Located in the far Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is a large island which is split between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the north. Most tourism is to the Greek-speaking southern area which accounts for almost two-thirds of the land mass. Its closest mainland neighbours are Syria and Lebanon to the east. Of all the islands in the Mediterranean region only Sicily and Sardinia are larger. Historically, the island was an important port for the Phoenicians who established a trading post in the harbour of modern-day Limassol on the south coast. Many more peoples would follow, leaving a rich architectural legacy for today’s visitors.
Port of Limassol
The sprawling city of Limassol is Cyprus’s largest coastal town and is home to the island’s main cargo and passenger facility. Cruise ships arrive in the New Port which is located approximately 5km south-west of the city centre. There is little of interest to cruise ship passengers in the vicinity of the port so visitors are advised to head into the centre near the Old Port or take a shore excursion to one of the many attractions within a short distance of Limassol. In recent years this port has seen the arrival of many refugees arriving from countries in the Middle East which has been partly responsible for the sharp fall in cruise ships visiting the island.
Airport Transfers to Limassol
If you are travelling to Limassol’s cruise port at the beginning or end of your holiday there are two international airports to choose from when booking flights. The largest is Larnaca Airport which lies about 75km east of the port otherwise you can travel through Paphos Airport which is 60km to the west. Public buses operate services to Limassol from both airports but cruise ship passengers will find taxi or private transfer services to be much more convenient. Airport transport specialists, Shuttledirect, provide private transfers from Paphos Airport and from Larnaca Airport.
Getting Around in Limassol
The New Port of Limassol isn’t typical of destinations in the Mediterranean as there is nowhere to walk within proximity of the dock. If you’re planning on spending the day in Limassol the walk to the old town is not recommended. Fortunately, free shuttle buses are usually provided otherwise you can take a taxi from the port gates or public bus number 30 which goes to the old town. This is where the Old Port, Limassol Castle and the city’s other main tourist attractions are located.
Main Tourist Attractions
If you decide to spend your day in port in Limassol itself you should head for the old town where you’ll find a maze of narrow streets filled with shops and cafés-bars where you’ll be made very welcome by the friendly Cypriot people. Some of the main tourist attractions to look out for include the 15th century Limassol Castle and the Old Port which has been developed into an impressive leisure complex.
In addition you can visit a number of Greek Orthodox churches and ancient mosques which help paint a picture of the city’s colourful history. The bustling Central Municipal Market is also worth a visit to browse the fresh produce stalls and buy souvenirs such as local handicraft items or olive oil. If it’s too hot in the city and you’d like to find a place for a dip in the sea you can walk to Ladies Mile Beach which is just south of the cruise terminal.
Shore Excursions Beyond Limassol
In reality, relatively few cruise ship passengers hang around Limassol preferring instead to head off to more exciting destinations on shore excursions offered by their ship. Some of the most popular destinations include the following:
Kourion: Located just 15km west of the cruise port this is the island’s most important archaeological site where the highlights include an Agora (market place) from Ancient Greece and an impressive Roman amphitheatre.
Kolossi Castle: Located just 10km west of the port, this castle was built by the Knights Templars in the 13th century. Climb to the top and you will see why this site was of major strategic importance during the Middle Ages. It was also home to a sugar mill, the remains of which can still be seen today.
Paphos: Somewhat further afield is the popular holiday destination of Paphos which lies 70km to the west of the port. The main historic attraction in this charming seaside resort is the Roman ruins which have been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Excursions also usually include a visit to Aphroditeâ€™s Rock which is where the Greek goddess of love is said to have been born.
The Port of Paphos has aspirations to serve as a cruise ship destination, however, frequent high winds in the area prevent cruise vessels from docking there. Tourism authorities are looking into the possibility of building a jetty which would help accommodate cruise ships and help boost the local tourism industry.
Khirokitia: Lying 43km east of Limassol Port this site which dates back to 7 BC also features on the UNESCO World Heritage List. During a visit you’ll need to use your imagination in attempting to recognise how the stone ruins which we see today were once the layout of a prehistoric farming community.
One Night in Limassol
If your ship happens to be spending a night in port you should head into the old town for the evening where you’ll find some nice restaurants near Limassol Castle. Karatello Restaurant (Vasilissis 11/1) is a lovely place to enjoy traditional Cypriot dishes on an outdoor terrace. Alternatively, you could visit the Old Port which has been transformed into an attractive new fishing harbour and tourist development. This area is home to a selection of stylish cafés and restaurants overlooking the marina such as Pyxida (Limassol Marina) which is highly regarded for its fish dishes. Another option is to dine at one of the many chain restaurants such as TGI Fridays or Wagamama which have secured ideal locations with outdoor terraces in the harbour area.
About Shuttle Direct
Shuttle Direct is the most established and respected airport transfer provider in Europe and northern Africa. Our friendly local drivers will ensure your safe, economical, and convenient passage to and from the cruise terminal, airport, or major train station of your choice with a minimum of fuss. Book your transfer with our easy to use online booking system and leave the rest up to us!