Larnaca has a reasonable claim to being the oldest city in Cyprus, with evidence of habitation up to 6000 years ago.
Modern Larnaca, like other Cypriot coastal towns, is divided into an older city center and a wide sprawl of hotels and restaurants along the beach.
Larnaca International Airport (IATA: LCA) is the largest airport on Cyprus, located 6 km to the west of the city center. Taxis to the city take 15 minutes, there are also scheduled city buses. There are no left luggage/baggage storage facilities at the airport.
Larnaca is a thin ribbon of a town and you can walk around most of it. The seaside Larnaca Promenade (Phinikoudes) is particularly pleasant for a stroll in the evening.
By law, taxis should charge by the meter, but many cabbies will refuse to use it. Metered fares should be 65 cent; to get in plus 22 cent/km, night surchages apply after midnight.
- The Church of St. Lazarus (Ayios Lazaros Sq), an Orthodox church dating to the 9th century, is reputedly built around the tomb of the biblical Lazarus, brother of Mary.
- The Larnaca Salt Lake is to the west of town near the airport. In winter (November to March), flocks of pink flamingos can be seen here.
- The Hala Sultan Tekke mosque is perched by the side of the Salt Lake. The tomb of Umm Haram, the foster mother of Mohammed, is said to be here.
- Faneromeni Church (Ekklisía tis Faneroménis). This mashup of various architectural styles used to stand in the centre of the city – until 1974. There is a marble mausoleum next to it.
For divers the main reason to come to Larnaca is the wreck of the Zenobia (watch video ), a ro-ro ferry that sunk in 1980 on her maiden voyage only a few hundred meters from the harbor due to a fault in the ballast computer. Fully laded with trucks and their cargo, the ship now lies on its side at a depth of 42 meters, with the top of the wreck at 18m and thus easily accessible even to PADI Advanced Open Water divers. If your flight comes in right, you can even see the shadow of the wreck as you land at Larnaca airport!
- @lpha Divers (Alpha Divers), fax: +357-24-647519. @lpha Divers Dive Centre (Dhekelia Rd), 2, Pyla Gardens, Dhekelia Road, Larnaca, 7081, Cyprus; Tel/; email: email@example.com; , a PADI Five Star Gold Palm Instructor Development Centre and a British Sub-Aqua Club Premier & Technical Centre. Located adjacent to Lordos Beach Hotel and Mariandy Hotel.
- Dive-In Cyprus (Blu View Residence, 132 Piale Pascha, Larnaca 6027; tel. +357 24-627469; email firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a PADI 5-star dive center and Regional SDI/TDI office that specializes in dives to the Zenobia, it can also arrange nitrox and penetration dives for the technical diver. Full range of PADI, TDI, TecRec and SDI courses available.
The nearby village of Lefkara is famous for its lace and silverware, and Larnaca being the nearest large town to the village, sells both in plentiful supply.
Independent jewellers and watchmakers are abundant, particularly among and just off the main Ermes/Ermou Street.
- Oro Fino Jewellery, ☎ 24-654666. Pavlou Valsamaki 26, 50 metres from Foinikoudes beach, near St. Lazaurs. Italian and Greek designs, diamonds to zircons, precious to semi-precious stones. The shop also features the latest jewel in fashion, NEWD SKIN JEWEL as well as brand watches like GUESS, D&G and DKNY.
Often, eating in Larnaca can be quite expensive. However, if you're travelling on a budget, there are a few bargains to be had. Possibly the cheapest way is by grabbing a hotdog at the 'Enjoy... Finikoudes' kiosk on, you guessed it, Phinikoudes Avenue. Hotdogs are just €1 and are rather enjoyable. If you prefer to sit down for a meal, try Ocean Basket (also on Phinikoudes Avenue) where a huge, tasty serving of Fish and Chips will set you back just €5.95, which is comparable to (if not less than) the price of a meal at the likes of Phinikoudes' McDonalds or KFC, which are also useful places for eating on a budget, even if they do lack that local touch.
The beaches of Larnaca are littered with identikit seafood restaurants catering to tourists. The easiest way to find a good place is to simply walk along until you find a restaurant packed not with tourists, but with Cypriots!
- Militzis, ☎ 24-655867. 42 Piale Pascha. A long-running favorite serving honest Cypriot fare (read: meat and potatoes) washed down with their own wine. No points for presentation, but the food is good and the restaurant is often packed. Figure on £5-10 for a meal.
- Hobo's, Phinikoudes Promenade. A lively Cafe/Restaurant popular with many Cypriots, right on the main promenade. You can't miss it, and its often full but doesn't take telephone reservations. Food is varied from Cypriot to International Cuisine.
- Kantara, Rendez-Vous, and Ganga restaurants on Dhekelia Road are probably the best restaurants in Larnaca. More expensive than the rest, but well worth it. Both Kantara and Rendez-Vous have a good selection of international wines (Cyprus wines are an acquired taste ... to say the least!)
