During the Crusades, Richard the Lion-Heart, leader of the Third
Crusade, landed in Limassol (Lemesos), not incidentally to free
a noblewoman held captive by the Byzantine sovereign. The noblewoman?
His betrothed, Berengaria of Navarre. In Limassol they married,
touching off the most extravagant party the island had ever seen.
Today, the tradition of celebration and hospitality continues
in this vibrant seaside town. In February before Lent, masked
revelers invade the street with music, parades, and dancing
for Carnival. In September, the Wine Festival explodes in the
town for a week. And every night people in restaurants, cafés,
and nightclubs celebrate events momentous and trivial, from
a soccer win to a sudden romance to yet another stunning sunset
at day’s end.
Explore Limassol Castle, which contains the Cyprus Medieval
Museum, or the Folk Art Museum, which is housed in an old mansion.
Walk on ten miles of beautiful beaches, deservedly known as
the Cypriot Riviera. Stroll in the sea promenade or visit the
lush Municipal Gardens. On the coastal road to the east, just
after the luxurious hotels, you will find Amathus, one of the
ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus. See the ruins and take a dip
near the site of an ancient port.
At 14 km west of Limassol lies Kolossi Castle, a medieval
fortress whose walls contain not only an imposing tower and
surrounding living quarters but also an ancient sugar factory.
Just 19 km west of town, visit the Kourion archaeological site,
an ancient city-kingdom, where you can take in a play or
concert at the ancient Greco-Roman Theater, overlooking the
blue Mediterranean. And, a bit further on, explore a treasure
trove of Greek and Roman sites, such as the Sanctuary of