Walking street map of Limassol
By Katherine Savvides
Limassol is Cyprus’s most international city, a crossroads of different cultures and languages that has made it one of the most interesting places on the island. Behind the recent spurt of development and expansion, Limassol’s heritage harks back centuries, most of which is still in evidence today. We have mapped out a unique walking map of the city that takes you through the most beautiful settings of Limassol, through its historic centre and onto the heart of the city today. This guide gives you just an idea of the treasures that the city holds and unique places to visit that show you the true history and soul of Limassol.
Molos – Sculpture Park
Start your day off at Molos, the seafront promenade that traces Limassol’s shoreline for over a mile. This area is a favourite with locals and tourists alike, who use the promenade as a play and exercise area for walking, meeting up with friends and playing with their children. Ten years ago, the municipality of Limassol commissioned a string of public sculptures that today make up the open-air Sculpture Park, where various works by Cypriot, Greek and international artists, including Manolis Tsombanakis, Giorgos Tsaras, Kyriakos Kallis, Helene Black, Victor Bonato and Ahmet El-Shoahy, are exhibited, lending the area further points of interest and perspective other than the backdrop of the long seashore and the old port in the distance. Take a walk along the length of the promenade and enjoy the fresh sea air, the spectacular view of the sea and the interesting works of art interspersed throughout the rich greenery and tall palm trees.
Limassol Zoo Garden
While walking along the promenade and before you come to the end of the embankment at the old Medieval Castle, you will come across Limassol’s Zoo. Spanning across one and a half acres of land, the zoo is relatively small but is a favourite outing place for families with young children. The zoo came into operation more than 50 years ago, with most of the animals being brought here from other zoos and circuses. Today, Limassol’s zoo hosts tigers, lions, monkeys, foxes, moufflon, deer, ostriches, peacocks, falcons, pelicans, swans and ducks – in total about 300 animals and birds. Great efforts have been made to make the zoo as hospitable as possible to the animals, and as a result, various animals that had been at the zoo in previous years have been removed to friendlier environments. The zoo also hosts a Natural History Museum which contains a large number of stuffed birds and animals, as well as an educational centre and recreational area for children. As an oasis of green amongst the otherwise built-up seafront of Limassol, the zoo is a place where you may truly escape and enjoy the antics of animals and birds.
In summer, the zoo is open daily from 09.00 to 19.00, while in winter, from 09.00 to 16.00.
Castle of Limassol
The castle of Limassol is the centre of activity in the old part of town. The castle itself is believed to have been first constructed in 1193 by the founder of the Lusignan dynasty, Guy de Lusignan. The first official reference to the fort was made in 1228 and the castle’s current form is the result of the rebuilding by the Ottomans. According to legend, the castle of Limassol is where King Richard the Lionheart, on his way back from the Crusades, married Berengaria of Navarre and crowned her Queen on England.
Today, the castle of Limassol houses the Medieval Museum of Cyprus after being declared an archaeological site and a cultural monument. Having been extensively renovated both externally and internally, the Cyprus Medieval Museum was inaugurated in 1987. Exhibits reflect the historical evolution of Cyprus, including its economic, social and cultural development, as well as the customs and traditions of the island from the 3rd to the 18th century. Specifically, exhibits are divided into Early Christian artefacts, dating from 324 to 650 AD, Middle Byzantine artefacts, from 650 to 1192 AD, the Middle Age, which includes the Frankish and Venetian periods, from 1192 to 1570 AD, and the Ottoman period from 1570 to 1878 AD.
Today, the castle’s borders are lined by a number of cafes and restaurants that have sprung up in recent years, bringing life once again to this sleepy area of old Limassol and transforming it into one of the most vibrant districts of the city. After you explore the castle, you must make your way to one of the many cafes and restaurants in the neighbouring area for refreshment.
About now you’ve got to be ready for a refreshment stop. Lining the outskirts of the castle are a number of cafes and restaurants, making this an ideal place for a refreshment stop. Among the places to choose from are the Carob Mill restaurants that border the castle. The restaurants include Karatello, which serves Cypriot cuisine with traditional meze dishes. Visitors are allowed to create their own meze combination by choosing from an á la carte selection. In the winter, Karatello offers live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Artima is another restaurant in the Carob Mill’s group. Considered one of the best Italian restaurants in Limassol, Artima is a firm favourite of many locals. The restaurant serves a selection of pasta, meat and fish dishes, as well as salads and appetisers, and its wine list is quite extensive.
Draught Microbrewery is the only microbrewery restaurant in Cyprus, serving its own house brew of beer as well as a number of various other beer brands. Dishes served at Draught include snacks and platters inspired by Mexican, German, American and Greek cuisines. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
Stretto Café is open from the morning until late in the evening, serving a wide selection of coffees, beverages and cocktails, as well as light snacks and sweets. Its atmosphere is distinctly relaxed and friendly, while also being trendy enough to attract young crowds.
Dino Art Café is another popular restaurant. Located just a short stroll from Limassol’s castle, Dino’s specialises in sushi, salads, sandwiches, pastas and amazing desserts. It is recognised as one of the city’s favourite places for either lunch or dinner with friends, or even for a coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. Dino Art Café also hosts art exhibitions by mostly local artists. If you plan on visiting, I recommend you make a reservation.
