Laidback Larnaca lodges in your brain. The oldest inhabited city in Cyprus, Larnaca holidays promise both ancient culture and a thriving modern city. The biggest draw of holidays to Larnaca are arguably the beaches. Miles of aquamarine sea fringed by gently sloping golden sands make for some of the most idyllic, and safest, beaches on the Med.
Palm-heavy Foinikoudes promenade stretches from the fishing harbour to Larnaca Fort, with watersports, boat rides and entertainment along the way. Head away from the front to the Turkish quarter’s tiny craft shops and whitewashed houses. A decent walk takes you to traditional outlying villages, with freshly grilled fish and brandy sours made with local lemons.
In the evenings, Foinikoudes buzzes into neon life. Live it up in the cocktail bars and nightclubs, or do as the locals do and pull up a pew for a late-night coffee and some people-watching at one of the many cafés open until the early hours.
Larnaca is superbly placed to explore Cyprus, with the country’s largest airport nearby. If you do leave the city, mountains and forests await, dotted with traditional villages where locals still practise handicrafts such as lace and silver making. But if you don’t want to leave the city you don’t have to – everything you need is within its boundaries.
This medieval fort was converted to a prison under British rule – the gallows were in use until 1948. In summer there’s a host of cultural events.
Agios Lazaros Church
Lazarus is believed to be buried where the church of Agios Lazaros now stands. Gilt and silver columns and intricate woodcarving make this 9th-century shrine an essential stop.
Salt lake flamingos
Calm and ethereal, Larnaca salt lake is a magnet for wild birds and nature lovers. In winter, thousands of flamingos gather to create a striking natural showstopper.