Another of John Farrar's Virtual Cities
Picture this: miles and miles of safe, clean beaches; prized antiquities dating back several thousand years; delicious lamb and mouth-watering seafood; lively cafes and a Continental-style promenade. Welcome to Larnaka - a living town with charming friendly people who do all they can to make you feel very welcome, and which I visited and would certainly recommend as a holiday destination. Here’s a snapshot of the reasons why
For a relaxing sun-drenched beach holiday, Larnaka is the place to visit, as many of its beaches have been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag for cleanliness and safety. Stroll along the waters edge watching glorious golden sunsets, or swim in the clear sea which, in summer, is as warm as a bath. Sail a dinghy, hire a motor cruiser or experience the thrill of water-skiing or banana ride – they’re guaranteed to take your breath away.
When you tire of the beach, delve into the city’s rich cultural heritage – your main difficulty will be knowing where to begin. For a marvellous introduction to this fascinating city, take a walking tour of Larnaka’s main attractions – they take place throughout the year and they’re free for all visitors!
Marvel at the 9th century Church of St Lazarus - Larnaka's greatest religious monument – which was restored in the 17th century and boasts a particularly fine Baroque iconostasis, a screen which separates the congregation from the altar in Greek Orthodox churches.
Visit the tomb of Saint Lazarus, the patron saint of Larnaka, which is under the sanctuary and enjoy some quiet contemplation whilst escaping the heat of the day outside. Saint Lazarus became Bishop of Kition (Larnaka's ancient name) after, local legend has it, he was resurrected from the dead by Christ.
Close by, you will find the 17th century Fort, a magnificent stone building situated at the western end of the promenade which houses canon and offers great views of the city and bay. Wander through the Turkish quarter with its white and yellow frangipani and pomegranate trees, before heading up the main shopping street where you will find the wonderful Pierides Foundation Museum which contains a collection of antiquities from Neolithic times to the Ottoman period.
Stop off at the small souvenir shops selling leather goods, local wines and lace, or shop in one of the many designer boutiques which stock some of the most famous labels in the world. Katie Price or 'Jordan' has been spotted stocking up on her favourite make -up brands, slinky tops and shoes! She and her husband Peter Andre are now proud villa owners on the outskirts of Larnaka - where else?
Just a short walk away is the Archaeological Museum and quaint Custom Warehouses built by the British in 1878 to serve the port. They now house a museum with interesting photographs of old Larnaka – people working the salt lake and riding camels.
Rest a while over a Cyprus coffee - thick and sweet rather like an espresso - in one of the dozens of excellent cafes and restaurants that line the wide Continental-style promenade. Return during the evening when the promenade comes alive with tourists and locals enjoying themselves at one of Larnaka’s excellent restaurants and bars. Make the most of freshly-caught fish or feast yourself on a traditional meat or seafood meze – an endless stream of small dishes that just keep on coming until you can eat no more.
Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail in a seafront bar, or stroll along the promenade to the marina, which attracts yachtsmen from all over the world, and where you can watch the rich and famous at play.
If you are renting a car, Larnaka is ideally situated for touring the surrounding countryside, magnificent mountains and attractive hillside towns such as Lefkara, which is famed for the lace-like embroidery known as `Lefkaritika'. Tochni and Kalavassos for their citrus orchards and horse riding schools.
I stayed at The Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows. A well established 4-star property with 5-star facilities and impeccable service and food. Opening the curtains of my room I had the most immense and uninterrupted view of the Mediterranean Sea. So much to enjoy and just stones throw away from the centre of Larnaka. I would certainly recommend this Cypriot idyll for a relaxing holiday, a romantic honeymoon or wedding celebrations. I particularly enjoyed its exotic, spacious gardens and private sandy beach for those early morning strolls or indeed for those pre-dinner drinks at sunset. There was no getting away that from the fact the both the scenery and breath of vision were instrumental in lifting my spirits daily.
I would like to thank the management and staff of the hotel for all the help they gave me during my visit to compile a photographic travel log.
To view a selection of photographs of Larnaka and the Hotel please click on the links below and Happy Viewing!
The Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows
P.O. BOX 40394, CY 6303, Larnaka, Cyprus
Tel: +357 24 846600
Fax: +357 24 846601
CLICK BELOW TO CHECK FLIGHT PRICES AND AVAILABILITY
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John M. D. Farrar - Member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists