One of the biggest tourist draws on Cyprus, Larnaca has a wealth of long sandy beaches packed with every type of tourist facility, from the palm tree-lined main city beach to the sandy strips of far flung resorts. Shallow waters make many of the beaches of Larnaca ideal for families with children.
Phinikoudes (Palm Tree)
Phinikoudes is main Larnaca beach, directly in front of the city and named after the small palm trees planted in 1922, now very much mature. Phinikoudes is the main tourist strip of Larnaca, a large, sandy urban beach backed by high rise hotels and lined with tourist shops, bars, beachside tavernas and plenty of car parking. The busy promenade has shops, bars and restaurants to suit just about every taste but Cypriot so expect McDonalds, Starbucks and international outlets rather than local family-run establishments.
There's plenty on offer for families and even a small fun park for children. There are the usual ranks of sunbeds, all manner of watersports and the shallow sea makes it good for families. The beach is a 500 metre stretch of pale grey sand stretches and it is very flat, well maintained and The water clean and usually very calm. Lifeguards are on duty over the peak holiday season.
A large 450-berth marina lies to the north of the beach and a smaller one to the south. They offer pleasant walks and also advertise pleasure boat tours, fishing trips and scuba diving. A shipwreck in Larnaca bay adds to the excitement of underwater excursions. Overall, although a busy town beach with an array of tourist facilities, Phinikoudes remains a relatively quiet and low key family beach.
Holiday beaches to the south of Larnaca
Just south of the main Phinikoudes and past the small yacht marina is Kastella or Castella beach, about a 15 minute walk from Larnaca centre and near the Psarolimano fishing shelter.
Kastella gets its name from Larnaca Castle which lies just over 1km to the east. Fine sand stretches south of the marina for about 400 metres, east facing and well protected by the long marina wall to the north. Ranks of sunbeds pack the grey sand overlooked by a set of low rise apartment blocks.
The sea is shallow, so this is a good beach for families and there are lifeguards on duty over the peak summer season. There is a large car park in front of the marina and there are showers, toilets and changing rooms nearby. There are the restaurants and cafes you might expect of an urban beach as well as the usual watersports.
Variously called Makenzy, Mckenzy, McKensy or McKenzie, this is one of the best-known beaches in Larnaca Bay and lies about 2.5km south of Larnaca city at the end of the airport runway with a salt lake beyond. Another urban beach just south of Kastella, Makenzy is backed by large hotels, shops, bars and restaurants with a wide promenade and a large municipal car park. The resort is known for its seafood restaurants.
The beach is fine white sand, flat, quite narrow but very long and with shallow water, making it a good beach for families with children. There are the usual watersports at the end of the beach with jet skis, boats, windsurfing and paragliding as well as scuba diving around the Zenobia shipwreck which lies just offshore. There is little in the way of natural shade but there are ranks of sunbeds along the beach as well as beach-side cafes and tavernas, showers, toilets, changing rooms and lifeguard cover over the summer season.
South of Makenzy the beaches thin out considerably until you get to Faros on the Kiti cape but, about 7km south of Larnaca and just just north of the Possidon Beach Gardens, is a tiny strand of stone and shingle at Meneou. The south-east facing beach is rather steeply sloped and can quickly get deep so it's not great for families with children but this is a pleasant spot for those looking to escape the crowds of the bigger beaches around Larnaca Bay. A small taverna behind Meneou beach supplies the basics and a few sunbeds. It's a nice change to be free of large hotels overlooking the beach which has showers, toilets and changing rooms. The huge salt flats lie behind, over the road and near the airport.
Faros is the main resort beach on the cape at Kiti in the far south of Larnaca Bay and has only recently been developed as a beach resort. It lies some 12km south of Larnaca near the village of Pevolia and a very short drive away from Larnaca Airport. Faros is a medium-sized but quiet and unassuming beach, well protected by offshore rock barriers that make it safe for families with children.
Facilities include a beach bar and the usual watersports. Lifeguards are on duty over the summer season and several rows of sunbeds are usually placed well back from the water's edge. There is plenty of car parking space behind and Faros offers a relatively quiet break from the busy beaches nearer to Larnaca.
Round the cape at Kiti and the sheltered bay of Larnaca the coast gets much wilder. Some kilometres along this stretch of coast along a good road which branches off to a dirt track just past the village of Mazolos. A hotel complex has been built here and visitors will find a small harbour and a series of offshore rock barriers protecting a stretch of grey sand and shingle at Alaminos beach. The hotel apartments rise behind the south-facing beach which is pleasant enough, although it does drop sharply into deep water along the shoreline away from the barrier.
Holiday beaches to the north-east of Larnaca
Visitors heading est out of Larnaca will probably find the beaches a little disappointing. This is very much urban port territory and much of the coastline here is overlooked by oil depots, factories and the like while the sea is heavy with cargo ships using the commercial port.
