Where to go with the family during your days off over 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 and continuing until Easter Monday. With plenty of games and dance enticing young and old to join in with the celebrations, here are some of our favourite spots – just read on for the My Cyprus Insider hot list!
Photo: Larnaka Tourism Board
1. 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, that 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 (souvla) 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!
2. Kyperounta, Pitsilia, Limassol district
With four gorgeous churches in the area, it’s hardly surprising that Kyperounta forms a hub of activity come Easter, with many visitors opting to head up to the green peaks of the Pitsilia district to celebrate the holidays in traditional fashion.
With most of the action centered around the central square, the spot is made famous by the Ayia Marina church; an 18th century structure built in traditional style with a three-room wooden roof basilica. This coming Easter Sunday, the young and young at heart can enjoy traditional games in the area at 4.30pm, culminating in bingo fun in the evening!
Insider tip: Kick back for a Cyprus coffee and slice of traditional cake or spoon sweet at the charming Kafes stin Xovoli, right by the village square!
3. 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 forming a real focal point come Easter, festivities take place throughout the long weekend. On Good Friday, it’s village tradition to re-enact the ‘Passion of the Christ’, which sees the Community Council President carrying 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: Yiannis Tavern (tel: +357 26 633353) dishes up some great local meze fare that makes for an ideal Easter holiday feast!
4. Lofou, Limassol district
A perfectly pretty village in the Limassol winegrowing district, the stone-built Lofou exudes the kind of charm that takes every visitor on a journey back in time. And the few locals that have remained in the area have worked mighty hard at maintaining and reviving village traditions, with a handful of restaurants and coffee shops taking guests back to bygone years.
This coming Easter Monday (April 29th) is set to be a big one in the village, with a tour of village streets organised between 2pm-3pm, followed by traditional games at the village primary school, including egg and spoon and sack races. There will also be a kid’s corner on site to entertain the young ones throughout the afternoon!
Insider tip: Stop off at the old village olive press to see how olive oil was made in the past!