Often overshadowed by the more well-known Greek islands, Cyprus offers the visitor discovery, adventure and possibility. Your trip can be slow and relaxing or fast-paced and frenetic. The soulful villages dotting the coast offer a lesson in mindfulness. Time just slows. Antiquities appear in unusual places, calling to the passer-by to stop and reflect. White beaches and azure blue waters beckon to relax and unwind. Then, for those who are searching for excitement, Cyprus delivers.
On The Road From Larnaca To Limassol
To find your version of the perfect vacation in Cyprus on your own terms, consider renting a car. If you are comfortable driving on the left, set out on four wheels to explore the island. Cyprus is considered one of the safest places to visit and, for the most part, the drivers obey the rules of the road.
Heading southwest from Larnaca, the city housing the main airport on the island, towards Limassol, the Stavrovouni Monastery is only a twenty-minute detour off of the road. Although females are prohibited from entering, it is still worth a trip. Stavrovouni, meaning ‘Mountain of the Cross’ is 668 meters above sea level and is said to be home to a piece of the Holy Cross. Suspended on the edge of a rocky cliff and blending into its surroundings, it offers breathtaking views of Larnaca and the surrounding area. For males who are allowed to enter, the inside of Stavrovouni is decorated in a rich array of artwork.
Take a short detour up winding roads and you will come across the village of Lefkara. Locals will tell you that their lace is famous because Leonardo da Vinci purchased lace in this village in the late 1400s to use in the Duomo di Milano. Sure enough, the village is populated by lace shops and local women can be found basking in the sun while crafting new lace items. It is a glimpse into a past way of life.
Getting lost exploring the narrow cobblestone streets of Old Town Limassol, where generational shopkeepers conduct business much the way their grandparents did, was an enchanting experience. Arrive early to watch black-clad older women shop at the local market and greet their neighbours, while the older men gather for coffee and gossip. The area is bustling with cafes, restaurants, and shops. It is a popular place for locals and visitors alike. Limassol has recently made significant renovations to the area by adding a much-enjoyed walking area along the beach, a new fish market, and a shopping mall. Upscale boutique shopping is also available such as First Boutique (Iakovou Tompazi 1, Limassol) and CONELLE Boutique (Arch. Makarios III Avenue 184, Limassol).
If you are exhausted from all the walking and shopping, sit at an outdoor café with the locals and try some traditional Cypriot coffee. Like other Mediterranean countries, Cypriot coffee is brewed in a small copper pot that has a long handle. It’s basically a mixture of coffee, water and sugar (if desired). Angel’s Cup (Kanari 20, Limassol) makes an exceptional cup of coffee and offers delicious bakery items as well.
Limassol is the gastronomic capital of Cyprus, and there is a wide variety of top-quality restaurants that offer mouth-watering cuisine. Meze Taverna (209 Agiou Andreou St), a family-run, sit-down restaurant serves traditional Greek meze; Pier One Café Restobar in the marina with stunning views and an ambience that evokes the feeling of a superyacht; Kipriakon also in the marina provides traditional Cypriot cuisine with a modern twist all while dining among boho-inspired décor.
Historical architecture such as the Limassol Castle and various monuments can be found scattered throughout Old Town Limassol, making it one of the island’s richest areas for exploration. It is rumoured that casinos will soon be available for those inclined toward gambling, so go now before the charm of the city is lost.
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