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road trip to Troodos Mountains

November 27, 2009

The Troodos Mountains cover a vast part of West Cyprus. In addition to the nine Byzantine churches listed as UNESCO heritage sites, this area offers winter sports and hiking through forests.

For those who visit Cyprus in July – August (aka very hot dry summer), you may feel a bit suffocated. Troodos is the perfect antidote, in case you had an overdose of Mediterranean beach life. (Is that even possible?)

That wasn’t my case. My life in Larnaca, between work, home, gym, grocery shopping, didn’t really include a beach view. I had to drive over to the beach which just wasn’t part of the every day.

This second trip to Troodos was really about wanting to see the Cypriot color palette change – from coast to inland, along with smells, views and temperatures. And boy, how it changed! From terracotta to dark green, olive, asparagus, lime. From arid landscapes to wide vegetation. From dusty winds to fresh pine scented air.

We drove the long way – through Limassol instead of Nicosia; to explore the small villages and pleasant surprises along the way – wineries, waterfalls, pick nick sites, parks, trout farms and cute cobble stoned streets to wander around; always walking in and out of taverns for some wine, olive or jam tasting. We wanted to live the rustic, rural, slow, village life of this side of the island.

Each village has its own harvest, handcraft or product that it’s known for – cherries, apples, pears, peaches; straw baskets; tomato, fig or lime jam; wine, ouzo (anise flavored liquor); ceramics… the list goes on.

We stopped by Platres, a mountain escape destination – with cozy restaurants (the kind with platted tablecloth and homemade wine) and homes decorated with flowers on the window.

We later arrived in Troodos, with a great green panoramic view. We drove through Olympus Mountain – Cyprus´ highest point (1,952 meters). We spotted what was left of winter’s snow – which was enough to attract snowboarders in late March! It was a beach day in Larnaca and suddenly I saw snow. Weird but nice.

The next stop was the charming village of Kakopetria. At first it seemed just another cobblestoned street village, with old ladies dressed in black sitting outside their houses, souvenir stores, Greek Orthodox priests walking around. The secret was to enter the “old village”. Aha! We discovered in time and headed that way and it was absolutely worth the trip!

Kakopetria - old village

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