Larnaca: Expectation vs Reality 

Larnaca, third largest city in Cyprus and home to Larnaca salt lake, Finikoudes Beach and Promenade. When planning the journey to Cyprus we definitely had certain expectations especially the beach. Google is full of pictures showing the best of Larnaca and Cyprus in general so we were pumped. I had shared an itinerary for Larnaca earlier prior to embarking on a 4-day girls getaway. So we pretty much had an idea of what should be ticked off our list before relaxing like queens.

So how did Larnaca fair up: expectations vs reality? I decided to include all the places we wanted to see as per our Larnaca itinerary. Find out which were a totally surprise and which were appallingly shocking. Plus I will include some unexpected but equally surprising places. 

Larnaca: Expectations vs Reality #Cyprus

Larnaca Salt Lake is a popular attraction during winter months when the four interconnected lakes fill up with water.  It’s during the winter months that pink flamingos flock to feed on the pink shrimps that swim in the lake. During the summer time the water evaporates and leaves only salt residues hence salt lake. {Expectations}

Reality: We visited during the winter and the lake was surprisingly dry, no pink flamingos either. Disappointing to say the least, as one local even said “it’s winter what do you expect“. I appreciate winter isn’t exactly the tourist season for Larnaca but I was expecting to see some flemming Pink Flamingos.

Church of Saint Lazarus, rumours has it that after Lazarus was brought back from the dead by Jesus he emigrated to Cyprus. Whilst in Cyprus it is believed he continued with his faith to spread the gospel of Jesus. The church is built on the tomb of Lazarus and recent excavations found a body under the church believed to be of Lazarus. {Expectations}.

Reality: Much of the neighbouring buildings were under construction so it was difficult to appreciate the beauty of the church. Whilst I didn’t get a chance to go inside, the friends that did praised it for its authentic church feel.

Wreck of Zenobia thought to have sunk over 30 years ago and now a highlight for tourists who enjoy scuba diving. The wreck of Zenobia is a must visit place with the reefs and caves being nearby. {Expectations}

Reality: most of the marina was closed to visitors only members. Nothing was really open, with the same excuse of “it’s not tourist season”. It was disappointing not to see the wreck of Zenobia as I honestly thought it would be the highlight of the trip.

The unexpected but equally wonderful 

Normally when I visit a place or country for the first time, I always look into guided tours. With guided tours the beauty is someone has already planned them and you meet fellow tourists. The bad side is they can be quite restrictive and also expensive. I will start off by saying we had the worst bus for a tour ever, nothing seemed to work on the bus. We didn’t care that it was windy and the bus open top b cause we have option to sit below deck. I honestly felt like I had wasted my €9 to sit on a bus that had no audio to listen to the history. Whilst we missed out on all the history, it wasn’t all bad as we found some awesome sites.

Kamares (meaning arches in Greek) is an old roman aqueduct built by the Turkish governor to supply water to larnaca. If you’ve never been to Cyprus it would see like the must see place but honestly there isn’t much. Not sure what we were expecting but it truly is just old remains of the arches left to admire. I am told it illuminates different colours at night but we wouldn’t know as we went during the day.

Churches and a Mosque 

Kiti is a small village in Larnaca that I had no heard of until the tour bus mentioned it. It sure is tiny and looked like it had nothing to offer but Trip Advisor has other ideas. I was able to see the Anglestoski church and the planetarium & observatory. We had all of 10 minutes to check it out.

Panagia Faneromeni is a church serving the ever expanding parish and nests on the busy avenue of faneromeni. It is believed to have replaced a medieval church which used to be on the same site. The church has much superstition attached to it from healing to granting wishes. It is believed if you walked three times around the church and left a piece of your hair you would be healed.

Umm Haram

Hala Sultan Tekke was one of the most unexpected but equally wonderful sites that we visited in Larnaca. It is an ancient monument which sits on the West Bank of the larnaca salt lake. A Muslim mosque sometimes know as Umm Haram and is open to the public. It is such an incredible site to visit, I believe it gives much more desireable view to the salt lake.

Whilst most of the major attractions we saw or wanted to see where not upto scratch it was still worth it. I know for many visiting any part of Cyprus should be during its hottest months. But I feel to see the true city you need to visit off season too. Have you ever been to Larnaca or any part of Cyprus?

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  • my aunt worked at Cyprus before and I had the chance to see the place through her pictures. I hope we will be able to visit that country next time.

  • Beautyqueenuk

    Ive only ever been to Paphos and loved it, such a beautiful part of Cyprus.

  • ckrusch

    I have never been there. This looks absolutely beautiful. I wish we can go there with my family. one day

  • Tiara Wilson

    Oh no, I’m so sorry that a lot of the places weren’t as exciting as you’d hope! I’m glad that didn’t bother you though and you were still able to have fun and make the most out of your trip!

  • I’ve not been before, what a shame that so many of the places were a disappointment but glad you had a good holiday overall. Mich x

  • My best friend is from Larnaca Cyprus and I really want to go out there. I think that any country is different to pictures but sometimes it is things that you find off the tourist beaten track that is best x

  • Jeanine

    What a great way to share. I’m always expecting big, and this looks amazing. Would love to visit someday!

  • Melissa Wachman

    I really enjoyed reading the expectations vs reality. I’ve had similar experiences visiting destinations that failed to measure up to my expectations, but sounds like you had a lovely trip regardless.

  • I have never been to this place. This looks absolutely marvelous. I wish someday we can go here with my family.

