Written by Isabella Zampetaki
Larnaca’s palm-strewn promenade is, to Cypriots, a Mediterranean version of Miami. Artist and gallery owner Savvinos Paraskeva shares some of his favourite spots along the seafront.
Since Savvinos was a child, Athinas has been his favourite street in Larnaca, Cyprus. Also known as Finikoudes – Cypriot for ‘palm trees’ – it is a street that stretches for miles by the seafront, enticing locals for a stroll, or a bicycle ride. A number of sandy beaches also invite you for a quick swim, only minutes away from Larnaca’s downtown area.
Finikoudes is strewn with bars, cafés, and restaurants, which make this a favourite spot for tourists and locals alike. Among them, Sushi La is a trendy restaurant specialising in Japanese-fusion cuisine and cocktails, indicative of Cyprus’s international lifestyle. For a taste of the local cuisine, Savvinos recommends fish and meze dishes at Psarolimano restaurant, overlooking the marina.
Larnaca’s municipal car parking nearby is more than a place to simply leave one’s car: local and international graffiti artists participating in the annual LarnaCan graffiti jams have left their mark on the car parks walls.
Another of Savvino’s favourites is the homonymous Savino rock bar, a local easy-going haunt, hidden down one of the promenade’s side streets. The bar features live rock music on Wednesdays and Sundays and also allows guests to pick the songs they would like to hear on a computer behind the bar.
It might require a short walk from the beachfront towards the city centre, but Chrysanthi’s Café, at the corner of Nikolaou Rossou and Ifaistou streets, is definitely worth the trouble. Owner Chrysanthi bakes a different cake every day and is famous for her carrot cakes and burgers alike. With outdoor seating in the alley, the café attracts a lively crowd throughout the day.
Heading back to the coast, Mackenzie is probably the liveliest part of Larnaca’s seafront. Savvinos recommends Ammos kitchen bar (pictured above left), the first of a series of all-day restaurants to open in this part of Larnaca. Also nearby is Castella Beach, a small beach with fine grey sand and clear water.
No walk along the Finikoudes would be complete without a stop for ice cream at one of the several parlours. Pahit Ice is one of the oldest ice cream shops in Larnaca and serves special flavours such as rose water ice cream.
Savvinos Paraskeva grew up in Larnaca and studied art in Boston, USA. In 2003, he founded Afydatwn, his own modern art gallery. He organises Larnacas annual LarnaCan graffiti jam, with the participation of international and local artists. His future plans include having an exhibition abroad and opening an indoor skate arena in downtown Larnaca.