Now that our road trip to Cyprus has come to end and having visited most of the island, I can say for sure that Limassol is the most beautiful city in Cyprus. Maybe it's the unique way in which it combines the past with today, the life-bustling streets with the beautiful restaurants and bars located next to monuments built hundend of years ago. Maybe are the colorful graffitis that give life to narrow cobbled streets that seem forgotten in time. Maybe is the beautiful coastal pedestrian street that would envy many cities in the world.

Amphitheatrically built on Akrotiri bay, Limassol is the southernmost city of Europe and the second largest city in Cyprus. The city of Limassol was founded during Byzantine times and was originally called Neapolis, since it is built between two important ancient cities, Amathus in the east and Kourion in the west.

We visited Limassol for 24 hours as part of our road trip to Cyprus and we were really enchanted by the liveliness of the city and the harmonious way in which it combines the past with today. If you are planning to visit Cyprus, I would advise you to spend at least 2 days in Limassol or alternatively to use it as a base for exploring the island due to its very convenient geographical position, since it is approximately 45 minutes from Paphos and Larnaca airports and just one and a half hour away from Nicosia.

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The Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, was dedicated to the god of forests and is the first of the important sights of Limassol that we met coming from Paphos. The ancient sanctuary was built during the Bronze Age and was destroyed by a major earthquake in 365 BC. During the Roman period, there were significant expansions and alterations to the site. The most famous reference to the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates is attributed to Stravonas, according to which, "in a cape after the Kourion, which was facing to Rhodes, those who touched the altar of Apollo were thrown", while it is considered one of the most important religious centers of ancient Cyprus.

Entrance: 2.5 euros

Kourion Archaeological Site

Leaving the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates, heading to Limassol, we meet the Kourion Archaeological Site. The archaeological finds in this area indicate that Kourion was one of the most important cities-kingdoms of the whole of Cyprus, which, according to Herodotus, was founded by the Achaeans who came from the Argos of the Peloponnese and which was completely destroyed by the earthquake of 365 BC. The famous mural of Kourion, in the House of Eustolios, is the first important find that the visitor encounters as he enters the area, following the beautiful Greek-Roman theater, which was built in the 2nd century BC, the ruins of the Ancient Agora, the Episcopal Early Christian Basilica as well as the Kourion Stadium with a capacity of 6,000 spectators.

Entrance: 4.5 euros

Kolossi Castle

Heading to Limassol, just after Kourion the Medieval Castle of Kolossi is located. The Castle's location was a strategic one, as one of the most rich valleys of the island where the sugar cane production flourished, lies behind. It was built in 1210 by the Franks, and its present form remains the same since the 15th century. During the crusades, the crusaders of the St. John of Jerusalem battalion established their headquarters here, and later the castle passed into the domination of Knights Templar.

Entrance: 2.5 euro

Akrotiri Salt Lake

After visiting Kolossi Castle, we head south (about 6 kilometers) to meet Akrotiri Salt Lake. Akrotiri Salt Lake is the largest lake in Cyprus, and according to geologists the area of the Akrotiri in the past was an island. It is considered to be one of the most important wetlands in the Mediterranean as it attracts thousands of birds every winter that use it as a stopover during their migration process. Among the thousands of birds the most impressive are the pink flamingos, which are a pole of attraction for tourists.

Medieval Castle of Limassol

The Medieval Castle of Limassol is built very close to the old harbor, in the point where it used to be a Byzantine castle and is considered to be part of a larger castle which has not been preserved. The tradition says that in 1191 Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre who became the Queen of England, but this is questioned by historians who argue that the castle was built after 1191. The Ottomans occupied the castle in 1570 and the used as a prison, while during the British occupation it functioned as a police station. Today, the Medieval Museum is housed in the Castle, with many interesting exhibits from all over Cyprus.

Entrance: 4.5 euros

Municipal Market

Taking a break from the historical monuments, the Limassol Municipal Market and Market Square with the many shops and the lively atmosphere in the old town of Limassol, is the perfect way to restore ourselves to today. The Municipal Market is a stone-built building, covering an entire square in the heart of Limassol. The market was built in 1917 and has been for many decades a commercial hub and the meeting point of the locals. With the expansion of the city, the market began to decline, but it is being restored now, becoming again the center of Limassol's daily life and a wonderful opportunity for visitors to wander among the colorful stalls and taste local Cypriot products.


Limassol's coastal pedestrian area, or Molos as the locals call it, is one of the most beautiful spots in the city and the ideal place for an afternoon walk or bike ride. This is not a simple pedestrian street but a beautiful park with huge palm trees and various other types of trees, small and large docks, fountains, various sculptures of Cypriot and international artists and many cafes and restaurants. Molos starts from the old harbor of the city and reaches the beach of Olympia, covering an area of almost one and a half kilometers.


Limassol Marina is without a doubt the most cosmopolitan spot in the city. It is a fully renovated part of the port of Limassol, which can accommodate up to 650 yachts. Here you can find some of the most expensive and modern apartments in the city, many restaurants and bars. One of the distinctive buildings of Limassol Marina is the 19th-century Trakasol building, used as a carob storehouse, and has now become a cultural center.

Governor's Bay

One of the reasons you will come to Cyprus is its enchanting beaches. Just outside Limassol (about 20 minutes by car), next to the village of Pentakomo, Governor's Bay is located. It is one of the most famous beaches not only of the area but of the whole island, mainly due to the impressive contrast created by the dark gray sand with the white rocks and the deep blue of the sea. Just next to the Governor's beach, there is the equally beautiful Kalymnos beach, which is quite different, however, as its terrain is not particularly rocky.

Wine Routes

The truth is that I knew only few things about the wines of Cyprus before I visited the island. They may be much less popular than Italian or Spanish wines but from the very first test you will be convinced that it is worth spending some of your time wandering in the inland vineyards and visiting some local wineries. Some of the most picturesque villages of the island, which also produce excellent wine, are located just outside the city of Limassol on the southern slopes of Troodos. One of the most famous villages in the area, which is quite popular among tourists, is the Omodos, which is about 42 kilometers northwest of the city of Limassol, while there are about 20 other villages built in beautiful locations, among green forests, from which I have distinguished the villages of Lofou, Koilani and Arsos.

Disclaimer: My trip in Cyprus was in partnership with VisitCyprus. As always, all opinions expressed are my own!

Daphne Giannouli

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