The nearest coast or beach from Nicosia is Larnaka. So I've been visiting here almost every week and return to Nicosia on the same day. Here's how I spend my day here...
Kition (Greek: Κίτιον, Kítion), also known by its Latin name Citium, was a city-kingdom on the southern coast of Cyprus (in present-day Larnaca). It was established in the 13th century BC.
A drive from Nicosia (Lefkosia) to Larnaka is about 35 minutes. The airport was diverted here from Nicosia following the Turkish invasion in 1974.
Larnaka is famous for the salt lake where thousands of flamingos stopover between November to March and on the same lake stands a very important mosque - Hala Sultan Tekke or the Mosque of Umm Haram. Umm Haram (Turkish: Hala Sultan) was the wife of Ubada bin al-Samit, a companion of the Prophet Muhammed.
1. Stroll along the marina and Finikoudes promenade.
Finikoudes is a popular and touristy beach area, named after small palm trees which were planted way back 1920s. It runs about half a kilometer long, fine gray sand and calm waters.
My friend and I started our walks from the marina, then head to the beach area. On the opposite side are restaurants and pubs. As of this time (Mid April) tourist traffic is less but wait once summer kicks off after easter holidays. The weather was pleasant, sunny with a cool breeze yet it was a little bit chilly for a beach dip.
We had lunch in one of the restaurants- tuck inn-. We ordered vegetarian noodles, grilled fish and greek salad. The menu is varied from the Mediterranean to Asian fusion dishes. Food and service were just satisfactory so don't expect too much. We fulfilled our hungry tummy but more importantly, it was a well-spent day. Then suddenly gray clouds started to form and the rain was coming. Our afternoon was cut short but we had a nice time. Beach stroll is always therapy.
2. Shopping and Dinner at Finikoudes
There's a wide array of shopping outlets with easy access from Finikoudes beach. There are more shopping options, souvenirs, and specialty shops, also restaurants and cafes. If you want to go through every block you may need about a day. So here is another retail therapy!
And of course, this therapy makes you tired and hungry...so would you like to sit on a nice spot and enjoy a good dinner? Let me show you how Finikoudes how looks at night.
Fancy a drink? We had a nice dinner and cocktails at Fridays!
And I say, it gets better in the evening.
3. Larnaka Castle and Museum
At the end of the Finikoudes strip is the Larnaka Castle and museum - believed to be built by Ottoman Turks around the 18th century. From other written sources, it dates back later part of the 13th century during the reign of King James I of Cyprus.
Entering the castle, you will see several cannons used to protect the harbor. On the ground floor, there was an execution area for prisoners and medieval tombstones.
The museum is on the 2nd floor - presenting architecture, antiquities and decorative pieces as early as 4th-7th century AD.
And the rooftop...cannons and a superb view of Finikoudes.
Entry: 2.50 EUR ticket
Hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1930; Sat-Sun 0930-1930
Outside the castle are several spots to relax - sit on the bench with a frappe and people watching perhaps. Walks to the quay are very romantic and at the railing, you will see love padlocks. Couple goals indeed!
Every now and then there are events at the Finikoudes. Last month Larnaka food festival was held in celebration of Europe day.
Kataklysmos (May 14-19) is a week-long event to celebrate the flood festival. There is a fair along the beachfront, food and bazaars, programs, children rides and a lot more.
You may check Larnaka events and see what's next...
5. Makenzy (Mackenzie) beach!
Further down from Finikoudes maybe a 30-minute walk and more frequented by locals; calm, shallow waters and grey sand.
This was named after a Scottish man who set up a restaurant/bar after WW II (CyprusIsland.Net).
This is the closest beach from the airport and you will see planes arriving at different intervals. You will be amazed how many flights are coming all across Europe and the middle east as well. We usually play a guessing game of the airline. As you land Larnaka airport (LCA) just look down from the plane window and this is the beach!
Facilities, restaurants and water activities are available.
Sunbeds for 2 at EUR 7.50.
Finikoudes and Makenzy beaches both have a BLUE FLAG (pure water, clean coast, safety and access for all) status, well maintained by Larnaka municipality with lifeguard services.
Cyprus beaches are one of the cleanest in Europe. This year 65 beaches were awarded Blue flag status.
Further reading: https://in-cyprus.com/65-cypriot-beaches-awarded-with-2019-blue-flag-status/
And there are so many things for you to see and do in Larnaka. Check out Larnaka Region for further information - where to stay, bus routes, places to be and activities.
For me, I am thinking of joining SUP (stand up paddle) for sea yoga. Umm, just thinking about it.
See you soon!