The island’s second largest city, Lemesos (Limassol) is the island’s main port, the centre of the wine industry and a bustling holiday resort.
The old town Lemesos (Limassol) is the heart of the city with its narrow streets radiating out from the old fishing harbour. The medieval Lemesos castle was the site of a royal wedding in the Middle Ages between Richard the Lionheart, King of England, and Berengaria of Navarre, and now houses the Cyprus Medieval Museum.
The town has grown in recent years and now covers a 15 kilometres coastline lined with hotels and apartment blocks, interspersed with eucalyptus groves and linked by a promenade popular with walkers or joggers.
The city’s inhabitants are renowned for their love of fun so not surprisingly the city’s nightlife is varied. All sorts of tavernas, discos and clubs are open all the year round, while beach bars along the coastal walkway add to the choice. Join in the Bacchian excesses at the Wine Festival in September, or have fun at the Carnival with its fancy dress chariot parade and parties in February. Or enjoy a summer concert under the stars in the Greco-Roman theatre of Kourion.
The city fans out between two of the most spectacular archaeological sites in Cyprus built on cliff tops with spectacular views overlooking the sea – the ancient city-kingdoms of Amathous to the east and Kourion to the west. Finds from these sites have made their way abroad, such as an enormous stone vase, one of the largest ever found, unearthed at Amathous is now at the Louvre Museum in Paris, while objects from Kourion are displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The sun-kissed southern slopes of the Troodos mountains with their vineyards form a pleasant green backdrop to the city, dotted with delightful hillside villages known collectively as the 'Krassochoria' (or wine villages). The old forms of viticulture are still kept alive here producing the island’s best dry red wines.
The most famous of all the wines is Commandaria, one of the oldest named wines in the world, having had the same name for eight centuries. It was originally produced and exported by the Hospitallers, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, from Kolossi castle, where they had their headquarters (Grand Commandery), and which can still be seen today on the outskirts of the city.
Germasogeia dam and Akrotiri salt lake are unique wetlands ideal for observing nature and wildlife and peaceful places to relax, go for a walk or indulge in some angling. Birdwatching enthusiasts may see herons, ducks, chaffinches, cormorants and kestrels, or even the Greater Flamingo which winters at Akrotiri in the thousands.
In the southern foothills of the Troodos mountains and only a few minutes away from the main hotel area of Lemesos, there is a different kind of Cyprus, the Cyprus off the beaten track, a rural retreat and a place of peace and tranquility. There, you can enjoy beautiful unspoilt countryside at any time of year, villages that time forgot.