Summer is still shortly here and some people are probably wondering where they could still go for vacation till let’s say October -November. The question of where to go always gives us that headache, like for example the question “Where to spend New year’s eve?”… So yes, sometimes it is hard to choose where, and then with who, how to go…
My personal preferences, from someone coming from Europe, are the summer getaways in Greece and Croatia. Why? Simply because of their beautiful seaside, beaches, architecture, food and the great local people. There are so many varieties where to go and what to see, that you can keep on coming to these countries back and back. So this is what suits my taste… but Montenegro, Spain, Turkey and Cyprus are also usual destinations for people who like to have vacation during months from June till October/November. I will definitely write about my top selections in general but here I would like to introduce a bit of Cyprus.
I decided to visit Cyprus, more specifically Limassol, by the recommendation of my very good college Cypriot friend who is from there. Other cities worth to see in Cyprus are Paphos, Larnaca (main airport) , Nicosia (capital) and Agia Napa (party place) but I didn’t have time see those during this time of visit.
Limassol is the place combining everything.
From relaxation to partying.
Cyprus in general is very internationally oriented country and once there, you can “feel” that there was a British colonial influence. I was personally expecting more of “Greek” tradition and “Greek” style in general, but the city was more modern to me. I could not even see many Gyros places, where you can get gyros for takeaway like in Greece, but more taverns to sit and eat.
Limassol is second largest city in Cyprus on the southern side of the island. By Wikipedia, Limassol has been ranked by TripAdvisor as the 3rd up-and-coming destination in the world, in its Top 10 Traveler’s Choice Destinations on the Rise.
Weather is great in Limassol… From December to March it can be rainy and unstable, but from April / May when it is pleasant, it is going toward very hot weather in July/ August, all the way till November – so you can consider all these months as summer. Nice ha? I heard from locals that every year it is becoming hotter and hotter during the day but more pleasant in the evenings with some cool breeze. Limassol has many beaches, so it makes a perfect summer or European autumn travel destination.
Beside locals, I saw a lot of Russians, as workers in hotels, restaurants, probably since predominantly there were a lot of Russian guests during the tourism peak in Cyprus a couple of years ago plus Cyprus was popular destination for offshore companies. However, it all changed with the financial crisis that hit Cyprus – so many investors left, leaving many unfinished building projects behind and many people without the jobs. Shame really… They are still recovering from the crisis.
I stayed in Mediterranean beach hotel with 4* (8km from the center), which was great all in all – I recommend it fully. It has a very nice pool and beach area, and staff was quite nice. It is located just next to the Four Seasons hotel which is 5* hotel, and they are sharing the same beach. The view I had was amazing really, top grade. However, the sea color for me was not what I like the most – the “turquoise” color. But the sea water is nice and clean, what is the most important and most of the beaches around Limassol are sandy.
As a recommendation of a cool island activity, Cyprus is well known for divers and scuba-diving, since it has plenty on offer underwater (like famous Zenobia shipwreck near Larnaca..). I took a diving PADI lesson in the Four Seasons hotel’s pool, but my ears were hurting badly so I could not go for a sea dive as well. Next time ! 🙂
One historical interesting fact is that Richard the Lion-heart is supposed to have married his fiance Princess Berengaria of Navarre on the site of the Medieval Castle in Limassol, after her ship was grounded nearby in 1191 as she accompanied him to the Third Crusade, on his way to Holy Land (Source: Wikipedia). The Castle is now part of the Old town of Limassol and within the Castle there is Limassol Medieval Museum with a collection of suits of armor, weaponry, religious icons, and tombstones. You can find many cafes and restaurants around the Castle and enjoy the view on it. There are also other historical and archaeological sites worth visiting and you can see them HERE.
To be honest, I expected a bit more of modern houses, since I remember the time there was a high demand for architects (even from my country) and building sites were booming, but actually I saw a lot of ruined or unfinished ones along the streets.
What I loved the most was the new Port and Limassol Marina, for walking around, watching some cool yachts and seating in some nice and fancy restaurants. It actually reminded me a bit of Dubai and its glamour, but in smaller dimension. I had a dinner once for example in an Asian Fusion Wagamama restaurant, which I loved in Dubai as well. I also ate in some cute tavernas in the center around the above mentioned castle.
There are actually two ports in Limassol, “old port” and the “new port”. New port is the biggest port in Cyprus, and of one the busiest in the Mediterranean.
My most favorite thing in Limassol was the promenade all along the coast, perfect for walking, running, riding bicycle, rollers… Especially in the evenings when it is cooler – since I mentioned the weather at nights was wonderful. I even needed sometimes a small sweater with me. The promenade is pretty long, so pack some comfortable shoes if you plan to walk a lot.
One of the restaurants that I can also recommend is Puesta Oyster Bar and Grill for its amazing setting, sea-view (perfect for sunsets) and especially quality of food (primarily seafood and oysters of course). It is absolutely perfect! See mine and other travelers’ Trip advisor reviews of the place , to see why it is so good. Though Limassol is full of trendy places like this one, where you can enjoy good seafood and good Cypriot wines.
Cyprus is a bit expensive for what you get, I must admit. A bit like UK standard, so more expensive than Greek islands that I visited for sure. My hotel was a bit further from the main center of the city, but I used a bus which took around 20 min, instead of a taxi which would probably rip us off.
Limassol is a nice place, but to me more for let’s say living there rather than for a holiday. I could imagine myself enjoying the air, the walks, the relaxed mode after work… but as I am a seeker for “beautiful beaches and seaside” for my holiday, this is not on the top scale. Next time, I would give a try to Paphos and Agia Napa for sure. Though I am definitely recommending you to visit Limassol – especially if you need a holiday in Europe where is still hot and good for swimming in the sea, when in other destinations in in Europe is not.