During September the heat in Cyprus slightly drops, especially on the mountains. The following villages offer, this time of the year, the cool and fresh air, many traditional products by the locals and some interesting religious festivals.
Omodos is located about 42 kilometres north-west of the city of Limassol, in the geographical region of the wine-making villages. It is built near the west bank of the Cha-potami river at an average altitude of 810 meters. The village is surrounded by tall mountain tops, the tallest of which are “Afames” (1153 m.) and “Kremmos of Laona” (Laona’s Cliff, 1092 m.). Vines and various fruit-trees (apple, plum, pear, peach, and apricot trees) are cultivated in the region. There also are uncultivated areas that are taken over by varied natural vegetation. The ornament and true pride & joy of Omodos is the Monastery of the Holy and Life-giving Cross, built at the heart of the community. It rises majestically and with its imposing presence it becomes a significant part of Cyprus’s cultural heritage.
The Monastery of the Holy Cross is one of the oldest and most historic monasteries of the island. According to tradition, the Monastery was established before St. Helen’s arrival in Cyprus in 327 AD. The exact date of establishment is unknown. Perhaps it existed before the village and Omodos was later established around the monastery. Various historians of Cyprus such as Neofytos Rodinos, the Russian monk and traveller Barsky, the Dean Kyprianos and others, refer to St. Helen’s visit to Cyprus and to the fact that she left a part of the Holy Rope and the Holy Rood in the Monastery. This rope, with which the Romans bound Christ to the Cross, is described as red coloured and “stained by the blood of Christ”. After several miracles by the Cross, the Monastery gained substantial reputation and evolved to a great place of adoration until today.
Since ancient times Omodos is renowned for its superb grapes and tasty wines. According to tradition, the -of excellent quality and sweet smelling -wine Afames, which took its name from the mountain that bares the same name and is located east of the village, was the cause for the island being conquered by the inebriate Sultan Selem II so that he could have this famous wine as his own. The known mediaeval winepress, found at a small distance from the Holy Cross Monastery, is evidence to the fact that production of traditional wine took place in Omodos since ancient times.
The inhabitants of Omodos, apart from growing vines and producing excellent wine and “zivania” (traditional alcoholic beverage), also handle the making of “soutzoukos” (must-stick with almonds), “palouze” (must jelly), “kkiofterka” (dried must jelly in rhomboid pieces), and “koulourka” (rusks). The “arkatena koulourka” (crunchy rusks with yeast) of Omodos are also well known and sought after throughout Cyprus. Also, genuine and of excellent taste sweets are made out of local fruits.
Home handicraft flourishes in Omodos. The village’s women, apart from the plentiful and hard work that they offer next to their husbands for the cultivation of the earth, are also occupied with handmade embroideries, making wonderful brocades, tablecloths, threaded quilts, and narrow-knit and Chantilly laces. Many wineries are located in the village with great vineyards and quality wine. In Omodos village you can enjoy local cuisine tasting traditional dishes and drinking local wine.
Visit the Holy Cross Monastery on the 14th of September where is a big festival is taking place and the many other churches and chapels in the village. Go to the traditional Tavernas to enjoy local dishes. Kalidonia and Myllomeris Waterfalls in Troodos Mountains are only few minutes drive away. Cylcing, Hiking. Follow the Wine Route no. 4 (Wine villages – Limassol). Visit the village museums and the wineries.
Supermarkets, Tavernas, Coffee shops, Bank, Post Office, Shops, Health Centre, Bakeries
Larnaca Airport – 106 km
Paphos Airport – 53 km
Episkopi is a lovely traditional Cyprus village built on the west side of the Ezousas River. It is situated 12 kilometres from Paphos, 14 kilometres from the sea. The surroundings of Episkopi are characterized by a beautiful landscape with lots of citrus trees. It is an idyllic location on the east bank of the Ezousa river surrounded by greenery, as the trees by the riverbank, having an abundant supply of water, have grown dense and lofty. The village entrance is marked by a steep rock that dominates the village and the valley underneath. Few metres away is the Saint Ilarion Church (Agios Ilarion) that dates back to 1192 (Frankish period). According to tradition, the Saint led an ascetic life in this craggy location. The cave where he lived and died in 371 AD watches over the settlement. In the village there is also a chapel of Archangelou Michael and the new church of Saint Ilarionas.
