10 Best Attractions in Limassol Cyprus That You MUST SEE
An intricate blend of the ancient, medieval and modern marvels makes Limassol Cyprus a traveller’s dream destination. Coupled with these are the inviting beaches of Limassol that not only make for a beautiful basking area but also allow innumerable options for water sports, which makes the place a favourite with beach fanatics and water sport enthusiasts. The rocking nightlife adds to the Mediterranean city’s charms with its offering of clubs, discos and tavernas that are open throughout the year.
Historical wonders interspersed with a rich cultural heritage and a beautiful coastline gives Lemesos, as this second largest city of Cyprus is officially known as, the tag of an exotic holiday spot. Whether a person chooses to wander through one of the many archaeological sites, soak in the sun on the sandy beaches or explore the delights of its present day charms, one can lose themselves in the beauty that is Limassol, as they go about exploring its many dimensions.
Best Limassol Attractions
1. Limassol Castle
The medieval castle’s stunning white facade and military architecture make it the most popular tourist attraction in Lemesos (Limassol). The current structure of the castle, along with its gardens was built in the 14th century, over the ruins of an earlier Byzantine castle. The earlier Byzantine castle was built much before the 14th century. The structure built in the 14th century had an interesting history behind it; it had been raided first by the Venetians, and subsequently controlled by the Ottomans and British. The castle has thus played an important role in the history of Cyprus.
Folklore says that Richard the Lionheart (the King of England in 1191) had married Berengaria in the original Byzantine castle. He also crowned himself King of Cyprus here, and declared his wife to be the Queen of England. You can explore the castle and marvel at how the Ottomans used it for military purposes. You will feel transported back to ancient times when you go inside the castle. There is also a basement, which contains prison cells used by the British till 1950.
The Lemesos medieval museum inside the castle should not be missed. It houses fascinating medieval exhibits brought from all over Cyprus. If you climb up to the top of the castle, you can see beautiful views of the sea. You can also see real cannons which are installed near the top of the castle. After soaking in the view and seeing the cannons, you can visit the gardens in the castle grounds. These allow you to seek some shade from the sun. In the gardens, there is also an old olive press which is even older than the castle, as it dates back to the 7th century. This olive press is simply built, and uses only one millstone. This delightful olive press is charming, and a good end point for your castle visit.
2. Limassol Marina
The Limassol Marina is the perfect place to admire modern day Cyprus as you take a stroll and soak in the Mediterranean sun. The area is a well laid out waterfront development which is also the first super yacht marina property in the country.
An interesting line up of eateries that includes a mix of international restaurants and local cafeterias, with their outdoor seating arrangements, provide the perfect place to take a respite and admire the docked yachts as well as take in the bustling ambience of the marina.
Time absolutely flies at the Limassol Marina, whether you are shopping in one of the elegant boutiques or simply breathing in the cool breeze of the sea.
One of the most breathtaking archaeological sites in Cyprus, Kourion near Limassol gives a rich insight into the cultural heritage of Cyprus and new discoveries in the grounds of this ancient site are still being brought to light.
Offering spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea, Kourion ‐ which was a major city during ancient times ‐ encompasses a bevy of sites and treasures that date from the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine period. It includes marvels like House of Achilles, House of the Gladiators, Episcopal Precinct of Kourion, Complex of Eustolios, Fountain House, Nymphaeum, Forum, Theatre of Kourion as well as Agora and Public Baths. Mosaic floors, that are still preserved, form the mainstay of many of the structures and make for an impressive sight.
The theatre, which dates back to the 2nd century B.C. has been restored fully and is now used for open air theatrical and musical performances and has even hosted the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama. To this date, one can’t help but marvel at the theatre’s unique acoustic qualities.
With such a spectacular line up of historical wonders in one place, it is no wonder that Kourion is one of the best tourist attractions in Limassol Cyprus.
4. Kolossi Castle
Flickr/Nathan Hughes Hamilton
By paying a visit to the Kolossi Castle, near Limassol, one can see an example of the fine military architecture of the middle ages. Built in the 15th century by Louis de Magnac, on the ruins of 13th century castle that served the knights of St John of Jerusalem, this medieval period fortification played an important role in the area owing to its sugarcane producing facilities ‐ which was one of the main exports of Cyprus during that period.
Today, one can get a spectacular view of the surrounding vineyards from the castle’s rooftop. These vineyards still produce a popular sweet wine called Commandria, touted as the oldest continually produced wine of the world which was produced even during the middle ages. The name “Commandria” was an ode to the Knight Templars’ Grand Commandery here.
A visitor can walk around the ruins of the Kolossi Castle, which is definitely one of the popular points of interest in Limassol Cyprus, and admire the remains of the battlement as well as explore the castle grounds, with some of its stonework structures still intact.
5. Amathus Ruins
One of the most ancient towns in Cyprus, Amathus near Limassol is an important archaeological site today that gives a deep insight into the rich history of the island country. The Amathus Ruins includes the remains of a palace, public baths, an agora, a temple, an acropolis, and several tombs, among other sites of historical importance.
