to the port city for millennia — its earliest remains and Cyclopean walls are thought to date as far back as the 14th century B.C. Rows of palm trees and small tavernas line the promenade along the umbrella-dotted sands of Finikoudes Beach, one of Larnaca’s most popular spots with its cool waters, amphitheatre, and pier.
Mediterranean and Cypriot restaurants serve up a bounty of seafood dishes, mezze, kebabs, and dolmades, as well as a range of local wines — sample varieties made with the indigenous Maratheftiko grape. The city’s Old Town is dotted with shops selling ceramics and leather goods, while the stretch of stores along Zenonos Kitieos features fashion boutiques and jewellery shops. Boasting great historical and cultural significance, Larnaca hosts an abundance of museums and historic sites, including the Kamares Aqueduct, the Larnaca District Archaeological Museum, Kition Archaeological Site, and Larnaca Municipal Art Gallery.
The best time to stay in a holiday rental in Larnaca
The city’s beaches are a huge draw from May through September, when the weather is sunny and warm. Larnaca boasts a packed schedule of cultural events throughout the year, especially around Easter — a holiday embedded in local tradition. Larnaca’s Carnival festivities are popular, with the city putting on a large parade with marchers and spectators alike displaying colourful attire along Finikoudes’ palm-lined promenade. Carnival is followed by the Green Monday feast day event at the Hala Sultan Tekke, where the start of Lent is celebrated with traditional musical performances and cuisine. Since its inception in 1988 as a small student-run showcase, the Larnaca Festival of Classical Music has flourished into a prominent three-day event featuring world-renowned composers and orchestras. The annual presentation takes place in April.
Top things to do in Larnaca
Wander through Larnaca’s Old Town and discover the winding pathways of the Turkish Quarter with its small ceramic studios, craft shops, and cosy cafes. Whitewashed buildings and cottages dotted with colourful displays in clay flower pots hug narrow streets in this historic district, where the street signs are still in Turkish.
Church of Saint Lazarus
One of Larnaca’s most popular and intriguing attractions is the towering Agios Lazaros, or the Church of Saint Lazarus, a 9th-century structure said to be the original burial place of Lazarus of Bethany. Step inside and marvel at massive limestone pillars and stonework domes, as well as the stunning baroque iconostasis dating from the 18th century.
Larnaca Salt Lake and Hala Sultan Tekke
The unique scenery of Larnaca Salt Lake hosts a halophytic wetland, home to over 80 species of water birds, including large flocks of flamingos that reside there during the winter months. Along the banks of the lake sits Hala Sultan Tekke, an ancient burial site, mosque, and minaret that’s been one of the most important gathering places for Muslims for hundreds of years.