Walking In Cyprus / Kypros - The Troodos Mountains / Platres

Introduction

My name is Christopher and my partner's called Anne. We live in Stockport (near Manchester), England. We enjoy walking and decided to book a two week holiday in the Troodos Mountain region of Cyprus, the last week in August and the first week in September 2002. We had a wonderful holiday and would like to share our experience with you.

Although this page is built around the Platres resort I have tried to include additional information, which could be useful elsewhere. The information provided is to the best of my knowledge accurate, however changes are inevitable so please use this page for guidance only.

For specific information about Platres skip to the Walking section...

Download a free guide "Walking in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus" This is the only guide currently available, written specifically for the mountain resorts of Platres and Troodos...

(Please note that if you experience any problems opening the files you will need to download the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Printing instructions:

Printing Your Walking Guide (76k)

Downloads in A4 format:

Cyprus Guide A4 (152k)

Downloads in A5 format:

Troodos A Front Feed (132k)

Troodos A Rear Feed (132k)

Troodos B Common (116k)

Also get the latest update:

Update 15-04-2004 (74k)

 

Cyprus

Cyprus, standing at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa has been considered as a strategically important stronghold by a succession of conquerors with a history dating back over nine thousand years. The foundations of small beehive shaped houses were found at Khirokitia - evidence of a Neolithic settlement dated to between six and seven thousand years BC. Finds from the site are on display at the Cyprus Museum at Nicosia. By three thousand BC the simpler stone tools and weapons were being made from metal - copper. Some people believe that the name Cyprus was derived from the Latin word for copper - "Cyprus". The mining of copper would make the island one of the main commercial centres in the Mediterranean.

There are many books available which cover just about every area of interest so I advise you to visit the "Waterstones" (in conjunction with Amazon) web site and browse their massive selection of books and guides. Visit www.waterstones.co.uk and enter "Cyprus, Maps" in the search window. This revealed over five hundred titles! (I found that a search in the main Amazon site did not reveal very many titles so please search via the above link).

 

Cyprus - History - For historical information visit this interesting web site...

www.welcometocyprus.com/about/history.html

For general information and historical information 1946 onwards...

www.atlapedia.com/online/countries/cyprus.htm

 

Cyprus Tourism Organisation - www.visitcyprus.org.cy

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) offer a superb range of leaflets, booklets and guides providing all the information you could wish for. They explain all about the islands turbulent history, ancient and modern crafts, worship and faith, flora and fauna, folk, art and music, outdoor activities (mountain biking and cycling, hiking, swimming, skiing, shooting, tennis, golf, fishing, horse riding and parachuting) - in Cyprus you can enjoy them all! Ask your local tourist office for the following publications...

Cyprus Travellers Handbook - this book provides a massive amount of local information presented in an "A to Z" format. Everything you need to know - the essential and "free" guide (English).

The Hidden Cyprus - a small guide packed full of general information (English, French, Italian, Russian, Swedish, German and Dutch).

Cyprus Travel Guide - a beautifully illustrated magazine updated annually - must be seen!

Cyprus Nature Trails - a fold out illustrated guide to the trails of Cyprus. The forestry department have now created more than 48 paths / trails covering over 200 Km in various parts of the island.

Cyprus Troodos Mountain Resort - a leaflet providing general information.

Platres Nature Trails - essential local leaflet for the Platres resort. (I have written a walking guide based on the trails illustrated in this leaflet, free download, see below).

Troodos Area, East and West (double sided map) - (Scale 1 Km = 3.5 cm) The CTO have produced a selection of maps covering areas of interest. They are suitable for driving but don't offer quite enough detail for walking, although most of the Nature Trails are shown. The maps of Pafos and Lemesos (Limassol) proved to be extremely useful as they provide street plans and show local landmarks and archaeological sites.

You will find other information (and maps) provided for many different locations on the island, please ask for specific areas of interest. Contact details (www.cyprustourism.org/cyprus.html)...

United Kingdom, Cyprus Tourist Office, 17 Hanover Street, London W1S 1YP.

Telephone 0207 569 8800 / Fax 0207 499 4935 email ctolon@ctolon.demon.co.uk

United States, Cyprus Tourist Organisation, 13 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016.

Telephone (00 1212) 683 5280 / Fax 683 5282 email gocyprus@aol.com

Holland Cyprus Verkeersbureau, Prinsengracht 600, 1017 KS Amsterdam.

