Easy Escapes: Limassol

Susan Henderson discovers fine food, top class spas and a mountain hideaway in Cyprus

Susan Henderson discovers fine food, top class spas and a mountain hideaway in Cyprus

Why go? For Blue Flag beaches, smart hotels, chic lounge bars, impressive eateries, a thriving club scene and great shopping. Limassol sits on the island’s south coast and ticks all the holiday boxes. A new landmark marina is due for completion later this year, while recent regeneration of the old town has given Cyprus’s second largest city added tourist appeal.

When? With 300 days of sunshine a year Limassol is an all-seasons destination, with things warming up nicely over the next few months. Go any time for a cultural break or book early for some affordable summer sunshine.

Go to ruin: the Greco-Roman amphitheatre at Kourion

You really must… Drag yourself away from the sunlounger to explore the impressive ancient ruins of Kourion and must-see mosaics at Paphos, both within easy reach of Limassol. Or head inwards and upwards to the scenic Troodos mountains, stopping off for a stroll around the cobbled streets of historic Omodos village.

Stay at: For five-star city luxury, the independently owned Four Seasons Hotel (fourseasons.com.cy, seaview doubles from £133 with breakfast) in Limassol has 304 rooms set over six floors. With five bars, five restaurants (including a gourmet Greek and an award-winning Italian) and a patisserie serving up the ultimate in temptation, you might want to pre-book a Slimming Seaweed Body Mask (£99) at the hotel’s Shiseido spa. Or burn off the calories in the three pools, gym and tennis courts. For a change of scenery, less than an hour’s drive north lies Casale Panayiotis (casalepanayiotis.com, £71 with breakfast). Set in the postcard-pretty mountain village of Kalopanayiotis, all of its 29 impeccably styled boutique rooms were traditional homes that have been sympathetically restored. The wonderfully atmospheric Lavrentino Spa is definitely worth a visit, as is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis across the valley.

Traditional comforts: a bedroom at Casale Panayiotis

Dine at: In Cyprus it’s all about the meze − small dishes of deliciousness that keep on coming until you finally admit defeat. At Ta Piatakia (tapiatakia.com), TV chef Roddy Damalis gives traditional ingredients a modern twist with signature dishes like duck with preserved fruit, figs stuffed with blue cheese and a light-as-air baklava. Get involved at his workshops (£21) or try it at home (My Little Plates by Roddy Damalis, £26.99 at amazon.co.uk). Karatello (carobmill-restaurants.com), a cool, contemporary eaterie in the heart of Limassol’s old town that was once a carob warehouse, serves Cypriot favourites in a buzzy atmosphere with live music. Want something more rustic? At family-run 7 St Georges Tavern (7stgeorgestavern.com) in Paphos the menu – simple dishes such as quail’s eggs, rabbit stifado and cauliflower dip − will depend on whatever they’re growing/breeding when you go.

Bring home: Local delicacies to impress your foodie friends – preserved sweet walnuts, carob syrup, known locally as ‘black gold’ (try it Ta Piatakia style, with lamb chops) and a bottle of Commandaria, the legendary local dessert wine with a history dating back 4,000 years.

Vineyards with a view: find peace in the Troodos Mountains

Book now: Cyprus Airways (cyprusair.com) flies from London Heathrow to Larnaca from £240 return.

Info: Find out all you need to know at visitcyprus.com or pick a copy of Cyprus (£12.99, DK Eyewitness).

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