Exploring Limassol, Cyprus

Limassol in Cyprus is an intriguing city. With historic buildings and traditional living just steps from ultra-modern shops, housing and other facilities all right next to a long sandy beach this is a fascinating and exciting destination.

Limassol Grand Mosque seen through flowers

Whether you are enjoying a hotel-based holiday or are staying in an apartment or villas in Cyprus, Limassol is easily accessible from almost all of the beautiful island of love. Hire a car, take a bus or book a coach trip -it's well worth the effort.

I've been visiting this city, known locally as Lemesos, in southern Cyprus for years and every time I go I discover something new. Sadly some of my old favourite spots to eat and drink have disappeared or deteriorated, but thankfully new ones have appeared.

The very first tine I visited I enjoyed a huge pork sandwich in a courtyard surrounded by old tiny coffee shops and tavernas. We ate alongside women dressed from head to toe in black to show they were mourning and old men who stared suspiciously at our party.

During my most recent visit I sipped a refreshing frozen cocktail on the newly refurbished waterside area while my daughter tackled an enormous waffle at one of the many lovely eating establishments along the Promenade near the old port, castle and new marina.

cocktails in Limassol

chocolate covered waffle in Limassol promenade cafe
We wandered along the wide promenade, crisscrossed with smaller walkways and dotted with sculptures, grassy areas, water features, skate parks and play-areas, towards the newly developed marina area where traditional fishing boats bob across from trendy and tasteful tavernas, ice-cream parlours, cafes, bars and shops.

madmumof7 in new marina, Limassol

Crossing the road into the old Turkish quarter of the city we wandered quiet streets around the Limassol Grand Mosque which stands on the site of an ancient Christian church, parts of which can be seen still today.

Limassol Grand Mosque

ancient Christian church under Limassol Grand Mosque
We carried on walking through the old town towards the city centre, past the Agia Napa Greek Orthodox Cathedral which was built towards the end of the 19th century on the site of a Byzantine era church.

Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Limassol

We spotted tiny coffee shops where wrinkled tanned men play traditional table games while sipping minute strong coffees which cost a fraction of the fashionable milk offerings from nearby global brands, and gorgeous tavernas with tables in the street covered with tablecloths in that colour blue you always associate with the Mediterranean islands.

Turkish quarter, Limassol
Fans of the "Doors of Instagram" meme will go crazy with the number of photogenic doors, gates, shutters and windows in this area alone- I couldn't not resist taking a few snaps myself.

Door in old Turkish Quarter, Limassol

Meander on and you can choose from touristy shops selling Indian imported clothing, leather bags, pottery, lace and the usual tat, dusty department stores, long arcades and shops which have been there for decades or move into the more vibrant modern city centre where all the familiar names from across Europe and beyond can be found.

arcade decorated with beach rings, Limassol/Lemesos

Whatever time of year I visit there always seem to be sales on in Limassol and I've bought shoes and clothes at great prices.

Whatever your taste in food there is something on offer from a swift Subway to a relaxed meze. My favourite refreshment is a cool peach iced tea or a frappe.

I'd recommend planning a visit to the marina at lunchtime to while away the hottest hours in one of the waterside restaurants which range from budget to blow the budget in prices.

Pack swimwear if you fancy combining shopping with swimming and don't forget a bucket and spades for the kids.

There's easy to find parking all along the seafront with free parking for disabled visitors who have a Blue Badge.

Otherwise jump on a bus or book a coach trip from your hotel. You can't catch a train - Cyprus doesn't have any!