Telephone (020) 624 4358 / Fax 638 3369 email cyprus.sun@wxs.nl

Japan Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Palais France Bldg, 729, 1-6-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-0001. Telephone (03) 3497 9329 / Fax 3405 0105

Israel Cyprus Tourist Organisation, Top Tower - 14th Floor, Dizengoff Centre, 50 Dizengoff Str, Tel-Aviv 64332. Telephone 00 972 3 52 57 442 / Fax 443 email cto@netvision.net.il

Cyprus Tourist Guides Association P.O. Box 24942, CY 1521, Lefkosia (Nicosia).

Telephone 357 22 66 64 35 / Fax 357 22 66 75 93 email acta@ccci.org.cy

 

Climate

We enjoy plenty of sunshine but wondered if it would be too hot for walking in Cyprus during August and September. The coastal resorts are still very hot and the temperature there seemed to be around 32 C (89 F). Fortunately the temperature decreases as you climb into the mountains. The temperature in the mountains during our holiday ranged between 25 to 29 C (77 to 84 F). Obviously the higher temperatures are reached between 1200 - 1500 Hours. We did not experience any rainfall during our visit. Sometimes clouds can start forming above the mountains around midday but seem to disperse quickly by 1600 Hours - this is quite common and provides some welcome shade. Rainfall can occur periodically in the mountain regions but doesn't usually last for more than an hour or two. The terrain can become dusty so a little rain can be quite welcome.

www.cyprusexplorer.com/Cyprus_Weather.htm

April - May, Ideal walking season (also June) pleasant warm days, temperatures can fall quite a lot at night, green countryside and flowers in full bloom (9.6-15.6 C min / 18.4-29.4 C max) with 2-6 days rainfall per month, 8 to 10.8 hours of sunshine daily.

June - July - August, Water-sports, warmest months of summer (16.8-22.3 C min / 26.7-36.6 C max) with less than 1 day rainfall per month, 10.6 to 12.6 hours of sunshine daily.

September - October, Suit walking / outdoor sports, warm days with cool October evenings (12.4-19.6 C min / 21.6-33.9 C max) with 1 to 5 days rainfall per month, 7.8 to 10.6 hours of sunshine daily.

November, Pleasant warm days (7.8-12.1 C min / 15.5-22.1C max) with 6 to 8 days rainfall per month, 6.1 to 7.1 hours of sunshine daily.

December - January, Skiing season, occasional rain, snow in mountain regions but the promise of sunshine (3.1-9.5 C min / 9.7-18.7 C max) with 11 to 14 days rainfall per month, 4.7 to 5.8 hours of sunshine daily.

February, possibility of very warm days, occasional rain, mild daytime temperatures, cold evenings (2.7-7.8 C min / 9.7-16.9 C max) with 10 to 12 days rainfall per month, 5.6 to 6.5 hours of sunshine daily.

March, moderate weather with plenty of sunshine (5.1-9.0 C min / 12.9-19 C max) with 8 to 10 days rainfall per month, 6.2 to 7.4 hours of sunshine daily.

Sunrise / Sunset Times = Jan 0655 - 1700, Feb 0635 - 1730, Mar 0600 - 1755, Apr 0615 - 1920, May 0545 - 1945, Jun 0530 - 2000, Jul 0545 - 2000, Aug 0605 - 1935, Sep 0630 - 1855, Oct 0650 - 1815, Nov 0620 - 1645, Dec 0645 - 1635 (April to October summer time).

 

Platres Resort

Troodos is situated high in the forests at an altitude of 1920 metres (6299 feet) just below Mount Olympus, the highest peak in Cyprus at 1951 metres (6400 feet). The word Troodos means, "station" and technically, it is neither a village nor a town. Troodos was created by the British Colonial Government (of the island) to house the government during the hot summer months. The Presidential Summer Palace was the "Governors Mansion" and the stone houses were used for housing the high-ranking officers. Lesser ranks would use private or communal "tents".

The largest and most popular resort is Pano Platres, sheltered by the forests, at an altitude of 1200 metres (3937 feet). This is the ideal base from which to explore the region. Kato Platres is a much smaller village, located about 2-km south west of Pano Platres at a slightly lower altitude, so take care not to confuse them!

The forests offer superb walking mostly along loose surface road tracks (disused mule trails or the old pre-tarmac road routes) with a comfortable mixture of open viewpoints and shade provided by the pine forests through which they have been cut.

During the 1930's and 40's the mountain regions were popular with visitors from neighbouring countries, as they provided relief from the intense heat during the summer months. Today the resort is just as popular with Cypriots as it is with visitors from all over the world. You will find that Platres is often busier at the weekends (Friday and Saturday evenings) when locals escape from the hot busy towns for a well-earned weekend break.