The site, which also had a strong connection with the cult of Aphrodite, saw its grounds hosting the Greeks, Phoenicians, Persians, Ptolemies and Romans during the passage of time, until it was abandoned. By the time the Richard Plantagenet of England won Cyprus in the 12th century; Amathus was already a deserted area.
While walking around in the ruins, one can almost feel as if they have time travelled 2000 years back. A climb up the hill, where the site is located, also allows one a splendid view of the coast. It is no wonder that the Amathus Ruins are one of the topmost places to visit in Limassol.
6. Limassol Promenade
Also known as Molos, the Limassol Promenade with its great sea view, palm fringed road and numerous cafes, pubs and restaurants is a popular place with both holidaymakers and the local crowd. The boulevard, which stretches for miles and extends up to the Amathus Ruins, is a fabulous place to start the day with a relaxing stroll or to unwind after long hours of sightseeing.
You can stop to admire the statues and fountains that dot the promenade, take a selfie or two with the Mediterranean coastline as the backdrop, or simply sit and people watch whatever you do, time will be well spent at the impressive Limassol Promenade.
7. Fasouri Watermania
The biggest waterpark in Cyprus, Fasouri Watermania is the perfect place to enjoy a fun and adventurous day in Limassol. The place boasts of a long lazy river and Europe’s hugest wave pool. One will feel that away have been transported away from the Mediterranean and into the tropics, due to the Polynesian theme of the area.
Row around in paddle boats, splash down the elephant slide, jump around the tarzan swings or try your hand at the wet wall climb, clearly there is a lot to do in the park apart from frolicking in the water. Bring out the child in you in this popular attraction in Limassol. Whatever you do, one thing is guaranteed, there is no room for boredom as the day will simply fly by.
Those who want a bit of respite in between all the excitement can head to the massage parlour or the fish spa, or go and treat their taste buds with delectable delicacies from one of the many eateries inside the Fasouri Watermania. It is truly a one stop destination for the entire family during a holiday in Limassol.
8. Cyprus Wine Museum
Vino lovers will probably be delighted to hear about this popular point of interest in Limassol. The Cyprus Wine Museum in the village of Erimi, right in the middle of Cyprus’s wine producing countryside, will take you on a fabulous journey of the history of winemaking in this country.
Audiovisual presentations and stories told through photographs and illustrations make the experience even more wonderful. One can see how wine has been made over a period of 5500 years with an array of interesting apparatus. On display are drinking vessels, vases and jars of yore.
To top it all, one can taste the many variants of wine that are produced locally, at the end of their tour and make a toast!
9. Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats
The Holy Monastery of St Nicholas of the Cats is located near the beautiful town of Lemesos (Limassol), and consists of a church and a large living area for the nuns. The first thing that will strike you on visiting the monastery is the fact that there were cats almost everywhere! The architecture of the monastery is on a Byzantine pattern, and stone is the main building material. The church is said to have been built in the 13th century.
Legend has it that the original monastery was patronised by Emperor Constantine’s mother, Saint Helena in 327 BC. It was built by the island’s governor, Kalokeros. At the time, Cyprus was in the midst of a drought and the island was teeming with snakes. Local residents were also beginning to leave the Akrotiri Peninsula, where the town of Lemesos is located. Saint Helena ordered a thousand cats to be delivered from Palestine and Egypt to kill the snakes. This was essential, as the monastery could not have been built otherwise. The cats did their work, and many were deformed in the process of catching snakes. The monks, from generation to generation, fed and kept the cats in the monastery grounds.
During an invasion in the 16th century, the monastery was almost fully destroyed. The monastery was rebuilt in 1983 in much of its original style. An interesting case of history repeating itself is that the rebuilt monastery also had the problem of snakes. The nuns brought in cats, and they helped get rid of the snakes. It is thus evident that cats are well respected in this monastery, and this applies for the whole of Cyprus as well.
The attractions of the monastery include its many cats and the Byzantine architecture. There are also great views of the Akrotiri Bay. If you are visiting Cyprus and happen to be in Lemesos, then going there by car, is a good idea, so that you can appreciate the stunning views on the way. It will be a unique experience, and you can experience some of the ancient history of Cyprus. If you have an abandoned cat with you, the monastery will happily give it food and shelter.
10. Sanctuary of Apollon Hylates
One of the most legendary places where the worship of Apollo is supposed to have started, from the 8th century BC and continued up to the 4th century AD is at the Sanctuary of Apollon Hylates. This spot lies about 2 miles from the city of Kourion in Cyprus.
The site has many relics from the past which indicate that it had been a center of religious activities during the ancient Roman period. It has not been one static structure that this place beholds. There had been many additions and alterations to the structures in this area, owing to the various ethnicities of the people who occupied it during the course of time.
You can easily make out the circular monument within which is the Archaic Altar and the Precinct, clearly indicating that the religious rituals that this area had once hosted. One would also find clear evidence of the Roman touch, when the terracotta figurines that have been excavated and placed on display are seen.
Any lover of historic facts would sure be mesmerized at this site and feel the thrill of being actually so close to history and its reality. The site also has early Hellenistic structures from the time when the temple is supposed to have been rebuilt. This is indeed a historian’s delight to visit, and for other visitors it remains a tryst with Greek or Roman tales that you would have read only in books.