A City of Dreams on an island of sunbeams…

When you first think of Cyprus, what comes to mind? The archaeological sites of Paphos? The birthplace of Aphrodite? For many, it’s the party city of Ayia Napa, which has an expanse of pristine beaches and countless trendy clubbing locales scattered around the city.

But just an hour away is the very different, super laidback, city of Limassol. Cyprus’ southernmost city is located a 50-minute hop from Larnaca International Airport. Along the way you’ll journey past mountain rock and leafy canopy, the less-seen side of Cypriot beauty. Limassol is a stunning, booming, and increasingly cosmopolitan enclave with rich and gorgeously diverse cultural threads.

Unsurprising perhaps given that Cyprus is a melting pot island – just skimming the history books will reveal how coveted a prize it was for many nations. And you can still see the storied remnants of different customs and traditions rooted in the Cypriot way, today.

Chief amongst the roster of things to do in Limassol, include walking the pretty promenades, relaxing at bougie beach bars, sipping quality coffee in the countless cafés and enjoying big James Bond vibes at the recently opened casino.

Exploring the city

One of our favourite sightseeing expeditions takes you through the old city of Kourion. Along the way, you’ll pass visual clues alluding to the deep history of colonisation that Cyprus was built on. From the Greeks to the British, Ottoman, Turkish and Roman Empires – remnants of the war and the lives lived in Cyprus are clearly depicted through the destruction and reconstruction of Kourion.

The city today invites visitors to learn about the Greek settlers, with an agora, amphitheatre and what would have been a bathhouse, learn about how women were revered, and how business would have been conducted in the bathhouses.

Consider a visit to the castle of St. George where King Richard the Lionheart married Berengaria of Navarre in 1191, the only British royal wedding to take place outside of the UK. Expert guided tours are optional and give you the best experience.

Onto slightly more modern sight-seeing, wander through the Limassol marina and along the pier where you can shop for souvenirs and trinkets before stopping off to enjoy a traditional Cypriot coffee and biscuits.

Where to stay

Our top pick for your base camp is the box-fresh contemporary resort, City of Dreams Mediterranean. It boasts five pool areas, an adventure park complete with zipline, a trampoline zone, spa, casino, and four signature dining outlets.

The rooms are bright and airy, the furniture is cut from modern European cloth, and the glassfronted bathroom comes with a stand-alone bathtub. Views overlook the pool area and, in the distance, the ocean beckons. A Waverider surf attraction and the adventure park can be found in the far corner of the resort just off to the side of the pools, perfect for keeping the kids (and big kids) busy during the day.

A one night stay in City of Dreams Mediterranean starts from Dhs1,803 per night.


Must try

When ordering a coffee in one of the many cafés, be sure to try a frappe. Similar to the viral Korean Dalgona coffee, a frappe is a whipped coffee drink that is poured over ice with either milk or water. We recommend limited sugar, and water for a creamy iced americano. Paired with loukoumi and baklava it is the perfect afternoon treat.

Hop on an Emirates flight and jet away on a short haul four-hour journey. Fly out of Dubai International Airport and land in Larnaca.

There is only one flight to Cyprus per day and it takes off at 8am and prices start from Dhs1,370. flydubai.com

Images: Supplied, Unsplash and Getty