Initially we wondered what we would find in Platres, the description "largest and most popular resort" brought to mind busy bustling streets and shops with noisy traffic. Fortunately Platres is a quiet resort so if you plan to visit the mountains to relax, it is the ideal location. That said, there is plenty going on and there are just enough shops, restaurants and bars to keep it interesting. There are seven hotels in the resort and they are quite widely spaced, although most of the visitors are day-trippers, exploring the mountains in their hire cars, passing through the various mountain villages with little time to spend in any one place. In the evening, when they have returned home, you can truly enjoy this tranquil location. Of course, you don't have to restrict your holiday to the resort. You can plan your day trips to visit the surrounding villages, coastal resorts and architectural sites (for advice on travel please see the "Transport" section below).

The village is uncomplicated, with a selection of hotels, restaurants and shops. There are three mini-markets or "general convenience stores" offering a wide selection of goods - foodstuffs, milk, water, toiletries, English newspapers (and others), postcards and stamps, beer / wine / spirits and tobacco. There are several gift and local craft shops, Bank with cash machine, Police Station, Post Office and Tourist Information Office (open mornings). The Skylight Restaurant has a swimming pool (for details e-mail skylight@cytanet.com.cy). You will find public toilets on the road next to the Pendeli Hotel and also on the way up to the Forest Park Hotel. Toilets can also be found opposite the Police Station (near a little garden / CTO) and when heading out towards the trout farm (after the sunken restaurant, on the big curve). There is a small central car parking area opposite the Police Station. You could easily walk across the main centre in five minutes!

Note...

A one way traffic system is in operation during weekends in July and August but the road restriction is removed at other times (i.e. the "No Entry" road signs are hidden).

Tap water available in the mountains is pure and quite safe to drink. There is quite a serious water shortage in Cyprus so please conserve water as much as possible. Water can be restricted in the towns (apart from hotels) during long periods of drought.

 

Hotel Accommodation

Choosing a good hotel is extremely important, this can "make or break" your holiday but it is not always possible to accurately predict suitability. You can only study the holiday brochures, basing your choice on the pictures and information provided (we always ask to view the customers gazetteer, which contains visitors feedback about the accommodation, facilities and food). There are seven hotels in the resort and it would be unfair to say that any one is best. It would be useful to be able to choose a good hotel, which is ideally situated and based on my experience I can highly recommend...

The Pendeli Hotel

(Visit www.pendelihotel.com for further details)

The hotel is located in the centre of the village almost opposite the small mini-markets, which are ideal for picking up supplies. This is not the main street so it tends to be much quieter in the daytime as well as the evening, which ensures that the pool area is quiet also. The pool setting is outstanding, please see the photographs!

Most visitors pass through the village's main street in their hire cars and this is only three minutes walk away. I found that most of the walks start from the village centre, so a central location can be useful. The outlying hotels would involve more (uphill) road walking which would not be so convenient if you need to carry some shopping or supplies. After studying the layout of the village and amenities I feel certain that this hotel is ideally situated.

If you choose to eat out in the evenings, all the restaurants are within five minutes walk!If you choose to use a hire car (please read my advice in the "transport" section below, before you decide) you will find safe parking in the hotels private car park. There is also roadside parking available and a central car park in the village.

We had a wonderful holiday in Platres and we owe special thanks to the staff at the Pendeli for their warmth and kindness, which was beyond our expectations. We have travelled to many European countries and noticed that the staff could speak English extremely well here, which does make a big difference, especially if you need to ask for help and advice. English speaking is not always quite so good, especially when you travel to more remote locations!

You will find hotel reception to be extremely helpful. If you have any questions then please ask as they are the best people to advise you, although this can vary, depending on the hotel. You can request that they arrange for a taxi, for example. This is very useful because they can explain exactly what you want to do, in a language they fully understand. Remember that reception usually try to work with your holiday representative to ensure that you get the best out of your holiday.

Packed lunches are available and were included in our holiday package courtesy of Inghams Travel and their arrangements with the Pendeli Hotel. Please check with your tour operator or contact the hotel for further information. We found this to be the perfect service for walkers, and the contents were extremely enjoyable! (Sandwich rolls, mixed fruit and a slice of homemade cake).

The accommodation provided every comfort. The hotel corridors are carpeted, which helps to reduce noise levels in the evening. You can pre-book a "quiet" location if you prefer to have an early night following a days hiking!

