With its infamous palm tree promenade luring thousands of visitors year in and year out, there’s something special about the sleepy charm that Larnaca exudes. But there’s far more to do than spending your time sipping on a coffee down the busy Finikoudes strip like so many have become accustomed to.
My Cyprus Insider gives you just a few reasons why the town makes for a great day out!
1. It’s the perfect place for a seaside stroll
With the seaside town having witnessed a recent revamp, there’s now a path which stretches from the bustling Finikoudes Promenade all the way down to the Mackenzie beach strip which provides for a great walk (or even a cycle) when the weather is good. Known as the ‘Piale Pasha’, there’s much to enjoy along the way, including the old architecture of the area and lovely artists’ workshops in the Old Turkish Quarter. What with the waves lapping against the shore on the one side, and traditional architecture dazzling the senses on the other, you really can’t go far wrong!
2. The town is saturated in history
All things modern in the town aren’t without their ancient tales. Built upon the ancient city of Kition that was originally erected in the 13th century BC, take a stroll through the winding backstreets in the old Turkish quarter and you’ll discover craft shops and workshops galore, as artisans busy themselves with a whole range of designs. Quiet streets and historic buildings make their way down to the grand St Lazarus church, standing as one of the finest examples of Byzantine architecture on the island.
3. You’ll enjoy a great culture fix
You’d be surprised by just how many museums this little town is home to. If you like to think of yourself as a bit of a history buff, then make a beeline for the District Archaeological Museum, with artefacts on display that give you the chance to get to grips with the development of the town across the centuries. Then there’s the Pierides Foundation Museum also taking you back in time in a fantastic building which dates back to 1825.
Looking for something a little more quirky? Head to the Larnaca Natural History Museum, a small and charming little place with all kinds of local insects, reptiles, birds, fossils, animals and rock formations on display. That’s not to forget the Kyriazis Medical Museum, a private initiative dedicated to showcasing the history of health care in Cyprus. From traditional therapies, to medicine, healing and pharmaceutical matters, it’s rather interesting to see the island’s history unfold through weird and wonderful old equipment, medical books and a whole load of other interesting exhibits. More details on the aforementioned Larnaca Museums are available here: http://bit.ly/1N7VIzd
4. You can ogle at a lake unlike the rest
For unforgettable snaps to savour, head to the shimmering Larnaca salt lake that fills with water in the winter season as migratory pink flamingos call the place their home between February and April. So if you want to catch the flamingos in all their graceful glory, be sure to head there soon as they’ll be flying off to other lands in no time.
Hailed as one of the most important wetlands on the island, it really is a sight to see and well worth taking a good camera with you. In the background, the magnificent Hala Sultan Tekke calls out for attention; a sacred shrine with its steep minarets rising high above the waters and taking pride of place through the density of surrounding greenery.
5. It’s the perfect chance to tantalise your taste buds with a fishy treat
With fish restaurants galore dishing up the freshest catch of the day, you’ve simply got to indulge in the classic fish meze. Bear in mind that the best restaurants are often the ones that are really nothing to look at, so don’t go expecting fine interiors or stylish decor. The real treat comes when the endless dishes land on the table, each and every one of them making up for the lack of ambiance.
What’s on our hot list you may be wondering? The My Cyprus Insider team loves Zephyros, Psarolimano and Dionyssos taverns. Start with some fish soup and then go ahead for a full on indulgence with treats like red mullet to die for, delicious octopus and tender squid (kalamari). A word of warning: these places get very crowded on a Sunday so it’s best to visit on another day if you prefer dining without too much background noise.
6. You can sip on a sundowner right by the beach
Want something to do as the sun leaves its colourful hues on the horizon? We suggest heading to the Mackenzie strip for a great choice of trendy places that are popular with locals and visitors alike as they rub shoulders and down their Mojitos, Caipirinhas or other such delightful concoctions. With plenty of venues to choose from once you get to the crowded strip, many make a beeline for Ammos Beach Bar or Lush Beach Bar Resto, with both bars extremely popular with crowds from around the island.
If you fancy a bit of a romantic tête-à-tête then head to the nearby Makou, situated a stone’s throw away from Mackenzie on Kastela beach. You won’t get a place that offers you the chance to sit much closer to the sea than this place. And if you’re hungry when you get there? Do have a look at their menu, you won’t be disappointed! In fact, all three places offer decent food, with sushi a particularly popular choice.