Virtual Larnaka tour before a dream trip

The impressive facade of the Palm Beach Hotel in Larnaka

Cyprus by Bill McCarthy

After a number of false starts as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the top hotels in the popular Cyprus resort of Larnaka is gearing up to open in April.

With great news on the vaccine front the four-star Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows is gearing up to welcome visitors back to the island after a major refurbishment.

A family-friendly hotel that caters for all types of holiday requirements, conferences and even weddings.

But before the expected flood of visitors in the spring, the resort is offering a virtual experience to potential visitors with a series of ‘cultural walks’ around Larnaka city.

All the sights can be effortlessly discovered at home via the new ‘Larnaka Cultural Walk Virtual 360°’ project.

The innovative virtual tour showcases 30 of Larnaka city’s most popular and significant landmarks and places of interest; split into three categories: seafront and town centre; archaeology and museums, and culture and nature. In the same way that visitors would choose a route and sights on a physical walk, anyone can custom create their own virtual tour by logging to http://culturalwalk.virtuallarnakaregion.com/

Combining vibrant visual material with additional information and facts on places of interest, this virtual tour is very simple to take. After clicking on a chosen sight,  navigate the image from all angles to enjoy a complete 360° view with extra aerial views also available for some sights.

A VR option for mobile device users adds further dimension to the tour.

The virtual tour is another way to connect with Larnaka, especially for the many UK repeater guests that could not travel to these shores this year. It is also ideal for those travellers planning a trip for the first time and looking to familiarise themselves with the most popular areas, or wishing to prepare a list of what they would most like to see when they arrive in Larnaka.

Experience the tour by visiting: http://culturalwalk.virtuallarnakaregion.com/

The tour will give a taste of the area renowned for  its beautiful sandy beaches, azure blue warm waters and imposing mountains.

Cyprus has been lusted after by settlers and conquerers for centuries, sitting as it does at the crossroads of the three continents of Europe, Asia and Africa.

With its fantastic sunny climate and links to to the UK, it’s a magnet for sun seekers in the summer months. The coronavirus pandemic however has played havoc with this, disrupting travel and tourism worldwide.

Lesser known than the usual tourist playgrounds is Larnaka, an ancient capital of the island and an area steeped in history and tradition.

Our trip could be described as a winter break and we dropped lucky with the late winter weather, with almost unbroken sunshine.

We flew in to Larnaca airport and had a pleasant surprise with having only a 20-minute drive to the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows.

A family-friendly hotel that caters for all types of holiday requirements, conferences and even weddings.

It has an imposing presence with four floors of rooms facing the well-tended gardens to the front and the same at the rear of the hotel, with rooms overlooking the sea.

As the name implies there is also a mini complex of bungalows in the garden area, which can offer B&B and half-board, popular with families.

The bungalows too, have their own separate bar area. The rear of the hotel is just yards from the sea front and boasts a large pool and any number of sunbeds. Other facilities include a gym, indoor pool, plus the new Palm Spa opened in 2019 and conference facilities.

It’s no wonder millions of tourists also lust after this pearl of the Mediterranean as a holiday destination

Wi-fi is free throughout the hotel and there are tea and coffee making facilities to all rooms. Even as winter moves into spring you can laze around by the pool, take a dip in the sea, or join the joggers and cyclists up and the down the path between hotel and beach.

For those tying the knot, an island paradise is the ideal spot and the hotel host ceremonies at its own on-site chapel, the Chapel of Saint Constantine and Saint Helena, which can host weddings of Orthodox and Anglican denominations., or civil ceremonies on or near the beach, under a marquee, just a few steps from the Mediterranean. 

Planet Weddings is a fully bonded specialist UK tour operator with a wedding special offer at the Palm Beach. 

Exploring the island is a must and it is possible, you can join one of the many free excursions offered by a syndicate of hotels, the local tourist board and attractions.

There is so much to see on the island, from the spectacular Troodos mountains, to the spectacular beaches, archaeological and cultural sites, so hiring a car is a good idea.

At the hotel we stayed B&B, but snacks can be bought at the hotel throughout the day and the evening meal is certainly worth a try.

Alternatively there are many fine restaurants in Larnaca itself, just a 10-minute drive away or with a group of shops, bars and restaurants opposite the hotel.

The town of Larnaca has a swish beachfront and plush marina while shoppers can find many well known stores on the two main shopping streets, local markets, museums and art galleries.

For a snack, try Alasia a small cafe bar on the seafront, which serves excellent Cypriot food.

Also worth visiting is the medieval fort, built by the Ottomans and used as a prison by the British and the spectacular ninth century St Lazarus Church, right in the heart of the town, which houses the tomb of the saint.

Travel facts

• For information on the hotel, contact Palm Beach Hotel & Bungalows www.palmbeachotel.com

• Flights with daily scheduled BA from Heathrow, plus easyjet ( www.easyjet.com) with regional departures and a holiday division that features the Palm Beach Hotel and Bungalows. For general  tourism information on Cyprus visit https://www.visitcyprus.com/index.php/en/  

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