The food was excellent throughout and you will find a superb selection of dishes. I am quite adventurous with food myself but I don't think you will find anything too unusual. The menu is available at reception (daily) so you can check what's planned for your evening meal. English translation / descriptions are excellent but ask reception for more information if you need to. They are happy to provide an alternative if you prefer (please tell them in the morning). Vegetarian meals are available but please contact the hotel for more specific information (see the e-mail link below).

The rooms were especially attractive, with plenty of storage space, comfortable beds, easy chairs, good lighting, television, radio, hairdryer, bath, shower etc. Most rooms have a balcony. Don't forget that you don't need to take travel adapters if your electrical equipment is from the UK as the power sockets are the same three pin plugs as we use at home!

The hotel offers a large fitness room, sauna and Jacuzzi, gift shop, reading room, open air swimming pool, pool bar, games room and toddlers playground. For further information visit their web-site or you can e-mail the hotel at pendeli@cylink.com.cy.

 

Transport

Car Hire

Before you decide to hire a car, please take a little time to read my recommendations, found in the Local taxi service section below, which offer safe low cost, care free travel.

There are a number of companies offering car hire in Cyprus. You might already have planed to pre-book a vehicle for collection at the Airport. Prices vary quite a lot so take care to shop around before you decide. You can barter for the price if you approach companies at the Airport.

A hire car can be delivered to your hotel at a later date and this can be arranged via your holiday representative. This usually requires a couple of days notice. Prices range between CYP10.00 to CYP37.00 per day in the low season (1st November - 31st March) and CYP15.00 to CYP48.00 in the high season (1st April - 31st October). Typical vehicles available range from 800cc to 3000cc and they fall into set "categories" including various makes and types (petrol and diesel) including 4WD models.

www.cyprus-car-rental.co.uk will provide you with an idea of what is available / current prices.

Typical requirements, age 25 years or above (maximum age 70 unless re-licensed) with at least three years previous experience / UK full licence. You are usually entitled to drive the same vehicles that your UK driving licence covers and if included, motorcycles.

You are advised to take out an extra insurance cover for tyres / sump / windscreen due to the possibility that you might use the vehicle on poor road surfaces. The extra cover costs about CYP1.50 per day.

Vehicles are usually supplied with a full tank of fuel, which you must pay extra for on receipt. No refund is given for unused fuel on return.

Driving in Cyprus

As regular public transport is not available, reaching some of the more remote locations on the island could prove difficult. The use of a hire car is advisable. Wearing of seat belts in Cyprus is compulsory. If fitted in the rear of the vehicle they must be used. If you hire a jeep they must have rear seatbelts fitted and you must test that they are functional. Infants must be seated in child seats and children in booster seats. These are legal requirements and you are responsible for the safety of your passengers (hire companies must supply them to you). Crash helmets must be worn if using motorcycles.

Fairly good quality roads link the roads and villages, most of these comply with international traffic requirements. Four lane motorways connect the capital, Lefkosia with the coastal towns of Lemesos, Larnaka, Pafos and Agia Napa.

Minor and forest roads are mostly unsurfaced but in good condition.

Petrol costs...

Unleaded is 0.470 (47 cents) per litre / Super 98 is 0.491 per litre. Diesel is 0.250 per litre / Premium Diesel is 0.282.

Opening hours...

Monday - Friday 0600 to 1900 (April 1st to September 30th)

Monday - Friday 0600 to 1800 (October 1st to March 31st)

Wednesday 0600 to 1400 (Lefkosia district)

Tuesday 0600 to 1400 (Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka, Pafos and Ammochostos districts)

Saturday 0600 to 1500

Most petrol stations are equipped with petrol vending machines, which will accept bank notes and credit cards. Vending machines operate out of working hours, weekends and holidays.

Speed limits = Motorways 100 Km / hour max but 65 Km / hour minimum and built up areas 50 Km / hour unless otherwise stated.

Typical cost for half day parking is around CYP1.00 and the coin meters in towns use one 20 Cent coin per hour.

There is a one way traffic system in operation during weekends in July and August in some locations. The road restriction is removed at other times (i.e. the "No Entry" road signs are hidden).

Bus Service

Initially we felt disappointed to find that there was only one bus service in Platres. Availability is limited to June, July and August - the peak seasons (at the discretion of the bus-company and therefore subject to change depending on custom).

The bus travels to Limassol, departing from the car park opposite the Police Station, near the tourist office at 0800 hours and returning from Limassol at 1245 hours.

As the bus-ride takes over an hour, you don't get much time in the town, however this service effectively offers you a cheap half day tour, leaving plenty of time to relax by the pool when you return in the afternoon!

