As there are so many places and things to see and do in South-West Cyprus, the choice can be overwhelming. These are our holiday favourites…
1. Limassol Marina and Seafront Promenade
Head 20 miles east to visit the fabulous new €300 million Limassol Marina. Moorings here cater for everything from small local fishing boats to wooden replica sailing boats and celebrity mega-yachts. Open early until late, with restaurants, coffee shops, and bars right on the waterfront, it’s a great place for people and boat watching.
Just along from the marina, Molos is a wide seafront promenade. You’ll find great views in every direction – the glistening sea on one side, and attractive sub-tropical gardens on the other. With fountains, palm trees and water features, and a delightful park featuring sculptures by Cyprus-connected artists, you can easily spend a few hours here. For us, the pièce de résistance is the wooden boardwalk curving out over the sea.
Also children’s playgrounds, refreshment booths, cycle hire, toilets, and parking.
2. Paphos Atlantis Turtle-Watching Cruise
20 miles west is the main town of Paphos. We suggest you start off on the old B6 coast road from Pissouri for the lovely views and a chance to stop off at Aphrodite’s Rock, legendary birthplace of the Greek goddess. With the road heading away from the sea after this, it’s quicker to join the A6 motorway for the rest of the way. Signs to Kato Paphos (Lower Paphos) will take you to the seafront, then along to the harbour which has a large car park behind it.
Of all the excursions from sea-fishing to wildlife-watching available from Paphos harbour, we recommend Atlantis Turtle-Watching Cruise – that we discovered thanks to our guest Natalie. Atlantis is equipped with portholes for underwater viewing of fish, turtles, stingrays, and wrecks. Cruises start from the furthest jetty, and the skipper, George, is a genial and knowledgeable host.
There’s a buzz about the harbour seafront, with tourist shopping and restaurants a-plenty, and at the far end Paphos medieval castle – location of the Paphos Aphrodite Opera Festival each September.
3. Roman Kourion and Swimming Beach
Clifftop Greco-Roman mosaics and restored amphitheatre at Kourion, also known under the Roman name of Curium. A 15 mile drive east, en route to Limassol. The amphitheatre is still in use today – for a Shakespeare Festival in June, and a Greek Drama Festival in July.
Tip: Avoid the hottest part of the day as the site is very exposed, although there are canopies over the mosaics.
Complete a visit to the area with a trip to the gently shelving sandy beach below, perfect for swimming. Chris Blue Beach is our pick of the beach restaurants – not only for the changing facilities and showers, but the varied menu, service and tasty food. It’s also the ideal spot for lovely sunsets if you time your visit right.
4. Pissouri Amphitheatre
Along a pretty alley off the square is Pissouri’s millennium project – a magnificent modern amphitheatre. Summer events range from military band concerts, to national dance displays, and tribute act shows – which are often just like the real thing, only in a more intimate venue. Beginning in daylight, with the Mediterranean twinkling below, and finishing under floodlights after sunset only adds to the magic. Check Our Events Guide to see if there’s an event during your stay – highly recommended.
Tips: Book early, take cushions, and don’t forget to pop some drinks and snacks into the cool-box!
5. Limassol Old Town
The juxtaposition of new and old next to the new marina is fascinating. The adjacent crumbling edifices you see at Limassol old town were abandoned by Turkish Cypriots in 1974 when the island was divided. Minarets can be seen between the cramped buildings.
The compact area around Limassol Castle is worth a visit, with tree-lined squares, art galleries, narrow alleys, arcades of traditional shops and craft workshops, plus pavement cafés.
6. Troodos Mountain Shade
The drive into the shady pine-clad Troodos Mountains takes you through pretty wine country. Options from there include several well-marked Walking Trails of various lengths and difficulty. Even on the hottest of days, the mountain streams and waterfalls are icy and refreshing. We suggest parking at Psilo Dendro trout farm and restaurant in Pano Platres – a journey of 29 miles. From there you can take a beautiful walking trail upstream to the Caledonia Falls.
And as a reward for your exertions, you could either dine on the freshest of trout at the restaurant, or take some home to cook on the barbecue.
7. ‘Cyprus Night’ in Pissouri Square
For a taste of traditional Cypriot fare and entertainment, book a table at Platea Tavern or O’Vrakas Tavern in Pissouri Square for the lively village Friday music and meze evening. Or dine in one of the other village restaurants and head to the action afterwards. Attracting residents and visitors from far and wide, it’s a lovely community celebration including energetic traditional dancing in national costume, accompanied by the bouzouki. An English commentary explains the dances, with the evening’s highlight being a spectacular glass-balancing display.
8. Wine Route and Winery Visit
The Wine Routes are seven clearly marked scenic drives through Cyprus’ key wine-growing regions. And the best part is that there are wineries en route welcoming pre-booked visitors for tours and tastings.
From Pissouri Bay we’d recommend Krasochoria (route four) in reverse direction so that you start by passing through the traditional village of Anogyra nearby, the beautiful historic town of Omodos, then on to the cool of the pine-forested Troodos mountains. As it’s a self-drive tour, you have the freedom to do as much or as little of the route as you like, without being tied to a schedule.
9. Brandy Sour – The Cyprus Cocktail
The Brandy Sour traditional Cyprus sundowner has a fascinating story… It was devised at the Forest Park Hotel in Platres, Troodos in the 1930s heyday of the new Bauhaus-style hotel. At the time members of the jet set and glitterati were regular guests, including Muslim King Farouk of Egypt who wanted to indulge in a secret tipple whilst entertaining local dignitaries. So Stelios, the head barman, created a lemon and brandy drink designed to resemble iced tea. The plan worked, and no one detected the deception!
As time passed, the recipe spread to drinking establishments and restaurants throughout the island, becoming a firm favourite with both locals and visitors. Today it is regarded as The Cyprus cocktail.
Recommended venues to linger over your Brandy Sour (all with great sunset views): Kastro, Pissouri Bay | Kyrenia Beach Taverna, Avdimou (the next bay to the east) | Chris Blue Beach, Kourion | Muse Café Kitchen, Paphos old town (our current fav restaurant in Cyprus).
10. Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery, Tsada, Paphos
Providing something unique in Cyprus, Aphrodite’s Rock Brewery – a microbrewery run by a Yorkshire family – is well worth the 28 mile drive to Tsada, just north of Paphos. Tasting paddles allow you to sample a range of freshly-brewed ales, plus their Sorella cider. You can enjoy leisurely lunches in the pretty beer garden, and informative brewery tours.
Special days are marked throughout the year, including Oktoberfest, St Patrick’s Day, St George’s Day, May Cider Festival, plus the highlight of the year – Yorkshire Day – 1st August!