The second largest city in Cyprus, Limassol combines seaside promenades and luxurious resorts with a historic old town and traditional Cypriot restaurants. Here’s my guide to spending one day in Limassol.
Limassol is the second largest city in Cyprus after the capital, Nicosia, on the south coast of the island. It sits practically half way between Paphos in the west and Ayia Napa & Protaras in the east meaning that spending a day in Limassol is simple no matter where you stay.
The bustling city of Limassol offers something for everyone; whether you’re looking to explore the historic old town, marvel at pristine super yachts in the marina, party until the sun comes up or wander slowly along a palm-tree lined promenade.
Every visitor to Cyprus should spend at least one day in Limassol though it’s probably not the place to stay if you’re looking for a resort style town with golden sand beaches. Having said that, there are some beautiful hotels on the coastline that seemingly stretches ever further with the ongoing development in the city.
As a kid, Limassol was the place we’d visit for our big food shop, for a new skateboard or the Adidas Superstar trainers that were all the rage back in 2002. Let’s face it, Limassol is a relatively ordinary city for most Cypriots who go about their daily lives however, using this guide featuring the best things to do in Limassol, you’ll be able to scratch just slightly under the surface and see that there’s much more to the city than first meets the eye.
ONE DAY IN LIMASSOL
In my opinion, every visit to Limassol should begin in the Old Town and its narrow winding streets. Some of the buildings may be crumbling but that simply adds to the charm of this area. I’d recommend wandering around, browsing shops, snapping photos of the beautiful architecture stopping only to enjoy the bars and restaurants that spread out onto the pavement. It’s dusty, it’s hot and the smell of leather lingers on every corner.
There are many hidden alleyways in the Old Town too so you’ll never know what you might find. I loved the one with a beautiful view leading up to the Great Mosque.
At the heart of the Old Town is the medieval Limassol Castle. Whilst the current castle dates back to the 16th century, it is said that Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Naverre on this site crowning her the Queen of England. The castle houses the Medieval Museum of Cyprus which, for those that enjoy museums, is a great way to learn more about the history of this island.
Limassol Marina is a modern development south of the Old Town, past the most amazing rubber tree you’ll ever see, filled with high-end shops, restaurants and bars, luxury villas and super yachts. The marina opened in 2014 and is an example of the ongoing development of Cyprus. I don’t necessarily think that Cyprus has lost its charm with this kind of development (seeing skyscrapers in Limassol is odd though) but it’s clear that Cyprus is changing with the influx of money.
Anyway, you have to visit the marina and ponder what life might be like for those rich enough to live in one of the villas. I certainly prefer the Old Town for bars and restaurants but you can’t complain about the views here if you do fancy a drink overlooking the calm marina.
WALK ALONG MOLOS PROMENADE
The Molos Promenade lined with palm trees is a lovely place to wander especially as the temperature cools. There are playgrounds, walkways across water features, piers that stretch out to sea plus cafes and restaurants. It’s always a great idea to visit the promenade; one of the first places that my daughter Evelyn really started to take to her feet!
All manner of people enjoy the Molos promenade each and every day, from families to runners, this is one of the best things to do in Limassol. If anyone ever had an interested in rallying, I remember in 2001 or 2022 seeing Colin McRae limping home to finish a stage here in a Ford Focus that was practically destroyed!
ENJOY A FRAPPE FROM NATIVES
Said to be one of the best coffee shops in Limassol, Natives can be found in the Old Town serving up speciality coffee, sandwiches and freshly baked goods in a minimalist venue. Perfect for digital nomads or passing tourists, grab a flat white and sit outside on the corner or, my preferred option, grab a frappe to take away and continue wandering the streets of the Old Town.
DINE AT OUSIA LOUNGE CAFE
There are many great places to eat in Limassol, mostly centred around the square in the Old Town, but we stumbled into Ousia Lounge Cafe on a whim thanks to Evelyn’s desire to eat dead on 12pm every day. Routines eh?
I’m normally a ‘research in advance’ kind of guy as I hate nothing more than experiencing bad food and/or service. I never like to get caught in a tourist trap but, thankfully, our 10 second vibe check still works and we were blown away by the food here at Ousia Lounge Cafe. We devoured a falafel wrap and chicken kebab; perfect for refueling after a long drive on the old road from Paphos and setting us up for a day in Limassol.
Ever since 1961, for two weeks in September (2023 – October), the famous Limassol Wine Festival takes place in the Municipal gardens. Tickets are entirely affordable (I’m talking like €5) and you are treated to unlimited samples to wine from vineyards across Cyprus. Alongside the wine, there’s live music, dancing, theatrical performances and cheap local food. No-one ever leaves the wine festival in a good way but that’s all part of the fun right? If you drink alcohol and like wine that is…
SPENDING LONGER IN LIMASSOL?
Whilst for me, one day in Limassol is enough to be able to experience the best things to do, there are many that enjoy spending longer here. If you do get chance to spend longer in Limassol, or have a car to plan your own road trip around Cyprus, there are a few places nearby that I would highly recommend visiting.
KOURION ARCHAELOGICAL SITE
Dating back to 8BC, the archaelogical site at Kourion (or Curium) is one of the most beautiful I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Perched on a cliff-top above the Mediterranean sea, less than 20km west of Limassol, Kourion was once the greatest city in Cyprus.
On a day trip, either by yourself or through a tour company, you can explore the ruins of Kourion taking in the outstanding views from the ampitheatre (that directly faces the beach down below), magnificent mosaic floors and various other structures from Roman times including the House of Gladiators, Roman baths and the 4th century House of Achilles.
The site is open from 8:30am to 5pm in winter and until 7pm in summer. Be sensible as there’s little shade so stay hydrated, wear a hat and suncream and stay out of the sun in peak hours.
For the more adventurous among us, you could try your hand at hang-gliding off the cliff down to the beach.
TEMPLE OF APOLLO HYLATES
On the road between Kourion and the army base at Episkopi (a road well travelled for me heading to school back in Year 7 and 8), is a little known archeological site of the Temple of Apollo Hylates. True to form, it was one of my ‘highlights’ of our road trip around Cyprus. Forgive me, it had to be done.
The site is only small but has beautiful views along an old cobbled road up to the last remaining part of the original temple.
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