Remember that you could always arrange for a taxi to collect you later, which would be cheaper than a two-way taxi journey. Service taxis can take you to the tourist area in Limassol, or further out to various archaeological sites. There is also the possibility of visiting the new "time elevator" ride, museum and café (near the bus stop). This modern "moving seat in cinema ride" takes you on a Cypriot journey through time, studying the islands history in an exciting new way! You might have time to try the ride and return by bus. Ask your local tourist office for current details, prices, opening hours plus a copy of the Limassol map, which shows all the local landmarks!

For more information about this interesting ride (opened 2002) visit the parent site at www.time-elevator.com. After viewing the audio visual introduction sequence click on the Cyprus button to take you to the Cypriot page.

Taxi Service

Service taxis are available in most of the large towns and offer a much cheaper service based on "sharing" and resemble a "min-bus service" with between 4 to 8 seats, running every half-hour, connecting between all major towns.Monday to Friday 0600 to 1800 (1900 summer)

Saturday / Sunday 0700 to 1700 (1700summer)

The service not available during public holidays.

Note: Service taxis do not operate in the mountain resorts!

Local taxi service

We intended to hire a car for at least one week of our two-week visit. After studying the layout and accessibility of the local walks, we decided that we would not get full value for money from a hire car. Most of the walks are linear and therefore a car would not be suitable.

Our holiday representative recommended a local taxi company and suggested fees for typical journeys. Unfortunately the taxi was not available when we required it, so we asked another company for a price, this was almost three times greater than our previous recommendation! It is easy to pay excessive charges if you don't know your way around! Fortunately we managed to establish a good relationship with more reasonably priced companies...

Mr Pantelis
Tel 25-42 33 33 / 42 15 83
Mobile
99-42 94 53

Mr Andreas
Tel
25-31 93 52
Mobile
99-86 60 23

I am pleased to be able to highly recommend two Platres based taxi drivers who offer a superb, safe, reliable and cost effective method of travel. They are both familiar with the starting and collection points for all the walks in the Troodos and Platres areas featured in the guide (also the Adelphi Ridge, Walk 12) and will offer you the best price for travel, please mention this site. You can also hire a taxi for a half or full day at slightly discounted rates (subject to availability).

Please don't try to barter with the price offered as this could spoil this "excellently priced" service for others!

Try to arrange your journeys a couple of days in advance to avoid disappointment but the drivers work together, if required, to ensure that you get the best service and dependability.

Example - Mr Andreas took us to Limassol (return) and included a visit to the archaeological site at Kourion. For two persons this was cheaper than an organised coach trip plus you maintain the freedom to explore further if you wish. Average car hire (for one day minus fuel) would cost the same but you would have to find your own way! It is worth asking if anybody else in your hotel would like to share a taxi to reduce the cost further! I advise you to ask for a price before you make other arrangements - we pre-booked before realising this and later regretted doing so.

 

Maps and Guidebooks

General information and map downloads at www.yourcyprus.com. You can also download a selection of maps from www.cosmosnet.net/cyprus/maps.

Or visit www.omnimap.com/catalog/int/cyprus.htm for a list of titles.

I discovered that most of the road maps available in Cyprus were more than two years old. Many changes have taken place over the last few years and the road system is constantly improving. Look out for the following...

"Globetrotter Travel Map - Cyprus" (2001 price £3.99).

"Holiday map - Cyprus" (Collins, new publication expected April 7th 2003, this should be good. Collins also supply the best and most recent road map I could find for sale in Cyprus).

"Mairs, Cyprus" (1:200,000 scale, road map)."Cyprus - Lonely Planet" (ISBN 1864500751 price £7.99).

"Landscapes of Cyprus, by Geoff Daniel" (Sunflower Books 98 3rd Edition, update 21/04/02 available with the guide (check that this will be included prior to purchase) ISBN 1-85691-106-3 (£10) (Ed. Note: there is now a fourth edition of this book)

The best guidebook for touring Cyprus, featuring walks for all ages and abilities, topographical walking maps, car tours, fold out touring map, short strolls to idyllic picnic spots, timetables for public transport. For much more information about this book please follow the link...

www.sunflowerbooks.co.uk/cyprus.htm

The Cyprus Tourist Office provides a range of free maps, which are quite adequate for driving. Ask in advance or collect one from your holiday rep, hotel reception or the tourist office in your resort.

High scale (25,000) maps are not available for Cyprus and local authorities could view attempts to obtain them on the island as suspicious.

 

Walking

Download a free guide "Walking in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus" This is the only guide currently available, written specifically for the mountain resorts of Platres and Troodos...

