All history lovers will finally find something to rejoice about. Kourion (also known as Curium) is a historic site near Limassol, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, offering unique insight into the history of the civilizations that used to live on the island.
Named after the Kouris river that used to flow here, the earliest occupation of this area dates back to 5.500 – 4.000 BCE (to you and me – that’s pretty damn old). Unlike the other historic sites in Cyprus, I think this is one of the best-preserved, in the best location and with stunning views. Some of the highlights of the tour include the theater, sanctuary baths, the Temple of Apollo Hylates, House of the Gladiators and the House of Achilles. Also very impressive are the beautifully preserved Nymphaeum and Forum Baths.
This was my probably third visit, so excuse the lack of pictures from the other highlights of the area. We arrived mid-day and as you can imagine that’s not the best time to wander around in a huge site like this. I will try to locate pictures from my previous visits to give you more insight into what to expect.
If you’re visiting Kourion in summer, you might find it very busy or crowded. There are tour buses arriving almost every hour and there are almost no places where to hide from the heat.
Having said that, first time around it’s a pretty cool experience. You can get a map inside the main building and follow along with the routes, or buy a book in the small shop inside to get more information about what you’re about to see. Unfortunately, there is not enough space on this blog to cover the whole history, so if you fancy a read, you can check this page. If you want to a tour guide to show you around, these can be booked as part of hotel packages and will take you to the site on a bus along with other tourists. There are no options to book a tour guide on the spot.
After all that walking around and educating yourself about all that Kourion has to offer, I bet you wouldn’t say no to a quick dip in the sea. You’re in luck as Kourion beach is just a few minutes drive away. Bring your own picnic like we did or pop over to lunch in one of the restaurants.
Enjoyable and educational day, all in one.
Kourion Opening Hours:
September 16 – April 15, daily: 08.30 – 17:00
April 16 – September 15, daily: 08:30 – 19:30
Entrance fees – €4,50. Kids to a certain age are free (12 I think). You need to pay at the gate, park your car on the side and they will open the gates for you after payment.
There is a big parking lot as you drive to the top of the hill. There are no refreshments or food options, apart from a couple of vending machines at the main building.
Kourion Amphitheater details:
Also known as Curium Ancient Theater, this outdoor amphitheater set on top of the hill, with sprawling reviews, is home to regular performances and concerts.
Usually hosted in summer months and announced on the Cyprus Events website. The usually include a ballet or dance performance, music (very often classical or opera) and theater, including some of the old Greek classics.
Kourion Beach tips:
If you want to drive to the beach, simply turn right after you exit the gates and follow the road to the right again along the coastline. There are three restaurants on the beach, the middle one being the best option for dining with beautiful outside terrace right by the sea. Unfortunately, when we arrived it was packed with no space to sit, so we went to the last one on the strip – Restaurant Sunshine, which was an utter disappointment.
The beach is rocky with easy access and even though it was busy, it doesn’t feel as crowded as most tourist beaches. As far as I could see, most visitors were actually locals.