Ready for endless days of sunshine, beautiful beaches, fascinating history, and wildlife-filled hikes? Then you’ve picked the perfect spot! Larnaca is bursting full of things to do and places to explore, so much so, that planning a Larnaca itinerary comes with its challenges.
While one could spend an entire week beach hopping in Cyprus, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the many fortresses, monasteries, and villages located in and around Larnaca. Yet, as many of the most breathtaking spots of Cyprus are located a short drive from Larnaca, it’s easy to spend the morning exploring and be back beachside with a cocktail in hand by the early afternoon.
Below, we’ve put together the best of the best things to do in Larnaca. Combining Paphos, the MS Zenobia wreck, Larnaca Salt Lake, and so much more, to bring you this incredible 7-day Larnaca Itinerary.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 1: Soak up the sun and enjoy traditional food
With an international airport a mere 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Larnaca city, you won’t have to go far to drop your bags and get to the beach. And after all, if you’re visiting Cyprus, chances are soaking in the sun and enjoying a cold drink on the beach top your list. So, first things first, let’s pick a beach.
You’ll have a few different choices here, depending on if you want a beach with all the amenities or prefer a more remote place to spend the day. Here are our favorite two options to consider, that rival even the best beaches in Greece:
- Phinikoudes Beach – If you’re ready to spend the day sunbathing, exploring the coastline, swimming, and testing your skills kayaking or paddleboarding, Phinikoudes Beach is the best option. Stretching 2 kilometers long and offering excellent services and facilities, you can post up for the day without a worry in the world.
- Kastella Beach – Although much smaller than Phinikoudes Beach, Kastella is still well worth visiting and tends to be quieter than the surrounding beaches. If you have young children, you’ll love the shallow and calm water and the mini-markets and ice-cream shops just across the road.
When you’ve had enough beach for one day, it’s time to indulge in fresh local food. Cyprus is known for its delicious meat dishes, fresh cheeses, olives, and of course, meze. For a delicious variety of dishes to choose from, head to Kazani Traditional Tavern. Complete with a classic Cyrpus homey atmosphere, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped right into grandma’s house, and the food proves it.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 2: Scuba dive to the MS Zenobia wreck
Exploring the MS Zenobia wreck is a must-have on your Larnaca itinerary if you’re scuba certified. If you’re not scuba certified, not to worry. Keep on reading for another exciting activity. Back to the MS Zenobia. Deemed as one of the best wreck dive sites in the world – yes, the world, this large ferry sank in 1980 just off the coast of Larnaca and sits between 16 meters (52 feet) and 40 meters (130 feet) in depth.
If you’re a beginner diver or prefer easier dives, opt to explore the ship’s starboard side. Here you can swim around the outside of the ship while being surrounded by plenty of sea life, including turtles, grouper, barracuda, and triggerfish. If you’re an advanced diver, you can head inside the upper car deck, and if you’re a highly advanced diver, you can even explore the engine room. You won’t have a problem finding a dive company that offers MS Zenobia wreck diving. However, a great local company to check out is Pissouri Bay Divers.
Now on to option B if you’re not scuba certified, exploring the Cyprus coastline by boat on an Adventure Safari. You’ll be picked up right from your hotel and spend the day on the Mediterranean Sea, exploring incredible spots that can only be reached by boat. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, but a few spots you’ll visit include the Red cliffs, the caves of Pyla, and Cape Grekko, with plenty of stops to swim, snorkel, and feed the fish along the way.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 3: Spend the day in Paphos
No trip to Cyprus is complete without a visit to Paphos, and luckily, as Larnaca and Paphos are within an hour and a half drive from one another, it’s easy to spend an entire day exploring this history-rich city. If you haven’t already, we recommend renting a car. Although you can get to Paphos by public bus, you’ll find the limited schedule makes it hard to see all the highlights in one day.
If you’ve rented a car, get on the road bright and early to have plenty of time to enjoy Paphos. Your first stop brings you to Paphos Archaeological Park. Home to an incredible array of mosaic floors, beautiful temples, and elaborate tombs, it’s easy to spend a few hours wandering around. After, take some time to walk around the charming Old Town. Here you’ll find lively markets, cozy cafes, museums, and the Paphos Fort.
Other must-sees in Paphos include the Tomb of the King, which dates back to the 4th century BC, and St. Paul’s Pillars, which shines a light on Paul the Apostle’s pilgrimage. When you’ve had enough sightseeing for one day, head to the nearby Coral Bay beach for an afternoon of sunbathing and beach exploring.
Last on the itinerary for the day is an incredible sunset, rivaling even the famous spots in Greece. Paphos is known for its breathtaking sunsets, and if you’re comfortable driving back to Larnaca in the dark, you’ll be happy you stayed for it. Head out to Saint Nicholas Church, deemed one of Cyprus’ best places to watch the sunset and watch the sun sink into the ocean behind the beautiful white and blue-domed church.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 4: Explore Larnaca Salt Lake and Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque
Another exciting day trip awaits you today. Located a 30-minute walk or a few minutes drive from Larnaca town, Larnaca Salt Lake is the second largest salt lake in Cyprus and is undoubtedly a sight to see. If you’re driving, aim to park in front of Kamares (the ancient Aqueduct) at the north end of the lake. From here, your hike begins. The path is well-defined, relatively flat, and great for all ages. Although, you should be comfortable walking for around 3 hours at a time, pack plenty of water, and keep watch for Cyprus’ snakes.
