Cyprus

Why Should You Visit Larnaca Salt Lake?

Larnaca, a south coast city in Cyrpus and where I grew up, has a complex of four salt lakes, including the second largest in Cyprus. The Aliki salt lake is roughly 2.2 kilometres wide, home to flamingos in the winter and many other waterfowl.

Legend says that the salt lakes were created by Saint Lazarus. When he came to Cyprus, he had no food or drink so he asked an old woman to offer him something to eat. She turned him away, saying that all her vines had dried up when they hadn’t, so Saint Lazarus cursed her, saying “may your vines be dry and a salt lake forever more” and that is how the salt lakes were formed… but take that with a pinch of salt 🌚 (ok I promise, no more salt puns, please keep reading). Personally, I find that story way more interesting than the scientific explanation, that sea water leaks through the porous rock and gives the lake it’s saltiness. Regardless of why the lake is salty, I’m here to tell you why Larnaca Salt Lake is worth a visit, or three…😜

1. Visit the dried Salt Lake in the Summer

In the summer months, which in Cyprus is basically May-October, the water in the salt lake evaporates leaving behind the crunchy salt. If you’re lucky you get to see some interesting salt formations that look a bit like craters!

I used to love coming here as a kid and crunching the salt under my feet, pretending that we were walking on the moonπŸŒ›.

[Edit] It’s recently been brought to my attention that it can be very dangerous to walk across the dried up salt lake. There may be areas that are very muddy, which you could get stuck in. Also the salt underneath the exterior layer may cause severe burns to your skin. So I advise admiring the salt from afar and sticking to the sign posted pathways that go around the lake, and don’t attempt to walk across it! Also, in the winter when the lake is full it is not permitted or advised to swim in it! Just admire its beauty from the banks, where there are benches placed, specifically to watch the lake!

2. Watch a Beautiful Sunset

Cyprus has many beautiful sunset spots, but one of my favourites has to be at the salt lake. It’s a wide open space with no obstructions, giving you a full 180 view of the sky. Also, the sun sets over the Troodos mountains in the distance which only adds to the view. You can even see the electric windmills on a clear day! Also, the sunset looks beautiful here whether the lake is full or dried up.

This is in August when the lake is dried out
This is the most water I’ve seen in the salt lake

There are benches dotted around the salt lake, in the perfect spot to enjoy a sunset. You can even make an evening out of it and take along your favourite people and some snacks and enjoy twilight in style.

Once the sun sets the salt lake is also a great spot for star gazing too πŸ’«. Just remember to take some insect repellent with you otherwise, you’ll get eaten alive by mosquitos, not to scare you off or anything… trust me it’s worth it, I mean…

3. A Scenic Walk

On the west bank, by Hala Sultan Teke

If you don’t fancy just sitting and staring at the sky, there is a trail that winds right round the salt lake. It’s one of my favourite spots for a scenic walk, other than the beach. It’s ideal an ideal spot for the summer and the winter too! The trail is quite long, winding along the outskirts of the city, from the salt lake all the way to Kamares aqueduct, another historical landmark of Larnaca. But you don’t have to walk the whole way, there are many points throughout where you can easily come off the trail back on to a main road.

If you’re going in the summer, the best times are either dawn or dusk, when the sun isn’t too hot! Also the you’ll get to watch either the sunrise or sunset, what more could you want for a scenic walk?

4. Flamingos!

Every winter, flamingos migrate to Cyprus and chill in the salt lakes while they’re full! So if you happen to be in Cyprus during the winter it’s definitely worth a trip to the salt lake to see the majestic flamingos up close. Keep your distance though, don’t try feeding them or provoking them in any way please.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get lucky and don’t have any photos of the flamingos πŸ˜•. It’s been a while since I’ve been in Cyprus during the winter. I was there in February for a few days all I managed to get this blurry insta story of a few flamingos on the way to the airport (I mean you can’t really see them). But just google Larnaca salt lake flamingoes and see for yourself why they’re worth seeing!

5. Calling all cat lovers

If you’re a cat lover, then congratulations we’re best friends 😺. But also, you’ll definitely want to visit Hala Sultan Teke, a historical mosque on the west side of the salt lake. It. Is. Full. Of. Cats. You can drive up here and as soon as you pull up a clowder of cats descend on you – I just had to google the collective word for cats: clowder, who knew.

Cyprus is known for being an island full of cats, and it has been since about 2000 years ago when Saint Helen of Constantinopole, came to Cyprus. The island was infested with venomous snakes due to a long drought. So she shipped thousands of cats from Egypt and Palestine onto the island to kill the snakes. At least that’s what legend says, but this story is definitely more probable than Saint Lazarus turning a vineyard into a salt lake.

Saying that, I’m not quite sure why there are so many cats here specifically, I think it’s a popular spot for people who want to abandon their cats (I know 😿 😾) and they’ve just multiplied. Don’t feel too sorry for them though, they do get well taken care of, there are loads of trays with cat food about that someone tops up and they have a lot of free space to roam around. Also they get lots of friendly visitors! Like me and my boyfriend, who’s probably, or rather definitly, a bigger cat lover than I am 😹 his hobby is taking beautiful photos of cats, you can check out his instagram page below @pics_and_paws 😽.

6. Get that Gram

Bonus reason: it’s a great place to take photos! Any time of year,

Winter:
Summer:
On the West bank:
From the road:

So that’s it peeps, that’s most of the reasons why I love visiting Larnaca Salt Lake and why you should too. If you do visit, I’d love to hear what you thought or see your photos! If you post them on instagram, tag me @coffee_travel_repeat 😊. Make you’re you’re following me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest and on my blog so you can get notified about new blog posts! Till next time 😘.

2 Comments

    • stazi1997

      Hi Ewelina, I’m not going to lie, I actually wasn’t aware it was so dangerous, this is the first I’ve heard of a case like this, that’s awful! I have been as a kid and more recently along with many other people I’ve seen, but was never told about the salt burns. Thank you for bringing this to my attention though, I will edit my blog regarding walking on the salt lake asap!

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