(Please note that if you experience any problems opening the files you will need to download the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Printing instructions:

Printing Your Walking Guide (76k)

Downloads in A4 format:

Cyprus Guide A4 (152k)

Downloads in A5 format:

Troodos A Front Feed (132k)

Troodos A Rear Feed (132k)

Troodos B Common (116k)

Also get the latest update:

Update 15-04-2004 (74k)

We experienced a wonderful walking holiday based in the resort of Platres (1200 metres / 3937 feet) which is situated in the Troodos (1920 metres / 6299 feet) mountain range on the fringe of the forests' southern slopes. The forests offer superb walking mostly along loose surface road tracks (disused mule trails or the old pre-tarmac road routes) with a comfortable mixture of open viewpoints and shade provided by the pine forests through which they have been cut.

The local tourist authorities have provided a leaflet, which lists 11 walks in the area. You can obtain this from your holiday rep, hotel reception or the tourist office in the resort (see picture right) It is not possible to obtain walking maps in Cyprus (or UK) and the tourist office maps show little detail for walking. As there are no directions provided in the leaflet, you could experience difficulty following some of the walks. I managed to complete all the walks but found that some path forks and junctions were not sign-posted. If you make the wrong choice you could walk a considerable distance before you realise this, which tends to spoil the enjoyment!

I decided to write a guide to assist fellow walkers and you can download the Adobe Acrobat files from the link above. The guide can be printed in A4 format ("A4 Guide" uses twenty pages) or A5 booklet format, which uses five pages printed both sides and folded to form the A5 booklet. You just need to insert staples to hold the pages together. Please download the file "Printing the guide". Note that water or damp fingers can easily spoil printer ink, so protect the pages to keep them dry.

The easiest method of obtaining the guide is to simply download and print the Adobe Acrobat file "A4 Guide" (use Acrobat Reader version 4 or later). You can keep the pages protected in standard A4 wallets (WH Smiths) or your map case. Printing the A5 booklet version requires a little more patience and some understanding of your printer. For more details about making the folded A5 guide please download the file "Printing your guide". If you have any of the printer types listed, printing shouldn't be too difficult.

I have included sufficient details for each walk, enabling you to approach them with complete confidence, so you will not need a map. An introduction to each walk offers simple advice and ideas for your consideration. Please read through all the options and familiarise yourself with the area. The free CTO map called "Troodos Area (Western)" will be quite adequate. I have listed the overall times and distances plus "time on route" between instructions, with totals in brackets. It is extremely difficult to offer an accurate time because personal walking speed, your fitness and the terrain will have considerable impact on timing. Most of the distances have been measured with GPS actually "on route" and are more accurate than some of the signposts or information provided in the leaflets. You should be able to work out your own times for the distances between instructions, which will become far more useful, however, I am certain that the written instructions alone will be adequate.

Due to the terrain I advise you to wear sunglasses when following some of the walks. The trails can be a little dusty at times and therefore your eyes might need some protection (on a breezy day) and especially on stony loose surfaced roads with occasional passing traffic!

If you decide to stay at a coastal resort don't miss the chance of visiting the mountains! I would recommend that you take a hire car - you could visit some of the most popular villages in a day. If you would like to see the mountains at their best you can't beat taking a short scenic walk, which will reveal so many things you would otherwise miss! I have included two of the best walks in the area, both start near Troodos (download "A4 Guide" and print pages 9 and 11).

Sensible precautions for walkers to consider...

Sunburn - The sun is more powerful than at home and can burn you badly even on a cloudy day. Always use a high protection UVA sun cream, this cannot be over stressed! We should all be aware of the real dangers associated with burning, at the very least it could ruin your holiday!

Dehydration - Can be dangerous and often not considered. Without any exercise you should drink 250 ml of water per stone of body weight per day! Any form of activity increases the amount of fluid your body uses. You should drink 500 ml of water a couple of hours before you start a walk, then 250 ml just before you set off. This ensures your body is properly hydrated. Drink water every half an hour even if you don't feel thirsty. Remember that your body is capable of sweating almost 1.5 litres of water per hour! Carry as much water as possible, especially on hot days.

Daylight Hours - Remember that the period of twilight is much less than at home due to your position relative to the equator and darkness will fall more quickly. Be aware of sunset times and allow plenty of time to complete your walk.

Thunderstorms - Avoid high altitude walking if there is any possibility of thunderstorms, which can occur following long dry periods. The danger of lighting strike should be taken seriously and you should always follow the hikers country code. If you suspect a storm is approaching, return to safety as quickly as possible!

