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Top 10 Things to do in Larnaca

Our Top Ten things to do in Larnaca - Don't leave until you've experienced the best Larnaca has to offer

Built on the remains of ancient Kition, Larnaca lays claim to be the oldest city in Cyprus and one of the oldest in the world. Someone once described Larnaca as a rugged, charming town with a melancholy and seductive character and every moment of your stay there will add detail to this enigmatic description.
1 Wreck of the Zenobia
Wreck of the Zenobia
Highlight of the diving scene here in Cyprus is the wreck of the Zenobia cargo ship which sank 30 years ago. In excellent condition and with a variety of dive depths and challenge levels this is held to be one of the top ten wreck dives in the world. You’ll see the tartan carpet still colourful in the lounge area, confectionery still in place in the vending machines and hundreds of unbroken eggs strewn across the sandy sea bed where they fell all that time ago. Depths range from 14m to 42 m and with excellent clarity of conditions. There’s little current here to disturb either wreck or the seabed. If you’re a keen amateur or professional diver, this one is a must!

2 Choirokoitia
A World Heritage Site and one of the most important Neolithic sites in the world, Choirokoitia, at first looks like a mass of jumbled stones. If you visit the reconstructed huts and milling wheel before venturing onto the site, you’ll gain a much better idea of what you are looking at. People first lived here 9,000 years ago and stories abound in the vicinity of how, before it was ‘discovered’ locals used to dig up ancient utensils and find uses for them in their homes. There is still a lot of archaeological work going on and who knows what may yet be discovered at the site. Already we know that the inhabitants lived to no older that 35 years of age and that when they died they were buried under the floors of the houses so the dead could still be near the living.

3 Ayios Lazarus
Ayios Lazarus
This church is built on where the tomb of St Lazarus was. Lazarus died but was brought back to life by Jesus. Hounded out of Israel he moved to Cyprus, where, because of his belief in the Lord and his desire to spread the news of Christianity, he was made Bishpo of Kition (Ancient Larnaca) by St Paul. Emperor Leo VI found the tomb and has Lazarus’ remains transferred to Constantinople where, after the Ottoman invasion, they were lost. In recompense to Kition, Emperor Leo constructed the church on the site. Recent excavations have found parts of another body under the church which is thought more likely to have been Lazarus. 

4 Hala Sultan Tekke
Hala Sultan Tekke
Third holiest place for Muslims the mosque, situated on the edge of Larnaca Salt Lake is a haven on peace and coolness from the rigours of daily life. The mosque was built on the site of where Mohammed’s maternal aunt died after falling from her horse. With a simple interior the main attraction is the covered, supposedly ‘floating’ basalt slab that hovers over her grave. Many say that the Tekke and its surroundings have a healing aura to them, whether this is because of the peacefulness of the place or the benefits of the salt laden air, no one knows. It is, however, a place that should be on every tourist’s ‘must see’ list.

5 Salt Lake
Salt Lake
Actually four interconnected salt lakes, these fill with water during the winter and become home to the famous pink flamingos that flock there feeding on the pink shrimps that swim in the lake. As summer draws on the lake water evaporates leaving a crust of salt up to 10cms thick. In days of old, camel trains used to carry slabs of salt cut from the lake bed to the markets of the main cities and towns. Now the lake area is seen as a conservation area visited by many rare migrating birds in the winter.

6 Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art
Pierides Museum of Ancient Cypriot Art
The Pierides Museum houses an exhibition covering 3200 years of Greek-Cypriot Culture – the ‘From Astarti to Aphrodite’ exhibition. The exhibits lead you on a journey helping you to understand the effect Greek culture had on the art of the island. The exhibits come from the collections of six state museums in Cyprus as well as from the National Archeological Museum in Athens. Many of the exhibits are rare treasures.
If you’re visiting with children, the Museum offers daily educational programmes including hands on activities for children of all ages.

7 Larnaca Aqueduct
Larnaca Aqueduct
Otherwise known as the arches, the Larnaca Aqueduct was built in 1746 by Koca Bekir Pasha who realised the difficulties of fresh water access faced by the poor in the city. The aqueduct carried water from a source about 6 miles south of the town, with the supply involving a long underground tunnel, 250 air wells, and three series of overland arches. The aqueduct was repaired in 1856 and enabled the aqueduct to remain in use until the 1950s. Today the aqueduct is illuminated at night. It looks out of place in the Cypriot landscape but is a very photogenic sight.

8 Larnaca Fort
Larnaca Fort
Larnaca fort was built in 1625 by the Ottomans to defend the city. It was used more often as a prison, especially when the island was taken over by the British in 1878. The fort is right on the shoreline and visitors can walk around it via the sea wall. Inside the fort has archaeological exhibits from the site of Kition, cannons, suits of armour, lace from nearby Lefkara and many other items of local interest. In the summer the fort is occasionally the venue for concerts and other special events organised by Larnaca Municipal Cultural Centre.

9 Finikoudes Beach
Finikoudes Beach
Finikoudes beach is considered to be one of the most famous beaches in South Cyprus and is the main brach in Larnaca. The name Finikoudes comes after the small palm trees which were planted back in 1922. The beach is around half a km long and has fine sand that children love to play in. Behind the beach is the centre of Larnaca so you can have a relaxed morning of sunbathing and then enjoy some lunch at many of the local restaurants, followed up by some shopping in the afternoon.

10 Stavrovouni Monastery
Stavrovouni Monastery
High on a mountain off the road from Larnaca to Nicosia stands the monastery of Stavrovouni which means Mountain of the Cross.

This is the oldest recorded monastery in Cyprus, having been an important religious centre since the 4th century. St Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, was returning from the Holy Land where she is reputed to have discovered the remains of the three crosses of the crucifixion. She decided to take them back with her to Constantinople but was shipwrecked off the coast of Cyprus. She saw it as a sign and left one of the crosses with the monks at Stavrovouni.

The monastery is in a spectacular position and the view from the top is breathtaking. On a very clear day Lebanon is visible from the summit. Be aware that entrance to the monastery is restricted to men only.

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