My best adulthood friends come from Limassol, so I visit as often as possible, and of course they keep me in the loop! There is a “joie de vivre” in Limassol, different from anywhere else on the island. The locals know how to have fun!
I have been procrastinating about writing this article…I don’t know why, I wanted to do so for some time now… Finally, here’s my take on Limassol, with a number of invaluable tips that were sourced from my local friends Christina Christodoulidou, Christiana Anastasiou, Roxane Cotsapa and Polis Ioannou. I thank them very much for their contribution!
Lemesos is a city on the southern coast of Cyprus and capital of the eponymous district. It is the second largest urban area in Cyprus after Nicosia, with an urban population of approx. 190’000 and a metropolitan population of approx. 240’000. Limassol has been ranked by Trip Advisor as the 3rd up-and-coming destination in the world, in its Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Destinations on the Rise.
Some historical facts
The city was built between two ancient Greek cities, Amathus and Kourion, and during Byzantine rule it was known as Neapolis (new town). Limassol’s historical centre is located around its medieval Limassol Castle and the Old Port. Today the city spreads along the Mediterranean coast and has extended much farther than the castle and port, with its suburbs stretching along the coast to Amathus. To the west of the city is the Akrotiri Area of the British Overseas Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
With warm to hot and dry summers and very mild winters, separated by short springs and autumns, the weather is generally warm and pleasant. From December to March the weather is unsettled and can be rainy and windy but one can also often expect great amounts of sunshine averaging around 6 hours a day.
The development of tourism in Limassol began after 1974 when Famagusta and Kyrenia, the principal tourist resorts of Cyprus, were occupied during the Turkish invasion, after which they became a part of the illegally occupied part of Cyprus. Limassol has many beaches, suitable for sunbathing and swimming.
The Port of Limassol became the major sea port of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. Before 1974, that role had been filled by Famagusta, which is now is not recognized as a legal port by any country except Turkey.
A new marina located to the west of Limassol Castle, between the old and new ports, has been built and was opened to public in 2014, having hosted its first yachts in 2013. It has a capacity of 1,000 vessels.
During the last years, Limassol has experienced a construction boom fueled by the tourist sector as well as from increasing foreign investments in the city. Public projects like the redesigning of the city’s coast line promenade, improved the quality of life of the people and the image of the city as a cosmopolitan destination. Infrastructure improvements partly funded by European programs have helped solve traffic problems that the city faced with the construction of new highway flyovers and roundabouts.
- Four Seasons Hotel. Renovated in 2016. Best food and service on the Island. Also visit Colors Cafe.
- Amathus Beach Hotel Limassol (Member of Leading Hotels of the World). Insider’s tip: Have dinner at Limanaki Fish Restaurant by the Beach (open only during summertime).
- Londa Beach Hotel (Member of Small Luxury Hotels). Insider’s tip: Sip a fresh fruit juice or smoothie on the hotel’s terrace with uninterrupted sea view
- Park Lane, A Luxury Collection Hotel & SPA. Opened on March 4th, 2019 after a complete multimillion-euro renovation. Can’t wait to visit!
- Sir Paul Hotel. New Entry. Family-owned luxury city hotel with just 22 rooms, ideal for business and pleasure. Located at the heart of Limassol’s historic center.
- Seasons Oriental (in the Four Seasons Hotel) Flavors from the Far East. Best ethnic restaurant in Cyprus
- Zen Room Japanese Restaurant
- Do Wine & Dine (With a wide selection of cheeses and accompanying wines)
- Bistrot 55. Three editions, one group of restaurants; the Classic, the Street and the Summer. Apparently amazing brunch over the weekend!
- Fat Fish (contrary to the name not only a fish restaurant. Mediterranean cuisine on the sea front (indoors and outdoors)
- Puesta for seafood. Located by the sea. Decent food food, reasonable prices.
- Epsilon. Modern Mediterranean cuisine (and Japanese menu) at Limassol Marina
- Gin Fish Seafood bar and restaurant at the old Harbor. Amazing view of the sea and Limassol cost line. Try the Ophir cocktail to spice up your night.
