Larnaca Travel Guide

Introduction to Larnaca

Larnaca is a small, bustling city on the southern coast of Cyprus and is the island’s second largest port. The old town of Larnaca is characterised by historic buildings, traditional boutiques and cafes, while the city also boasts an attractive 400-berth marina, a pier and an elegant palm-lined promenade flanked on one side by the sea, long sandy beaches, restaurants, and cafes. Hotels in Larnaca are plentiful, from all-inclusive deals to quaint B&Bs.

Important Christian and Islamic shrines can be found here, and the city itself is said to be built over the ancient city kingdom of Kition: a rich sea port and major centre of the copper trade, and later a Phoenician stronghold. The ruins of the ancient city can still be seen today and are among the many treasures awaiting you in sunny Larnaca.

Church of St Lazarus

Church of St Lazarus

The tomb of Larnaca’s patron saint; stunning Byzantine religious art.

Larnaca Old Town

Larnaca Old Town

A charming array of shops selling local handicrafts: perfect for souvenirs.

Phinikoudes

Phinikoudes

Take a stroll by the sea along the palm tree promenade.

Other things to do in Larnaca

Among the many must-see Larnaca sights is Hala Sultan Tekke, an Islamic shrine built in the 1700s over the tomb of Rumaysa Um Haram, said to be a female relative of the Prophet Mohamed. The mosque overlooks Salt Lake, where flamingos stop en route from Africa in spring and autumn. Salt has been extracted from the lake since ancient times and continues on a small scale to this day.

Larnaca Fort, built in 1625 by the Turks to assist in defending the city, is situated at the end of the palm tree promenade and was also used as a prison. The castle houses a well-stocked museum, which includes artefacts from the ancient kingdom of Kition.

For the more adventurous, Larnaca has a huge scuba diving site, the Wreck of Zenobia, classed as one of the world’s top ten wreck dives. Non-divers can take a submarine ride, where you can also explore the wreck of this Swedish roll-on roll-off passenger ferry, which sank on her maiden voyage just outside Larnaca’s harbour in June 1980.

Eating and drinking in Larnaca

While in Larnaca, visit a local taverna or restaurant and experience the delights of Cypriot cuisine and hospitality. A delicious local dish is a Meze, a selection of appetisers served in up to 20 little saucers, ranging from grilled halloumi, houmous, olives, sliced artichokes and fresh fish, such as barbouni (delicious red mullet). Mop up these mouth-watering dishes with plenty of local unleavened bread. For a really authentic meal, visit some of the villages outside Larnaca, such as Pervolia, a ten minute drive away, which has an attractive village square flanked by local restaurants.

Larnaca climate

The Cypriot climate is typically Mediterranean, enjoying long, warm and dry summers and short, mild winters. The annual median temperature is 19 degrees centigrade (66 Fahrenheit), but temperatures can rise to about 41 degrees centigrade (105 Fahrenheit) in July and August.

When to go to Larnaca

Larnaca’s Mediterranean climate of hot summers and mild winters means it is pleasant to visit all year round. Sun worshippers and beach lovers will probably opt for the summers in Larnaca, but it can get searingly hot in July and August. Visit Larnaca in June and September for less intense heat and fewer tourists. Over the summer period the city hosts musical concerts and other cultural festivals.

Flying to Larnaca

Flights to Larnaca land at Larnaca International Airport, which is located 4km south-west of Larnaca city centre and is the largest airport in Cyprus. The journey into Larnaca is short and can be made by hire car, bus or taxi.

 Larnaca Deals

Hotels in Larnaca

Car hire in Larnaca

Images by Flickr/perrybalan/reinholdberinger/kevrekidis