Want to make the most of the great outdoors over the winter season? Read on for the My Cyprus Insider pick of the very best of Troodos!
1. Put your best foot forward
There’s little point being out in nature if you don’t take it all in on foot. And you’ll soon discover that the Troodos nature trails weave through areas of exceptional beauty. Make your way through scented pines, stop to hear the gurgle of country streams, and step back to take in the beauty of the occasional waterfall. And when your feet tire, simply stop off at one of the shady picnic sites along the way. With countless signposted trails to choose from, some form part of the European path E4, an international network of long-distance walking routes crossing the whole of Europe.
2. Enjoy a moment of respite in Platres Square
Situated a few kilometres from Troodos square, there’s something special about this little place that was once a very chic cosmopolitan resort. A popular place during the winter, indulge in a hot drink at one of the cafes or restaurants in the centre of Platres, and if you fancy a treat, one of the local vendors on the road side will be happy to give you some local delights to indulge in.
3. Guzzle down the best of the island’s tipple
The sun kissed southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains are blanketed in thick vines, with over 50 charming boutique wineries dotted around the area waiting to be discovered. When you set out on your journey, don’t forget to try the sweet Commandaria – one of the oldest wines in the world still in production.
4. Give your taste buds a treat
There’s nothing quite like the freshwater trout that’s proudly dished up in a number of villages, often served with lashings of lemon, olive and garlic. The stone-built Kakopetria is particularly popular with islanders from across the country who flock to the area for Sunday lunch. Do like the locals and wash down your meal with a dose of strong Cyprus coffee.
5. Get some shut-eye in an agrotourism hotel
If you’re opting for a night or more in nature, there is no better way to enjoy the experience than in a renovated traditional dwelling, really giving you the chance to take in all that village life has to offer. With countless so called ‘agrotourism’ resorts scattered in countless villages around the Troodos area, be sure to go all out and enjoy all things Cypriot during your stay. And that means indulging in a traditional village meze, guzzzling ocal tipple, and getting to know the real character of the place, whether you sit down at the local coffee shop for a natter with locals or get better acquainted with rural arts and crafts.
6. Live it up in the snow
From skiing to snowboarding, adrenaline junkies will be in for a treat. Mount Olympus is usually covered in a blanket of snow from January through to March, as the slopes fill with people of all ages with plenty of energy to unleash.
7. Seep up the Byzantine splendour
Nestled in the greenery of the Troodos Mountains are a density of churches that stand as supreme examples of Byzantine art, ten of which proudly claim a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Entire days out can be spent driving through the areas of Pitsilia, Marathasa and Solea to spot their true beauty. From the charming Agios Ioannis Lambadistis in Kalopanayiotis, to the totally quaint Stavros tou Agiasmati in Platanistasa, each church has its own tale to tell as colourful frescos take you deep into a saintly world.
8. Drive through the Cedars
Some proclaim this to be the most beautiful part of the island. Others are barely even aware of its outstanding charm. But whether you are familiar with the area or not, it is here, deep in the Cedar Valley, where thousands of indigenous Cyprus Cedars so very gracefully reach up for the skies and where things are so quiet that you could probably hear a pin drop. Get out of the car and take in the fresh air for a truly otherworldly experience.
9. Splash about in Kaledonia
Get some decent shoes on and prepare for a walk like no other as the gushing sound of water through dense forest vegetation leads you towards the cascading Kaledonia Falls. They may be the highest waterfalls in Cyprus, but it’s not really about the final destination; there’s simply something special about the walk to the falls itself, as you stride or trundle over slippery stepping stones and bend over backwards to make way for foliage that so proudly inhabits every inch of the vicinity.