Renowned as one of the most picturesque villages on the island, about 40 km northwest of Nicosia in the countryside of Pitisillia, the practically deserted Fikardou – home to no more than a handful of residents – leaves visitors from near and far awestruck, with traditional brick houses and red tiled roofs telling glorious tales of yesteryear while just about every corner defies the hands of time.
Having earned a Europa Nostra Award for cultural heritage in 1987 and declared an ancient monument, it’s time to get those walking shoes on and discover the dazzling charm of the area. What to see and do? My Cyprus Insider takes you on a little journey through the village!
1. Walk round the cobbled lanes & look at traditional architecture
Deserted at the beginning of the 19th century, the mostly 18th century houses stand as remarkable examples of folk architecture. Having wonderfully retained its medieval characteristics, you can’t help but feel like you’re travelling back into times past once you walk through the small maze of winding streets.
The village itself is very small so you won’t need more than an hour to have a good look around and take some gorgeous pictures. Be sure to take a peak behind some of the old wooden doors, with internal courtyards home to old village clay ovens and old earthenware wine vessels (pitharia).
2. Take in the island’s religious heritage at the Church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos
Built in the 18th century, this tiny little church in the centre of the village is surrounded by trees, while the little church garden commands great views across the surrounding countryside.
3. Have a bite to eat at Taverna Yianakos
After you’ve waked around the area, the hunger pangs will no doubt start to kick in. And you’re in luck, as Taverna Yianakos , right in the village centre dishes up some great traditional mezes. If you do head here at night, keep in mind that tender kleftiko (slow cooked lamb) is also served on a Friday.
The place is filled with old traditional knick knacks, while in the summer months you can enjoy your lunch al fresco is a lovely shaded balcony. Do be sure to make a reservation if you head here at the weekend as the place gets busy, especially on a Sunday!
Where? Centre of Fikardou Village. Tel: (+357) 22-633311/99-689497
4. Step back in time at the Local Rural Museum
As you walk through the village, you’ll spot signs that guide you towards the Local Rural Museum, and it really is well worth the visit. With two traditional houses renovated to create the museum, walking up to the space is a site to savour with views across the village and kolodja (butternut squash) hanging outside museum transformed into creative plant pots.
The House of Katsinioros – which was named after its last owner – is a two-storey stone-built manor house with a steep-pitched wooden roof and many 16th century architectural features. As with many houses from this period in time, the first floor was the living area while the ground floor was used for a whole host of jobs, like making wine and olive oil, while tools and agricultural produce were stored here. Take a good look at the exhibition of photographs, drawings and texts which show how the houses were restored.
You can also take a peak at an exhibition of photographs, drawings and texts on how the houses were restored, earning them – and the village – the Europa Nostra Award. Be sure to also head on to the second house which forms part of the museum, that of Achilleas Dimitri, turned into a weaver’s workshop and scholar’s guest house.
Where? Centre of Fikardou village. Opening hours: April 15 – October 30, Monday – Sunday: 9:3am – 5pm
November 1 – April 15, Monday – Sunday: 8:30am – 4pm. €2,50 / Pensioners €1,25. Opening and closing times as well as entrance fees are subject to change so do call before your visit.
Tel: +357 22 634 731
5. Venture further afield to explore the surrounding countryside
Whether you love to cycle or just fancy a long walk, veer off the cobbled lanes and into the surrounding countryside and you’ll spot gorgeous spring blossoms punctuating the greenery, as a number of trails weave their way through the area.
Look out for the small yellow E4 signs and you can embark on a walk that forms part of the E4 long distance trail. Taking you from the centre of Fiakrdou village through the countryside to Lazania and on to Machairas – where you can visit its stunning monastery – it’s not an easy route (about 13 km in total) but you don’t have to do the whole thing. Even just walking about 1-2km outside the village is enough to take in the splendour of the surrounding mountains, with benches along the way to kick back and take the spectacular flaura and fauna of the area.
Fikardou is close to the village of Lazania and you can reach it from Klirou and Kalo Chorio Klirou.