Lost in Larnaca
Monita Pesumal highlights the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when visiting Larnaca
A few months ago, I suddenly decided to fly to Cyprus. Perhaps it was the island’s rich history, sun kissed beaches and warm Cypriot hospitality that lured me – I’m not sure. Be that as it may, here are some tips to keep in mind if you plan to visit Cyprus in the Mediterranean summer.
Do pick accommodation close to Larnaca’s old town and opt to stay at the Hotel Indigo Larnaca. This chic contemporary four star hotel is only a brisk walk away from the main town square.
It’s also only a 10 minute drive from Larnaca International Airport. And the welcome basket of local bread, nuts and jam in your room is sure to put a smile on your face after a long flight.
Don’t ever go for a stroll at midday. The sun will literally kiss (I mean kill!) your brain – plus most shops tend to close in the afternoon. One supposes that the Cypriots really love their afternoon naps.
Do visit the historical late 9th century Church of Saint Lazarus for its religious significance as a centre of Christian pilgrimage. Its courtyard has a beautiful jacaranda tree filled with flowers – now, there’s a fine spot for a selfie!
Don’t skip the iced coffee – in fact, order a frappé from the StoArtos Coffee Bakery, which is located opposite the main church square. It’s a mind-blowing combination of instant coffee, sugar, cold water, chilled milk and ice with lots of foam on top. You can thank me later!
Do stroll down to the popular Finikoudes beach. And once you’re done sunbathing, check out Athinon Avenue, which lies across from the beach. It’s lined with sidewalk cafes, taverns (yes, ancient bars) and restaurants.
And do yourself a favour and indulge in typical Cypriot cuisine, which includes halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread and grilled meat kebabs. Insider tip – try a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Souvlaki GR and order yourself skepasti with cheese.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the medieval Larnaca Castle that’s only a block away from the pier. And opposite the castle is the Djami Kebir Mosque, which is in the heart of the Turkish quarter of Larnaca.
Do shop locally because Larnaca is popular for its artisanal community. Handmade soaps, traditionally embroidered place mats, tablecloths, napkins and exquisite silver jewellery are some of the gifts that you can take back home, along with olive oil and loukoumi, which is Cyprus’ answer to Turkish delight.
Do indulge in typical Cypriot cuisine, which includes halloumi cheese, olives, pitta bread and grilled meat kebabs
Don’t forget the iced coffee – order a frappé from the StoArtos Coffee Bakery, which is located opposite the main church square