A stroll around the village reveals to visitors that the traditional core of the village remains unchanged. The old stone drinking fountain with its characteristic arches still stands. The narrow, often steep, streets follow the natural gradient of the land and the houses are build in the local greyish-brown limestone. The village environmental information centre is surrounded by a botanical garden where the significant plants of the area, organised in thematic groups (habitats, endemics, bulbs, rare plants) may be seen. There are also many other plants typical of Cyprus which are not found in the Ezousa valley, as well as geological specimens from the main geological formations of the valley.
Activities and Places of Interest
Go for picnic on the east bank of the Ezousa river. Go for climbing at the Episkopi rock. Walk the nature trail Episkopi – Kallepeia village (linear) – Starting Point: 200 m from Episkopi Environmental center, birdwatching, photography, painting, Minthis Hill and Tsada Golf courts are only 6 kms away, nearest beach is only 15 minutes away, follow the Wine Routes no 2 (Vouni – Ambelitis) and 3 (Diarizos valley). Visit Episkopi Environmental Information center (Opening hours:June – February: 09:00-14:00 Monday – Friday, March – May: 09:30-14:00 Monday – Saturday)
2 coffee shops, taverns are available in the nearby villages of Nata and Konia.
Pafos Airport: 14.6 km
Larnaka Airport: 131 km
The village of Arsos is one of the biggest wine producing villages in Cyprus. It lies 40 kilometres from Limassol and 45 kilometres from Paphos. It is built on the slopes of Laona mountain, 1092 metres above sea level, with an open horizon on the Valley of the Diarizos River, as far as the sea of Paphos. Thanks to this geographical position, it enjoys a wonderful cool and dry climate in summer and attracts therefore hundreds of holidaymakers.
Arsos wine, famous since antiquity, was considered one of the best produced on the island, a reputation continuing to this day. In fact, wine making is still one of the villagers’ main occupation.
Arsos acquired its name in the French Lusignian era when it was called Tarcce. Apart from the natural beauties of the village itself, today’s visitor will be enchanted by the rich and attractive scenery surrounding it.
The village housewives are famous for their cooking prowess especially in preparing such typical Cypriot dishes made from wine as “palouzes”, “epsima”, biscuits with “epsima”, “paste”, “shoudzioukos”, “kiofterka”, “arkatena”, *”kattimerka”, “glyko” and many others.
Visit the churches of 13 century Apostole Filippos, the chapel of Ayia Mariamni and the icon museum, the Folk art museum, Hike in the area’s Nature trails ( ‘Six Fountains’ trails) , follow the Wine Routes no. 3 (Diarizos Valley – Pafos Region) and no. 4 (Wine villages – Limassol), visit Nikolettino winery in the village and shop ‘Kallena’ to taste and buy a variety of organic herbs, wines etc. Visit the waterfalls of Trozena at 6 km away and the river in Tzelefos bridge
Multi-Centre, Tavern, coffee shops, Bank, Local traditional product shops, Park,
Larnaca Airport – 106 km
Paphos Airport – 61.8 km
Vavla is a rather small, quiet and peaceful mountain village located in the foothills of the Troodos mountain range in the Larnaca district of Cyprus at 450 metres above sea level. It is a location of plenty interesting places to visit only a short drive away, local winery, monastery, archaeological sites, nature trails and woodland walks. Wildlife enthusiasts will be fascinated by the local flora and fauna. Today Vavla is experiencing a new renaissance as it has been declared by the government as a “preserved cultural history location” and many of the dilapidated houses are restored with historical accuracy to their original state, albeit featuring all amenities for comfortable, modern-style living. The soil at Vavla is relatively fertile and it is suitable for growing olives , carob , citrus fruit (mandarines, oranges, lemons) vines and cereals . The production of oil , carob and other agricultural products , along with farming were the main occupations of the inhabitants in the past. The women’s occupation was “Lefkaritiko” Embroidery, which gave a significant supplementary income to the household. Today, one of the main occupations and crafts of our village is beekeeping . The village produces the honey “Vavla” which is sold all over Cyprus . In Vavla there is a lot of thyme and wildflowers which are the main ingredients of this honey.
