Cyprus’s popular port city of Larnaca is known for its palm tree-studded beaches and its proximity to the underwater shipwreck of the MS Zenobia, which you can get to by scuba diving off the coast. If you are looking for something even more miraculous, you can also visit a church that is said to be the resting place of the biblical figure Lazarus, who famously rose from the dead.
Let’s dive in and explore all the interesting things to do in Larnaca, Cyprus.
What Is the Best Time to Visit Larnaca, Cyprus?
While temperatures are never freezing cold, the peak summer months in Larnaca can be uncomfortably hot for travelers. It can also be pretty crowded, so the best time to visit this seaside town is in September or October, when it is less busy and you’ll be less sweaty.
Our Favorite Things to Do in Larnaca, Cyprus
The main list of best things to do in Cyprus is long, but Larnaca luckily narrowed it down to just a few, and below you can find the best ones:
Go to the Beach
Like the rest of Cyprus, Larnaca is full of beautiful beaches to lay out on. Arguably, the most famous beach here is Finikoudes Beach, which is known for its promenade lined with swaying palm trees, but this one tends to be a bit crowded. Two kilometers away from the center of the city, you can find Mackenzie Beach, which is just as beautiful and has more room to stretch out. Even less crowded still are Perivolia Beach and Cape Kiti Beach, both of which are lesser-known, but still definitely worth a visit.
Visit the Turkish Quarter
Skala, also known as the Turkish Quarter, is one of the most unique parts of Larnaca. It includes Larnaca Fort, built by the Ottoman Turks in 1625 to defend the city from invaders and now home to the Medieval Museum, but that is just the beginning. Without getting into the politics of the region, the Turkish residents of Larnaca were once driven out, and Skala fell into ruin. In the last few years, though, the city has come back to life thanks to the moving in of a thriving, lively artisan community.
Go to a Museum (or Two)
Larnaca has many interesting museums to visit. The Pierides Archeological Foundation Museum, for example, is housed in an 19th century mansion and holds a private collection of Cyprus’ artifacts originally collected and owned by famed archeologist and scholar Demetrios Pierides. It has over 2,500 exhibits that span thousands of years between the Neolithic and Medieval eras. Larnaca’s Archeological Museum is another fantastic choice, with statues, terracotta pottery, and other artifacts from cultures the came from all over the world over the course of multiple centuries.
Some of the Best Attractions in Larnaca, Cyprus
Agios Lazaros is the Church of Lazarus — yes, that Lazarus. Those who are familiar with the biblical story will know that Lazarus rose from the dead, but few people known that he then reportedly came to live in Larnaca. He lived there for thirty more years, was ordained as the town’s bishop, and then eventually died for the final time. When he did, he was buried here, in Agios Lazaros, where modern-day visitors can go down into his tomb (the actual remains have been moved to Marseille, France, but you can still see where he was once laid to rest).
Hala Sultan Tekke
Keeping in the spirit of places of religious significance, Hala Sultan Tekke is a beautiful mosque complex on the western edge of the equally beautiful Larnaca Salt Lake. It honors the wet nurse of the famous prophet Muhammad who, according to the stories, died on this spot after falling off of a donkey she was riding. A shrine was built over her tomb in 645 A.D., and the current mosque building was constructed in 1816. Aside from this being a place of pilgrimage for those of the Muslim faith, it is also an incredible place to nature watch, as the Larnaca Salt Lake nature reserve around it is home to flamingos, ducks, and other delightful animals.
Not only is the Kamares Aqueduct fascinating to look at it, it also served a very important purpose. After its construction in 1746, it operated as Larnaca’s main source of water until the 1930s. Back when it was functional, it was a part of a system that brought water into town via a series of tunnels in the vein of the ancient Roman aqueducts that came before it. Today, you can still see the aqueduct’s 33 high arches stretched across the rolling green fields, watching over the city like tall, silent sentinels.
Other Sights Worth a Visit in Larnaca, Cyprus
If you want to see more religious artwork, the Stavrovouni Monastery is also an impressive and beautiful building that has a fascinating history to explore. Visitors wanting to see what daily life is really like for residents of Larnaca should also visit Lefkara, a village known all over the world for its lace production, where you can see local women crafting new lace designs as they sit in the sun.
Regardless of which (if any) religion you follow, Larnaca has some truly inspirational sites to visit, as well as some lovely beaches to spend the day on, making this a place that has a lot of diverse sights to see.