Once a sleepy seaside town, Larnaca is fast becoming a cool hangout, especially in the summer, when bikini clad fashionistas and buff sporty types rub shoulders at some of the island’s most popular beach bars, while people of all ages splash about in the sea, and the usually quiet streets fill with life as just about everyone from teenagers, to families, and plenty of older couples enjoy some precious time in the sun.
Not just about cafes, bars and entertainment, the place is also steeped in history and is home to some must-see buildings. So what to do and see if you want to make the most of your time in the town? My Cyprus Insider ensures you’ll have an action packed day, from early morning to late at night!
Rise and shine at Lokàl Boutique Hotel
Hailed an ‘urban luxury hotel’, this place in the heart of Larnaca’s historic centre brilliantly combines old with new. Built in the late 1800s, Lokàl is a boutique hotel that oozes class, with the once derelict heritage listed building restored to its former glory through painstaking restoration, now standing proud as a 17 room bespoke hotel and bistro characterised by great deign and heaps of sophistication. Wake up here nice and early and you’ll be raring to go!
Enjoy an early morning stroll down Finikoudes and the Piale Pasha
Start off at the bustling Finikoudes promenade with its characteristic palm trees that reach up to touch the blue skies, and then make your way down to the Larnaca Medieval Castle (often referred to as the Larnaca Fort). Now housing the District Medieval Museum which is well worth a visit, you’ll come across all sorts of paintings, pottery, and utensils from days gone by, while head up to the roof for terrific views of the surrounding area. Get back down, and walk down the Piale Pasha stretch, with much to enjoy along the way, including the old architecture of the area and lovely artists’ workshops in the Old Turkish Quarter. If you have the time, just before you get to the fort, check out the gorgeous St Lazarus Church.
Take a cool dip at Mackenzie Beach & enjoy a beachside drink at one of the area’s lively beach bars
Hip and happening, you can even watch the planes land down as they approach Larnaca airport at one of the town’s most popular beachside strips! And if you want to quench your thirst, there are plenty of beach bars to do so, including the ever popular Ammos, the much talked about Lush and the more laid back ReBuke. But do be warned….they can all get exceptionally busy come mid-summer!
Grab a late lunch at Holy Cow Neocanteen
The Larnaca crowd raves about this place that has worked up quite a reputation for its burgers and other delicious meals. Their burgers are made with pure patties of Black Angus beef and served with seasonal salad and hand cut fries, with all sorts of dressings and toppings available, like the avocado and bacon or so called ‘I’m on Fire’ with jalapeno salsa, mozzarella cheese, caramelised red onions and tortilla chips (with mayo and lettuce too.) Then there are wraps, salads and plenty of sandwiches, light meals and pasta dishes to choose from.
Buy something unique and enjoy some retail therapy at Coffret
Love all things old and cool? Then get some cool gear at a shop owned by former fashion stylist, Athina. Coffret Vintage Shop is a vintage outlet with the shop’s collection having expanded to include new modern items in accordance to the market demand, while the owner continues to travel to Paris and London on a regular basis to stock the rails of the quirky space with top quality, one-of-a-kind pieces with a vintage feel, as well as genuine vintage items.
Head to the gorgeous salt lake as the sun begins to set
Hailed as one of the most important wetlands on the island, this really is a sight to see and it’s well worth taking a good camera with you, even when the water has dried up in the summer with the remaining salt glistens from the sun’s rays. 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.
8pm- Indulge in a real fishy treat for dinner at one of the area’s best fish restaurants
What’s on our fish restaurant hot list? The list is rather endless in Larnaca, but the My Cyprus Insider team does love Zephyros, Psarolimano and Dionyssos taverns. Go for a full on indulgent meze or pick select treats like red mullet to die for, delicious octopus and tender squid (calamari). Combine that with a village salad, dips and chips and you’ll be in seventh heaven, guaranteed!
Sip on a scrumptious cocktail at Old Market St
Having recently celebrated its two-year anniversary, people from across the island flock to Old Market St to enjoy some rather dreamy cocktails in a casual but hip environment. In the hub of town (not far from St Lazarus church), each cocktail is unique with expert barmen and mixologists doing their thing in style. And expert bartender, George Frantzeskos, tells us that there are three cocktails that are bound to get everyone talking this summer. There’s the ‘Skaliotis’ (which is a Cypriot term for someone from Larnaca), made from vodka, green apple and mastic. Then there’s the recommended ‘Old Market’ cocktail, with Zivania, strawberry and chilly, as well as many other delights on the menu.
Treat yourself to a sophisticated night at The Ciao Stelio Deluxe Hotel
Looking to spend an evening relaxing in true style? If you don’t have kids or you’re not with the kids for the night, then head to peaceful adults only ‘The Ciao Stelio’; a deluxe boutique hotel that’s located right by the sea near the Makenzie strip. The new small hotel boasts impeccable rooms, a great restaurant and has a reputation for its friendly service.
Main article featured image by kirill_makarov