We hear that the weather in Britain has been pleasantly warm recently. Ah, but here in Limassol, where the sun shines for at least nine months in the year, the mercury daily soars up into the high twenties! Maybe that’s why the largest number of visitors to Cyprus – more than 37 per cent – are from the UK. British arrivals increased by more than 16 per cent to nearly 106,300 in April alone, just in time for the start of the high season through to October.
There are many reasons why Cyprus and its key destinations, such as Limassol have already this year attracted 286,331 visitors – up by nearly 27 per cent on the 225,575 in 2016 – the highest volume of tourist arrivals ever recorded in a specific period (Cystat Statistical Service – Passenger Survey).
Cyprus is uniquely embedded at the outer edge of the ancient Mediterranean sea-bowl. The eternal undertow of history and culture ebbs and flows across Aphrodite’s mythic isle as powerfully as the sun energises sea and sand. The glinting beaches of Limassol, where the fabled goddess of love and beauty may be seen hovering at every water’s edge, can also play host to cultural and sporting experiences of every kind.
Crystal-clear and calm sea-waters
There are a staggering 57 Blue Flag beaches, making Cyprus the “Cleanest Bathing Waters in Europe” with a consistent annual score of 100. That means safe and enjoyable water sports from swimming and scuba diving to sailing, wind & kite surfing and jet skiing. Each unspoilt beach is a unique sand and water colour palette, offering an endless panorama for the eye to explore.
Londa Hotel is close by to ‘Lady’s Mile’, a 7km beach nestling at the eastern end of the Akrotiri Peninsula, which sweeps in a gentle arc past new Cyprus visitor destination, Limassol Marina, all the way to the RAF base in the west. The crystal-clear and calm sea-waters of Lady’s Mile gently lap at the most shallowest southern end – known as Button Beach – forever burnishing the dark grey sand to glowing bronze. The area is also one of Europe’s most important wetlands, which is used as a seasonal stopping off point for migratory birds and a winter home for thousands of flamingos and herons.
Visitors of the human kind who also flock to the parallel sand ridges of this natural, unspoilt region will be following an historical trail dating back to when Cyprus came under the colonial administration of the British Empire on 10 March 1925. The beach itself takes its name from ‘Lady’, the horse which was ridden along this coastal stretch by the island’s first British governor, Sir Malcolm Stevenson (1878–1927) between March 1925 and November 1926.
Akrotiri soon came to be known as the “Cat Peninsula”
Nearby is also the Holy Monastery of St. Nicholas of the Cats, regarded as a sacred haven for felines for almost 2,000 years. During the period when the monastery was first built in 327 AD, a severe drought caused the entire island to be overrun with poisonous snakes. Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, ordered 1,000 cats to be shipped in from Egypt to deal with the outbreak and Akrotiri Peninsula soon came to be known as the “Cat Peninsula”. In 1580, the monks were awarded the surrounding lands on the one condition that they took care of at least 100 cats and feed them at least twice a day.
Since that period, the monastery has been destroyed, rebuilt and abandoned several times. In a strange echo of 1,500 years earlier, a group of nuns arrived to live at the monastery in 1983 and found there was an infestation of snakes but no cats to catch the reptiles. Once again, a couple of felines were brought in, and more than thirty years later, they now number over 70.
Today, the area around Lady’s Beach is well-known locally for its restaurants of fresh fish and traditional Cypriot cuisine. A must-visit place for Londa Hotel guests seeking sun, sea, sand and historical adventures…