Where to go with the whole family during your days off during Easter? The perfect time to head out on a day trip, quaint village squares around the country come to life with lively folk dances and songs, starting on Easter Sunday through to the following Tuesday. With plenty of games and dance enticing young and old to join in with the celebrations, where are some of our favourite spots to head to over the Easter break? Read on for the My Cyprus Insider hot list!
Photo: Larnaka Tourism Board
1. Kalopanayiotis, Troodos district
One of the most beautiful villages on the island, nestled in the heart of the Marathassa Valley, few places evoke the traditional character of Cyprus so wonderfully as this gem of a place where UNESCO sites beckon, while Venetian bridges and sulphur springs add to the bucolic charm.
With countless buildings in the area now restored and the whole place having witness a true revival of late, tradition still remains a focal point, with the courtyard of the gorgeous medieval Lampadistis Monastery in the heart of the village now set to play host to some great Easter celebrations.
Photo: Idea Studio
A complex made of three little churches dating back to the 11th century, it offers visitors 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. Head here for a day out on Easter Monday (after 3pm) and the whole family can enjoy traditional games, with plenty of Zivania, wine, eggs, nuts and flaounes on offer. At 6pm, loukoumades (fried honey balls) will be dished out for free to all passers-by near the Venetian Bridge!
Insider tip: Head to Kafe Oinos, a wine bar/café with a retro twist, for a glass of local wine or swig of traditional coffee.
2. Omodos, Limassol district
Cocooned by gorgeous green land that’s home to some of the island’s most beautiful vines, Omodos is not only a pretty village that claims pride of place high in the Limassol winegrowing district, but it’s also home to one of the most famous monasteries on the island; that of Timios Stavros (Monastery of the Holy Cross). Dating all the way back to A.D.337, the place is said to house part of the Holy Rope that tied Jesus Christ’s hands to the cross, elevating this monastery to near pilgrimage status.
Once you’ve enjoyed a walk around the monastery, step outside into the village square; an impressive wide open space that’s home to a number of coffee shops/eateries and small shops selling intricate lace – something that the village folk are incredibly proud of us. Kick back and enjoy a drink under the open skies, with tables and chairs from the nearby cafes strewn across the cobbled square. And from Easter Sunday through to Easter Monday and Tuesday, you’ll get to enjoy all sorts of games and festivities in the area!
Insider tip: For a foodie feast, head to ‘To Katoi’; a place where Cypriot dishes with a gourmet twist are served within an atmospheric old Cypriot home.
3. Lefkara, Larnaca district
A village renowned for its intricate lacework and brilliant silver, Lefkara makes for a lovely day out any time of the year, with its maze of cobbled lanes beckoning the curious visitor. One of the few villages in Cyprus that you can witness tradition come to life in a real hands-on fashion, women of the village often gather outside their homes and shops, making lace and embroidery as they did years ago. So precious is the so-called ‘Lefkaritiko’ lace, the gorgeous embroidery is even included on UNESCO’s representative List of Intangible Culture Heritage.
But come Easter, the village really springs to life for a different reason, with festivities and jollities drawing in crowds from near and far! While the Holy Cross church – dating back to the 14th century – forms the epicentre of all things religious and spiritual, it’s the yard of the Lefkara Elementary School that will be forming a hub of activity on Easter Monday after 3pm, with plenty of traditional games and dancing for everyone to enjoy. And once the hunger pangs kick in, they’ll be complementary BBQ meat to devour, with plenty of wine to wash it all down!
Insider tip: Once you’ve enjoyed a good few hours in Lefkara, head to the neighbouring village of Kato Drys. A beautiful place, it’s also home to fabulous Bee and Embroidery museum!
4. Kathikas, Paphos district
One of the prettiest winemaking villages in the Paphos district, getting here is a treat in itself, with Kathikas located high on the Laona plateau at an altitude of almost 700 metres above sea level and commanding spectacular coastal views. Enter the village and you’ll immediately be taken on a journey back in time with old stone houses standing as a brilliant example of folkloric architecture, while traditional taverns tucked away in the winding streets dish up some fabulous village fare.
With a number of old churches in the area for a real focal point come Easter, with festivities taking place throughout the long weekend, on Good Friday, it’s tradition to re-enact the ‘Passion of the Christ’, whereby the Community Council President carries the cross from Agios Onouphrios Chapel to St Evaggelistria church, as the rest of the village follows suit. On Easter Sunday, you can enjoy traditional games in the village square at 3pm.
Insider tip: There are some great places to dine in Kathikas if you want to tuck into some homecooked fare while you’re exploring the area, with Imogen’s Inn (with a lovely courtyard pictured below) and Yiannis Tavern (tel: +357 26 633353) being two of our favourites!
Cover photo: Ayios loannis Lampadistis, Kalopanayiotis