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The more-than 6,000-year-old city of Larnaca claims to be the oldest in the island country of Cyprus, but today, most of Larnaca's restaurants and hotels are situated on a seafront promenade far from the city's historic landmarks. Car hire in Larnaca is the quickest way to travel between the city's ancient centre and its modern resorts. Private vehicles are even more practical for venturing into parts of rural Cyprus without public transportation. The old city is guarded by an ancient fort, while just outside the town, visitors can explore the quaint village of Kiti and the World Heritgate site of Choirokoitia.
Who to Book With
Larnaca International Airport is the biggest air gateway in Cyprus and boasts more car rental choices than nearly anywhere else on the island. Airport passengers can obtain vehicles from Astra and Petsas, two independent companies, or more familiar chains like Budget or Europcar. Koukounis Car Rentals is the leading vehicle provider within Larnaca's city centre. Online booking deals are often the cheapest in Cyprus.
Best time to go
In Larnaca, the temperatures are at their hottest, the crowds are at their largest and costs for vehicles and hotels are at their highest in August. Lower prices and crowds can be enjoyed between the months of October and May. These months may be Larnaca's coldest, but it is usually still mild enough for comfortable outdoor exploration.
Need to Know Essentials
In order to claim your hire car, do not forget the following forms:
- A valid national driving license or International Driving Permit
- Proof of age over 25, like a passport
- Printed rental confirmation, if possible
- The credit card used in the booking
Larnaca International Airport, the largest in Cyprus, lies only three miles west of the city. The A3 is the main motorway running around the city. Larnaca is generally an easy place to drive around, even though traffic can get heavier during the busiest summer months. All streets and roads feature international traffic signs and are easy to navigate.
Larnaca is home to the biggest airport on Cyprus and a busy port from which passengers can board car ferries to southern Turkey or water taxis to Ayia Napa. Taxi and bus services are easily available between Larnaca and most other major cities and resorts across Cyprus, but private automobiles are often the only way to reach more rural regions. Larnaca itself is compact enough to explore on foot, by scooter or by motorcycle. There is no passenger rail service.
Some Larnaca taxi drivers do not obey the law that all taxis must be metered, but Travel and Express is among the city's most reputable companies. It costs €8.20 for a taxi from Larnaca to Ayia Napa or Nicosia. Journeys inside one of the shared dolmus taxis that run around Cyprus are even cheaper.
The main bus terminal in Larnaca is difficult to miss on Leoforos Athinon Avenue. Tickets good for a single bus journey across the city cost €1 each, while full day tickets are €2 each. Weekly bus passes are also available for €10 each. Bus journeys from Larnaca to Ayia Napa last about 45 minutes, while journeys to most other major cities in Cyprus take around an hour.
The Cyprus By Bus website provides the most detailed information about bus schedules, tickets and fares to and from Larnaca. The city's recently revamped public transit network travels throughout all of Larnaca's popular tourist attractions and suburban zones. Passengers can purchase tickets valid for single trips, single days, one week or an entire month.
The city of Larnaca is divided into two distinct districts. Most local beach resorts and restaurants stand along the modern seafront promenade, while the Larnaca Medieval Museum is located inside the fort that has guarded the ancient city centre since the 17th century. The Kamares aqueduct, around six miles from the city, was first used to transport water to Larnaca during the mid-18th century.
Kiti - Visitors are always welcome at the Sunday church services at the Panagia Angeloktisti Church in Kiti, a village just four miles southwest of Larnaca. Much of this 5th century church has been rebuilt over the years, but its Virgin Mary mosaic dates from the 6th century.
Mazotos - Apart from the Pink Palace - belonging to now-separated celebrity couple Katie Price and Peter Andre - the main tourism attraction in the village of Mazotos, 14 miles southwest of Larnaca, is the Camel Park. Visitors can not only ride camels, but also view animals in the Noah's Ark zoo or take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool.
Choirokoitia - This World Heritage site community was first founded 19 miles southwest of Larnaca in 6,800 BC. An intricate series of steps and walkways takes visitors past this Neolithic settlement's several reconstructed homes and well preserved ruins. The village was uninhabited for around 1,500 years after it was abandoned for unknown reasons in approximately 6,000 BC.