Cyprus is fun to visit at any time of the year and for visitors to the town of Larnaka which lies just a short distance from the international airport, there is always something fun and interesting to do! Winters in Cyprus are brief and the days are still wonderfully warm and sunny; it is only at night that the temperatures drop dramatically.
Larnaka is the perfect winter sunshine destination as it is still a comfortable temperature for relaxing on the beach and, although the sea temperatures are lower than in the summer, there are many enthusiastic swimmers who enjoy a bracing dip! There are plenty of interesting places to visit in the town too including the beautiful church of Ayios Lazaros, the medieval castle, the Larnaka Salt Lake which is the winter feeding ground for thousands of pink flamingos and the Phinikoudes (Finikoudes) promenade with the chance to stop and enjoy a coffee whilst watching the world go by…
This winter, there is an attractive winter programme of events entitled ‘Winter Experiences in Larnaka’ that has been put together for visitors of all ages to ensure that they really enjoy their visit and have the opportunity to learn about the town’s rich and colourful history, culture and traditions – and much more!
It is said that the best way to discover somewhere is on foot and the Larnaka Municipality and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) offer two interesting two hour guided walks that reveal some of the secrets of the town. The first walk – Larnaka Past and Present – reveals the town’s long and colourful history which includes the periods when it was the capital of the island and its main sea port, whilst the second, Scala – its Craftsmen, focuses on the area of the town by the sea front and reveals a number of little workshops where carpenters and tailors continue their trade in the same way as their grandfathers did before them. There is also the chance to visit a hidden pottery where the craftsmen are inspired by the artwork of the ancient Cypriot potters.
Larnaka is well known for its beautiful golden beaches and for those not wanting to try any of the various water sports a fun way to enjoy the popular sandy Phinikoudes Beach (Finikoudes) is to join one of the beach yoga sessions and spend an hour relaxing in the winter sunshine with the rhythmic sound of the waves as a soothing backdrop.
It is fun to discover the local traditions and what better way than joining a wine tasting course in the Medieval Castle Square? The history of Cypriot wines can be traced back 6,000 years, when the first wine in Europe was produced in Cyprus, the ‘Commandaria’ – strong and sweet tasting – and very popular. Three of the country’s large wineries take you from those early days through the development of the island’s wine industry and its wines which include many award winning ones made from international grape varieties that grow perfectly in the Cyprus sunshine. Music and dancing are an integral part of Cypriot life and all family celebrations and there is the opportunity to enjoy traditional Cypriot and Greek dances every Sunday and to have a go at some of the traditional dances including the Sirtaki made famous by Zorba the Greek and to learn the folk story behind each one. If you prefer you can simply sit in the sunshine and enjoy traditional, contemporary and jazz music in this action-packed hour held on the sea front at Phinikoudes every Sunday.
Larnaka is surrounded by interesting places to visit including many traditional villages. A specially designed tour visits one of the most famous – Lefkara – where the beautiful Lefkaritika (embroidered lace) is made by women sitting in the winter sunshine. Lefkaritika was so admired by Leonardo da Vinci when he visited the village in 1481 that he bought a beautiful altar cloth to take back for Milan Cathedral. The village is also famous for its beautiful filigree silver work and delicious Loukoumia (Cyprus Delights). In contrast, you can visit the Camel Park at Mazotos which lies on the old coastal road from Larnaca. In the past, long lines of camels (khans) were a familiar sight in Cyprus as they were used for transporting goods and produce around the island and at Mazotos there are camels of all ages to watch, to feed and to ride for those watching to explore the locality. Athienou is another lovely village with the Kallinikeio Museum and the chance to watch a mosaic demonstration and to learn the art of making Halloumi the popular Cypriot cheese and traditional breads in the restored flour mill.
The best news about all these fun winter experiences is that they are offered free of charge to all guests staying in hotels in the Larnaka region – what better way to fill your suitcase with very special memories from your holiday!
*Image of port in Pafos, Cyprus via Shutterstock