Cyprus with Cobalt Air: Larnaca and The Rise Hotel
Easily spotted at night thanks to its blue illumination, The Rise Hotel is one of Larnaca‘s most centrally located places to stay. The Larnaca Archaeological Museum is just across the street; the open-air Kition archaeological site is less than a kilometre away, and the Larnaca Marina and Finikoudes seaside promenade are two blocks east. The hotel itself is an efficiently run enterprise with immaculately clean, stylish rooms which open onto private balconies to enjoy a Mediterranean breeze. Popular with groups, The Rise Hotel provides reliable accommodation and grilled haloumi at breakfast, two must-haves for a happy hotel stay in Cyprus.
Though most visitors to Cyprus rush off to a beach resort further along the coast, a few days in Larnaca gives some interesting insight into Cypriot culture past and present. A short stroll away from The Rise Hotel is the esteemed Pierides Museum, a private family foundation dedicated to the preservation of ancient artifacts reflecting the varied history of this island at the crossroads of three continents. The somewhat simple exterior belies the priceless collection inside. Upstairs, the senior Mr. Pierides still retains his private residence. Zinanos Kitieos, the street where the museum is located, is a main commercial street for Larnaca and has the principal shops, restaurants, and services for the city’s residents and visitors, including the excellent Stou Rousha restaurant where authentic Cyprus cuisine is enjoyed in a traditional mageireia (cookhouse) atmosphere. Generous portions of home-style cooking are served by a friendly team eager to ensure a good time is had by all.
Stou Rousha is very close to Larnaca Castle and St Lazarus Church, two of the city’s most popular attractions. The church is Larnaca‘s foremost example of Greek Orthodox ecclesiastical architecture; the interior is particularly rich in detail and quite exotic for those unfamiliar with Eastern Orthodox religions. Ancient scripts on the lectern, silver frames surrounding exquisite icons, and the scent of incense and candlewax provide heady insight into the essence of the religion and its influence on Cypriot culture.
Though it is the location of the main international airport for the Republic of Cyprus, Larnaca is actually a rather small city of fewer than 100,000 people. Nevertheless, it sees a high number of international visitors thanks to the airport and to the sights around town worth exploring. Cobalt Air, the new national airline of Cyprus, is expanding its network across Europe and beyond, making for easy connections to Larnaca from major cities which include London, Paris, Brussels, Zurich, Madrid, and Athens. Cyprus Tourism maintains an informative website with information helpful in planning a visit to this ancient island in the eastern Mediterranean.