Larnaca: Escape to the sunny blue skies

As you know, we like to get local writers to tell us about the places where they live. This month, we asked native Cypriot Elena Hadjipavli to tell us about Larnaca.

Picture yourself on the beach: eyes closed, under the warm Mediterranean sun, enjoying a pint of local KEO beer. Who doesn’t look forward to such a holiday?

Larnaca, on the south coast of Cyprus and populated by 50,000 people, is known for its hospitality, its long beachfront, and the local taverns. It’s a small, friendly city with a good bus system for getting around, and affordable traditional accommodation.

What to see
The first thing you’ll see when arriving at the airport is Larnaca Salt Lake. It’s protected for its nature and wildlife, and attracts thousands of flamingos during the rainy season. 

Moving into the city centre, you’ll find the remarkable historical Orthodox Church of Saint Lazarus, built in the 9th Century and a site of historical significance. Its architecture has byzantine, gothic, and baroque styles, with a unique wooden carved baroque iconoclast wall. The tomb of Saint Lazarus is located in the foundation of the church. Also not to be missed is the Larnaca Medieval Castle, built in the 12th Century to protect the port.

Beaches
Finikoudes Beach has a long, palm-lined seafront road, with palm trees planted back in 1922 by the locals. Here you can enjoy a full day at the beach! You can enjoy some beer at a bar, a traditional breakfast (at Lazaris coffee shop), and local small dishes called mezes: try the well-known Militzis restaurant. If you love to eat fish, visit Zephyros for a delicious fish platter!

Want some adventure? 
The shipwrecked Swedish ferry MS Zenobia, which capsized in Larnaca Bay in 1980 on her maiden voyage, is now one of the top ten wreck-diving sites in the world. Every day there are scuba-diving lessons and activities catering to all levels. Make sure you check your travel insurance to see which activities you’re covered for!

For other water sports, you can choose from canoeing, jet-skiing, waterskiing and more. You could also take a sailing boat tour. Or if you simply want to relax, try taking a boat cruise along the coast. If you like a challenge, some cruises also include fishing for your own lunch! 

For adrenaline-seekers who want to test their skills, a visit to the Larnaca Olympic Shooting Range should not be missed.

Want to participate in local events and activities? 
Lots of events and festivals take place in Larnaca, and you can check what’s on at the time you’re planning on taking your holiday.

In May three annual events take place: the Byzantine Days where you can enjoy Byzantine music and choirs; the Cyprus Seniors Cup, organised by the Cyprus Tennis Federation is a tournament for senior tennis players; and the Larnaca Triathlon which is open to individuals, families, and teams.

In June, one of the largest festivals is Kataklismos. This is a popular religious event lasting for a week, with musical performances, dance, theatre, and competitions. Make sure to try the local sweet treats called loukoumades.

In July you can catch the Larnaca Summer Festival of music and performing arts, film screenings, poetry, and theatre. 

Who loves the sunshine? 
Cyprus is well-known for the warm Mediterranean sun and relatively high temperatures all year round, but plan your holiday to suit your preferred weather. During May, the temperature varies between 15-25C (59-77F), and in June the temperature reaches up to 30C (86F). If you like it hot, during July and August the temperature reaches 35C (95F)!

Larnaca is the perfect escape to the sunny blue seas and skies, so is this the year you choose to visit Cyprus?