If you fancy a sun-blessed spot in the middle of winter, where there is lots to see and do, look no further than Larnaca, situated on the south-east coast of Cyprus
My beautiful paradise as I call it, Larnaca combines the mysticism of the old era and the freshness of modern life.
Miles upon miles of clean, safe beaches make the whole area a paradise for water lovers. If you enjoy sports, then Larnaca is your heaven!
Smell the jasmine and the wild thyme. Taste one of the oldest wines of the world (koumandaria) Play a round of golf, go cycling or hiking.
Take a dip in the warm crystal waters in March or take a (boat trip) to Protaras or Ayia Napa. Wonder at Byzantine Churches and ancient artefacts thousands of years ago. Feel at one with nature, or dance the night away. Look beyond sun and sea, a region that will amaze you with its diversity and genuine hospitality of its people. There is a surprise in every corner, waiting for you to explore, discover and enjoy. Experience it all! Welcome to my paradise.
Finikoudes Seafront in the heart of Larnaca with endless rows of sun beds on the beautiful beach, so well-placed, for access to various popular entertainment venues on the main promenade, as well as being conveniently close to the marina and its regular pleasure boat trips.
The McKenzie Beach (Blue Flag) lying on the outskirts of central Larnaca and close to both the top hotels and airport, - a stunning expanse of white sand, unique for an afternoon stroll or scuba diving, and renowned for its plentiful seafood restaurants.
Places of Interest
It’s the first site of interest encountered upon arrival at Larnaca International Airport. 5 km west of Larnaca. From November to March it is home to flamingos.
Hala Sultan Tekke (649 A.D.)
Historic mosque on the central salt lake. Important place of Moslem pilgrimage ranking immediately after the shrines of Mecca. Entrance free.
Daily:07:30-19.30 June-August. 09:00-18:00 April-May & Sept-Oct.09:00-17:00
MUSEUMS: (8 in all within walking distance in the centre) some of which are:-
Pierides Foundation Archaeological Museum:
The oldest private museum in Cyprus. Collections ranging from prehistoric times, Roman Era, Byzantine empires and Middle Ages. Tel: 357 24 814 555. Address: Zinonos Kitieos 4.
Open: Monday-Thursday from 9:00 – 16:00, Friday to Saturday 09:00 – 13.00
Byzantine Museum of Agios Lazarus.(10th century)
Tel: 357 24 652 498. Open: Monday-Saturday 08:30 -12:30, 15:00 -17:30 Wednesday and Saturday afternoon: closed. The resurrected friend of Jesus. St. Lazarus escaped here and became the first Bishop.
The Museum of Paleontology (colonial building) tel. 24 629333 found at Europe Square opposite the Marina.
Where to Eat and Drink
Lysia Restaurant: Telephone 24 644588
A Traditional Cypriot Restaurant where I usually dine is just a few minutes walk from the Golden Bay Hotel. Two brothers (refugees since 1974) from the village of Lysi run the business. The two brothers speak English well, and with a smile on their face are ready to recommend the best for you. Try their “ofto kleftiko, which costs 11 euros. Another alternative is to ask for (Meze) for 16 euros. Cypriot specialities like – koupepia or dolmadakia, keftedes (meatballs) challoumi, (cypriot cheese) snails, salad, kleftiko, afelia, and souvla, (meat on the spit) plus many more are included.
A carafe of Cypriot wine here costs 8.5 euros, and you will surely be served a home-made dessert free of charge before you leave.
"Militzis Restaurant" Telephone 24 655867.
Another favourite of mine when in the centre (found near the Old Fort - 42 Piale Pascha Street.
I consider it to be the cheapest descent, and most popular place in the area, both for Cypriots like me, but for tourists as well. Excellent service.
Cypriots usually come after 9 pm, but especially on Sundays the place is full to bursting. Its lovely terrace viewing the sea and the scent coming from the flowers in the garden makes the spot very romantic.
Here I usually have "Tavas" for 10 euros, and I recommend it to you, - a mixture of beef and lamb cooked very slowly in traditional ovens, which can be seen at the side of the Restaurant.
Meze here costs 13.50 euros. Only wine in bottles. No carafes. The price starts from 9 euros to 25. Try KEO Beer for just 3 euros. The Restaurant is open for lunch as well.
Where to Stay
We spent seven unforgettable days at the 5* Golden Bay Beach Hotel Larnaca (Dekelia Area). This resort amazed us with its excellent service from the first moment. We loved its rich menus. It was just me and my husband, celebrating an anniversary, and because I am a guide writer I am keen on having other peoples' opinion. I heard of nothing negative in the seven days of our stay. The hotel is ideal for families with both young and much older children. I consider it one of the best locations for exercising. It has a Jaccuzi, a gym room, as well as a nice swimming pool, on beautiful grounds. What I love most however, is the opportunity it gives to people who love sports. (I walk on this long beach for 4 kilometres towards Larnaca, and then return which gives me 8 kms of walking every morning). I do the same in the afternoon, but this time I walked at the pedestrian walkway at the entrance of the hotel.
Livadhiotis City Hotel 3 (St.Lazarus Square) – 10 minutes from the Airport, 100 metres from Finikoudes Beach. ( Another favourite). It is my first choice if I need to spend some days in the city and do some sightseeing. Everything is within a walking distance. Even the fruit market is just around the corner. Many kebab kiosks for a quick snack, excellent cafes, pubs and souvenir shops.
St. Lazarus Church is just opposite the hotel. The reception staff are always ready to help, very polite and you feel the Cypriot hospitality the moment you step in this hotel. There is no need to rent a car if you stay in the city.
Free Internet Access:
Hobos Steak House and Café: (Finikoudes Promenade) Telephone 24 815795. The first thing I need upon coming to Larnaca is a place where I have free Internet access.. Sit for as long as you wish. Nobody will ask you to leave. I always come here to write and usually have some orange juice or coke. I have never tried this restaurant's menu, but I have heard from friends that the food is reasonably priced, and it is popular for its stakes. Next door there is an arcade room and there are also a couple of rides for the little ones to enjoy. Keep the receipt and the next time you go there, show it to get a disount. It is a very popular meeting spot for all ages.
How to get here
My flight was with Aegean airlines, for just 75 euros. http://el.aegeanair.com/
Other companies who fly to Larnaca include: easyJet: http://www.easyjet.com/asp/en/book/index.asp?lang=en and Olympic Airlines: http://www.olympicair.com/Home.aspx?a_id=549