Larnaca Cyprus is a great destination all year round for a beach holiday, as the weather stays consistently warm. It offers a wide range of activities and tourist attractions, from laying on beaches with cocktails and experiencing the local culture to trying your hand at water sports. You can also indulge in local food and wine at one of the many bars and restaurants. There really is no limit to what you can do in Larnaca Cyprus.
The beach resort is also known for its rich history and the area is littered with historical sites. Some of the main highlights in this coastal city are Finikoudes beach, Larnaca Salt Lake, Larnaka Fort, the Church of Saint Lazarus, Mackenzie Beach and Sultan Tekke mosque. All can be easily added to your Larnaca itinerary.
Where is Larnaca
Larnaca, also known as Larnarka, is a beach resort and port city on the south coast of Cyprus on the Greek side. It’s only 45mins away from Ayia Napa and an hour’s drive from Limassol. You can easily get cheap direct flights from London to Larnaca which take roughly 4 and a half hours.
We stayed in this resort city for only three nights before we headed back to Nicosia but we wished we had stayed longer. There was so much to do and see and we just ran out of time. Larnaca Cyprus is definitely worth adding to your list for a summer holiday.
Finikoudes is one of Cyprus’s best beaches
Things to do in Larnaca Cyprus
To help you get the most out of your time while in Larnaca, here is a list of some of the best things to do. It covers which beaches to go swimming, and cultural and historic sites to visit. It even has some suggestions for places to eat and drink.
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1. Finikoudes Beach and Promenade
Finikoudes Promenade is famous for its palm tree lined pedestrian esplanade. It is filled with shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, as well as its lovely long sandy beach lined with sun loungers, umbrellas, and clear water. The Promenade is also a popular area to stay in Larnaca with hotels and apartments overlooking the sea and near the city centre.
Finikoudes Beach has blue flag status, considered the gold standard for beaches. It is given to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards. The blue flag is internationally recognised.
Occasionally the Finikoudes Promenade road is closed off to traffic for events and concerts. When we were there the Kataklysmos -‘Festival of the Flood’ was being held at night. It was great exploring the stalls, watching the rides and stopping by the cafes and restaurants. If you are catching the bus from Nicosia or Ayia Napa, the arrival point is on the Finikoudes Promenade
Visiting Finikoudes Beach on a summer holiday
2. Dive at Zenobia Wreck
There are many water activities you can do along its coastline. Go diving at the famous Zenobia Wreck one of the top ten wreck dives in the world. This wreck is a 172-metre long sunken ferry filled with abundant marine life that has made it their home.
The ferry sunk just outside of Larnaca seafront on June 1980, fortunately, all passengers were evacuated in time. Today many experienced divers visit from around the world to explore this underwater beauty. Book a private half-day diving trip to Zenobia Wreck.
3. Explore the Church of Saint Lazarus and Tomb
Head to the historical Church of Saint Lazarus and Tomb located in the old town on the square. Stroll around the church (if a service is not being conducted) before exploring the Byzantine Museum within the grounds. Even if you are not religious you will find the history behind the church and temple to be really interesting.
The Church of Saint Lazarus also known as Agios Lazaros is a late-9th century church made of stone. The inside is incredibly opulent with stunning paintings of icons and candles lit up creating a rich glow. The church lies over the tomb of the saint (Lazarus), who they believe came to Cyprus after being resurrected by Jesus. His tomb can be seen in the basement and it is said that it has healing capabilities. Suggestive reading Lazarus: From Death into Life or Who was Saint Lazarus?
Church of Saint Lazarus Additional Information
- Entrance Fee – €1.00 per person
- Opening Hours – Mon-Sat 8:15 am – 12:30 / 15:00 – 17:30 Sat/Sun 9:30 – 7:30 pm
- Closed – Wednesday and Saturday afternoon All day Sunday
- Duration – 30mins- 1hr (depending on if you go into the museum)
The Church of Saint Lazarus is a famous historical site in Cyprus
4. Archaeological Museum of Larnaka District
If you want to learn more about the culture in Cyprus then visit Larnaca Archaeological Museum. It is located in the old Hospital building in the city centre. Its displays show the “historical development of the city of Kition and the District of Larnaka in general.”
The Museum houses a large collection of archaeological finds that includes pottery, jewellery, sculptures and ruins. The Archaeological Museum of Larnaka District really is one of the best hidden gems in Larnaca and well worth visiting.
