Larnaca is a small city in Cyprus – a perfect destination for beach lovers, though. And we’re going to talk about it in today’s article where you will learn some of the most important facts about the city, including what to do here and where to stay.
Perfect weather, golden beaches, welcoming people and lots of history… all on a small yet amazing island. This is what Cyprus offers travelers and expats, with Larnaca being one of the top destinations in the country.
Located just 15 minutes away from the international airport, Larnaca only has around 52,000 inhabitants, but is Cyprus’ third largest city. It’s small, warm, friendly and delightful: although touristy, it never seems to get too crowded (yet).
So let’s find out more about Larnaca below in my travel guide here!
Best Places to Stay in Larnaca
Larnaca offers luxurious all-inclusive hotels but also perfect deals for a low budget traveler. This is a great thing: having tons of options!
Since the city itself is on the smaller side, you will always be surrounded by small cafes and restaurants, but still just a few minutes away from the beach no matter where you decide to stay.
I have three recommendations to make here, fitting all budgets and offering amazing services, rooms and location:
While it’s not right on the beach like the other two recommendations, this hotel compensates with really low rates and cozy, beautiful rooms. It still is close to the main beach in Larnaca, which is just a stone throw’s away.
Lebay Beach Hotel
If you want to be right on the beach, but keep the costs low, then Lebay is the perfect choice for you. It has a large pool, a nice terrace to enjoy the views and the beach itself is a few steps away.
Great prices all year long (it’s a 3-star rated hotel), but with good service and lots of value offered for the money. It has some really impressive ratings from customers as well, proving that it’s one of the best hotels in Larnaca.
Sun Hall Hotel
If you want a bit more luxury, this four star hotel is a great choice and still offering great prices all year-long. It doesn’t have a pool, but it’s right on the beach, offering some spectacular sea views from some of its rooms.
The rooms are large and beautiful and the food served here will really make your whole stay a perfect experience.
For more low-budget alternatives, check out the smaller hotels in the area and don’t be fooled by their placement on the map – even though some might appear to be far away from the beach, in reality they’re not, since the city itself is relatively small.
Best Cypriot food in Larnaca
Cypriots can definitely cook. Seafood and fish dishes are just two of their specialties that will make you fall in love with Larnaca. A downside (or an advantage, depending on how you look at it) is the size of the portions – they are huge!
Fortunately, you can do a lot of swimming in the perfect water or just be active, walking around the city and exploring the promenade.
Apart from seafood and fish, the Cypriot cuisine has influences from both Greece and Turkey, taking the best from the two in my opinion and delivering a mouth watering experience on their own, with a perfect use of spices and meats and vegetables.
Among my favorites, I have to mention Ocean Basket which has everything you can dream of in terms of seafood and fish dishes, but also Alexander restaurant. The latter doesn’t look like much on the outside, but the food is fingerlicking good: just look at some of the Google Photos taken there to see what I mean!
All in all, I don’t think that you can go wrong with any restaurant in Larnaca. I personally prefer the smaller ones that seem to be more genuine and visited by locals as opposed to the large, glamorous ones that are made for tourists. If you want the real Cyprus experience, you have to eat where locals do!
What to do in Larnaca
While spending all the day soaking in the sun, enjoying the waves and taking short breaks to one restaurant or another to refill might be just enough for many, there are other things that you can do in the small city of Larnaca, Cyprus.
First of all, get lost on the streets! Larnaca’s tight streets will reveal part of the city’s charm and history with every new step you take.
Old houses, sometimes in poor condition, blend in with new constructions and impressive hotels, abandoned shops are mixed in between expensive brand stores… all of them offer Larnaca a charm like few other cities have.
Probably the most important touristic attractions in the city are the Church of Saint Lazarus (Agios Lazaros) – built back in the 9th century, the Hala Sultan Tekke and the Medieval Castle of Larnaca, which is conveniently located by the beach (and mighty impressive too!)
If you enjoy spending time on water, you can book a boat for a trip around the bay, or just relax at the beach and enjoy the warm, shallow water.
During weekends and especially during the main season, there are all sorts of events taking place in the city. Most are oriented towards entertaining tourists and not of the highest quality possible, but still fun to watch nevertheless.
If you enjoy biking, you will be very happy to hear that Cyprus is a very bike-friendly country, with hundreds of kilometers of bike trails available, taking you across the country.
Larnaca has its own set of cycling routes, taking you to nearby villages and other attractions. If you have time and this is something you enjoy doing, by all means rent a bike and go explore.
But do have in mind that during the high season, it gets really hot there so cycling under the sun might not be the best idea.
Larnaca, Cyprus beaches
Ah, imagine golden beaches, small waves refreshing your feet and your loved one next to you. Heaven, right?
Well, that’s exactly what you can get from Laranaca’s beaches – you have the large and wide Finikoudes beach located close to the city center, or the Mackenzie beach down South. Both are nice and not extremely crowded, with both sunbeds available and places for you to place your towel and enjoy the sand.
If these are not enough for you – or you simply want to explore the area a bit, you can grab a bus from the beach and head all the way to Nicosia – Cyprus’s capital. Along the way, there are other beaches that you can enjoy.
Larnaca: Prices and travel costs
Even though the country itself is considered a fiscal paradise, prices in Larnaca (and Cyprus generally) are not that high. This is partly because there is no minimum salary set by the government and the locals earn anything from barely liveable to a lot (check out the average wages in the EU to see how Cyprus fares against the other countries).
These being said, if you go to Larnaca for a holiday, you don’t have to spend a fortune unless you really want to.
Even during the high season, you can have a hearty lunch at a restaurant for as low as 10 Euros, and enjoy the local strawberries for around 1 euro per case.
It’s even better if you’re a digital nomad looking to set up base here for a while, as you can still find studios for rent in good places for around 350 Euros per month. So all in all, Larnaca is pretty affordable for both short term and longer term living.
One thing is certain: if you go there, you will surely fall in love with the city. It’s not as vibrant and huge as other places in the world, but it has charm and that’s all that matters in the end.