  • Looks like Cyprus is nice place to visit. I would love to visit that place someday.

  • So much history in Cyprus. I would love to visit someday. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Rebecca Swenor

    I have never been to Larnaca or any part of Cyprus but would love to visit some day. It does seem that you would have to visit on the off seasons too. It almost seemed like there was more disappointment than expected but the history of these places would make it worth while to see. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  • Such a shame about the flamingos! Hope you get to go back and see them in their glory 🙂

    • Thanks Laura, I hope so too one day

  • David Elliott

    I am in love with this place now. Thank you for sharing this wonderful area. I really need to go traveling and soon.

    • I am glad to hear that David

  • rika agustini

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have never been to Cyprus, would love to visit.. So much history!

    • There is so much history indeed and hope you get a chance to visit one day

  • alicia nicole 💋 ✨

    Such a beautiful destination this is. One day when I am able to travel, I’ll try to visit! Lovely photos as well 🙂

    • It definitely has some beautiful parts to it that made the visit that much more worth it

  • So beautiful there and so much history I wasn’t aware of! I would love to visit there some day!

    • Hope you get s chance one day, thanks for stopping by

  • I’ve been to Cyprus before and it’s such a historic type of place, this was years ago and we also cruised to Egypt!

    • Ooh how cool, I wanted to do that but there were no cruises due to the season and weather

  • Valerie CottageMakingMommy

    I would love to travel, much like you, one day. I really rely on bloggers and locals to really give the low down on any area. This trip, although parts sound disappointing, also seems great.

    • Thanks Valerie, all in all it was a good trip and hope to visit again in another season

  • Chrishelle Ebner

    I have never been to any part of Europe. Thank you for an honest and realistic review of the city. I know sometimes reality does not meet expectations.

    • Thanks Chrishelle, it can be disappointing when expectations and reality don’t match but glad larnaca had other views to offer

  • Colleen Wool

    Thanks for sharing this very informational post. I found your pictures amazing and make me want to visit.

  • Sushmita Thakare Jain

    Haven’t been or heard of the place yet! Thank you for introducing to the place looks like worth a visit 🙂
    Thanks for sharing dear!

    • I honestly believe it was a worth it visit even with the disappointments in some areas

  • Danik Bates

    I live in Europe and traveled over 50+ countries and surprisingly, I have not been to Cyprus. So want to go here but its sad that the main sights didn’t live up to your expectations. Still, I want to check it out (and tick Cyprus off) 😀

    • 50+ oh wow, I just reached 30 countries and eager to add more

  • Helen Clark

    I’ve never been to Cyprus, the architecture is beautiful though. It’s a shame the main sights didn’t live up to the expectations.

    • It was a shame but it had its highlights too

  • Stephanay Jnote

    I think I would get excited just for the pink flamingos. That would be such a nice sight to see. Oh my! This seems like a great vacation. I still would want to check it out for my own experience.

    • If they had the pink flamingos it would have been great but they were practically none

  • Deimarys Colon

    I am so sorry you couldn’t go scuba diving to see the sunk ship. 🙁 It does look like a really nice place to visit.

    • I was quite saddened by it as I had really wanted to see Zenobia

  • I have never been in this area before. I hope to be able to get there. I love all this architecture.

    • The architecture was impressive in most areas that’s for sure

  • No I haven’t but I want to now. This review is full of valuable information.

    • Glad to hear it Stella, thanks for stopping by

  • Madeeha

    This looks very incredible place to visit. I love off the beaten track sites. They always mesmerise me with secrets they hold in them.

    • Oh yes that’s true. I try and visit some non touristy places too

  • I haven’t been here yet, but it looks pretty from your images. Sorry it wasn’t what you fully hoped for. I’d probably still stop in because I know everyone’s perceptions are different :).

    • Oh absolutely and I will be giving Cyprus another chance since I went in cold season

  • Usually we just go to the beach when we are in Cyprus, but will certainly visit some attractions next time!

    • I didn’t enjoy most of the beach visits that we did though 90% was freezing

  • Jenni Grainger

    That’s a shame everytging didn’t luve up to your expectations but sounds like you managed to find some lovely places too x

    • I did and thank you. Such is life sometimes

  • I’ve never been to Cyprus, so it’s lovely to read about your experiences and look at your beautiful photos.

    • Aww thanks, Cyprus has some lovely places and others well it’s a personal taste

  • Hannah Latoya Bond

    I’ve never been to Cyprus. I love the photos you took

  • Mummy’s Monkey

    What a shame it didn’t live up to expectations. The pictures still look lovely though

    • Thank you, I am glad I was still able to find something else that was good

  • What a good idea to do an expectations vs reality whilst on holiday post!
    Quite a few times I’ve been let down when the reality wasn’t quite the expectation, but it’s so lovely when it’s the opposite way around 🙂

    Dani x

    • Thanks Dani, it can be deflating when the expectations and reality don’t match up

  • Candy Kage

    Haven’t been to any of these places and they weren’t really on my list of places to visit. Nice to hear an honest opinion. Photos are still beautiful.

    • Thanks Candy, I hadn’t heard of most of these places in Larnaca until my visit

  • Fi Ni Neachtain

    It’s a shame that some of the places you wanted to see didn’t live up to expectation. But it’s good that you did find some other, unexpected sites you liked and that you still found your trip to be worth it. I’ve never been to Cyrus, maybe one day!

    • It was a big shame for the major attractions for Larnaca but glad we ventured out and found something awesome