Limassol - A Haven of Hedonism
Sprawling below the Troodos Mountains, the modern resort of Limassol has become a Mecca for tourists looking to unwind in the clubs and bars that crowd the port. It’s a boisterous place that’s both Cyprus’ main commercial hub and the second biggest resort on the island.
Limassol’s charms are almost exclusively hedonistic and anyone looking for culture (or peace and quite) would do well to give Limassol a wide berth. In recent years Limassol has lost the Cypriot partying crown to Ayia Napa, but the city still knows how to have a good time. The Mayor has been working hard to clean up Limassol’s image, but attempts to appeal to a more sophisticated clientele have been slow to bear fruit.
Much has changed since Richard the Lionheart first put Limassol on the map in 1191. The then ruler Isaac Komnenos made the mistake of refusing hospitality to King Richard’s shipwrecked fiancé. A snubbed Richard landed on the island, married at Limassol and then marched on to Amathus where he deposed Isaac. Selling the island to the Knights Templar he headed off to the Holy Land and left Limassol to flourish in his wake. A combination of earthquakes, Genoese raiders and the Ottomans forced the city into decline and it was only the arrival of the British in the late nineteenth century that revived the city’s fortunes.
Despite its rich past; Limassol has little of the classical heritage that survives in other Cypriot cities. Aside from the castle, the bazaar and a couple of museums there isn’t all that much to see. However, visitors to Limassol usually have a much livelier agenda. Limassol is well-placed to access some of the island’s best beaches, although those nearest to the city aren’t the most salubrious. Overlooking the city the Troodos Mountains are a haven of tranquillity that provide welcome respite form the relative bustle below (as well as a number of interesting days out). Limassol is one of the busiest ferry ports in Cyprus, with regular sailings to destinations across the Middle East.
If you plan to explore the Limassol region, make sure you head to the Archaelogical Museum and Limassol's Castle. Unfortunately Limassol's beaches aren't Cyprus' best but try replacing your beach outing with a wine tour.