Why Limassol is your best base for exploring
Limassol (also called Lemesos) has an ancient past and metropolitan present. And the coastline surrounding it is home to some of the best luxury hotels in Cyprus. With connections to historic sites and natural wonders throughout the south, Limassol is the perfect place to start – and end – a day of adventuring. Here are our top tips of where to go, however you want to travel.
Limassol’s tiny city centre is easily explored on foot – especially since large sections of it are traffic-free. Wander from the castle to the Municipal Gardens, through the old town’s web of alleys lined with stately shuttered townhouses and contemporary boutiques. Or stick to the seafront and stroll along the marina’s palm-fringed promenade.
By evening, the tight-knit streets come to life, with visitors and locals alike flocking to restaurants and bars. Try La Maison Fleurie for Gallic seafood (with a side of theatre), or Meze Taverna for authentic local recipes.
Cyprus is becoming a particularly popular destination for cyclists – especially in the cooler autumn months. So it’s no surprise that Limassol has plenty of cycle clubs to join up with, as well as bike hire points and routes for all abilities.
One option for a leisurely ride is the cycle path from the old port east along the coast. Beaches and luxury resorts give way to reasonably quiet roads winding through farmland.
You’ll soon come to the ruins of Amathus – one of the ancient royal cities of Cyprus. For more of a challenge, continue along the coast to Governor’s Beach, or rest your legs at a waterside taverna in Zygi fishing village.
There’s just as much to see west of the city. Pack a picnic and pedal along a track to the Kourium Roman amphitheatre. If you feel like pushing yourself, plan a full day in the saddle and make for Petra tou Romiou. This glorious stretch of rocky coastline is said to be where Aphrodite rose from the waves.
In today’s Old Port of Limassol, merchant boats have been swapped for sleek yachts. Climb aboard for a day out sailing across warm, deep turquoise waters. Stop off in quiet coves to jump straight into the sea, snorkel or simply sunbathe on the deck. Luxury Cruises, based in the new marina, offers private day tours that could also include spearfishing and freediving – or champagne and canapés at sunset.
From freediving to scuba. The rocky shores, clear waters and marine reserves of southern Cyprus make for fascinating underwater adventures. Explore the wreck of the Lady Thetis or mysterious man-made caves with Dive In, based in Limassol. For an extra atmospheric tour, the night dive to Aphrodite’s Bay could see you swimming with octopus and sea horses.
Take the coast road west towards Paphos and you’ll soon come to Kolossi – one of the most spectacular landmarks in Cyprus.
This sand-coloured castle was built in the 13th century and used by the Knights Templar. The Knights even produced a sweet wine here, still known and enjoyed today as Commandaria. If you visit at sunset you’ll see the stones bathed in a warm glow, with the arches casting long shadows across the ground.
To see a different side of the island, spend a day or two exploring the Troodos Mountains to the north of Limassol. This is the place to wander through peaceful pine forests, or explore historic sites such as Kykkos Monastery. The region is also known for its vineyards – a stop off in Omodos wine village is a must to sample local produce.