Located very close to Dino’s, Vintage is a wine bar that is also open throughout the day, serving a selection of drinks and beverages, as well as salads, platters, pastas and sandwiches. Its relaxed atmosphere and outdoor seating make it an ideal place for a quick refreshment stopover.
The Great Mosque or Kepir Mosque is a testament to the peaceful co-existence of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in Limassol. Built in Ottoman times on the ruins of a Byzantine and later Gothic church, the mosque is set in the old Turkish Cypriot quarter of the old town, very close to Limassol’s castle, amongst towering palm trees. Today, the mosque is in use by Turkish Cypriots who have returned to Limassol, as well as by Muslims from the Middle East who have settled in Cyprus. As a symbol of the cultural diversity of the island, the mosque is an interesting place to visit. Make sure you are dressed conservatively, and while there are no fixed visiting hours, avoid visiting during prayer times.
Cathedral of Agia Napa
Make a quick stop and admire the Cathedral of Agia Napa, one of the most enchanting churches in Limassol. Located in the heart of the residential and shopping area of town, just a short walk from the castle of Limassol, the cathedral dates back to the 19th century and includes traditional Byzantine architectural elements. The cathedral is one of the favourite places for locals to get married, with back-to-back weddings occurring throughout the year, so you may be lucky to get a glimpse of a bride as she nervously waits to enter the church.
A trip to Limassol’s municipal market will add a shot of local colour to your walking tour. Consisting of a large stone-built structure originally built in 1917 but in its present form since 1947, the market was the centre of trade and commerce of Limassol. After the rapid expansion of the town, the market faced a decline, but it’s still used by many local people as the best place to go for the freshest ingredients, including fruit, vegetables and fish. The atmosphere of the market is still bustling, with people doing their daily shopping and tourists looking for interesting artefacts and souvenirs to take home. The municipality currently has a plan to further upgrade the market and reinforce its importance and role as the commercial centre of Limassol. Open Monday to Saturday, 06.00 to 14.30
Agiou Andreou Street
Traditionally one of the main shopping streets of Limassol, today Agiou Andreou is lined by a number of souvenir shops as this is the area where cruise tourists are left to wander and shop before re-embarking. Nonetheless, Agiou Andreou, as well as a number of its side-streets, offers interesting shops with colourful, local artefacts as well as more modern, design-led pieces. One of the highlights on Agiou Andreou Street is the Folk Art Museum, a wonderfully preserved traditional building that houses a collection of Cypriot folk art dating back two centuries. Established in 1985, the museum houses more than 500 exhibits in its six rooms. Artefacts exhibited at the museum include tapestries, national costumes, embroidery, wooden chests and jewellery. 253 Agiou Andreou Street.
Gallery Morfi is considered one of the best art galleries in Cyprus. Having opened in 1986, the gallery has hosted exhibitions by some of the leading artists in Cyprus and Greece, as well as supported the work of younger and less well known artists. The gallery displays a permanent group exhibition, while holding back-to-back exhibitions by various artists. Forthcoming exhibitions include works by Constantinos Yiannikouris and Marios Varellas.
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 10.00 to 13.00, Tuesday to Friday: 17.00 to 20.00. 84 Agkyras Street.
Anexartisias Avenue is the ideal place to end your walking tour of Limassol. Having taken in the surrounding sea and garden views of Molos and the zoo, and having traversed Limassol’s historic city centre by the castle, end your tour by heading to Anexartisias Avenue, one of the city’s main shopping streets, and indulge in some retail therapy. Anexartisias Avenue is lined with high street shops, ranging from Top Shop, Mac, Zara, Mango, Bershka, Diesel, Replay and Beauty Line.
All this walking should have worked up quite an appetite. If you only want something light a great place to stop for a coffee and a sandwich at this point is Marrone Rosso, the recently opened coffee house on Anexartisias Avenue. Marrone Rosso, with its distinct red and white designed interior, has already attracted a large fan base, and is busy whatever time of day you go. Enjoy one of the café’s salads, sandwiches or pastries, as well as their excellent coffee.
Opening hours: seven days a week, from 07.00 to 24.00.
156 Anexartisias Avenue
Two recent additions to Limassol’s gastronomic map are La Boca and Columbia Steak House which form part of the very impressive Columbia Plaza. La Boca offers great Italian food with freshly made pasta prepared just the way you want it right before your very eyes! The flavours are truly authentic and it’s very perfect place to rest weary limbs given the high level of comfort and with prices that are surprisingly low. It’s a fun and colourful decoration will re-energise you and the scents will soon have you salivating for your food. But don’t worry the service is so fast you’ll be tucking into your meal in no time! Columbia Steak House offers an altogether more elegant and refined environment with a superb selection of steaks and a stunning wine list. Simplicity is the key here and the menu allows you to customise your meal to suit your tastes perfectly. The heavy use of wood, high ceilings and discreet luxury creates a warm, relaxing atmosphere that will see the hours float past without you noticing.
223 Ayiou Andreou Street .
Another place offering exquisite dinning in very close proximity is Barolo. It offers haute cuisine in a stylish and comfortable environment without being overly designed. The menu is finely balanced and offers good food, good wine and good service.
Barolo’s gastronomic professionals work hard in order to offer fantastic culinary experience, while looking after their customers and help is offered when navigating the extensive wine list to ensure your choice perfectly matches your meal. The prices are also very reasonable, and you can expect to pay around €20-22 per person 9depending on your choice of win.
24B Ayiou Andreou Street.