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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Larnaca

Things to do in Larnaca

Larnaca's one of Cyprus' most diverse and mysterious cities. It's a place where the old world and the modern age have collided, making it a mixture of ancient mysteries and coastal relaxation. There's going to be plenty for you to get involved in during your holidays to Larnaca – but make sure you check out some of the most appealing parts of the city while you're there.

See flamingos in Larnaca Salt Lake

Cyprus has declared Larnaca's salt-lake territory a protected wildlife area, and you'll understand why when you visit – especially if you're heading to it during the winter.

The vast shimmering water of this location attracts birds from every corner of the globe, including ducks and other migrating flocks. Yet it's the flamingos that tend to draw the most attention – crowds of them rush to the region between November and March every year, helping themselves to tasty shrimp during their stay.

Though the salt content of the lake's waters are scientifically understood today, it wouldn't be Cyprus if there weren't some local legends accounting for it. Tales say that the saltiness of the water came from an old woman's refusal to give the god Larnakus a meal. In return, Larnakus condemned her water to be salty for ever more – although he probably didn't think they'd become a tourist destination centuries later.

Dive down to the wreck of the Zenobia

Nicknamed the 'Titanic of the Mediterranean', the Swedish ferry Zenobia sank off the shore of Larnaca in the 1980s, complete with a fleet of lorries carrying everything from electronics to food.

Today, Zenobia forms part of a protected reef where countless fish make their home, and divers are always keen to get up close to this sunken treasure, with much of its cargo frozen in time. If you'd rather experience the wreck from above the waves, you can enjoy a glass-bottomed-boat tour instead. Either way, it's a fascinating sight to see – the haunting vision of a ship on her side together with the colourful fish who now call her home.

Experience the Church of Saint Lazarus

Located in the heart of Larnaca, the Church of Saint Lazarus is a cultural icon. Dating as far back as the 9th century, its curved roofs and towering steeple showcase traditional Cypriot architecture at its finest. What's more, if you're visiting in spring, make sure you check out the procession that the locals perform especially for Lazarus Saturday, which takes place every year eight days before Easter.

Ride a camel through the countryside

If the kids have got the hump on your Larnaca holidays, you could promise them a day out at the Camel Park of Mazotos, just 15 minutes outside Larnaca. The park has a pool and a host of kids' activities, from playgrounds to bumper cars, and there are plenty of new animal friends to meet, including turtles, ostriches and wallabies. The camel rides themselves range from €6 for kids to €9 for adults, and there are snack bars on site if you get peckish.

Relax on the warm sands of Phinikoudes

You can't really visit Larnaca without seeing at least some one of its amazing beaches. Phinikoudes, also known as Palm Tree Beach, is by far the most popular, with easy access to shops, places to eat and some of the best bars in Cyprus. Constant lifeguard presence makes this a safe and secure place to take the family, while the breezy palms and stunning views make Phinikoudes the ultimate reminder of why you chose Cyprus to begin with.