If you’re planning your new life – or second home – in Cyprus, why should you choose Larnaca? Having lived in Cyprus now for 25 years, I remember when it was only really known for its international airport. These days Larnaca has so much more to offer it can now be considered a great place to live. Helen Epaminonda Smith explains why.
What does Larnaca have to offer?
I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed by Larnaca. It’s Cyprus’s third largest city, with a population of around 70,000. It’s on the south-eastern side of the island, around 130 kilometres from Paphos in the west.
Over my 25 years in Cyprus, one thing that’s remained with me all this time is the general holiday feel. If you are planning to retire here, or even invest here, you will always feel that you are holidaying, wherever you live. Of course the weather plays its part in this, but it’s also down to the atmosphere of the major towns on the south coast, like Larnaca.
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There are so many tavernas here! More recently even English-style pubs have sprung up in the tourist area, if you prefer to feel as if you are back home in the UK. Either way they’ll be serving Cyprus’s world famous golden Keo lager beer. It’s wonderful, and I’d recommend the new light version too for those of you watching your weight.
There is also the unmistakable smell of Cyprus’s kebabs. Banish all thoughts of those weird things hanging up in shops on your way back from the pub in the UK! These are wonderful, traditional Cypriot cuisine. If you fancy a treat – or have friends coming over – there are now one or two 5-star hotels in Larnaca, like Radisson Blue that has just opened. They are exquisite in their standards and similarly in their food and drink.
The Cypriots are particularly laid back, they take their time! Cafes remain open until very late in the evening, and bars and pubs and nightclubs remain open until the early hours! Cyprus has just legalised casinos too, and new ones are opening up in Larnaca now.
A city on the water
If the healthy fresh food is one image made in heaven, another is the wonderful blue sea with its crystal clear waters and the sandy beaches. For watersports fans, a new marina has recently been built in Larnaca. There are actually dozens of options for sailors in Cyprus, and especially for newbies who would like to get into it. In Larnaca you could try the Ponatha nautical club.
Larnaca marina is where I always head for if I want a quiet time alone. There’s some names you’ll recognise there, like Caffe Nero and Starbucks, but there’s also some small, friendly Cyprus cafes too. Or it’s great to meet friends there too, especially in the summer evenings. You can enjoy a wonderful steak dinner at Hobos, or even Cypriot local cuisine, which is delicious.
If the healthy fresh food is one image made in heaven, another is the wonderful blue sea with its crystal clear waters and the sandy beaches.
I can guarantee that you will remember Larnaca for its pretty seafront, lined with tall palm trees. It always makes me feel like I’m in Hawaii! You will find some water sports like windsurfing and scuba diving activities there. And as you approach the airport, you will see Larnaca’s famous salt lakes where wild pink flamingos live and breed. Larnaca now has a great nightlife, with pubs and nightclubs where you can dance the night away.
One reason I came to live on the south coast was to escape from the wild winds, rain, fog and snow in the UK. Many internationals come to live here for that reason. Just by comparing the average annual temperatures in England with those in Cyprus will give you your answer. Larnaca’s summer temperatures are not so hot as inland.
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In the hottest summer months in Cyprus – July and August – the average temperatures in Larnaca are 32-33°Celsius, compared with 35+ degrees in Limassol in these months. Like Limassol, the coldest months are January and February, with average temperatures 17°C in the day, and 7°C in the evening.
Larger than Paphos airport, Larnaca international airport has flights from all four London airports. You can also fly here from Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast airports. You can fly to global destinations as well. There are many airlines to choose from, having direct flights, but prices fluctuate according to the season.
Regarding transport, Cyprus generally doesn’t have a train or metro service. There are buses that you can take, and they are cheap, but I would advise you to factor in a car in your relocation calculations. Distances are small, that’s a huge advantage of this island! Actually, the size of southern half of Cyprus is a little less than half the size of Wales – Cyprus’s whole coast is about 400 miles long. As a whole, the island is 225 km in length and 97 km wide
You can find work in areas like secretarial, teaching, administration, accountancy and management. There are also opportunities to work in offshore companies, mainly in the shipping industry and in insurance.
At the weekends you can lead an active or a quieter lifestyle. For those of you who enjoy activity, there are plenty of fully-trained water sports instructors, who I have found are very good at teaching their sport. There are many gyms where you can do martial arts, keep fit, or yoga classes – and varieties of the same like TX training or power yoga. Or just go for a run along the beachfront.
For active types, there are plenty of fully-trained water sports instructors, who I have found are very good at teaching their sport. There are many gyms where you can do martial arts, keep fit, or yoga classes – and varieties of the same like TX training or power yoga.
Those who like the quieter lifestyle can or sunbathe with a good book. It’s wonderful also to sit in the many cafes sipping a hot or cold coffee or beer.
Property for sale in Larnaca
For a three-bedroom apartment you’ll need a budget from about €115,000. I’ve found from experience that a three-bedroom apartment is better value than a two-bedroom one in terms of price. You can even buy a three-bedroom penthouse apartment for €230,000. For a three-bedroom villa with a swimming pool you need closer to €400,000.
If you don’t fancy living in Larnaca centre, there are some nearby villages to consider too. Tochni is an excellent option in the hills near Larnaca. Between September and April the temperatures here are between 15 and 25°C. The perfect climate for a healthy, active winter in Cyprus. Tochni has terrific cycling routes, organised nature trail groups and even rock climbing, with stunning Mediterranean views. Now, wouldn’t that be nicer than a sweaty yoga room!
Vavatsinia is another more rural option, where the landscape is covered in forest. You can find cycling routes here and nature trails here too, along the almond tree clad paths.
Don’t make an offer on a property in Larnaca until you have read the Property Buyer’s Guide to Currency. It is written by our partner Smart Currency Exchange, rated “Excellent” on Trustpilot.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey with me as your guide and that it has given you an idea of what to expect if you come to live in Larnaca. You will join the many British nationals here in Cyprus. What is guaranteed here is a warm welcome to you all, excellent food and drink, the weather, and a relatively stress-free lifestyle!
I wish you all the very best.