The Troodos mountain range stretches across most of the western side of Cyprus. There are many famous mountain resorts, Byzantine monasteries and churches on mountain peaks, and nestling in its valleys and picturesque mountains are villages clinging to terraced hill slopes. The general area has been known since antiquity for its mines, which for centuries supplied copper to the entire Mediterranean. In the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art, as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains, away from the threatened coastline.
We asked Stella to pick out some highlights of her visit to this beautiful part of Cyprus.
Details of your favourite property and why?
Casale Panayiotis in the village of Kalopanayiotis in the Marathasa Valley which is famous for its cherry trees. Each room was once a village home or business, all of which have now been restored to a really high standard whilst still retaining the original architecture and style of the village. Each room is truly unique which makes this property full of character and charm. The Casale’s Myrianthousa Spa rightly mirrors the reputation of the historic spa village of Kalopanayiotis which is famous for its natural healing sulphur waters.
Favourite activity and why?
There’s no better way to experience the majestic wilderness of the mountains than putting on a strong pair of walking boots and heading out on one of its many trails. The Caledonia Trail is a 3km walk from Platres leading up to the waterfalls – one of the highest in Cyprus.
This is a really beautiful scenic walk through the forest and along the stream where we saw the wild trout jumping! I would recommend this walk as it’s a very tranquil way to experience the natural, breathtaking surroundings of the Troodos mountains and to appreciate the spectacular views.
Where you ate your best meal. What did you have?
As with my previous visits to Cyprus, all the meals were amazing but, during this trip, I have to say that my favourite was at the Kir Yiannis Taverna in the village of Omodos. The taverna, which serves traditional Cypriot cuisine using seasonal produce, is an old mansion house which has been restored and renovated back to its traditional style. We started with a very famous Cypriot soup called Trahana which is made from cracked wheat and goats milk resulting in a salty porridge to which cubes of halloumi cheese are added. This was followed by a meze selection including village bread, various dips, Cypriot sausages made with red wine, skewered chicken, roasted pork, grilled halloumi cheese with honey and sesame seeds, sheftalia (lamb and pork sausage) and kleftiko. This amazing feast was accompanied by the local Omodos wine which is produced in the village and several glasses of Keo beer.
General feel of the area?
This trip really highlighted how beautiful the Troodos mountains are with the air filled with the rich smell of pine and the tranquil sounds of the birds in full song and the running streams. With several pretty villages, it’s the ideal place to completely unwind and revel in the peace and stunning natural beauty of the area. We were here for only a short time but there was so much to explore, including many Byzantine churches and monasteries, ten of which are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. There are four impressive waterfalls where the cascading towers of water leave you mesmerised. Add in the abundance of flora, fauna and indigenous herbs and you have ‘must’ for all nature lovers, walkers and cyclists.
This year will mark the 47th year that Sunvil has offered holidays to this enchanting island. In that time, we have built up a knowledge and feeling for the country which is second to none which is why we can truly say that we know Cyprus inside out. Our fly-drive holidays, combining coast with mountain are some of our most popular and we offer a range of accommodation within the Troodos and Paphos mountains – yet the sea is never very far away!