Text: Kleanthis Kleanthous
Photography: Limassol Tourism Board, Romos Kotsonis
The city has undergone a complete face-lift in recent years. Many even call it “Little Dubai”, as it has been transformed into a state-of-the-art city with five-star hotels and towering glass buildings, lining its coastal road in a radius of 15 kilometers. Nevertheless, the city of Limassol still maintains her traditional side.
The square of the Medieval Castle
The meeting point for locals, the Medieval Castle of Limassol dominates the square. It dates back to 1228 and today houses the Medieval Museum. It is said that Richard the Lionheart married his beloved Berengaria there. The annual Night Carnival Parade ends up here, near the Kepir Mosque – the first mosque that was erected during the Turkish occupation in Limassol. The square is surrounded by restaurants and cafés making it ideal for both children and adults to enjoy a visit throughout the whole day. Make a stop for authentic Italian pasta at Artima Bistro or, if you prefer Cypriot tastes with a modern twist, grab a table at Karatello. Do not miss to visit the small café of Maritsa for delicious traditional spoon sweets, mahaleb and a dreamy rose petal cream!
A walk in the picturesque alleys
Explore Limassol’s historic center on foot and discover its long history by visiting old workshops, the old market, as well as stores who sell traditional merchandise. On Loutron street, the oldest street in Limassol, you’ll find Ottoman Baths, which were built on the 16th century and now preserved as an ancient monument. The historical commercial pedestrian street of Ayiou Andreou houses countless shops with souvenirs and handmade embroidery, as well as the Municipal Museum of Folk Art, which is home to one of the most important collections of Cypriot folk art and handicrafts. It is worthwhile to wander at the “Maratheftogeitonia” around Eirinis street, to admire its aristocratic landmark mansions that used to belong to wealthy merchants from the areas of Marathasa and Pedoulas.
Heroes Square and its surrounding narrow streets used to comprise a small Turkish district with brick buildings, cabarets and “artists” and held the title of the most degraded neighborhood in Limassol. During the ’30s however, the foundation of its cultural renaissance were laid down, that gradually transformed it into one of the main hot spots on the island. Sporting an array of traditional taverns for food lovers, music stages, cafes and bars that boast with life, especially on Saturday nights, it is the preferred choice for young student’s night out. At Madam, you’ll see the patrons dancing rhythmically on the pedestrian street and sipping the best gin & tonics and signature cocktails in the city, while the smells of the grilled meat at Oineas tavern will definitely work your appetite up! Located nearby, is also the historic Rialto Theater where some of the best theatrical performances take place, as well as the most important film festivals in Cyprus.
Saripolou Square and the Old Market
Limassol is a city that never sleeps and nowhere is this more evident than at Saripolou Square. A place that was once deemed as the “zombie” area in Limassol and that now has become the focal point of the city. One must walk around its countless old shops, now transformed into little bars, cafés and restaurants as well as the Limassol Municipal Market (the old Convenience Store) that dates back to 1918 and purchase fresh local products. Do not miss a stop at Ilektrika Eidi, a cute little place with a new vintage attitude, to sample its delicious gourmet salads and sandwiches. Walking through the Beat Pazar Polychoros, where many street fair, art exhibitions, theatrical shows, as well as music and cinema nights are organized, is a must.
Marina & Limassols’ Old Harbor
The Old Harbor and Limassol Marina, with their stylish dining and coffee options, have introduced a new vibe to the city. Their four elevated restaurants (The Steak House, Pier One, Diamante Blue and Gin Fish) offer, apart from delicious dishes, a panoramic view of Limassol's waterfront and its ultramodern marina. You can take a morning stroll around the latter and admire the impressive yachts, shop, enjoy a spa, taste fresh fish and seafood at Pyxida or relax on the big terrace of Epsilon Resto Bar that focuses on modern Mediterranean cuisine.
Limassol offers countless shopping choices for all tastes and... budgets. Walking down Aneksartisias street, Limassol’s busiest shopping district, you’ll come across dozens of affordable shops and famous chain coffee shops. All high-end boutiques, selling the biggest names in fashion, are lining Limassol’s coastal avenue, while Cyprus Premium Outlet is the place where you can find branded items at very low prices. In the largest shopping center of the city, My Mall Limassol, you can combine shopping and entertainment, while in lively Makariou Avenue there are many small stores with trendy clothes, shoes, accessories and various creations from local designers.
If you are a fan of gourmet desserts, don’t miss out on the most exquisitely elaborate desserts of the city at the Four Seasons Hotel, in the recently refurbished Colors Café, whereas at Vivaldi by Mavrommatis restaurant you will have the opportunity to taste the sophisticated recipes of executive chef Andreas Mavrommatis, the only Cypriot chef that has been awarded a Michelin star! Try the duck fillet in red wine sauce and blueberries at Do Wine & Dine and do not miss out on making a reservation at Zen Room, which is a must for those craving a unique “date” with Japanese gastronomy. Steak lovers should dress up and book a table at Columbia Steak House, located in Columbia Plaza, in the center of Limassol.
Limassol by night
The heart of the co-capital beats right across the town hall, at the recently opened Bordello Bar whose name and decor takes us to the golden era of French cabaret at the turn of the last century, and immediately became the talk of the town. If you prefer music from the ’80s and the ’90s, the Retro Metropole Club is keeping these music years alive. 7Seas at Columbia Plaza gathers the chicest youth, Sousami plays the best electronic music, Story Club has the grooviest foreign music, Columbia Beach organizes the funkiest r ’n’ b nights, while the Ola Hellinika Club and Notes Live are the ideal choice for all those who crave Greek music and the Opa! effect.