5. Visit Larnaka Fort
One of the top historical things to do is visit Larnaka Fort. It is located on the oceanfront at the end of Finikoudes beach and just 5-10 minute walking distance from The Church of Saint Lazarus, making it a great combination to do at the same time
Larnaka Fort, also known as Larnaca Castle was constructed to defend the southern coast of Cyprus and the harbour town of Larnaca. It was later used as an artillery station, prison, and museum. Inside, you will find artefacts from the region’s history, hanging noose, artillery cannon guns and exhibits on the Ottoman period.
Make sure to go up on top of the fort walls and take in the views across both Piale Pasha and Finikoudes Promenade. It is not a very big castle so should only take 30-45 minutes to get around. Take a 2 hour historical guided tour of Larnace that included the fort.
Larnaka Fort Additional Information
- Entrance Fee – €2.50 per person
- Opening Hours – Mon-Fri 8:00 am – 7:30 pm Sat/Sun 9:30 – 7:30 pm
- Duration – 30mins-45mins
Exploring inside Larnaka Fort out towards the ocean
6. See the birdlife at Larnaca Salt Lake
Larnaca Salt Lake is a complex network of four salt lakes of different sizes and is the second largest salt lake in Cyprus (The largest being in Limassol). It is home to a variety of bird species, especially during the migration season and is one of the top places for wildlife and bird watching like in Tabarka Tunisia.
It is located near the international airport and you can easily get there from Mackenzie Beach or by the No. 425 bus. Walking or riding a bike along the marked paths around the lake is a great activity to do as a family.
If you are there at the right time of year when the birds are migrating, you might get the chance to see the flamingos. Apparently, it is supposed to be an amazing sight, seeing hundreds of these pink birds all digging for the tiny pink shrimp living in the salt lake. Make sure that you wear Insect repellent for mosquitos.
7. Walk along Piale Pasha
Taking a walk along the Piale Pasha promenade is one of the great free things to do in Larnaca for couples. You can dip your feet in the water as you walk along taking in the views. Afterwards, stop off for something to eat or drink along the oceanfront at some of the best restaurants in Larnaca.
Piale Pashe promenade is the perfect sea stroll which you can do any time of day. We had a lovely walk along, watching all the couples sit by the water. Afterwards, we stopped off at a local Cyprian restaurant called Portokali Restaurant, where we ate delicious seafood and drank local wine. Piale Pasha is also one of the best spots to watch the sunset. Remember that you need to get some good, light Walking Shoes.
Looking down Piale Pasa from Larnaca castle
8. Hala Sultan Tekke
One of the top cultural things to do in Larnaca is visit Hala Sultan Tekke or the Mosque of Umm Haram. It is located on the west bank of Larnaca Salt Lake and it’s a great option to do and the same time as the lake. It was erected during different phases, commencing in 1760 and completed in 1817.
This mosque is one of the holiest sites in Islam and is dedicated to Umm Haram, Who was the foster mother of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The site offers a serene atmosphere and beautiful views across the salt lake. If you like religious sites how about booking a day trip to Kykkos Monastery?
9. Try Authentic Cypriot food
If you want to have an authentic experience in Larnaca, I suggest trying real Cypriot food. The resort city has a vibrant food scene and there are taverns and restaurants everywhere. One of the top restaurants in Larnaca for Cypriot food is To Kazani Traditional Tavern, a family-run business.
Don’t miss out on trying specialities like Souvlaki (grilled meat kebabs) and fried halloumi cheese. If you have a sweet tooth then I suggest Loukoumades a traditional Cypriot doughnut. Other areas that have good Cypriot Taverns and restaurants are in the old Turkish Quarter. Book a full day trip to Troodos Mountain Villages and learn how to make authentic halloumi cheese.
Eating yummy fried halloumi cheese
10. Mackenzie Beach
One of the top things to do in Larnaca is to go swimming at MacKenzie Beach. Another blue flag status beach and definitely one worth visiting if you are not staying in the area. Mackenzie (also known as Makenzy) Beach is located near the Airport and the Salt Lakes.
Mackenzie Beach is a sandy beach with shallow clear water. It has a lot of trendy bars, clubs and restaurants lining the esplanade. It is a popular area for holidaymakers staying in Larnaca due to the location of the beach. You can book and check many of the hotels and apartments here.
