You don’t need to travel to be happy. Some people are actually happier when they don’t. If you’re like me, you start your days with imaginary travels by opening your favorite flight search engine and by typing in different destinations. When you find a flight to a place you love, you start making scenarios of weekend trips, city breaks and lists of all the cool things you can do and see at the destination. This is like traveling a little every day.

This is how you can easily end up by clicking on Larnaca on Wizz Air’s website. If you’re lucky, flight prices for a four-night stay are incredibly low. Sometimes, they are as low as 50 Euros return (this is from Bucharest, where I live now). The Bucharest-Larnaca flight duration is only a little over two hours. One phone call and a few clicks later the tickets were bought, the hotel booked, and I was already searching for things to see in Cyprus. Little did I know I was going to see the beach, only the beach and almost nothing but the beach. Well, I also saw a lot of cats. You can’t eat one single meal here without ten pairs of round eyes staring at your mouth.

three cats on Larnaca street

Little, round eyes, everywhere you look.

Where Is Cyprus?

Did you know that Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004? Their currency is Euro, so it’s not so difficult to get a good understanding of the prices and of the value of things.They drive on the left side of the road, and they use the same power plugs as in the UK. You can buy an adapter in any convenience store for less than 2 Euros, so don’t bother bringing one with you, if you don’t have it already.

Located just below Turkey, Cyprus is at approximately the same latitude as Crete, the Greek island with lovely weather almost all year round. Besides, as Cyprus is in the Mediterranean Sea, it also benefits from excellent weather, perfect for a beach vacation in months when we already wear our winter gear.

cyprus portokali restaurant-larnaka

Restaurants are already open and waiting for the first customers. Portokali is the Greek for orange.

The country is divided in two. The northern region is under Turkish occupation. For many years, people living in Southern Nicosia were forced to take long tours to get from home to work, in order to avoid trespassing Turkish territories. Today, on Ledra Street in Nicosia, you are allowed to cross the border, so make sure you have your passport on you, should you go for a tour of the city. This is a pedestrian only crossing. I don’t know what drivers do to get to the Turkish part. Anyway, if you intend to do this, and you rent a car, don’t forget to inform the agent about your intention, because you need additional insurance coverage. As crazy at is may seem, you can’t take a bus to go from Larnaca to the Turkish territories in the north of the island. If you want to visit Famagusta, Salamis, Kyrenia Harbor, Kyrenia Castle, Turtle Beach and the Saint Barnabas Monastery, you have the option to rent a car or to use the local “Dolmus” system. The Dolmus is a minibus just like the ones in Turkey. Nonetheless, as far as I’ve understood, if you don’t have a car, you may have to walk a lot (which is very good for you, so I strongly encourage you to do it).

larnaka citadel beach cyprus

larnaca promenade Cyprus

This amazing promenade is a few miles long, excellent for bicycles, roller blades or brisk walks at sunset

Best Time To Go To Cyprus

There’s probably no best time to go to Cyprus, as the climate is mild and warm all year round. May has been great, with about 24-25 degrees Celsius in the air, and with a water temperature of about 20-21 degrees C. It appears that today is a rainy day in Larnaka, Limassol, Nicosia, and everywhere else on the island. In July and August the weather must be hotter, but with the nice wind blowing on the beach, it surely is enjoyable. If you’re not too fond of crowds, May is the perfect time to enjoy a perfect three or four days break. Although you won’t have too many entertainment opportunities, you’ll still find enough taverns and bars open and ready to feed you their tasty lamb chops, fish and seafood. Since I haven’t had the time to see anything else but Larnaca, I’ll surely go back another time for exploration purposes.

Things To Do in Larnaka

muscula fruit cyprus

The locals called this fruit “muscula” and they sold us a full bag of them for one euro. Sweet and sour, muscula tastes a little like plums. It’s refreshing.

Coming from a crazy spring, with many cold days and storms, you’ll feel it’s your duty of honor to spend as much time on the beach as possible. On the first day you can discover Finikoudes (or Foinikoudes) Beach with its beautiful promenade, palm trees, fine sand, shallow waters and a generous offer of restaurants and bars. There are always some guys who sell fresh fruit, juices and coffee directly on the beach, so you don’t have to move to get some refreshments. If you see someone selling a local variety of peach, very small and much whiter than traditional peaches, buy some, because it is delicious. There are also some tiny, yellow-orange fruits which locals call “muscula.” I couldn’t find this fruit on Google, but here’s a photo of it. If you know how it’s called, please write a comment here, below. Anyway, at one euro a bag, these fruits are the perfect beach refreshments.

The main things to do in Larnaka are to relax on the beach, to eat, to take nice, long walks, and to play with the million cats that roam around wherever you go. Optionally, you can visit the mosque and the Agios Lazaros Byzantine Museum, as well as any of the many museums in the city.

Museum entrance in Larnaka center

Museum entrance in the center of Larnaka, nearby St. Lazarus

larnaka Saint Lazaros Byzantine Museum

The Saint Lazarus Byzantine Museum – beautiful facade and church tower

If you go to Larnaka during the peak season, you can try your skills at diving and canoeing or relax with a sea yoga session. Well, if you can relax while doing the Downward Facing Dog on a plank in the middle of the sea. It seems that May is way too early, as the sea yoga center and the diving center appeared to be closed. Even Makenzy Beach, famous for its nightlife, appeared to be deserted during the day. The only living beings were some workers getting ready for the high season. Finikoudes Beach was much better, with its restaurants, bars and shops.

What You Can Eat In Cyprus

Seafood and fish are served in all restaurants along the Larnaca promenade, and, as you can imagine, they are all fresh and delicious. Octopus, calamari and shrimps are mouthwatering and juicy. However, the biggest hit of this trip were the lamb chops. If you ever go to Cyprus and you like lamb meat, try these chops. They are sensational.

delicious lamb chops with French fries

Delicious lamb chops with French fries for only 13 Euros (about $16 USD)

seafood mixed grill platter

Seafood mixed grill platter to die for (or to get fat)

Since the portions are literally huge, you’ll have plenty of leftovers to feed the army of cats around your hotel. If you’re lucky to get a ground floor room with a large deck, you’ll have some furry-purry guests every evening. I choose the Larco Hotel on Booking.com despite the fact that most reviewers said bathrooms were really bad. They were right, but the staff was very nice, we’ve got a driver waiting for us at the airport, and we’ve got a huge deck with a table and chairs. We had a few four-legged guests every day, so by the end of the journey we weren’t so upset about the bathroom anymore. I could call this article “How a Bunch of Cats Can Change Your Mindset.”

cat on deck in the shadow

This could be your best friend during your stay in Larnaca.

Cat taking a sunbath

Or maybe you prefer this one.

On the Salt Lake, you can see the flamingos and the ancient aqueducts. I’ve only looked from the car as I was heading to the hotel from the airport, and I haven’t seen any birds. I suppose I’ll need to get back another time to take photos of the flamingos and to see Paphos and Nicosia.

The airport is very close to the beach, so you can try your hand at shooting airplanes (with your camera, of course) day and night. If you have the right gear, you can take some amazing shots of airplanes crossing the moon. Obviously, I don’t have the right skills, because there’s no good photo I can show. This is yet another reason to return next year.

 

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