- Nippon, Grigoris Afxentiou Ave (opposite American Academy), ☎ . Expensive, but reknown Japanese restaurant serving sushi. Bookings are essential, as it is packed every night. Offers a wide range of delicious maki, California rolls, teppanyaki and more. From €50.
- Viale, ☎ 24664888. 10AM-12:30AM. Easy-going café/bar/restaurant that has ample space and menu variety for both breakfast and dinner. Very good quality European-style dishes, with some more adventurous selections, eg prawns with ouzo sauce.
'Vlachos' Taverna on the Dhekelia Rd, 400 metres past the Palm Beach Hotel on the same side is a fantastic place to eat local food. Sheftalia is just great and the salads are lovely.
In the city centre an area just off the main promenade called "Laiki Yeitonia" fulfils the need for most Bars and Small scale Nightclubs. Club Deep is the most popular of these, along with Times.
Driving about 15–20 minutes away from the City Centre to the East in the direction of Ayia Napa is the Larnaca-Dhekelia Road. This is the main 'strip' for high quality hotels, nightclubs, bars, etc., and is where most British Tourists can be found.
- Blue Pine Bar near the American Academy has a huge selection of spirits (all real which is unusual for Cyprus) and has a real atmosphere. The decor is wood and dim lighting and lots of Jack Daniels and Blues music paraphernalia. Comes alive after 10PM. The Bar used to be located on Dhekelia Road but moved several years ago. By far the best bar in Laranaca for chilled music and spirits.
There are countless hotels and hotel apartments of varying degrees of luxury by the seaside.
- EasyHotel, 1 Kimonos Avenue, e-mail: email@example.com. Two star budget hotel, located near the Main Police Station, 5 minutes from seaside, 10 minutes from city centre. The hotel was opened in 2010 and everything is new and clean. The staff are fantastic and always ready to help. Starting at €15 for a double room in low season..
- Frangiorgio Hotel Apartments. A modern hotel 1-minute walk from the town's main beach and shopping areas. It has 24 furnished apartments with equipped kitchens, air-conditioning systems, heating, satellite TVs, double glazed windows, private balconies and telephones. Other facilities include: daily cleaning of rooms, laundry service, bar, fax service, internet facilities, 24 hour reception and a new in house 24 hour mini market. Rates range from £16 to £40 depending on the season.
- Sandbeach Castle Hotel, ☎ 24-655437. Piale Pascha. A fairly typical 2-star hotel, a bit of a hike from the city center, but not too far from the dive shops. Clean and generally acceptable. Rooms from £18.80 and up (with breakfast) in the low season, add in another £5 for the winter high season.
- Golden Bay Beach Hotel, Dhekelia Rd (Take Highway to Ayia Napa from the airport, then teke Pyla Exit, turn on the first right, and then right again, then left when you reach the end of the road), ☎ 0035724645444. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Part of the Lordos Golden Hotels in Cyprus. 5 star hotel located near the town of Pyla, 10 kilometers from central Larnaca.
- Blue Serenity Private Villa. Pervolia 10 min in car. A brand new family villa - 3 bedrooms - fully air conditioned - private pool. Nice quite getaway place. Prices in low season from £400 per week, rising to £600 in the high season.
- Paschalis Hotel Apartments, 2 Olympou Street, Pyla (Exit the airport directly onto the A3 motorway in the direction of “Ayia Napa”. Exit at junction 60 for “Pyla/Dhekelia”, at the end of the slip road turn right onto the B3 road and follow directions for Dhekelia. At the end of the road, at the lights, turn right onto Dhekelia Road. Continue for 1km along Dhekelia Road. Paschalis Hotel Apartments is located on the right, just after the Golden Bay, Sandy Beach and Lordos hotels), ☎ . Check-in: 14:30, check-out: 11:00. About 200 metres from the beach. 10 minutes by car from Larnaca town and 20 minutes from Larnaca International Airport. A family run complex offering 12 modest and spacious one-bedroom, self-catering apartments with equipped kitchen, bath or shower room, lounge/dining room and private balcony. All apartments are light and refreshing with open-plan living space totalling 50 square metres, sleeping up to four adults or families of up to five including children and/or infants. Private swimming pool or the local beach via an easily accessible path across from the apartments.
- Pyla Village & Pyla Palms & Pyla Gardens Resorts Apartments, Pyla (Take A1 from Airport to Aiya Napa come off at 2nd turn for Pyla Village, Pyla Palms on right 2 miles and Pyla Village Resort 0.5 miles on right). Recently completed private apartments with pool, 10 kilometers from Larnaca. 5 minutes drive from beach, and 8 to 12 minutes walk to Pyla town. from £119 pppw.
- Sveltos Beach Apartments, Piale Pasha, Mckenzy (Mckenzy Beach), ☎ 00357 246 57240. Self catering apartments 10 metres from the sea with views over Larnaca Bay towards Cape Greco. Rates from €35 a night in low season for a one bed apartment sleeping two to €65 a night for a 2 bedroom apartment sleeping 4 in high season €35.