Larnaca is the oldest city in Cyprus, with evidence of habitation up to 6000 years ago. It is located on Cyprus' southernmost coast and is the third largest city in the county with its own Larnaca Airport accepting around 7 million people yearly. Larnaca's rich and colourful history has left it with numerous historical sites. You can marvel at the Church of Saint Lazarus, the Hala Sultan Tekke, the Kamares Aqueduct, medieval fort or take a stroll down the main street. But mainly Larnaca is a seaside resort and to discover the beaches in and around Larnaca you need the comfort of a car hire. The city is known for its palm-tree seafront. The lively coastal promenade, known as the Finikoudes, is where you can grab a cup of coffee in the morning or a beer in the evening, take a dip in the sea or just relax and enjoy on the beach.
Basic info and car hire in Larnaca
- Location: Southern coast of Cyprus
- Population: City: 51,468, Urban: 84,591 (As of 2011)
- Official language: Greek, Turkish
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Weather: Cyprus has one of the warmest climates in the Mediterranean part of Europe with warm to hot summers lasting for about eight months, beginning in April and ending in November. Winters in Larnaca are very mild. Rain occurs mostly in winter, summers are usually dry.
- Holidays in Larnaca: Check the national calendar containing all public holidays in Cyprus.
- Internet coverage: There are many cafés, hotels, restaurants and bars in Larnaca that offer free Wi-Fi. For more details check this map of free Wi-Fi hotspots in Larnaca.
- Car hire in Larnaca: The most common place to collect a hired car is Larnaca International Airport, located 2.5 miles (4 km) southwest of Larnaca. To get the best price for your hire, be sure to reserve a booking 3 to 8 weeks in advance. Find the best car hire deal in Larnaca.
Driving in Larnaca
Driving in another country is always different than driving at home. Even though the rules are the same, interpretation of driving laws will vary. This is especially true for driving in Cyprus. First thing that comes to attention is the frequent use of the horn- if you are slow of the mark at traffic lights or junctions. Cyprus drivers can be aggressive, extremely slow or vary fast, so be sure to drive carefully.
- Age limits: To hire a car in Cyprus you should be 21 years of age with a minimum of three years driving experience.
- International Driving Permit: If your driving licence is not printed in English you must have an International drivers licence.
- Additional papers: You need to have a proof of identity, the car's insurance certificate, MOT certificate and the registration document.
- Additional requirements: Your hire car should be equipped with two warning triangles. If you are travelling to the mountains in snowy conditions, snow chains are mandatory. There are no regulations for first aid kits.
- Children in the car: For safety reasons children under the age of ten must not sit in the front seat. Appropriate child seats are mandatory for children aged between 5 and 10 years.
- Driving side of the road: Left
- Lights: Headlights need to be used half an hour before sunset and half an hour before sunrise.
- General speed limits: Speed limits are mostly clearly marked and resemble the speed limits in other European countries. Speed limits are marked in km/h not in mph.
- Parking suggestions: The unofficial rule in Cyprus is that if there is a space not occupied by another car, it is a potential parking spot. Police rarely hand out fines for illegal parking. This can be slightly chaotic but it means that you will not spent much time looking for a parking spot.
What to see in Larnaca
Our favourite spots
Larnaca's beaches are filled with tourist and locals alike from May to September. Most conveniently located is the Finikoudes Beach which is strung out along the main promenade. If you want a little less crowdy place, take a drive with your hire car to Cape Kiti Beach (15 km south of Larnaca) or Perivolia Beach.
Located right on the edge of Larnaca's seaside promenade. It was built in the Ottoman era in 1625 and was used as the Ottoman's main line of defence of the city. It was turn into a prison during the British colonial period. It offers a good view across the Mediterranean Sea. Today it's home to the Larnaca's Medieval Museum.
Build in 1746 in provided Larnaca with water supply until the 1930s. It was constructed under orders of the local Ottoman governor and styled on typical Roman era aqueducts. Visit during the evening when the arches are lit up.
The church was built in the 9th century and restored in the 17th century. It was built on the place where Lazarus was buried. You can take the staircase that leads down into the Tomb of Lazarus. The church has four domes over the nave, and the roof is supported on four seats of double columns.
Hotels in Larnaca
Located in Larnaca 200 metres from the beach, Hotel Opera offers cosy Mediterranean atmosphere. All in blue and white it features a sweet little sun terrace.
Sun Hall Hotel
Sun Hall Hotel is located right on the seafront, just 50 metres from the beach. Guest can enjoy air-conditioned rooms or relax by the pool.
Livadhiotis City Hotel
Located in the centre of Larnaca it is also just 100 metres from the famous Phinikoudes Beach. It offers rooms with late-retro decor.
Flamingo Beach Hotel Larnaca
Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, the salt lake and Larnaca bay line The Flamingo Beach Hotel is a three-star hotel with a pleasant atmosphere.
Drive your rental car around Larnaca
If you want to escape the clutches of the city, rent a car and drive to Stavrovouni Monastery, which is located west of Larnaca, atop of a clifftop. The monastery offers superb panoramic views across the surrounding countryside. It was founded in 327 AD by the Empress Helena (the mother of the Emperor Constantine). The current building was built in the 19th century since the original monastery was burnt to the ground during the Arab attacks in the 15th century.
You can visit the village of Lefkara, famous for its lace productions. It is located west of Larnaca and is difficult to access by public transport, so it's best to hire a car and drive there yourself. The village prouds itself with a local story that Leonardo da Vinci bought a piece of lace there in 1481 to be used in Milan's cathedral as an altar cloth.
Cape Greco is a must see for all the nature lovers since it is one of the most stunning panoramas on the whole island. It is positioned between Agia Napa and the town of Protaras and is the most southerly point of Cyprus. The entire area is a national park and is definitely the most stunning coastal hike.
Drive your hire car to Agia Napa. In the centre of the town is the famous Byzantine/Venetian monastery known as 'Our Lady of the Forests' which was founded in the 16th century by a Venetian nobleman’s daughter after her father refused her to marry a commoner. It is one of the last buildings erected in Cyprus by the Venetians. While in town you can visit one of the most beautiful beaches in Cyprus since they are all located around Agia Napa. The most famous is Nissi Beach, a long sandy beach. For those of you that don't like crowded beaches we suggest that you drive to Kermia Beach (two km east of Agia Napa) or head to Konnos Beach. They are a bit smaller but just as pretty.
Major events and festivals in Larnaca
Larnaca Summer FestivalJuly
The main venues of this music and performing arts festival are the courtyard of Larnaca medieval fort and the Pattichion Municipal Amphitheatre.
Festival takes place at Agios Lazaros church and Larnaca Municipal Theatre. You can enjoy the Byzantine ecclesiastical music and choirs' performance.
Larnaca Festival of ClassicalApril
Lovers of classical music should not miss this festival which features performances of philharmonic orchestras, brass band and other. Events take place at the Larnaca Municipal Theatre.
Celebration for the arrival of spring and nature's rebirth in connection with Ancient Greece. You can marvel at the parade of float and people carrying flowers to the seafront.