Fire Risk - Please take extra care to avoid starting fires, especially near the forests. Immeasurable damage has already been caused by fire (2002). Don't discard cigarette tabs carelessly or light fires unless grates are provided (some picnic areas have BBQ facilities). Never leave such fires unattended.

Litter - Please make sure you take your litter home or at least use the bins where provided. Unfortunately most of the litter is thrown from passing vehicles. In Cyprus it is illegal to discard litter from a moving vehicle in the coastal resorts.

 

The Walks

The selection of walks included in my guide is based loosely on the tourist office leaflet (pictured above). Below you will find a description of each walk (featured in the guide) and a few photographs taken on route. I hope this section will provide you with a general idea of what to expect, please refer to the guide for more information...

  1. Platres to Kaledonia Waterfall (including option to walk on to Troodos). Page 2

    Apparently the waterfall was named by a Scot because it reminded him of home. If you have ever visited Scotland you might have discovered the Caledonia Canal? I suspect that Inverness could have been the home of our visitor!

    This is an easy walk climbing steadily through shaded pine forests on an easy to follow dirt track with frequent stream crossing via very easy stepping-stones. The mention of stepping-stones reminds me of fast flowing winter streams and rivers in the Lake District (England). There's nothing to worry about here! The stepping stones help you to cross the very narrow stream, which would hardly wet the tops of your shoes if you walked through! Remember that the water flow will be far greater in the winter season.

    The waterfall is finally reached via a brief flight of steps, where you turn right at the top. In only a few metres you see the best view of the waterfall and a good place to take a photograph from. People exploring the shallow pool, slightly below you at the base of the waterfall would provide some "scale" for your photograph! There is a bench just at the bottom of the steps or you could sit on the rocks near the base of the falls if you take a picnic lunch.

    It is possible to continue to the end of the nature trail path and this emerges at the old Troodos road, which was named "The Seven Sisters" by locals, due to the seven hairpin bends. Following the road uphill will take you to Troodos and the Visitor Centre. This would extend the walk considerably so if you plan to do this I advise you to make an early start...

    Return to the top of the steps and pass them on your left to reach a path on the right in only a few metres. The path climbs up alongside wooden handrails to the top of the waterfall (the waterfall isn't easy to see from here though). Once you reach the top quickly re-join the forest track and follow it crossing the stream several times before breaking away to the right on a steep uphill section leading to steps, which help you to climb up to the higher forest path. There is another bench on your right, soon after reaching the top. After passing the bench you eventually reach the old road and the Nature Trail notice board. Following the quiet tarmac road uphill, it eventually reaches a junction opposite the Troodos Visitors Centre. Cross over and walk ahead and you will find the museum on your right and a little further ahead is a café.

    A path starts on your right just after the museum - this is the botanical and geological trail. The trail is 250 metres long and displays about 30 plants, which are typical of the parks higher elevations. Troodos is known as one of the most important mountainous habitats for plants in Europe. Unique climatic conditions created by the high altitudes and the unusual geological substratum provide refuge to almost 800 different species. 72 are endemic, 12 of which are exclusive to the park, which means they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. A leaflet "Troodos National Forest Park Visitor Centre, Botanical and Geological Trail" is available from the tourist office, which lists all 30-plant species and the various rocks displayed along the trail.

    Troodos Visitors Centre

    You could have turned right at the road junction, walking uphill along the roadside, to quickly reach the Troodos resort where you will find toilets immediately on your right. The Troodos horses are usually waiting here, offering rides to visitors. Unfortunately they don't let you take them back to Platres - so you will have to be satisfied with a ride around Troodos instead!

    Beginning at the lower end of the main street you will find stalls on the left, selling leather goods and a selection of locally produced foods, sweets, wines and spirits. Visit the one in the far corner (shop number 2) where we discovered a locally produced wine called "Choraitis" - Troodos "Erotica Comandaria" Dessert Liqueur Wine, made from a secret recipe, including grapes and cherries. If you like rich sherry type wines, it is well worth asking to sample this. The wine is rich and full-bodied and the cherries add a unique and interesting flavour, making this quite special. I regret not bringing more home! The proprietor is quite an interesting "character" to say the least. He seemed happy to supply us with several samples! He claimed that his wine could turn the average man into performing "Greek Gods" or at the very least a "pick you up tonic" offering relief from a long list of complaints. There is a small display demonstrating how the wine is produced - his product is also available in some of the surrounding mountain villages (price CYP3.00 / gift packed bottle).

