energetic hub of culture & commerce
The island’s most progressive and cosmopolitan city, coastal Limassol is its home of shipping and commerce and has seen rapid development and an influx of new investments that have transformed its skyline.
As the home of Cyprus’ ‘firsts’, its integrated casino resort; ultra-lux high rises and integrated superyacht and leisure marina create a big city vibe on a small sunshine island.
And whilst the city is constantly evolving, it continues to cherish its roots with a myriad of traditional and archaeological gems, whilst its rural and mountainous villages remain untouched by the busy pace of the city’s lifestyle.
Limassol’s golden coast
Limassol has an expansive coastline that travels from Governor’s Beach on the outskirts, past the Amathus area (with its deluxe, high-star hotels), towards the bustling Molos strip, and all the way to Pissouri Bay.
Molos promenade is the focal point of the city – lively both day and night with beachgoers, walkers, skaters, joggers and dogwalkers. Lined with shops and food and beverage outlets, there is plenty to see and do within the area, including the Multifunctional Seaside Park; the open-air Sculpture Park; the Municipal Gardens and Zoo, and the city’s main commercial centre close-by. Molos also links to the old port, which has been revitalised to offer modern cafes and restaurants, which then gives way to Limassol Marina; an elegant destination for waterfront drinking and dining.
Further out, lies the eight-kilometre stretch of dark grey sands that make up Lady’s Mile – the longest stretch of coast on the island, offering play structures and inflatables both in and out of the sea, and restaurants frequented by locals on the weekend.
Limassol is fondly known as the ‘party city’ as it hosts two of the island’s biggest annual festivities.
In the lead-up to Lent (preceding Greek Orthodox Easter), a week-long Carnival celebration takes place in the city, culminating in a lavish float parade. The merriment continues with the Limassol Wine Festival at the end of summer, where boutique and larger wineries showcase their vintages amidst a 10-day festival of free-flowing wine and premium entertainment at the Municipal Gardens.
The spectacular Roman-Greco site of Curium – on the way to Limassol – is one of the region’s most significant historical sites with a series of well-preserved floor mosaics and an amphitheatre that is still used for open-air performances.
Entering Limassol, the unearthed ruins of the ancient city kingdom of Amathus constitute a large UNESCO World Heritage Site worth exploring, whilst in the heart of the city, Limassol Medieval Castle and its museum echo the legend of Richard the Lionheart, who crowned his new bride Berengaria as the Queen of England there in 1191.
Heading up the mountains, the region’s delightful villages are a world away from the city’s hustle and bustle and include picturesque communities like Omodos, loved for its cobbled square, handmade narrow-knit lacing, and the stunning woodcarvings and icons at the monastery of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross).
At the cluster of 14 Commandaria Villages, the ancient, sweet dessert wine discovered in Limassol is proudly celebrated with its continued production and an annual Commandaria Festival.
WHERE TO STAY
Cyprus has a large array of accommodation types to suit all travellers, tastes and budgets.
Whether you are looking for an opulent five-star resort; a city hotel that offers independence to explore; a simple hotel apartment as a base, or a rustic agrotouristic retreat, the following are my personal recommendations!