- The Old Neighbourhood. For fish lovers in the heart of the old city. To see and to be seen.
- Columbia Steak House for the best steak in town.
- 5 Efkalipti (Best kleftiko)
- I Sikaminia tavern
- Gastra Cypriot Cuisine with a modern twist.
- Altima Italian. By the Limassol Castle.
- Draught Microbrewery bar & grill
- S’witch food to go. A salad and sandwich bar in downtown Limassol. Great options of freshly homemade s’wiches and salads for lunch. Open daily for take away & delivery.
- The Cookhouse. Open only until 16:00 for breakfast, brunch, lunch. Small but very tasty menu. Nice vibe. Reservations a must during weekends.
- The Bakery Kafeneio. Open for breakfast, lunch, brunch. Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan dishes. Delicious juices.
The best places for souvlaki (from a very reliable source!):
- Aristos & Kiki at Germasogeia
- Orphanides in Glastonos
- Souvlaki Ariel Makarios Avenue
- Μαντάμ at the Historic Heroes square. Innovative cocktails and upbeat music.
- Library bar with a small a la carte menu. During summer opt for their open air bar, on the opposite street corner, Gin Garden.
- Bordello. Restaurant, Bar, Club in the old city, near the Townhouse.
- 7 Seas. On top of Columbia Steak house.
Summer Beach Restaurant/Bar/Clubs
Out and about Limassol
(Should you, and you should, decide to venture out of town!)
- 3 Alonia in Agios Tychonas area
- To tavernaki tis Elenis – Armenochori
- Agios Epiktitos tavern – Agios Epiktitos
- Koursaros Fish Tavern – Pareklisia
- Melis tavern – Pareklisia (for meat lovers – speciality lamb leg, known as kotsi)
- Avli tou Themistokli – Omodos – Basic taverna where Chrysoula makes a legendary mousakka!
Wine Shops, Deli & Bakery
Doing business, the modern way
The Business Bar is a beautiful co-working space designed for freelancers, in the center of Limassol’s old town. They offer 4 options of work desks, daily and monthly hot desks on shared tables, daily and monthly cubicles and monthly VIP desks for one or two people. They have a conference room that can be booked in 30-minute slots, super-fast internet by fiberoptic cable and an unlimited supply of coffee, tea and filtered water. Open from dawn till dusk.
- Bleu boutique (with avant garde brands such as: Junya Watanabe, Masnata, Uma Wang, Rudholz, Maria Calderara)
- Splash by the beach (high end brands such as: Christian Dior, Azzedine Alaia, Fendi, Valentino, Balmain, Lanvin, Givenchy, Marni, Rosie Assoulin, Kenzo)
- Anastasios Stephanides & Son Luxury Goods Ltd (the official exclusive retailer for many prestigious luxury watch brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Tag Heuer and Bulgari).
- Cara Boutique (high end brands such as: Celine, Nina Ricci, Elie Saab, Jil Sander, Moncler)
- Kult Boutique (high end brands such as: Gucci, Miu Miu, Prada, Jummy Choo, Etro, Dolce & Gabbana)
- First Boutique
- Aqua (t-shirts, sweaters, beach towels, swim suits, home wear, Panama hats, etc.)
- The Shopkeeper & Co. A creatively driven book and concept store located in the heart of Limassol city with innovative products.
- For Souvenirs walk the pedestrian Agios Andreas street
- Saturday’s farmer’s market. For fresh vegetables, fruit, cheese, yogurt, eggs and herbs.
For the Cultural Traveler
- The Island Club A new spot by the artist Christodoulos Panayiotou – The most contemporary – Currently an exhibition on Thraki Rossidou Jones
- Gallery Morfi
- Peter’s Gallery
- Rouan Gallery
- Papadakis Warehouses– Limassol Municipal Art Center – The most recent exhibition centre.
I must not forget to mention that this is a city that hosts, “come rain or shine”, a legendary Carnival every year! Most Limassolians live and prepare for that the whole year! (Which is something I will never understand…).