Vibrant Larnaca, the third largest city on Cyprus, spills inland from the Foinikoudes, its breezy promenade. Lined with wrought-iron lamps and tall, swaying palm trees, the promenade is the center of Larnaca's social life. Cypriot families and continental tourists dock their boats in the marina, linger over meze in the cafes, and browse for paintings and beachwear in the shops. Nearby, an ancient fort and archaeological sites hint at this port town's long history, while the remains of St. Lazarus and the Prophet Mohammed's aunt rest in local holy sites.
The Foinikoudes fronts a long, wide sandy beach, and popular Mckenzie beach, west of the promenade, has plenty of good fish restaurants, changing rooms, and sunbeds. Watersports like wind-surfing and water-skiing are available at Ellinas Beach. Dasaki Pylas, with its clear, shallow waters, and Kastella, in a sheltered harbor, are popular for safe swimming. Quieter beaches include Faros at Pervolia and Yanathes in Voroclini, about 3km (2 miles) west of town.
Things to Do
Larnaca is built over Kition, a 13th-century B.C. port town. Ruins of ancient buildings and roads are on Larnaca's outskirts. Kition's most famous resident was St. Lazarus -- who was resurrected by Jesus -- and is honored at the 10th-century Agios Lazaros. The Hala Sultan Tekke mosque, site of the Prophet Muhammad's aunt's tomb, sits on a salt lake, a popular autumn and winter gathering spot for flamingos. Built in 1625 to protect the harbor, Larnaka Fort is now the Medieval Museum.
Eating and Drinking
International tourism has brought with it a multitude of restaurants serving a selection of cuisines, from French and Italian, to Indian and Middle Eastern. Traditional and informal tavernas serve Cypriot dishes, such as afelia, pork cooked in wine and herbs, and kleftiko, slow-cooked lamb. Locals crowd the best tavernas for meze -- small plates of classic dips, spreads, salads, and meats -- and wine. Popular cafes, pubs, and cocktail bars line the Foinikoudes.
Arts and Culture
The Pierides Foundation Museum is one of the finest private museums on Cyprus. The collections include ceramic pots and figurines dating back to Neolithic times and more recent rural crafts, tools, and furniture. Modern sculptures are on showcase in the courtyard. This museum, along with the Natural History Museum, Archaeological Museum, and its Byzantine Museum, are popular venues for cultural events and art exhibitions, particularly in the summer.