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?