Larnaca, on the eastern side of Cyprus, is a liveable mix of gorgeous beaches, marinas, country walks and cafe culture. You’ll love living in Larnaca…
I welcomed British relatives over to Cyprus recently and gave them the traditional tour of the island. We decided to explore some of the villages and cities on foot. This is a new thing I’ve been doing since the lockdown, and it really gives me a new perspective on the island. It doesn’t matter how long you live in a country – even a small one like Cyprus – there are always new things to discover.
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And I can tell you that the city of Larnaca was a real discovery to me last week, when I explored it on foot. Larnaca is on the eastern end of the south coast of southern Cyprus, about 130 kilometres from Paphos and 65 from Limassol.
I hadn’t realised exactly how much history Larnaca has. Indeed it can claim to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. To be honest, I just thought of it as the airport to enter or leave Cyprus But I found Larnaca to be wonderfully compact and with many interesting walks.
Marina living in Larnaca
There’s a lot of money been spent here in the last few years and it’s gone from an industrial-looking city to a very attractive and liveable one, with its new marina. Larnaca’s marina is modelled on the very successful Limassol Marina, with its coffee shops and classy restaurants where you can eat Cypriot and international food.
Of course, it’s a seafaring sort of place. It’s also been continually inhabited for the longest time in history, some 10,000 years. So if you make Larnaca your permanent home you will be living among its rich ancient culture and Cypriot architecture.
Highlights of Larnaca
So, what are the highlights of Larnaca and why should you make it your home?
Larnaca blends a varied and exciting coastline with a traditional culture. It has its famous beach – Foinikoudes – along which is a 600-metre promenade lined with tropical palm trees. Beneath their shade you can enjoy restaurants and coffee areas.
Follow the path by the sea to see local people enjoying the freshest seafood in traditional tavernas. A quick hint: when you see a taverna anywhere in Cyprus filled with Cypriot locals, go there! You’ll know it will serve you the best and usually most affordable food. Next to this is the shopping centre housed in traditional architecture. Don’t miss Larnaca’s Salt Lake, where you can see lots of bright pink flamingos arrive in the winter.
Whether you take a villa or an apartment in Larnaca you are assured sapphire blue water and vast expanses of sand. Many of Larnaca’s beaches hold the Blue Flag and they have high standards of cleanliness, water, and safety – and there are even disabled facilities available. At Foinikoudes beach you can scuba dive to see so much sea life under the crystal waters – like seabream, sea bass and red mullet, crabs and, of course, octopus. You can also learn to dive on diving expeditions here.
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For families I recommend Larnaca’s McKenzie Beach. This is a lively place where there is always a lot going on, both day and night. Here the sea is particularly shallow and so it’s a great for a spot of sunbathing and then you can cool off in the shallow waters. Cafes, restaurants and bars are open continually in the day and at night. The beach and its surrounding area turns into a hotspot at night where you can listen to Greek and Cypriot and international live music concerts on the beach and eat and drink at the restaurants and bars at night by the side of sea.
Larnaca’s village life
If you prefer, you can live outside Larnaca in villages in the mountains, dotted on the landscape up towards the Troodos mountains. These villages have cooler temperatures which are very welcome in the heat of the summer. For example, Oroklini is a pretty coastal village that lies about 9.9 km (about 16 minutes) away from Larnaca town.
Whilst in Larnaca, I discovered a four-kilometre nature trail that takes you around the edge of the Larnaca Salt Lake. Known locally as ‘Alyki’, it winds through the lake area and up to the ancient Kamares aqueduct. You will see many trees, shrubs and flowers as you walk and these are all labelled with information. You can sit on the benches provided to rest.
So when you think about Cyprus as your new home don’t make the mistake I did and dismiss Larnaca as just the town that has Cyprus’s main airport.
Buying a home in Larnaca
A two-bedroom apartment in the Larnaca area will cost from just under €100,000, or around double that for a three-bedroom house. Villas in a village like Oroklini go for around €150,000.