Cyprus – Where the Flamingos Land
The time to plan this year’s vacation is fast approaching. With Air Serbia you can reach Larnaca by direct flight in two and a half hours.
Why not spend this summer in Cyprus? What sites to visit? Which beaches to relax on? Let us show you the best side of this wonderful island.
Some basic information about Cyprus
Cyprus is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. The capital is Nicosia, and the official languages are Greek and Turkish. After Sicily and Sardinia, it is the third largest island of the Mediterranean, geographically well-positioned at the crossroads of a number of sea routes.
The tourism industry plays a significant role in its economy, with over 2.5 million visitors each year. In addition to summer vacations and the famous beaches of Limassol, Ayia Napa, Paphos, Cyprus averages 340 sunny days a year, and is renowned as a centre of ancient culture and landmarks under the protection of UNESCO.
Although the main attractions are its beautiful summer resorts, there is a well-developed rural tourism infrastructure, making it a well-visited tourist destination all year round. There is even the possibility of winter tourism and ski trips on Trodos.
Larnaca – something for everyone
Our first choice is Larnaca, one of the most beautiful cities in Cyprus. With around 65,000 inhabitants, it has great sandy beaches, a promenade, and a rich history.
The city is not very large, meaning tourists often choose to stay in the centre, just 100 meters away from the main promenade Finikudes, located along the beautiful sandy shore. If you start from the port (Europe Square) you can walk all the way to the famous fortress. On the way there you’ll find many restaurants where you can take a break, have a drink or a enjoy traditional dinner.
When you reach the fortress, you come to the first traces of Cyprus’ rich history dating back to the 14th century. This function of this building has evolved over the years. It was once a fortress for the defence of the island, later a prison, and today it houses a museum.
Cyprus is an Orthodox country, but there is also a strong Turkish cultural influence. There are a number of religious buildings that testify to the country’s turbulent history.
What to visit in Cyprus?
The Church of St. Lazarus
The Church of St. Lazarus dates back to the 9th century. It is dedicated to Lazarus of Bethany who according to tradition came to Cyprus following the resurrection of Jesus, where he lived out the rest of his life.
The interior of the church is opulently decorated. It bears traces of Greek, Latin and French influence, as well as a period of Ottoman rule. During that period it was used as a mosque, but the Ottomans sold it to the Christians in 1589. For the next 200 years, it served both Orthodox and Catholic rites.
If you go to Larnaca before Easter you can witness the liturgy through the city, a procession with the Icon of St. Lazarus at its head. The whole town turns out to take part in this traditional celebration. In our country, that day goes by the name of “Lazarus' Saturday”.
Sultan Tekke Mosque
This is the fourth largest sanctuary for people of the Muslim faith. The story of who it is dedicated to, and on what foundations it was built, is an interesting one. Located near the Salt Lake, the beauty of this building is breathtaking.
Limassol Salt Lake
The Salt Lake covers about 2.2 square kilometres and is part of the most important wetland area, featuring a diverse array of flora and fauna. Even today it is possible to find prehistoric fossils that testify to the bygone fertility of Larnaca.
This area was once a coastal bay, and its closure created the lake from which salt was extracted and exported. The location is unique because it is a natural habitat for over 10,000 flamingos in the period from November to February.
It is well known for the reflection created due its very calm waters. Tourists are delighted by the natural beauty of the merging of sea and sky.
Camel Park, Petreon Sculpture Park, and attractions for divers
The Camel Park is a kind of zoo, home to a variety of animals but also many picnic areas that offer a different experience compared to more traditional coastal attractions. Petreon Park is a park dedicated to stone. During your visit you can learn about how it is sculpted and even try it yourself.
For those who prefer adventures, the wreckage of the ship Zenobia is an ideal place for diving and exploring the depths of the sea.
The ship sank in 1980 and is located at a depth of 42 metres. Visibility underwater extends to a depth of approximately 50 metres, making this a real pleasure for divers. Zenobia is inhabited by many species of fish and has become a protected artificial reef. This destination is among the top 10 best places for diving!
The most popular beach that every tourist will want to visit is Mackenzie beach. This location is special for its breathtaking views of the Salt Lake.
The beaches of Janates and Phinikaudes are also popular, known for their calm and crystal-clear water. On the outskirts of the city there is a fishing village and the beach Kastella which avoids feeling crowded thanks to its small size.
Rural tourism in Larnaca
Rent a car or take a taxi to visit some of the most famous villages around Larnaca (Kalavasos, Skarinou, Lefkara…). In this way you’ll get to know the local Cypriot culture and customs. You can also take a longer trip and stay in one of the many private guest houses.
Shopping in Cyprus
The main streets are full of shops, souvenirs, fashion accessories, jewellery… Take a walk through the Zenonos Kitieos and Ermou streets to peruse the boutiques of local brands.
If you want to take home an authentically local product, the advice many tourists give is a bottle of olive oil – the region is famous for it.
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