Activities and Places of Interest
Visit the 2 churches of Saint George and Archangel Michael and the chapel of the Virgin of Love. One of the largest operating convents in Cyprus is located 2 km east of Vavla along the road leading to the village of Kato Drys. This is the convent of Agios Minas. Follow the wine route no. 7 Larnaka-Nicosia region that passes through the village. Walk in the nature trails that start from the village 7 km long circular and follows a magical path, alternating along the St. Minas stream and mountaintops .The trail starts from the center of the village, passing the chapel of the Lady of Love and returns to the center of the village. It takes about 3 hours. Another nature trail, 3.4 kilometers, gives the opportunity to enjoy nature within 1 ½ hour. If you want to learn more about the unique nature of Vavla and experience Bee-Keeping contact www.ecophysiscy.com
Coffee shop, Cultural Center, kiosk and taverns can be found on your way to Vavla from Kato-Drys village.
Larnaka airport 41.6 km
Pafos airport 104 km
Spilia is a small village in the mountains of Troodos, at an altitude of 1100m, some 65kms from Nicosia, 60kms from Limassol, 15kms from the peak of Troodos and only 4kms from the main road Nicosia-Troodos. In the big forest surrounding Spilia, you can find many of the 127 local plants of Cyprus e.g. the national plant (cyclamen) and the national tree (latzia). Spilia is located at the crossing of six roads trough which one can visit many interesting villages of Solia and Pitsilia. Spilia lies in the centre of several mountain peaks surrounding it and looks like a cave (spilia). It consists of two regions, Spilia and Kourdali, 1km apart. Its history begins two thousand years ago as several Roman tombs were discovered here. A monastery (still working) was built in Kourdali in the 16th century, where you can see ancient Byzantine icons and frescos of the same century. In 1850 a church was built in Spilia, the belfry of which is a strong and tall pine tree! Near it an olive mill was erected in 1984, which is considered one of the best mills still existing in Cyprus. Twelve nature trails lead you through exciting or historical places. Two traditional cafés, two restaurants and one pub serve you. Throughout the year, a number of traditional events are organized here. While in Spilia, visit the traditional bakeries that bake home made bread and one of the “kazani” distilling local spirit (zivania). Taste it with the famous dried figs or walnuts of the village and “souzioukkos”. Also ask for the traditional food “kaurma” served with local wine. You shall never forget them.
Activities and Places of Interest
Visit the churches/chapels the olive mill in the village as well as visit the monument of the EOKA fighter , the Winery of Spilia and the two museums of Spilia, “Popular Art Museum” and “Museum of the shoemaker Christos Chrysanthou”. Hiking in Troodos mountains accross the twelve nature trails.
Moutti tis Choras – Doksa soi o Theos, 2 km
Doksa soi o Theos – Profilakio Madaris, 4 km
Profilakio Madaris – Selladi tou Karamanli, 3,5 km
Selladi tou Karamanli – Moutti tis Choras, 4 km
Straorouthkia – Moutti tis Choras, 3 km
Straorouthkia – Spilies tou Diogen, 3 km
Straorouthkia – Agia Eirini, 3 km
Straorouthkia – Kourdali, 2 km
Grocery Stores, Bakery, coffee shops, restaurants, shops
Larnaka airport 93 km
Pafos airport 86.4 km
Courtesy of the www.agrotourism.com.cy