Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus and the southernmost city in Europe, with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants.
Among other Cypriot cities, Limassol is especially famous for its rich nightlife and cultural traditions. It is also the largest port on the island and one of the largest ports in the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is noteworthy that Limassol received the greatest development after the loss by Cyprus in August 1974 of its other important seaport – Ammohostos (Famagusta), which today is located in the territory occupied by Turkey.
Limassol is a relatively new city, despite the finds found in its surroundings, indicating the settlement of these places since ancient times.
The city is located at the southernmost point of Cyprus. It was built as an amphitheater over the Gulf of Akrotiri (Kolpos Akrotiriou) – between two cities of ancient times: Amathus (Amaphunt, 1100 BC) – in the east and Kourion (XII century BC) – in the west …
British military bases are located to the west of the city, so the city is growing eastward, stretching along the most beautiful sandy beaches, of which there are surprisingly many – one better than the other: Governors’ Beach, Aorati / Panagies (Le Meridien – St Raphael), Parekklisias public beach, Agia Varvara, Loures, Vuppa (Αmathus Beach Hotel – Four Seasons), Aphroditi (Four Seasons Hotel – Puesta), Armonia (Puesta Oyster Bar & Grill – Arsinoe Hotel), Onisilos, Castella (Drifters Bar & Grill), Miami, Dasoudi, Akti Olympion (A and B), Kuriu / Agiu Ermogheni, Melanta and Pissouri.
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The royal apollonia
The hotel is located right on the beach, in the heart of the tourist area of Limassol, 5 km from the city center.
During the Byzantine era, the city served as the residence of the bishop, called Theodosius (Theodosiani) and Naples (Nea Polis, Neapolis), that is, the New city, which was located between two important cities of antiquity – Amathus and Kourion, having experienced an unprecedented prosperity during its existence.
It is noteworthy that Amathus, from the Middle Ages to the present day, has been called the Old City (Palea Polis).
It is believed that during the years of the Third Crusade, in 1191, in the chapel of St. Nicholas (which has not survived to this day) of the Limassol castle, the wedding of the King of England Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) and Berengaria of Navarre (1165 / 1170-1230) took place, who was then crowned Queen of England, while her coronation ceremony was also held in Limassol.
Later, the Crusaders established their residence in the west of Limassol, known today as the Meseonico Kastro (Medieval Fortress) Colossi, 21 m high, built by the Franks in 1210 under King Hugh I de Lusignan of Cyprus. The construction of the fortress, in turn, indirectly contributed to the beginning of wine production on the island, especially the sweet viscous monastery wine Commandaria, which is the oldest wine in the world.
In 1291, the city was given by the Frankish king of Cyprus Henry II to the Templars and the John Hospitallers, but soon the knights of the Order of St. John conquered Rhodes (1306-1309), moving their residence to the Dodecanese, while the Order of the Templars was dissolved in 1307 on the order of Pope Clement V.
What to see
Today Limassol extends beyond the municipal boundaries (with the old part of the city preserved as the historical center), starting from the streets located near the Old Port and stretching eastward along the coastline.
The core of the historical center is the Medieval Castle of Limassol (XII-XIII centuries), which currently houses the Medieval Museum of Cyprus, where artifacts found in different parts of the island are exhibited.
The area surrounding Limassol Castle is a pedestrianized area with many restaurants, bars and exhibition halls, and is essentially the center of Limassol’s cultural and nightlife.
To the east of the fortress is dominated by the Ayia Napa Cathedral, built at the end of the 19th century.
Limassol has its own Archaeological Museum, as well as a wonderful Theater Museum and a small Folk Art Museum.
In addition, the city has a large City Park, where the Wine Festival is held every September, which is a pole of attraction for both city residents and tourists. There is a zoo and a spacious amphitheater on the territory of the park.
One of the most beautiful and famous buildings in the city houses the City Library (Pilavakis Mansion), which is part of the University Libraries of the Cyprus University of Technology.
In addition to the Medieval fortress, located in the village of Kolossi (11 km from Limassol), and the ancient cities of Kourion and Amathus, in the vicinity of Limassol there are many other archaeological sites and objects – in particular, the sanctuary of Apollo Chilates in Kourion, as well as historical monasteries (monastery of St. George Alaman).
