Larnaca will reap the benefits of the passenger ferry link between Cyprus and Greece, as officials have decided to include the town’s revamped port in the schedule for August and September.
In comments to the Cyprus News Agency, Larnaca Mayor Andreas Vyras said port operators Kition Ocean have agreed with the ferry operators, Scandro Holding, to include Larnaca.
With the tweak in the schedule, the ferry for Greece will depart from Limassol port from mid-May, when the link resumes, up until the end of July.
Larnaca port will take over from August, with trips conducted until mid-September.
Vyras said the city is ideally located for easy connections across the island, while its facilities are also top-notch.
“The sea link between Cyprus and Greece facilitated through the port has been a long-standing request, which we see as good for both Larnaca and the island as a whole,” said Vyras.
According to sources close to ferry link operators, Scandro Holding, the schedule will include 14 trips from Limassol and eight from Larnaca.
Local tourism stakeholders are pleased with the decision that invigorates Larnaca port, currently being revamped, while also boosting tourists arriving from Greece.
When the ferry link was reinstated after 21 years, Larnaca made its dissatisfaction known over authorities’ decision only to include trips from Limassol.
In an announcement in January 2021, stakeholders argued that the tender for the ferry line favoured Limassol as a main criterion was the distance from Piraeus port in Greece.
According to estimates, the trip from Larnaca to Piraeus is two hours longer than the 30-hour trip from Limassol port.
Vyras said the fare would remain the same for a trip from Limassol port to Greece.
The ferry link with Greece was reintroduced mid-summer last year with authorities happy with the results.
According to officials, 8,000 passengers with 2,000 vehicles made the trip from Limassol to Greece last summer since it launched on 19 June.
The last voyage before its reintroduction was carried out on 8 October 2001 with Salamis.
Up to 2001, there were regular departures of ferries from Limassol to Rhodes and Piraeus, but they were discontinued as the 90-minute flight to Athens became more frequent and inexpensive.
The link was reintroduced after obtaining special permission from the European Union, allowing the state to subsidise the otherwise non-viable route.
The government offered a €5.5 mln annual subsidy to secure interest by ship owners to operate the regular ferry link between Limassol and Piraeus.
The route is operated by a Cypriot-registered ferry, the Daleela, which can carry up to 270 passengers and 100 cars.
A return ticket in a VIP cabin costs €160 – about the same as an economy airfare – a return second class cabin was €80, and a return berth for a car up to five metres €203.
Operators of Larnaca port are working towards establishing a ferry link with Israel and attracting large cruise ships.
It will welcome cruises from Haifa this summer as the route will be reinstated.