One of the many bars that line Mackenzie Beach
11. What to do at night in Larnaca
If you are looking for what to do at night in Larnaca, you won’t have a problem, as it has a lively party and music scene. There are many clubs, bars and restaurants scattered around the resort. MacKenzie Beach is popular for clubs and bars on the beach and is a place to be late at night.
Finikoudes promenade has lots of restaurants and bars as well that line the street. I suggest checking out the Blue Pine Bar & Restaurant one of the best places for drink.
12. Plane spotting on the beach
If plane spotting is your thing then Mackenzie Beach is the perfect spot for it. This is due to the location of the airport to the beach. When the planes are coming into land they literally look like are going to land on the beach on top of the umbrellas.
I have to admit it was a little surreal and fascinating watching them. If you want to take some silly photographs or videos that look like you are standing underneath the plane. Then I suggest heading to the furthest end of the beach next to the airport.
Plane spotting on Mackenzie Beach
Getting to Larnaca Cyprus
Cheap flights to Larnaca Cyprus
The closest international airport is Larnaca International Airport which is only 15 to 30 minutes away from the city centre. If you are staying around McKenzie Beach, you are only 5-10 minutes away. You are so close that when the planes come into the land, it feels like they are literally just above your head.
You can easily get cheap flights to Larnaca Cyprus from London Stansted with Jet2. The flight route is serviced a couple of times a week. Alternatively, you can also fly into Paphos International Airport. Larnaca International Airport is also where you fly if you are staying in Ayia Napa.
Catching the Bus to Larnaca
Catching the bus to Larnaca Airport is super easy. You take the number 425 bus and it will cost €1.50 one way per person. If you are coming from Nicosia or Ayia Napa, you will need to catch the Intercity Buses first to Finikoudes Promenade. Then from there, you take the 425 bus to the airport.
Rent a car to get around Larnaca
You can get a cheap car hire from Larnaca airport, which you can book before you land, as there are numerous car rental companies near departure and around the Airport. Renting a car hire from Larnaca Airport to Ayia Napa is much easier than catching two buses.
We caught the bus everywhere but we wished we had hired a car for a trip, as it was not expensive and much easier to get around the tourist sites.
Larnaca Castle along the waterfront
Where to stay in Larnaca
Sunflower Hotel Apartments
We stayed at Sunflower Hotel Apartments for three nights and it had everything we needed for the short holiday break. The apartment was a little away from the resort centre but the bus stop was only across the road and it was easy to use.
We had a spacious room, a separate lounge, and a kitchen area with all the required amenities. It also had a balcony with views of the ocean and strong Wi-Fi. The most popular areas to stay in Larnaca are Finikoudes center and MacKenzie beach. You can book hotels and check rates here.
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Sitting by the pool at the Sunflower Hotel and Apartments.
Things to do outside of Larnaca
There are plenty of things to do outside of Larnaca if you are staying a week, like going swimming at Cape Greco or hiking in the mountains. Below is a selection of guided tours that you can book in advance and might find interesting to do;
- Take a guided day tour to the historical sites of Famagusta and Salamis
- Go swimming and do water activities on a boat to the Cape Greco and Blue Lagoon
- Visit the Trodos Mountains and do a full day wine tour
Tips for visiting Larnaca
- Have you got your Cyprus guidebook yet? Here is a great range that includes Larnaca itineraries, what to do, water activities, day trips and so much more.
- Cyprus uses European adaptors
- You can easily take a day trip to Troodos Mountains, Cape Greco and the Kamares Aqueduct.
- Old Turkish Quarter is a great spot to go shopping in Larnaca
- Head here for more amazing activities that you can do in Cyprus.
- It gets really hot during the summer period in Cyprus, so best to have a 1 Litre bladder bag (Also known as Hydration bladder) or a sports water bottle to keep you hydrated.
Watching the planes over McKenzie Beach
Thank you for reading this article, I hope it helped you to decide on what to do in Larnaca. Cyprus is a great country to take a beach holiday exploring the Mediterranean coastline, trying traditional Cypriot cuisine and visiting ancient sites. Another great place for a summer holiday is Hammamet Tunisia.
Have you been to Cyprus before? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below or suggest any other places to add.
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Disclaimer: Even though I was sponsored by Jet2Holidays for my flights. All views are my own and based on my own experience.