Yes, it sure is hot out there. And when you just need a break from it all, nothing beats feeling like you’re on top of the world on the Troodos Peaks as you cool off at almost 2000 metres above sea level! Considered one of the most complete and best studied ophiolites in the world, the Troodos area stands proud as a geological model for researchers the world over, formed 92 million years ago. With much to see and do in the area, My Cyprus Insider is dedicating this article to the fantastic Troodos National Forest Park, an expanse of forest covering about 90km around Mount Olympus.
1. Find out why the area is so special at the Troodos Geopark Visitor Centre
If you want to really get to grips with things about Troodos that you may never have known, then you absolutely must visit the Troodos Geopark Visitor Centre. At the entrance of the centre, you’ll be greeted by a fantastic geological garden where you can spot all the different types of rock that characterize the area, in stratigraphic order, representing the Troodos ophiolite sequence.
Once inside, the Visitor Centre provides insight into the geological uniqueness of the Troodos area, and you’ll be enlightened on geological processes currently occurring in the depths of the oceans, and the formation of new oceanic crust.
Have a good look around the venue and you’ll spot impressive rocks and minerals providing insight into the geology of the area, as well as info on sites of geological importance (from faults mines to geo trails). Then there’s exhibits of abandoned asbestos and chromite mines, representations of an ancient pyro-metallurgical furnace for the production of copper and a gallery of the last century for the exploitation of sulphate deposits.
Where? Just off Karvounas – Troodos Road. Tel: (+357) 25-550091
2. Rejoice in the splendours of nature at the A.G. Leventis Troodos Botanical Garden
The Troodos National Forest Park is home to approximately 750 plant species, with 72 of these endemic to the island. And if you want to get better acquainted with the many endemic plants and herbs of the area, be sure to head to the Troodos Botanical Garden. The garden aims to protect, conserve and promote Cypriot botanical heritage through exposure and education and it’s a really great place to take the whole family.
The site has a sweet little visitor centre and plenty of written information is conveniently placed around the area. And do sit back on one of the benches to take in the panoramic views across the mountain valley, with a telescope on hand for your viewing pleasure.
Where? Troodos National Forest Park. Tel: (+357) 25-550091
3. Refresh yourselves by gorgeous waterfalls
When you’re exploring the national park in the summer, there’s nothing like visiting one of the area’s gorgeous waterfalls. With the Caledonia Falls perhaps the most popular of all, you can head here from the ‘Kryos Potamos’ River near the Troodos Presidential Residence, or from the ‘Psilon Dentron’ point near the village of Platres. Once you get to the fall, you’ll be inundated by the smell of sweet scented pines as gushing water (falling from a height of 13 metres) carries you away somewhere truly magical.
Chantara Falls is also rather special, located on the Trooditissa river bed north of the village of Fini. Head to the area to enjoy a great picnic and walk, before setting your sights on these lovely falls that drop from a height of 8 metres. But the highest falls of all are the Myllomeri Falls, with the water falling from a height of 20 metres. Situated in the Kryos Potamos river bed southeast of the Pano Platres at an altitude of 980 metres – near Panayia Phaneromeni Church – you can reach the fall via a couple of routes, from either Pera Pedi Village (4,2 km distance) or from Pano Platres towards Moniatis (at a distance of 3,8 km).
4. Find out more about the area at the Troodos National Forest Park Visitor Centre
Just 200 metres west of Troodos Square, this little visitor centre will fill in you in on interesting things about the park. Enter the exhibition gallery and you’ll find all sorts of interesting exhibits about the environment, geology, flora, fauna, various habitats, recreation, history and the civilization of the island.
You’ll also come across collections of butterflies, wood samples, fossils and a cross section of an age-old Black pine. Enter the film theatre and you can watch a 10-minute informative film about the area, and it’s worth keeping in mind that a botanical and geological trail is also connected to the building, where you’ll spot various plants of the park and geological specimens.
Where? 62 Archbishop Makarios III, Troodos. Tel: (+357) 22-952043/ 22-952004. www.troodos-geo
5. Take in some awe inspiring views as you walk through beautiful nature trails
With gorgeous walking trails dissecting the area, there is no time like the present to enjoy a glorious early morning or late afternoon walk at cooler altitudes. With 13 different signposted trails within the park, there’s something for every level.
The Artemis Trail (a 7km circular trail) is bound to leave you wide eyed; walk this one and you’ll come across ruins of rough fortifications built during the final year of the Venetian Occupation of the island (1571). The longer Atalanti Trail (a 14km circular trail) will take you through dense thickets of black pine, while the Persephone Trail is ideal for those looking for a shorter walk (a 3km linear trail.)
Looking for somewhere to stay in the area? This list should help!
Forest Park- Τel: (+357) 25-421751. www.forestparkhotelcy.com
New Helvetia Hotel- Τel: (+357) 25-421348. www.newhelvetiahotel.com
Edelweiss- Τel: (+357) 25-421335. www.edelweisshotel.com.cy
Petit Palais- Τel: (+357) 25-422723.
Spring- Τel: (+357) 25-421330. www.spring-hotel.net
Semiramis- Τel: (+357) 99-792331. www.semiramishotelcyprus.com
Kallithea- Tel: (+357) 25-421246
Troodos Hotel– Tel: (+357) 25-420000. www.troodoshotel.com
Jubille– Tel: (+357) 25-420107
Want more inspiration about great things to do in the Troodos area? Visit mytroodos.com/en or head to the CTO office in Platres for more information.
This article is a My Cyprus Insider sponsored story.