The Akrotiri area is home to the Aliki Limassol wetland complex, which is included in the list of Ramsar territories and the European Education Priority Zones. In addition, this area is recognized by British sovereign bases as a Special Protection Zone due to the importance of its wetlands and biodiversity. Aliki Limassol is famous, in particular, for the pink flamingos that live here, among which no-no, and there is a flamingo of a rare black color for this bird …
Limassol can be seen as the industrial center of the whole of Cyprus. The city has approximately 350 factories that produce furniture, footwear, metal products, electrical appliances and plastics.
The development of tourism in Limassol took a new turn after the invasion of the Cypriot land by the Turkish invaders who occupied Ammohostos and Kyrenia, which were the main tourist resorts of the island. With a large number of magnificent beaches and luxury hotels, Limassol has become a major tourist center of the island. At the same time, the city became one of the most important ports in Cyprus.
Limassol has two seaports known as Old and New ports. The new port of Limassol manages most of the cargo and passenger traffic. Due to its size (11 m depth and 1300 m length), the port can handle up to eleven vessels at the same time.
Through the ports of Limassol, Cyprus exports grapes, wine, carob, importing grain crops, vehicles, machinery, medicines and iron into the country.
Today Limassol is the largest shipping center in Europe, with more than 60 shipping companies headquartered in the city due to the favorable conditions of the Cyprus tax system.
Overall, Cyprus currently has the tenth largest fleet in the world. Moreover, in June 2014, work was completed on the expansion of the Limassol Marina with a capacity of up to 1000 vessels.
Limassol beaches and sea
The sea in Limassol is incredibly warm and clean, as in most of all Cyprus. The island itself is located in the east of the Mediterranean Sea, while the part of the Mediterranean Sea, washing Cyprus between the peninsula of Asia Minor and Africa, is conventionally called the Cyprus Sea. The latter, in turn, is divided into the eastern part, located between Cyprus and the Middle East coast, called the Levantine Sea, and the northeastern part (between Asia Minor and Cyprus), which is called the Cilician Sea.
It is worth noting that it is the Cyprus Sea, as part of the Mediterranean Sea, that is considered the warmest and saltiest, which has a positive effect on the influx of tourists from all over the world, since the water temperature here even in winter reaches 19-20 degrees Celsius, and in summer these indicators rise to 26 -27.
Another plus in the collection of rest in Limassol are amazingly clean beaches, with a gentle slope to the water and nearby infrastructure. In addition, the rest on the beaches of Limassol is not only pleasant, but also rewarding! The thing is that most of its beaches are sandy or sandy-pebble, but with one difference from most resort countries … The sand is volcanic! Such rare sand contains a high concentration of flint, which has a beneficial effect on human skin.
In addition, almost all of Limassol’s beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag – a special quality seal from the European Union, which means unsurpassed water and sand purity, as well as a highly developed beach infrastructure. This award once again confirms the fact that you will not be bored here, and a lot of entertainment, from aqua aerobics to jet skis, is guaranteed!
Limassol, known for its rich and centuries-old cultural tradition, together with its surroundings, is the center of a wide variety of events and activities. Thus, the ancient theater of Kourion during the summer months serves as the cultural center of Limassol, with numerous theatrical and musical performances on its stage.
Limassol also hosts two of the most famous and oldest festivals in Cyprus: Wine Festival and Carnival.
In addition, there are two large theaters: the Municipal Theater of Pattihio and the Rialto Theater, where theater plays, musicals and ballet are staged – performed not only by Cypriot troupes, but also by foreign actors.
How to get to Limassol
There are several ways to get to one of the most demanded resorts in the world:
- From Pafos International AirportThe airport is located just 60 km west of Limassol, so you can get to the city by taxi. The cost of such a trip is approximately 50 €.
- From Larnaca Airport (Lamaka International Airport)It is located 70 km east of Limassol. Bus company INTERCITY Buses operates from here every day. If you go by taxi, the trip will cost from 60 € and more.
- From the New Port of LimassolThe port is located at a distance of 7 km from the city center, which can be reached by bus # 30, which runs on a daily basis three times an hour from 6:25 to 19:00 (in winter – until 18:00).
- From the yacht harbor of St. RaphaelThe harbor is located about 12 km east of the center of Limassol. You can get from the yacht dock to the city center using buses # 6 (from 07:05 to 19:00 in summer and to 17:25 in winter) or # 30 (from 6:25 to 19:00 and until 18:00 in winter).