Life in Limassol
A Mediterranean island paradise
Famed as a beautiful and prosperous island, Cyprus is a thriving European Union state strategically located in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, at the crossroads of three continents. As the third largest island in the region – spanning an area of 9,251 square kilometres with a population of just over a million inhabitants – the compact yet diverse country offers students from around the world an idyllic and inspiring lifestyle under blue skies.
Cyprus is well connected to the rest of Europe, the Middle East, and all major transit hubs via two international airports. The island’s easy-to-reach location, the mild Cyprus climate, safe laid-back lifestyle, affordable cost of living, hospitable English-speaking society, and satiating cuisine add to its charm and popularity. Also renowned for its breathtaking natural world, the country is an explorer’s paradise, blessed with a glistening cobalt coastline and a rugged green mountainous interior.
A land of exciting contrasts, cosmopolitan cities befriend an ancient heritage spanning over 10,000 years. All this, with world-class higher education, high standard accommodation, advanced infrastructure and services, and countless modern amenities enticing thousands of international students to the island each year.
Limassol is located on the sunkissed southern coast of Cyprus. It is the second largest city on the island with a population of over 200,000, well known for its outgoing, friendly, and welcoming inhabitants. A modern hub and a melting pot of cultures, this fast-evolving hot-spot is ideal for students looking to study in a vibrant yet laid-back seaside environment.
Globally renowned as a booming business and shipping center, Limassol blends a fascinating past with a vibrant and dynamic contemporary appeal. Striking skyscrapers reach for the skies beside historic buildings, while luxurious seaside hotels and ancient sites vie for attention by sandy shores. In the city centre, artsy café bars housed in old mansions burst with hip urban style beside smart office buildings housing the headquarters of countless international companies.
Ideal for both study and recreation, Limassol offers the best of both worlds: modern city life and a sun-soaked outdoor lifestyle. The city sprawls across a stunning stretch of fine Mediterranean coastline backed by walking and cycling paths and dotted with countless beaches inviting you to take a refreshing plunge in the warmer months. Nature lovers can also enjoy the best of Cyprus’ rural world, with the towering peaks of the Troodos Mountains just a short drive away – a haven for skiers and snowboarders in the coldest months. Quaint wine-producing villages, pretty waterfalls, and fascinating folklore museums add to the charm of the rugged terrain beyond the city.
Must-visit Limassol attractions
There are heaps of sites to see and endless experiences to enjoy in a city where all things cool and contemporary nod to the past every step of the way. Here’s all you need to know about some of Limassol’s most talked-about attractions.
The perfect spot to begin or end your day, Limassol’s Molos promenade is where the action is around-the-clock. Do like the locals and head here for an invigorating walk right by the water’s edge – check out the promenade’s handy bicycle hire facilities – or enjoy a heart-pumping skateboarding or rollerblading adventure. When you fancy a break, be sure to take a selfie on one of the area’s piers jutting out into the cobalt blue. Or sip on a frothy frappé (Cyprus’ famous iced coffee) at one of the buzzing promenade coffee shops. Framed by towering palm trees, the promenade spans a length of approximately one kilometre from the old Limassol port to the western tip of Akti Olympion beach. The area also features a skate park, an outdoor gym, impressive sculptures by local and international artists, and water fountains.
Limassol’s old town is laced with a maze of winding roads begging to be explored; the perfect area to spend your free time in laid-back Mediterranean style. By day, the area’s colourful street art dazzles the senses, the tables of cool cafes spill out onto the pavements, and independent shops lure the curious shopper. By night, hip bars attract fun-loving crowds and stylish restaurants dish up some of the best food on the island. The area is also packed with interesting sites to see. Start your journey of discovery at the stunning Agia Napa Cathedral, built in the late 19th and early 20th century. Once you’ve taken in the impressive architecture of this city landmark, make a beeline for the Limassol Agora. The renovated old market hosts fun events and parties throughout the year and is a great spot to eat, drink and hang out with friends.
A key attraction in the heart of the old town near the old harbour, Limassol Medieval Castle is famed as the spot where Berengaria of Navarre was crowned Queen of England as she wed Richard the Lionheart. Accounts documenting when the castle was first built vary, but some sources indicate that the original castle was erected by Guy de Lusignian in 1193. As the years went by, the castle suffered damages from Cyprus earthquakes and invader assaults and was rebuilt in its current form in 1590. Step inside today to walk around the castle museum filled with ancient treasures documenting the daily life of Cypriots between the 3rd and 18th century A.D.
Craving a bite to eat or want to watch the world go by right by the sea? The Limassol Marina is the place to be. Featuring a mix of classy high-end restaurants and affordable chain restaurants and cafes, this Limassol landmark forms a buzzing hub of activity, especially on weekends and national holidays. Stay on as the sun goes down to enjoy the twinkle of lights reflected in the water by luxurious yachts. The adjacent Old Port is also one of Limassol’s top attractions. Recently renovated a few years ago, people of all ages congregate here to stroll through the large square and along the pedestrian walkway lined with restaurants and cafés.
