We went in April and the weather was perfect for sight-seeing – around 22 degrees and as the Cypriots really celebrate Easter big-time, there is so much going on and a general air of excitement. However, weather-wise Cyprus is an all-year-round destination, so ideal if you fancy a bit of sunshine any time of the year. Spring and autumn are perfect and really comfortable, however, June and September are my favourite temperature-wise hovering around 27 degrees.
The winter months, December to February are mainly still warm in the daytime but the nights get a little chilly, but you will get to enjoy the magnificent sight of the flamingo’s on the salt lakes and the much celebrated Carnival season takes place for two weeks in February and is a lot of fun. July and August are really hot with temperatures well over 30 degrees, but it’s great weather for relaxing on the gorgeous beaches or just lying by the pool with the BBQ on.
Because we wanted to tour around and see something of the island, we decided to rent a villa in a pretty village called Kiti about 20 minutes drive from the airport in Larnaca and use that as a base.
There are not that many hotels in Larnaca as most people tend to stay in rented property or own their own holiday homes there, so we selected a spacious 4 bedroom villa called Fig Tree Villa which was really lovely and had everything we needed including a large pool and wifi. The centre of the village was just short walk away and housed many shops, including a local well-stocked supermarket around the corner, a couple of bars, lots of coffee shops and some excellent places to eat. The main town of Larnaca was just a 20 minute drive or bus ride away
The first morning, we headed off into Larnaca for some Saturday morning shopping, passing the beautiful salt lake on the way. The town was very lively and the coffee bars were full of locals watching the world go by. The main shopping street runs parallel to the beach so we parked in the free car park by the marina and started from the Main Post office and worked our way down to the Indoor Market at the far end. The tourist office is next to the Post Office in case you want to pick up some leaflets. Near to the market is the famous and historic St Lazarus Byzantine Church. Strolling down towards the sea we came across the Larnaca Medieval Castle and Museum which you can walk around for a few euros. Finikoudes, which means Palm Trees, is the main beach road is very stunning and impressive; it’s lined with bars, restaurants and coffee bars which were all full of activity.
Walking back to the far end of town we discovered a delightful pier lined with tourist boats, which gives you a great view over the marina at the yachts. We made a note to come back the following day for a boat trip. Turning left back into the back streets we found a small French restaurant called Zanaar tucked away in a side street a few streets back offering a 3 fabulous course lunch for just 10 euros. Feeling full, we drove back along Finikoudes and through Mackenzie, stopping off at Mackenzie Beach for a coffee on the beach at Café Nero, a very popular spot for locals and ex-pats. Mackenzie Beach was also lined with bustling restaurants and bars, some quite trendy and modern, this seemed to be the main place for nightlife too, so we decided to go home to lie by the pool to relax and return for dinner later.
Beautiful sunshine the next morning meant that it was time to find local beach for a leisurely stroll. Heading towards the lighthouse (Faros) away from Pervolia village we found a gorgeous restaurant/bar called Dipato Artcafe perched overlooking the sea, a stairway leads down to the rugged beach, which was fabulous to walk on, returning we had a coffee at Dipato and took in the breath-taking views. Returning to Larnaca we embarked on a one hour boat trip and on our return spotted a live band playing on a neighbouring boat called The Aquarium moored on the pier so we went aboard for BBQ chicken kebab lunch and spent a pleasant afternoon enjoying a 50’s Rock and Roll band called the Xiles, who were brilliant and play there regularly on a Sunday apparently, so catch them if you can! In the evening we strolled into Kiti for dinner at a local village tavern called The Landmark, which had a lovely courtyard that you can dine on fabulous reasonably priced
Mackenzie Beach houses many restaurants and bars which are open all year round, although in high season it’s aimed more for the younger trendy crowd, especially late at night. Plus Sea was outstanding; we ate the most amazing sushi and seafood linguine. Well recommend! We finished off with a nightcap at a very busy bar at the rear of Larnaca called The Blue Pine. Pervolia the next village to Kiti is also very busy in the evenings with many locals and ex-pats going there to eat at the many typical family-run Tavernas. We found a café bar at the rear of the village called Bite ‘N Brew, (opposite the Cottage Pub) which had excellent, very reasonably priced food and drink. Prices are much lower in the villages than in Larnaca and Mackenzie.
We loved the Greek side of Cyprus, most tourists tend to stay in Ayia Napa or Paphos, but beautiful Larnaca is a busy all-year-round venue that doesn’t close down in the winter as the touristy towns do mainly due to the fact that locals and a large ex-pat community live there. It has everything you need, but could really do with a few more hotels but I think the locals like it that way so that they’re not overrun with tourists and can almost keep this gem of a place to themselves. It’s also a perfect location if you want to explore by car as Limassol, Nicosia, Troodos Mountains and the golden beaches of Ayia Napa are all just 40 minutes drive away. It takes about an hour to reach the border to the Northern Side at Famagusta, but make sure that your hire car company permit you to take your car over there as some do not allow this. I would definitely recommend staying in a villa and hiring a car and getting out and about, it’s very easy to drive there for the British as they also drive on the left and the roads are virtually empty.