Limassol (Lemesos) is the largest coastal resort in Cyprus and as such has plenty of attractions on offer for visitors and locals alike. Whether you're after a relaxing beach vacation or a more sophisticated cultural and historical tour, Limassol can cater to all.
The city attracts an increasing number of visitors each year, who come to discover its beautiful beaches which offer numerous water activities such as scuba diving, jet skiing and para-gliding, etc. Moreover, the city is significantly famous for its historical and archaeological sites that are to this day some of its most popular attractions.
Amathus Archaeological Site
This historical point is 11km east of Limassol. Amathus played a significant role in ancient Cyprus being one of the principle ancient royal cities, similar to the prominent status of Kourion, however unlike Kourion it also acted as a port.
Various attractions at the Amathus site include the ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite and the Tombs dating back to the early Iron Age period of Graeco-Phoenician.
The ancient city of Amathus on the southern coast of Agios Tychonas is one of the oldest imperial cities on the island. There have been many myths behind the origin of this city, one of them believing in Cinyras as the city's founder, whose son Adonis named the city after his mother Amathous. Hellenic myth would have Amathus built by one of the sons of Heracles who was worshiped there. The city had a very special place for Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. Visitors at the ruins can perceive an era that existed 3000 years ago through the mythical excavations and artefacts.
This well admired 15th century castle is situated in Kolossi village, 14km west of Limassol in the south of Cyprus. There have been indications that the castle we see today has been built on the site of an earlier castle from the 13th century.
The surrounding land around Kolossi castle played an important role in the past as it had been highly cultivated with sugarcane and vineyards, from which the famous Cypriot wine Commandaria was produced. The name 'Commandaria' originates from the headquarters of Kolossi – the 'Grand Commanderie'.
Limassol is the main city in Cyprus for exporting and this dates back also to the Middle Ages when the city acted as the centre for exports of olives, cotton and sugar with the help of the fertile area around Kolossi castle.
Kourion is located 18km, west of Limassol in the small town of Episkopi and is one of the most famous ancient attractions. It is renowned for its importance, as historical sources suggest it was a major ancient city Kingdom of Cyprus. Furthermore, Kourion hosts a considerable amount of impressive musical and theatrical events in its magnificent Greco-Roman amphitheater that was originally built in the second century B.C.
The site overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean Sea complimenting surrounding monuments which mostly date from the Roman period. These include the Forum, the Nymphaeum, the Fountain House, and the House of the Gladiators, the House of Achilles and the Public Baths.
The zoo is located on the coastal road of Limassol, and is the only one in Cyprus. It accommodates a diverse selection of animals, an average of 300, including birds. The residents of the zoo include lions, tigers, bears, panthers, zebras, monkeys, ostriches, peacocks, vultures, emu, falcons and macaws etc.
Limassol zoo also features a natural history museum and an educational centre, which frequently screens films on wildlife and nature.
The zoo includes a special designated area for children.
The Limassol District Archaeological Museum
This museum was initially housed in a section of the Limassol Castle, which was founded in 1948. It holds many extraordinary artefacts dating from the beginning of the 4th and 5th centuries AD and covers all the historical periods to the early phases of the Ottoman period (16th-17th centuries). Collections of artefacts presented are mostly connected with the latest periods of Cyprus' history, signifying various great archaeological discoveries.
The city of Limassol has the longest coastline of all the cities and beach resorts in Cyprus. The city offers a diverse style of public and controlled beaches.
Featured below are some of the most popular tourist beaches in Limassol
Ladies' Mile (Lady's Mile)
This is a superb beach with grainy white sand and shallow clear water. It is located near the New Limassol port and can be reached in 15 minutes from Limassol's town centre. It is one of the safest beaches for children and the facilities for windsurfing are assured. It is a perfect place to enjoy a swim, sunbathe or a peaceful walk along the sandy beach.
This beach is not as crowded as others and is located midway between Larnaca and Limassol. Governor's beach has a sandy coastline and shallow clear water with a rocky area beneath the shore, ideal for snorkeling and fishing. It is a relaxing beach where you can witness a beautiful sunrise and enjoy a meal in a typical Greek Cypriot Taverna just a few metres away from the beach.
Kourion (Chris Blue) Beach
This is a large beach and is one of the most spectacular beaches in Limassol. The ruins of the Ancient Roman Kourion Amphitheater are just next to the beach on a high mountain, which is also a popular spot for hand-gliders to emerge from. Sailing and wind-surfing opportunities are assured here but sometimes the beach can get very overcrowded with swimmers.
This beach is located midway between Limassol and Paphos. It is clean with warm water and is safe for swimming and other water sports activities offered during the summer months. The area surrounding the beach is quiet and unspoiled as Pissouri is a small village which does not get overcrowded with many tourists. Furthermore, there are many restaurants along the beach offering delicious traditional cuisines of Cyprus.
Flo Cafe Beach Cove
For those who wish to escape the crowds and enjoy a perfectly peaceful experience, head towards the Flo Cafe Beach Cove. This is a small pleasant bay located in the heart of the tourist area in Limassol. The water is clean and considerably shallow which makes it a safe beach for small children. The beach cove is complimented by the Flo Cafe which is situated directly on the beach front.
There is no doubt Limassol Castle occupies a dominant position in the landmark and tourist attractions in the city. This imperial castle, now home to Limassol's Medieval Museum, used to serve as a prison during the old days of Ottoman rule. Richard the Lionheart is said to have married and crowned the Lord of Cyprus in this incredibly regal fortress. The castle itself presents an extremely simple, archaeological view but the scenic gardens and an old olive press are a remarkable sight to explore.
The Archaeological Museum in Limassol is a particularly interesting sight for art and history lovers. The museums houses artefacts related to societal development of Cyprus, which include ceramics, pottery and antiquities from the Roman period. Also, on display are finds from the Neolithic until the Late Bronze Age. Sculptures, pottery, lamps and inscriptions with ancient Hellenistic and Roman koine catch the eye of many visitors.
Folk Art Museum
The Municipal Museum of Folk Art is housed in a historic building donated by the Schiza family. Its main purpose is to promote Cypriot folk art and craft through collections from the 1800 and 1900 centuries. On display are fascinating objects relating to woodcarving, jewellery decoration, tools and utensils, traditional Cypriot costumes, embroidery and weaving and bronze artefacts. One of the halls in the museum is especially dedicated to a porcelain collection by Anna Kourea.
Municipal Gardens & Twin Cities Park
The Municipal Gardens along the coastal road have a rich bounty of green and shady space where visitors relax or take a stroll down the pathways. The nearby area plays host to several family attractions like the Lemesos Zoo Garden and Dinosaur Park. This also includes a large open-air garden theatre where several events take place throughout the year. The Twin Cities Park, on the coast embankment close to the Municipal Gardens, presents a series of public sculptures by Greek, Cypriot and international artists.
Kolossi Medieval Castle
The Kolossi Medieval Castle is situated in the village of Kolossi, 11 kilometres west of Larnaca. A renowned archaeological site, the castle was built in the 15th century by the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem on a land gifted by King Hugh I. Earlier, it used to be home to a 13th century fortress whose ruins are still visible in the castle. Later the castle was occupied by the Richard I of England and the Knights Templar.
Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Convent
Situated on Cape Gata southeast of Akrotiri Salt, Agios Nikolaos ton Gaton Convent is said to be the first monastery in Cyprus. The church structure of today was built in 14th century only to be abandoned in the 16th century. It was finally claimed by the Orthodox nuns in the 1980s. Legend says that the monastery was founded by Agia Eleni, mother of Constantine the Great who left back a piece of wood from the Holy Cross.