A Taste of (my) Limassol
Growing up in a small town, of approximately one hundred thousand inhabitants, I used to dream about the moment I would discover another world. I wanted to go through various experiences, to lose myself in the “mad” tempo of a big city, and most importantly to be unknown among the strangers. I lived it. And when I returned to Limassol permanently, mature and knowledgeable, I discovered “another” city, very different from the one I experienced as a teenager. More modern, more developed, more interesting, that nevertheless hadn’t lost anything from its quaintness and its traditional character. A cosmopolitan destination that captivates not only locals but also tourists that come back to visit it again and again, especially in the summer. And every time I walk along its amazing coastal promenade, I think to myself how lucky I am to actually live here. Yes, this is my “own” Limassol!
One day at the Park
It’s nice to wake up quite early on weekends and enjoy you’re a stroll along the coastal front of the city. Walk across the wonderful pedestrian walkway in Molos (Epichosi), a unique seaside park full of sculptures, cafeterias, restaurants, wooden docks and playgrounds, that begins at the Old Port and reaches the Olympia Beach. You will see many people walking there, jogging, cycling and rollerblading, exercising, doing yoga and meditating on the grass, as well as skateboarding in purpose built skate parks. I usually make a stop so I can enjoy my first coffee of the day and a scrumptious brunch (try the pancakes with strawberries and white chocolate) at the Yellow Café, located right on the pedestrian street, by the sea. My favorite place in the area is Pier One, an elevated modern all-day café-bar-restaurant at the Old Port serving fusion cuisine, in a relaxed mood and large glass windows. Its delicious sushi (quite affordable) is a must-try, accompanied by a glass of white wine and just let yourself get lost in the magical view of Limassol’s seafront.
Like we used to...
Along the coastal road you will get to see many modern buildings, all of Limassol’s high-end boutiques as well as many luxurious hotels that “mirror” the modern face of the city. In the historical center, you’ll get to “travel” in the past through beautiful landmark mansions, traditional neighborhoods and small shops that hide large “treasures”. Personally, I adore the pedestrian alley of Genethliou Mitella, with its cozy cafés, alternative restaurants and small shops selling handmade accessories. Do not skip a visit to the Barbacoa BBQ, located at the beginning of the pedestrian street (opposites the Church of Ayia Napa), and try the American style smoked meat, juicy burgers as well as its meat platters! If a traditional Cypriot dessert is what you fancy, just down the road, in the lively square of the Medieval Castle, you will find the Maritsa Traditional Café. I strongly recommend that you order a traditional Cypriot coffee and some warm “kattimeri” (traditional Cypriot pie) with honey and cinnamon or a fragrant “mastichokrema”. A stop at the Museum is another must, within the Castle, where objects are exhibited reflecting the historical evolution of Cyprus as well as aspects of everyday life on the island from the 3rd to the 18th century AD. If you are a cinema lover, the Limassol International Documentary Festival opens its doors every year on August the 1st at the “Evagoras Lanitis” Cultural Center, at the heart of the square. This important cultural event of the country will take place this year for the 14th consecutive time with the participation of well-known directors from Cyprus and abroad.
During every summer, the coffee tables... go out to the most beautiful courtyards of Limassol. Gin Garden is located in the lovely garden of the “Pavlidis” Mansion where you will bump into the city’s coolest regulars enjoying the finest gin and tonic cocktails in Limassol! Dionysus Mansion in the center of the city, with its stone-made green courtyard, you will enjoy the most delicious “modified” Cypriot and Greek recipes. Try a chicken stuffed with haloumi cheese, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms as well as a risotto-lachanodolma… mark my words! In the inner courtyard of the Lab restaurant + bar on Anexartisias street, the old meets the modern in an imposing neoclassical building decorated in an industrial style, that serves incredible signature cocktails, whereas if you are a fan of house and r ‘n’ b music, put on something casual and make a stop at the “alternative” Sousami (gathers all the hipster crowds of the city). The classy Sir Paul Hotel, an old mansion in old Limassol that was transformed into an elegant little hotel with an inner courtyard, is the city’s new entry. Must-try, its rich brunch with fresh seasonal ingredients.
Bar-hopping by the beach
With its impressive coastal front, Limassol could not but host some of the island’s most modern and designer beach bars. Columbia Beach is the absolute hot spot of the coastal front - the reference point of the city’s most trendy crowds. It features a Mediterranean-style restaurant, a café, a swimming pool, a large lawn covered area and comfortable sun loungers, refreshing cocktails, and hosts many happenings. It would be best to book before deciding to go! Guaba Beach Bar was voted among the 20 best clubs in the world and immediately wins you over with its imaginative decoration. During week days it is a great choice for a beer and a dip in the sea, while on Sunday afternoons it transforms into a huge dance floor hosting epic parties and famous guest dj’s from abroad, fascinating the crowds of regulars until they drop.
At Marina Beach Bar you will be able to enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, the only beach bar in Limassol Marina that gathers the city’s... crème de la crème. It features loads of golden sand and offers unique gastronomic experiences, served at the restaurant or on the beach. La Isla shares the same concept, with its exotic decoration stealing the show, much like Plus Sea does with its red umbrellas! Before leaving the area, pop by the Four Seasons Hotel’s refurbished Colors Café to taste the city’s most delicious ice cream (if you’re a chocolate lover, try the Grand du Chocolate without question). In addition to the beachfront bars, one of the most famous beaches of Limassol, ideal for families due to its shallow and crystal clear waters, is Lady’s Mile. Should you find yourself over there, do not miss a visit at the famous Aplostra beach bar with its wooden deck, exotic plants and large colored pillows!
Bites from heaven!
Limassol sports plenty of restaurants for every taste and budget. Personally, I love the Puesta Oyster Bar and Grill, a cozy café-bar-restaurant overlooking the endless blue. You will sample there some delicious mussels and oysters at very reasonable prices. For fresh fish and ouzo by the beach, I always opt for Old Limassol Beach Bar & Resto, a traditional fish tavern in Amathounta. If you are big on healthy diet, grab a table at Bakery Kafeneio, a small eatery with many vegan and vegetarian suggestions (all ingredients are gluten-free). However, if you want Cypriot flavors with a twist, you should visit at the Kypriakon at the Old Port for stuffed vegetables with roasted pine nuts and classic Cypriot dishes such as “lefkaritiko tava”. For the juiciest souvlaki and the most fragrant “seftalies” I choose the tavern at the Aris Lemesou F.C., on Iroon Square. Pokéloha is the new entry in town at the Columbia Plaza, which serves... Hawaiian style sushi while giving you the opportunity to create your own bowls with exotic ingredients of your choice! Do not miss it…