With a magical appeal that dreams are made of, Kalopanayiotis stands proud on the northern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, nestled in the heart of the Marathassa Valley. But the great thing about this village is that it also boasts a real contemporary twist, with locals having worked extremely hard to revive old traditions and draw in both locals and foreigners for a taste of rural life with a cool twist. What to do when you’re in the village? My Cyprus Insider is here to help!
1. Tantalise your taste buds at the new Tsimpimatouthkia Cypriot Deli
There’s good reason why foodies from across the island have been descending on the village of late and it goes by the name of Tsimpimatouthkia. Not just a fabulous deli, it also dishes up some dreamy gastronomic delights which draw on Cypriot tradition. Think eggs, sausage, halloumi on a bed of vegetables, or a dish with anari, honeycomb, almonds, bee pollen. Then there’s toast with a special chef’s sauce, halloumi and quail egg and the list goes on! Sit down on one of the outdoor benches with views across the green mountains, socialise with fellow foodies and let your taste buds have a party. And whatever you do, don’t leave before trying the ice cream!
2. Indulge in shopping therapy at Pramatouthkia, Little Treasures
Tsimpimathoukia’s sister, Pramatouthkia, is as the name suggests, all about ‘Little Treasures’ and the finest Cypriot produce wrapped up in really funky sleek packaging that makes for a perfect gift. The cute little shop is packed with all sorts of goodies, from jams to nuts, body creams to essential oils, all paying tribute to the island’s natural produce.
3. Rejuvenate mind & body at fabulous Myrianthousa Spa
Step into the Myrianthousa spa at Casale Panayiotis boutique hotel and you may never want to leave, especially once you’ve enjoyed one of their treatments, all using the Greek natural Apivita range. From facials to dreamy body treatments to soothe mind and soul, you may want to try the deep tissue massages, hot stone massage, a King of Soli Bath Ritual, the Kalopanayiotis Mud experience and more.
4. Sip on glorious local wine at the quirky Kafe Oinos
Kick back and sip on a glass of wine at a lovely little wine bar/café with a real retro twist. There’s good quality local wine on offer at Kafe Oinos but you can also enjoy lemonade with rose petals or traditional coffee. Once the cold kicks in and the central fireplace starts to roar, you really won’t want to leave.
5. Enjoy UNESCO heritage at the medieval Lampadistis Monastery
A complex comprised of three little churches dating back to the 11th century, you’ll enjoy a taste of the island’s past at its best. Standing proud as one of the ten island churches and monasteries on the UNESCO world heritage list, it’s dedicated to a young monk named John Lampadistis buried on the grounds. Legend has it that a man suffering from epilepsy once touched the grave and was miraculously cured. Sit for a breather in the courtyard of the complex to take in all the history while the interior of the monastery itself is rather awe inspiring with its well preserved colourful and intricate frescoes and icons.
Photo credit: Idea Studio
6. Ogle at Byzantine treasures at the Byzantine Museum
By the monastery is the Byzantine Museum which houses ecclesiastical artefacts that have survived though the centuries in the Lampadistis Monastery and the other village churches. If all this has left you wanting more tradition, there are a handful of other tiny Byzantine chapels dotted around the area; just ask a local and they will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.
7. Stand on a 16th century Venetian Bridge & take a peak at a pre-industrial watermill
For a sight to remember, head straight to the 16th century Venetian Bridge where you’ll be greeted by the soothing trickle of water as the Setrachos River claims a prime spot beneath the age old traditional stone arch. Known for their healing properties since antiquity, crowds would descend upon the village to bathe in the waters and seep up the benefits of the springs located on the banks of the river.
If you like your architecture, you can also head down to the Kykkos Watermill, declared a heritage monument by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and standing as a characteristic of pre-industrial period architecture.
8. Enjoy dinner at a cute little traditional tavern that used to be an old cinema
Yes, as the name suggests, the ‘Old Cinema’ (Palio Cinema) used to be just that, right up until 1980. Today it houses a tavern dishing up simple traditional local fare. Don’t expect anything fancy or gourmet twists here! There’s lovely ‘makaronia tou fournou’ (oven baked pasta with minced meat), traditional sausages and pastourmas and plenty of other meze treats. Do have a glass of Zivania to wash it all down in true traditional fashion!
Photo credit: Time Out Cyprus
Where? 44A Marcos Drakou St, Kalopanayiotis. Tel: (+357) 99-130275 & 99-191026
9. Take a cool outdoor glass lift up to the village centre
Taking you right up to the traditional centre, the outdoor lift in the village was built to take people right up to the historic hub and it’s a great way to admire the views across the surrounding countryside.
10. And finally…put your feet up somewhere cosy and quaint!
Many people are familiar with the gorgeous Casale Panayiotis but there are also plenty of other great places to stay in the area. Hani Crysomilou is fantastic if you want a whole house to yourselves, while To Kastri is a lovely traditional house divided into three apartments with all modern comforts at hand.
Cover photo: Maro Kyprianou- Kafe Oinos