There are a few beach strips dominated by hotels here, the best-known being Blue Wave beach but the best is probably Galu which may be near the Dhekelia road and close to Larnaca port but is nevertheless couched in trees and verdant foliage. The sandy beach strip is quite narrow and it does drop sharply into the sea but there is a beach restaurant here as well as sunbeds, showers, changing rooms, toilets and parking, although no lifeguards on duty the last time we looked.
Visitors heading east as far as Lenios will have left urban Larnaca behind. A string of offshore rock barriers has been created along the whole length of this part of the coast and this is where they begin. Lenios doesn't have much of a beach; this is just a sheltered spot hidden behind the sea wall, north-east facing and not with many facilities. It takes its name from the nearby Lenios Hotel and some will appreciate the quiet location and sedate air.
The beach is very exposed and there is nothing in the way of natural shade but sunbeds are strung along the flat sand shore, the sea is shallow and there are showers, toilets and changing rooms as well as a beach taverna and lifeguards in the summer season. Plenty of parking is available here too.
The long sandy beach at Yannathes is in the beautiful Oroklini area, once notable for its wetland reed beds and eucalyptus trees before developers moved in early 2011 and ripped much of it out. The beach is located about 8km north-east of of Larnaca and well known for its beauty. A path lined with flowers and trees leads to the 2km long sandy beach, suitable for families given the shallow, reef-protected water and it's Blue Flag status.
There are watersports and beach volleyball here as well as a good car park, beach promenade, showers, toilets, snack bar and restaurant. There are also a couple of scuba diving centres along Dhekelia Road. Inland is the small village of Oroklini where many houses have been restored to their original traditional style and with several tavernas in the heart of village.
Just off the main Dhekelia Road to the east of Yannathes is a small but deep beach of fine sand, flanked left and right by apartments and hotels and backed with low trees and scrub. Dassoudi beach has a large beach bar that sits slap in the middle of the sands fronted by several rows of sunbeds along the shore and backed by trees and shubbery. The man-mad rocky reef barriers ensure gentle seas and there are showers, toilets, changing rooms and plenty of parking nearby.
Pyla (CTO) Beach
Variously called Pyla or Pylo and often CTO beach (after the Cyprus Tourism Organisation) this is a pleasant stretch of deep golden sand that lies off the Dhekelia Road soon after the Dassoudi turnoff. Pyla beach is a favourite of families thanks to good sand and shallow water offshore as well of plenty of facilities that include a pleasant children's park and playground area behind the beach. T
here are good restaurants nearby as well as snack bars on the beach. Parking is plentiful and there are lots of sunbeds although the beach is rather exposed with no natural shade other than a few closely-clipped palm trees at the back of the sands. CTO sands are known for the many beach activities, which include volleyball, handball, and loads of watersports. There are showers, toilets, changing rooms and lifeguards on duty over the summer.
Dhekelia (Golden Bay) Beach
Somewhat confusingly the beach that calls itself Dhekelia is not actually in Dhekelia itself and there are even a couple more beaches to be found before Dhekelia resort proper. Dhekelia beach, also called Golden Bay for reasons best known to marketing people, is the best stretch of sand on this bit of the coast however and is overlooked by a three large hotel complexes that pretty much dominate the skyline.
A couple of large man-made rock reef barriers sit offshore creating two spits of sand with a large sheltered sea pool between them. More soft golden sand stretches both east and west while hotel gardens behind add plenty of greenery around the half dozen hotel swimming pools. The place is packed with every sort of tourist facility and attraction with watersports galore, sunbeds, showers, toilets and changing rooms. The shallow, sheltered waters make this an ideal spot for families with children and the road which runs past the back of the beach is thick with tavernas, cafes and bars.
Arriving in Dhekelia proper on the main B3 road, the visitor first comes across a small beach of grey sand called Cessac beach. Well sheltered in the arms of a small bay, the eastern end is protected by a rock outcrop that forms the entrance to a small marina. A large car park sits above the beach where there are a couple of restaurants.
This is a public beach with a narrow shelf of soft grey sand with plenty of sunbeds and pleasant shallow seas. There are watersports here as well as a beach snack bar, showers, toilets and changing rooms while lifeguards are on duty over the summer season.
The resort at Dhekelia proper announces itself by prominent chimneys of the power station looming to the east. The small beach at Xylotymbou, about 15km from Larnaca, is jammed between the large power station and a small marina.
The power plant consists of six steam turbines and six diesel engines burning heavy fuel oil and is easily seen from the shore that's flanked by the power station and the small marina that also separates Xylotymbou from neighbouring Cessac. The beach of grey sand is narrow and it's backed by the main B3 road. There are a few sunbeds and a snack bar on the beach but not much else,