Maybe the lazy days of summer are officially over, but winter is the season for new beginnings and new adventures, if you are looking for delving into the authentic Cypriot culture and tradition.
Located in the Lefkosia (Nicosia) district, the village of Evrychou is the agricultural centre of the Solea region. Evrychou retains its traditional character with old houses made of local stone, with tiled inclining roofs and wooden balconies. Amongst its village churches, the most notable are those of Agios Georgios and Agia Marina. The old water mills of the village ‘Mill of Styllis’ are also a must-see, and serve as an excellent example of Cypriot folk architecture.
A unique attraction of the village is the Cyprus Railways Museum, which is housed in the old railway station. Original documents, drawings, photos and various objects related to the now-defunct Cyprus railway system are exhibited, along with scale models of the main stations and rolling stock.
The tavern ‘Neromylos tis Galatas’ (22932494) is an excellent choice for lunch, with numerous traditional dishes waiting for you to indulge, while at Paliolinos (22932494) you can enjoy dishes such as ofton and souvla with excellent quality and emphasis on local ingredients.
Before leaving, you can stop by ‘Evrychou’bakery, which is well-know for its freshly baked bread rings!
Galata is located 60 kilometres west of Nicosia in the beautiful valley of Solea. The village is built in the two banks of the River Klarios that crosses through it and it is literally drowning in green. In Galata you can find six Byzantine churches that UNESCO has included in its list of World Heritage Sites.
Located in the Nicosia district, the old village of Alona sits at an altitude of 1.200 metres on the Troodos mountain range, in the picturesque Pitsilia area. The village produces the local spirit ‘Zivania’, and the tradition is celebrated with an annual Festival in November.
Interesting sights of the village include two ancient churches; that of Panagia Kardakiotissa – which dates back to the 15th century – and that of Agios Georgios, which houses an exceptional icon of the saint that dates back to 1835.
The village is naturally beautiful and its leafy scenery provides inspiration for artists, including many greats of modern Cypriot painting. For food, visit Ktima Panchio (99635637) that serves delicious, local dishes.
Agros village is located in the Troodos mountain range, in the Pitsilia area of the Limassol district. Built amphitheatrically among the mountains, Agros is ideal for agrotourism, as it has maintained its traditional character and customs.
The village is famous for its cultivation of roses, along with its production of cured meats (sausages, ‘Lountza’ and ‘Hiromeri’), homemade marmalades and sweets. Visitors can see these traditional practises at the workshops where rose oil distillation, sweet making and meat production take place. Also, take a chance to visit the churches of ‘Timios Prodromos’ and ‘Panagia Eleousa’.
Agros also offers excellent choices for food and the ‘Mpakaliko tou Hapsi’ (99409108) is definitely one of them! Here, you will enjoy rich platters and home-made sweets such as the exceptional mahalepi!
At ‘Paliomylos’ traditional tavern (99524293), found at the road from Nicosia to Palechori, you will be amazed by the rich and delicious dishes!
Located in the Troodos mountain range, in the Limassol district, the picturesque village of Platres resembles an amphitheatre, with the lower part of the village having one altitude and the upper part having another. Aside from the nature trails, Platres has one of the highest waterfalls in Cyprus – Caledonia – believed to be named by English or Scottish visitors to the area in 1878. The village is also filled with charming old buildings, and has a winery in Kato Platres, while visitors would enjoy unique attractions such as the chocolate workshop or the Sparti Rope Park, which is ideal for adventure seekers.
When it comes to food, Anoi family tavern (25422900) serves amazing, grilled fresh trout, as well as several other traditional dishes such as souvla or ofton kleftiko.
Kalavasos – Kofinou – Mackenzie
Kalavasos village is an ideal traditional village setting where visitors can explore many archaeological sites nearby. Centrally located, approximately mid-way between Larnaka and Limassol and not far from the sea, Kalavasos combines history, tradition and relaxation on the beach.
The Neolithic Age settlement of Tenta is situated a short distance from Kalavasos village and dates to 7000 BC. It is one of the most significant Neolithic settlements on the island, and is covered by a characteristic cone-shaped roof, which forms a contemporary architectural intervention in the landscape. Time to take a break to recharge your batteries at Mitos restaurant at Library hotel (24 817071), where you will be amazed by the sublime dishes, inspired by local traditional recipes. When you finish your meal, do not forget to have a mini tour at the hotel’s amazing library.
Kofinou village is not far away, so you can make your next stop at Ayios Amvrosios- Lefos restaurant (24323124). At this local rustic tavern with fantastic food and hospitality, Mrs. Epistimi Lefou is serving her famous kleftiko for more than two decades. The tender meat is slowly cooked by mastery in wood-fired oven, accompanied by mouth-watering potatoes or bulgur pilaf with vegetables. Also try fresh village salad with kappari to elevate your food experience, and then, finish your meal properly by having bourekia filled with anari!
Late in the afternoon visit Mackenzie beach where you can enjoy ‘golden hour’ by watching the planes come over while relaxing with signature cocktails from Ammos beach bar (24 828844).
Our first destination is the beautiful Kallepia in Paphos district, a mountainous village built at an altitude of 590 meters, located 13 kilometres northeast of Paphos town. In Kallepia you should visit Kika’s Garden for impeccable brunch, made of the freshest local ingredients. Do not forget to try skillet with fresh eggs, smoked bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes and the four versions of homemade bread (pumpkin, honey, tsoureki, village traditional), accompanied by amazing, traditional marmalades! Simple stuff, but made with care and garnished with lots of house-made elements!
Then, as we continue our excursion, we reach the Paphos town, the perfect tourist destination and famous for its scenic beauty. A beautiful old harbour awaits, while modern hotels and restaurants stretch along the promenade. For lunch break, we suggest Ouzeri, the traditional tavern located at Almyra hotel (26 888700) which offers Cypriot specialities and eclectic entertainment beachside. Ouzeri’s menu includes meat and fish dishes, made with organic Greek ingredients. Next stop is Peyeia village and the famous café/bar/ restaurant ‘Oniro by the sea’ (99 372255), the place-to-be for both many locals and tourists who are witnessing the beauty and awe of the sunset while enjoying amazing cocktails.
Free Famagusta area
Liopetri- Cape Greco- Ayia Napa
Located in the Ammochostos (Famagusta) district, the village of Liopetri is one of the agricultural ‘red soil villages’ (Kokkinochoria). Liopetri river, located just past the western edge of Ayia Napa, could be described as a peaceful and relaxing area, with some idyllic scenery. When in Liopetri, you should definitely visit ‘Potamos’ fish tavern (99388844) which overlooks Liopetri river. This restaurant is the perfect choice for a lovely meal, serving sea treasures and offering the best and well-cooked fish in the market. All dishes are freshly prepared and the fish and vegetables are of the best quality. Here, the seafood is of the freshest quality, mostly caught locally, or bought daily from the market and the dishes are made of the best, local ingredients and natural flavours.
Before leaving Kokkinochoria, you can visit places of natural beauty such as the Cape Greko National Forest Park.
Here, you will have the opportunity to explore the multitude of intriguing nature trails lined with pine trees and a diverse botanical splendour whilst pausing to take in the spectacular views from the sea cliffs. A lovely monument is the church of Agoi Anargyroi, with steps that lead down to the sea.