If there’s one ancient site that deserves to be on the top of your bucket list, it simply has to be the Curium Amphitheatre, located 13 km west of Limassol. This historic beauty is perched high on a cliff top overlooking the glistening Mediterranean sea and a patchwork of land below. Part of an important city-kingdom in antiquity, the amphitheatre was originally built in the 2nd century B.C. but what you will see today actually dates back to the Roman period, following restorations undertaken in the 2nd and 3rd century A.D. Its curved auditorium can accommodate 3500 people and it’s one of the best theatres to watch an al fresco evening summer performance under starry skies.
Not quite as imposing as the Curium, it’s easy to miss the Amathus Archeological Site, located 11 km east of the Limassol city centre just off the seafront road. But don’t let that stop you from visiting. This sacred spot is actually one of the most important ancient sites in Cyprus. A place where Goddess Aphrodite was once worshipped, mythology has it that Greek hero Theseus left the pregnant Ariadne here to be cared for after a battle with a Minotaur. As you explore the site where myths and legends spring to life, look out for the ancient Agora, the public baths, and the temple of Aphrodite.
A day in Limassol
UoL students living in Limassol can enjoy a world of options at their doorstep. Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, foodie or partygoer, nature lover or shopaholic, this city ticks all the boxes!
A passion for coffee goes hand in hand with the Cypriot lifestyle. And there are few places on the island where a flourishing coffee culture is more prevalent than the streets of Limassol. The old town is a true coffee-lovers hot spot, lined with just about every type of café imaginable; from old–school traditional style ‘kafenia’ to trendy third–wave coffee shops serving aromatic artisan blends. If you prefer a relaxing caffeine fix with sea views, head to the nearby Molos promenade or Old Port area.
Often celebrated as the gastronomic capital of Cyprus, Limassol is every foodie’s dream, with top-rated restaurants around every corner. Enjoy a delicious taste of Cypriot meze, the best of Mediterranean fusion cuisine, and mouth-watering seafood. The city is also home to fine Asian, Middle-Eastern, and South American eateries. Casual joints specialising in street food are equally popular with crowds looking for a delicious energy boost before a night out. The old town is packed with casual independent joints making juicy burgers, stone-baked pizzas, tempting tacos, hearty noodles, and more. International fast-food chains and franchises are also easy to find around town, especially by the Limassol Marina and along the Germasoyia coastal strip.
Once mostly associated with its high-end boutiques and designer fashion, Limassol has taken on a whole new appeal over the past decade as funky concept stores and independent speciality shops breathe new life into the city. From offbeat old town shops selling artisan jewellery and collectible books to handcrafted bags and wooden eco-friendly sunglasses, they all contribute to Limassol’s unique vibe. Anexartisias Street and Makarios Avenue also cater to various tastes and budgets, packed with well-known international fashion brands, sports stores, gift shops, and beauty outlets. For easy shopping under one roof, the city’s mall in the western suburb of Zakaki offers a world of choice alongside dining options and exciting entertainment including bowling and a virtual 6D cinema.
Whether you love a refreshing mid-day dip or dream of lounging on a sandy shore with a sundowner in hand, there are countless Limassol beaches to choose from. The Blue Flag Dasoudi beach in the heart of Germasoyia is one of the best stretches of sand in town. Located very close to a public bus stop, there are plenty of organised facilities and watersports to enjoy here. A little further afield, Lady’s Mile Beach is very popular with the locals – a 5-kilometre stretch with shallow waters, countless amenities, and some hip and happening beach bars. And if you’re keen to discover a quieter stretch of coastline, head west of Limassol to the windswept Avdimou Beach. Kick back with a good book or look out for toned kitesurfers riding the waves out at sea.
Limassol is a lively city that certainly knows how to party. And no matter what kind of music rocks your world, there’s bound to be a bar, pub, or club – or even a microbrewery – to suit your individual taste. If you want to mix and mingle with other students and locals throughout the autumn and winter, the old town is the perfect area for casual bar hopping. Head through the bar-lined web of streets that branch off Limassol Castle square and lead up to University Square and Saripolou Square. As spring approaches, Limassol attracts fun-loving crowds from around the country and beyond as annual carnival celebrations render the entire city a pulsating party zone. Come summer, the fun moves to the seafront where countless lively beach bars transform the seafront area into one big and breezy outdoor extravaganza.
Taking a complete break away from studying and the daily routine is easy in Limassol. Embark on a trip outside the city to discover pretty stonebuilt villages and historic sites dotted across the lower vine-covered slopes of the Troodos Mountains. The villages of Vouni, Koilani, Lofou, and Lania are some of the prettiest in Cyprus and are perfect for a day out. You can even book a night away with friends in a large renovated old village house. Many even feature swimming pools and outdoor barbeque areas. At higher altitudes, the leafy summer resort of Platres beckons, close to three of the island’s most beautiful waterfalls: Caledonia, Millomeri, and Chantara. The entire Troodos mountain range is ideal for hikers and thrill seekers, and panoramic views await when you reach the Mount Olympus Observation Point between Prodromos and Troodos Square. From January through to March, head to the Troodos Ski Centre for some action on the powdery white slopes.