Off to Cyprus today for the next destination in my A-Z. Larnaca (Λάρνακα) is the city I fly in to when I visit Cyprus and I like to stay in a hotel in the centre – opposite the Church of St. Lazarus. The Hotel Opera, described by the Telegraph as “a tasteful boutique hotel in the centre of Larnaca, next to the biblically significant church of Agios Lazaros, and just a few minutes’ walk away from the beach”, makes a great base in the city. Self catering apartments are also available.
The main beach is just a short distance away, and the city has a wide selection of bars and restaurants. Being a city there’s a lot of choice from the traditional Greek-Cypriot cuisine to Indian, Thai, Chinese restaurants…plus KFC, McDonald’s, Starbucks and all the other well known international chains.
Larnaca is well placed for exploring the island – It is under an hour from the country’s capital Nicosia, and if you’re looking to go in to the Turkish Occupied zone (Northern Cyprus) that’s easy to get to from Larnaca as well. My car rental company – Petsas – lets me take the car across the border and they arrange the insurance on my behalf, but this isn’t the case with all car rental companies on the island.
Locally there’s plenty to do as well: Larnaca Casttle by the beach is worth a visit, or just spend a day at the beach. There’s a main beach just in front of the main city centre, or go slightly further afield and visit Mackenzie Beach – a great place for planespotting as it is not far from the end of the runway.
The Larnaca Salt Lake is a short drive from the city centre, and from November to March the flamingos come to stay which is a great sight. Be sure to visit the Hala Sultan Tekkesi mosque (and the hundreds of stray cats who live there!) The mosque is a very important site in the Islamic world, ranked immediately after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia and Al Aksha in Jerusalem.
My favourite spots for food in Larnaca include the Lazaris Bakery Bakery which is opposite the hotel – a great choice for breakfast. To Arxontikon is also a favourite of mine for a traditional Greek evening meal.
Some of my favourite photos of Larnaca are below: