An excursion to the Troodos

Look at a map of Cyprus and you will see the Troodos mountains make up a large part of the island. So this is not a comprehensive guide, but more of a suggestion on planning a quick excursion to get the flavour of the area.

Let’s start from Paphos airport, as most visitors will know where this is. At the junction turn away from Paphos towards Limassol (often shown as Lemeses on signs), and head past Mandria. You will shortly see a large sign which includes Troodos on the list of places needing a left turn. Following this and subsequent signs will take you up a very decent road, the F616 into the mountains. If your hire car has a temperature gauge you can see the outside temperature fall as you climb, which is why many wealthy Cypriots have second homes in the mountains for the summer.

As you get closer to Platres, you join another newish road, with a right turn signposted to Omodos which you can take to discover this village with its marketplace and spectacular monastery. Much of the merchandise on the stalls comes from the Far East these days, but the village is certainly worth a wander, with its narrow alleyways and stone buildings. A visiting coach party from a Haitian church was giving the place a surreal air when we visited.

If you get the feeling you would love to have seen the village before it was commercialised, then a couple of miles down the same road will take you to Vasa. Park outside the village, or you will regret driving in, and wander the streets which are largely untouched by the last couple of centuries.

Time now to retrace our steps and head further upwards. At the heart of the Troodos stands the Troodos forest, where the houses start to look like Alpine chalets, with logs for firewood stacked on the balconies, and it is easy to understand that skiing is a local pastime. Resorts like Platres are worth a stop for their several restaurants and shops, and there is a signposted circular drive around the Forest. Otherwise it may be time to return to the poolside. Take the fast road down signposted to Limassol and then rejoin the motorway to Paphos.

A worthwhile detour takes in Pissouri, where both the beach and the hilltop centre are good to visit, and then the spectacular old road (actually very new) along the coast past the birthplace of Aphrodite. This is marked by a sign, a tourist kiosk, and an underpass to the beach. Cyprus has so many hidden treasures away from the main tourist strips. Hopefully you will too see the beauty of the Troodos Mountains.

A guest post by Jon Cockerill 

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