The island of Cyprus grows in popularity as a tourist destination year after year, thanks to spots like Larnaca. Although it is a resort city much like other seaside getaways in Cyprus, what makes Larnaca so special is its easygoing feel. Rather than being overwhelmed with a forest of high-rise apartments, the city feels mostly untouched by the demands of modern tourism, making it an essential place to visit when you’re in Cyprus.
What’s also nice about Larnaca is that it won’t take you long to experience its main sights. Even just one day should be enough to cover the best places to visit in Larnaca. You can spend any extra time lounging at the beach or treating yourself to the local food and drinks.
To help you make the most of your time sightseeing, we’ve put together this Larnaca itinerary, which will show you exactly what to do in Larnaca in one day.
Best Time to Visit Larnaca
As with any destination, you need to work out the best timing for your vacation to Larnaca. The time of year you go is incredibly important to the experience, especially with a popular beach destination in the Mediterranean. It affects not only what kind of weather you can expect in Cyprus, but also how busy it is and the rates you can expect for hotels and flights.
Though Cyprus is a popular summer destination, it’s not the ideal time to visit. From June through August, the weather is quite hot, the town and beaches are full of tourists, and accommodations are at their most expensive.
The best time to visit Larnaca is either side of the summer, in April and May or late September and October. At these times of year, Larnaca has more enjoyable weather and fewer tourists. If you don’t want to spend time at the beach, winter could also be an option for your visit. From December to March, you’ll find places to stay at low rates and be able to go sightseeing in the cool, occasionally windy weather.
How to Get Around Larnaca
You shouldn’t have too much trouble getting around when visiting Larnaca. While it is one of Cyprus’ larger cities and sprawls a bit, most of the main attractions are right in or near the city center. This means you can get to most places comfortably on foot, even some of the farther attractions if necessary.
That being said, two main attractions – Kamares Aqueduct and Hala Sultan Tekke – are well beyond the city center. You have two options if you want to visit these outer places during your visit. One is to rent a car for your visit, which will make sightseeing and getting around Cyprus in general much easier. Otherwise, you can rely on the local bus network, with a single ticket costing €1.50 (about $1.60).
If you’re arriving by air, you’ll want to know how to get into the city from Larnaca International Airport. You can either collect a rental car at the airport or take one of the various bus lines that run between the airport and Larnaca’s central bus station.
Where to Stay in Larnaca
Though it isn’t a small city, working out where to stay in Larnaca shouldn’t be difficult. Many of the tourist attractions, bars, and restaurants are in the same part of the city center, so the best places to stay in Larnaca are those comfortably near Finikoudes Beach. The last thing you want is a long walk or bus ride just to reach the city’s main sights or to go out for dinner and drinks. Another area worth considering is Kastella Beach or Mackenzie, down south from Finikoudes.
If you’re looking to surround yourself in luxury and refinement, stay at Ciao Stelio Deluxe Hotel. This modern five-star hotel is just off the beach in Mackenzie and features spacious rooms with sea views, a restaurant, and a fitness center.
For a nice mix of comfort and affordability, Les Palmiers Beach Boutique Hotel & Luxury Apartments is a great choice. This trendy beachfront hotel offers rooms and apartments that overlook Finikoudes and self-catering options for your time there.
Larnaca isn’t really a place for budget accommodation, but one of the best options in that vein is Welcome House. This private guesthouse in Skala is not too central, but its dorms and rooms are extremely affordable, and breakfast is included.
Of course, Airbnb is another option for accommodation. You can find rentals to suit just about any budget on this platform.
For more accommodation options in Larnaca, check out Booking.com. This site consistently offers the best rates, and its customer service is on point.
The Perfect 1-Day Larnaca Itinerary
While Larnaca is best known as a place to unwind by the beach with a drink in hand, it also has some cultural attractions worth exploring. If you allow a day for sightseeing, you’ll be able to experience most of the best things to do in Larnaca. It’s really by exploring the historic side of this coastal city that you’ll discover the best of Larnaca.
However, before we get to our Larnaca itinerary, we just wanted to remind you to purchase travel insurance. You never know what will happen and, trust us, you do not want to get stuck with thousands of dollars in medical bills. As a wise man once said, “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” So don’t leave home without it.
SafetyWing offers travel insurance for only about $10 a week, making it a no-brainer to get. You can get a quick, non-binding quote below:
SafetyWing is, of course, not the only option available. Two other popular alternatives are World Nomads and Heymondo.
With you now covered should something bad happen, you can focus on the core part of our Larnaca travel itinerary. Here you’ll find all the great places you can look forward to visiting as you explore Larnaca in one day.
Church of St. Lazarus
Easily the most important and popular attraction in Larnaca is the Church of St. Lazarus. After all, it’s built on the site where Lazarus, the saint who rose from the dead in the Gospel of John, is said to have been buried when he actually died.
The church itself is an important historical landmark, dating back to the ninth century. Thanks to restoration work in the 17th century, it’s incredibly well preserved and quite stunning inside with its golden iconostasis. On the church grounds, you’ll also find the small Byzantine Museum of St. Lazarus, with religious icons and relics on display.
