There’s no time like the summer holidays to enjoy the clean fresh mountain air of the villages in and around the Troodos Mountains. Offering a real taste of authentic Cyprus, the rustic Kakopetria village is amongst the most beautiful, nestled in the Solea Valley. Legend has it that the village is named after a falling rock that killed a couple on their first walk through the village as newly-weds, but despite this somewhat tragic story, the village has emerged with a distinct character and an undeniable charm.
Easily reached by car as a day trip from Nicosia, Limassol or Larnaca, Kakopetria makes for a great day out away from the city. Here is My Cyprus Insider’s guide to 24 hours in one of the most picturesque villages on the island.
Wake up bright and early at Irene’s House
Like the idea of waking up in a lovingly refurbished, traditional old Cypriot mountain village house, with the soothing sounds of the nearby river floating in through your windows, and a spectacular view out over the Troodos Mountains?
Irene’s House offers all these things and more. The sweet and cosy wooden-beamed house also has an all-important and ever sought after fireplace to snuggle up beside on cold winter’s nights, and a large spa bath to soothe the muscles after a long mountain hike. Wake up at Irene’s and you’ll find yourself in the heart of the village, ready for a day of exploring the area.
Where? Paleas Kakopetrias Street 42, Kakopetria Tel: (+357) 99-486749
Go for a morning stroll through the Old Village
The old part of Kakopetria is without a doubt the most picturesque and photogenic part of the village. Traditional old stone and wood houses reach out to touch each other across narrow cobbled paths, while weather worn old ladies sit on their wooden porches selling jars of sweet glyka tou koutaliou and sunny window sills flaunt vases of colourful local mountain flowers.
In fact, Old Kakopetria is so precious that it has been classified as an ancient monument by the Department of Antiquities. Under this classification, many buildings have been restored including an old wine press and a watermill – see if you can spot them on your stroll.
Have coffee at Καφενειο Γαληνη – Village Café Serenity
With seating options either on the narrow cobbled pathway, inside in the warmth surrounded by quirky traditional objects, or on the private wooden terrace overlooking the river, it’s hard to know where to sit at Village Café Serenity.
This peaceful little pocket of Kakopetria’s old town is where traditional charm and local authenticity successfully meets modern day Cypriot customs in a harmonious union of Frappé, fresh juices, Cypriot coffee and homemade sweets and cakes. This cosy corner also has a roaring fireplace for snowy afternoons and a traditional apartment for guests who like it so much they want to stay the night.
Photo Credit: Spiros Christofi Photography
Where? Paleas Kakopetrias Street, Kakopetria. Tel: (+357) 22-922602
Take a walk along the river
Running alongside the village of Kakopetria is a stream of the Klarios River which has a nice, easy walking path running the length of it from the old village to The Mill hotel and restaurant. The trail only takes around 30 minutes to walk at a gentle pace; and with the clear water of the river bubbling along beside you on one side and the lush green forest on the other side, you’ll get an instant peace-inducing nature fix and a spot of exercise before lunch.
Photo Credit: Spiros Christofi Photography
Tuck into mouth-watering trout at The Mill
The area around the Solea Valley, where Kakopetria is located, is famous for its delicious freshwater trout, which is served at a number of restaurants in the village. For a taste of the best trout in Kakopetria, head to The Mill hotel and restaurant, where the mouth-watering food is complemented by spectacular views over the village.
The kitchen closes at 3.30pm before opening again for dinner so make sure you arrive in time. The grilled trout in lemon and garlic sauce is the specialty for a very good reason and goes very well with the mussels or grilled mushrooms to start. Make sure you are hungry because lunch at this former wheat mill will be a real gastronomic treat.
Where? Milos Street 8, Kakopetria. Tel: (+357) 22-922536
Pay a visit to Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis
The Troodos range is home to 10 painted churches with UNESCO World Cultural Heritage status. One of these ten monuments to Byzantine art and history is the church of Ayios Nikolaos tis Stegis, (or St Nicholas on the Roof thanks to its steep, heavy-pitched roof), which is located just 2km southwest of Kakopetria, on the west bank of the Karkotis River.
The only surviving monastery church of an 11th century Byzantine monastery in Cyprus, the building and its decorative wall murals provide an important example of Byzantine iconography and wall paintings from the Komnenian era. While the building itself dates back to the 11th century, the frescoes belong to various periods spanning 600 years between the 11th – 19th centuries.
Tel: (+357) 22-922583. When: Tuesday – Saturday: 09:00 – 16:00, Sunday: 11:00 – 16:00 Monday: closed
A village meal with a twist at Tziellari Argentina
It may seem strange to choose to eat an Argentinian restaurant when there is so much delicious local food available in Kakopetria, but this fantastic fusion cuisine restaurant is not to be missed if you like a nice juicy steak and fine red wine from South America. Although the chef at Tziellari Argentina is Argentinian, the rustic little converted village house restaurant also serves up a great range of traditional Cypriot meze, although the Argentinian delicacies are recommended.
Typically full of flavour and signature Argentinian spices, the dishes include delicious Argentinean sausages, meatballs served in a fresh tomato sauce, Casuelita pork stew, fried empanadas (Argentinian beef pies), melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops, as well as Pastel de Papas made with minced meat, egg white and mashed potato and served in a clay pot.
Where? 72 Palea Kakopetria Street. Tel: (+357) 22-922522
Put your feet up for the night at Linos Inn
Linos Inn is a complex of traditional old houses located throughout the old village of Kakopetria which have been beautifully restored and transformed into rustic little Agrotourism apartments for guests to spend the night in.
Each room is artfully decorated in the traditional old Cypriot village way, with four poster beds, wooden-beamed ceilings, fireplaces and Jacuzzis. The inn also has a wonderful restaurant and bar for guests and visitors, while on chilly winter days guests can warm up in the boutique hotel’s sauna.
Where? 34 Palea Kakopetria Street. Tel: (+357) 22-923161