You’ll start walking along the east side of the lake and immediately get immersed in the brilliant birdlife that calls the salt lake home. Winter is especially a magical time as thousands of pink flamingos migrate to Larnaca Salt Lake, creating a sea of pink as far as the eye can see. After passing a Bird Watch Tower, you’ll continue on the loop track along the lake’s west side and north side.
Along the way, you’ll come across the Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque. Legend has it the mosque was built after Umm Haram, the prophet Muhammad’s aunt, fell off her mule and died. True or not, the mosque has been beautifully well-kept and continues to be an important Islamic monument. Even today, it’s used as a living quarter for men and women, so be sure to be respectful as you pass by.
Shortly after seeing the mosque, you’ll find yourself back at your vehicle, having completed the 4-kilometer (2-mile) loop track. Depending on how much time you spend bird watching, you can expect the hike to take you 1 to 2 hours – meaning you’ll have plenty of time to relax at the beach end enjoy dinner back in Larnaca tonight.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 5: Hike up to Stavrovouni Monastery and visit the Medieval Castle of Larnaka
Today you’ll want to start bright and early to avoid the crowds and the heat. About a thirty-minute uphill drive from Larnaka, you’ll come to the Stavrovouni Monastery, set on a rocky peak 750 meters above sea level. The Monastery, founded by St Helena, dates back to the 4th century and is a must-see for history lovers, those passionate about religion, or simply those who enjoy a good view.
If you’re planning on heading inside, be aware that the Monastery has very strict rules. Women are not permitted to enter the Monastery at all, and men must wear pants and an appropriate shirt. Once inside, men are free to roam as they please and can watch monks go about their day-to-day lives and admire the shrine in the main temple. If you’re a woman, you can visit the Church of All Saints, but remember, a key thing to avoid in Cyprus is wearing shorts and t-shirts in churches. Don’t worry, though. The view of the Troodos mountains and the Mediterranean coast is still well worth the drive up.
When you’ve taken your fair share of photos (outside the Monastery, of course), you’ll head back to Larnaka to visit the Medieval Castle of Larnaka. Quite different from the Monastery, there are no dress codes here, and you’re even allowed to climb its walls to get a great photo of Phinikoudes beach. You can also visit a museum to learn about the castle’s history or just enjoy imagining what life was like back in the 14th century.
This afternoon you’ll have plenty of time to relax at the beach and enjoy a nice dinner in Old Town or along the harbor.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 6: Get moving in Voroklini
Enjoy a hearty breakfast as you’ll spend the full day exploring the beachside village of Voroklini. Located just a 20-minute drive from Larnaka, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a simpler time. Life is a bit slower here, and good food, great views, and scenic walks take center stage.
The best way to see the sights of Voroklini is to head out on the Voroklini scenic trail, and that’s just what you’ll do today. Pack a few snacks and a good amount of water, then head to the Voroklini Picnic Site, where the hike begins. This trail is an easy-rated loop track and you can head in either direction, but we recommend heading east first, walking in a counterclockwise path. The hike should take around two hours to complete, with a few photo stops here and there.
After the hike, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite. Head back to Voroklini town, and without much effort, you’ll find numerous places to sit down for a meal. As Voroklini has a wonderful mix of locals, British ex-pats, and Greek and Turkish Cypriots, you’ll find an array of restaurants to sample. A favorite among many is Voreas Tavern, which serves traditional Mediterranean food and incredible meze plates. Or, if you’ve had enough Mediterranean food for one trip, opt for the Balti House serving perhaps the best Indian cuisine on the entire island. As Cyprus is not expensive, you won’t have to worry about breaking your budget for a delicious meal.
Larnaca Itinerary Day 7: Test your pottery making skills and Emira Potter, soak in the sun or walk around the city
Hopefully, your suitcase still has some space left, as today you’re going to make your very own souvenir. Forget about the tacky magnets and t-shirts; this is something you can cherish forever. Intrigued? Get ready to make your own pottery at Emira Pottery. This charming shop was established in 1987 and hasn’t changed much since. The founder, Mr. Michael, is an incredible artist and an even better teacher. After looking around the showroom, you’ll head into the workshop to watch artists creating beautiful pieces, then be given a chance to make something of your own.
You can expect the experience to last about an hour, although it’s recommended to book your appointment to avoid waiting. When you’re finished, the afternoon is yours to do as you please. Depending on when you’re flying out of Larnaca, you may want to spend a few hours soaking in the sun, wandering around town picking out last-minute gifts, or just relaxing at a local cafe reminiscing about all the memories you’ve made.