Old Turkish Quarter
After your visit to the church, you can explore the surrounding neighborhood of Skala, the Old Turkish Quarter. While considerably smaller than the more modern downtown area, Skala will show you what Cyprus historically looked like. This part of the city has been quite rundown for the last few decades, but the old-fashioned, whitewashed houses are starting to see some restoration.
While you’ll find many ceramic shops in the backstreets of Skala, one of the main attractions is the Djami Kebir Mosque at the quarter’s northern end. This pretty temple surrounded by palm trees is possibly the first Ottoman mosque in Cyprus, having been converted from a Catholic church in the 16th century.
While also located in Skala, Larnaca Castle is one landmark that deserves its own introduction. Just across the road from the Djami Kebir Mosque and sitting right on the city’s waterfront, Larnaca Castle is hard to miss.
This seaside fortress has defended the harbor of Larnaca since the Ottomans built it in 1625. During the British rule of Cyprus, it was transformed into a prison, but it now houses the Larnaca Medieval Museum. The museum’s displays of black-and-white photos and artifacts are quite modest, but the views from the castle fortifications definitely make a visit worthwhile.
Running north from Larnaca Castle is Finikoudes, the main city beach. Backed by a promenade and palm trees, this flat, wide beach is quite the classic Mediterranean sight.
With only a day in Larnaca, you probably won’t have much time for the beach, but if you stay longer, you can enjoy bouncing between the beach and the bars and cafes on the promenade. At any rate, you should return later in the day for some drinks – and maybe dinner at one of the many bars and restaurants that sit along the promenade.
At the northern end of the city center lie the open-air ruins of Kition, a city built by the Greeks in the 13th century B.C. On a visit to the archaeological site, you can learn a little about this period in the island’s history and see the outlines of various buildings. The most important remains are those of the Temple of Aphrodite-Astarte, but there are also ruins of homes, tombs, and a necropolis.
Hala Sultan Tekke
Heading away from the center of Larnaca, make your way to the far side of Larnaca Salt Lake near the airport. There you’ll find the important mosque of Hala Sultan Tekke.
It’s said that within this complex lies the tomb of Umm Haram, who was the wife of Ubadah ibn al-Samit, a companion to the Prophet Muhammad. A shrine to her has made this mosque a place of pilgrimage for many Muslims. Although the current mosque only dates back to 1816, it’s quite an impressive sight, and you can see a mausoleum, minaret, and cemetery within the complex.
West of the city center lies the last historic landmark in Larnaca for the day, Kamares Aqueduct. Built by the Ottomans in 1747 to provide Larnaca with fresh water, this massive aqueduct still stands proudly in a green field. Around 33 arches of the structure are intact, making it an impressive sight indeed.
Have More Than 24 Hours in Larnaca?
Just because you’ve made your way around the main sights in Larnaca doesn’t mean you can’t spend longer in the city. With more than 24 hours in Larnaca, you can either take it easy at the beach and bars or explore more of Cyprus. In case the latter sounds more appealing, here are a few nice places to visit that are easily accessible from Larnaca.
The most obvious place to visit from Larnaca is the divided capital city of Nicosia. With parts of its Old Town both in the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, you can see the two sides of this island in one place. Venturing through the massive Venetian walls that surround the Old Town, wander its maze of narrow streets, taking in the mix of modern and colonial buildings and cafe culture.
Sooner or later, you’ll bump into the Green Line, the makeshift border that carves through Nicosia. Take this as a prompt to cross the border at the Ledra Street Crossing Point and see Nicosia’s Turkish side in Northern Cyprus. While there, find your way through the bazaar and visit Büyük Han, a beautiful caravanserai. Once you’ve explored to your satisfaction, go back across the border and find the Cyprus Museum, an extensive archaeological museum of the island’s history.
2. Pano Lefkara
Another popular Larnaca day trip is the quaint hinterland village of Pano Lefkara. While Lefkara is best known as the heart of Cyprus’ lace trade, a visit there is so much more than just lace shops. The village is full of grand mansions and traditional homes lining its narrow cobblestone streets, offering a very different atmosphere from that of Larnaca.
You could spend your time here just wandering aimlessly, and it would be a day well spent. However, you should find your way through the meandering lanes and alleys to the Lefkara Local Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmiths. There you’ll learn about the village’s history and what traditional local life was like. Another important local sight is the Archangelos Michael Church just outside the village, which features icon paintings from the 12th century.
3. Cape Greco
One last option for places to visit from Larnaca is Cape Greco, out on the island’s east coast. Located just past the party town of Ayia Napa, this peninsula is known for its jagged cliffs peppered with sea caves and the crystal-clear water below them. Once you reach the cape, walking trails can take you through Cape Greco National Forest Park to its signature coastline.
Along the coastline of Cape Greco are various landmarks that break up the fantastic views of the water below. Taking the eastern trail, you’ll pass the cute little Agioi Anargyroi Church, then the natural stone Kamara tou Koraka Bridge and the stunning Blue Lagoon. While there is the Cape Greco Lighthouse all the way out on the peninsula, the Ayia Napa Sea Caves are the main attraction here. On your way out, you may want to stop in town to see the gorgeous Venetian Ayia Napa Monastery.
As you can see, one day in Larnaca is all you really need to see the main tourist attractions around town. Any time you have left over can go toward relaxing and having fun at the beach.
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