    If you visit please mention this web site. I said I would put his photograph on the Internet because he was such a friendly and amusing character!

    Continue uphill and pass a few small cafés and gift shops on your right. The botanical gardens are now on your left and also a picnic / children's play area. There is usually a fast food snack van here offering BBQ meals - burgers, hotdogs, corn on the cob etc. You will also find a stall (right) selling a very large selection of music CD's including all the latest local music. At the higher end, the main-street meets the road junction. The Atalante Nature Trail begins here on the left. The B8 road to the left would eventually take you to Prodromos. The B9 road to the right heads off towards Kyperounda and Nicosia. This junction is worth noting, should you decide to take a hire car to visit the mountain villages at a later date.

    Walk back the same way or perhaps you decided to pre-book a taxi to collect you? I have listed another option for returning to Platres in my guide, although I didn't get chance to test the route. Return via the old "Seven Sisters" tarmac road and pass the Kaledonia Nature Trail (where it meets the road). A minute later the tarmac road meets the new Troodos road, where you turn left, walking downhill for about half a mile. A Nature Trail path leading to the Kaledonia Waterfall and Psilon Dendron begins here, on the left, at a small car parking area with a "road closed" sign across the track. We walked back on the road from this point so if you wish to follow this trail you would have to find your own way back. We were told that this was a good track.

  2. Platres to Millomeri Waterfall. Pages 3 / 4

    This is an easy walk visiting an attractive waterfall, which has only recently been made accessible to walkers. Steps have been provided to make the journey down to the waterfall much easier than it used to be. There is a small café at the top of the steps.

    Millomeris means "moist or humid place". Seferis, a Greek Nobel Laureate Poet, was claimed to have been inspired by this place and mentions Platres in one of his poems. It is taller than the Kaledonia waterfall and dramatically situated. Cross a tiny wooden bridge at the bottom of the steps (below the café) to reach the base of the fall and shallow pool, which is a secluded and peaceful place.

    Choose from two routes leading to the waterfall. The short route begins near the Church in Platres but this is not a good way to start the walk due to the paths steep downhill gradient. The surface is of loose gravel and even the sure-footed risk slipping here. A far safer option is to take the longer road route and return via the short route (then the gradient would be uphill and much easier to negotiate). You pass through a pleasant wooded gorge alongside a dry river / streambed so the short route is well worth including. Remember the water flowing will be far greater in the wet seasons so crossing then could involve damp feet! This is an interesting walk and especially attractive as it is not too long.

    The road route provides easy walking with little traffic. The main B8 road is quite wide and there is a border you can walk along, keeping clear of any oncoming traffic. The scenery is attractive, especially when you leave the main road behind and begin to walk down towards the waterfall. You might choose to visit the Perapedhi Dam, as you will pass within half a mile if you walk this way! This would extend this walk by a little over one mile. All options are included in the guide (please see pages 8,9 and 10).

  3. Platres to the Mesapotamos Monastery. Page 5

    An excellent and easy walk along a wide loose surface road track passing through pine forests. The route is fairly flat but quite a lengthy walk at almost ten miles total (if you walk from Platres). You can reduce the distance by just over a mile if you use a taxi or hire car to reach the Psilon Dendron Nature Trail Car Park. The walking was so easy the distance did not task us and we didn't meet any vehicles on this quiet route.

    The scenery is most attractive, views open up as you progress and the shade provided by trees along the way is useful for a cool break. You don't really need any instructions to follow this route as long as you follow the main track sign-posted Mesapotamos.

    (Forty minutes after setting off, you pass a track on the left sign-posted Troodos, this is the track shown in "green" in the Platres walks leaflet. This is worth noting, should you wish to try following this alternative route to Troodos another day).

    There is a picnic area just before you reach the Monastery, where plenty of benches are provided. This was a little noisy when we visited, so we found a quieter spot just before the picnic area and I have included this in the guide.

    The track drops down to meet the picnic area at a right bend, where you continue uphill for a short distance. The picnic tables are visible below among trees, to your right. At the top of the incline the road turns sharp left. Ahead is a large boulder where you can leave the track to explore if you wish. Following the track to the left, just after the next bend (two minutes) the Monastery comes into view slightly below (right). It would be very easy to walk past as the trees could easily obscure your view.

    There wasn't much to see at the Monastery when we visited. Apparently the building had been occupied by homeless people but had become derelict and therefore unsafe. As the building is of historical value it is protected, so restoration work had began to preserve it. Workmen were busy re-building walls and timber and tiles were stacked on pallets in the yard, awaiting readiness to build the new roof. Perhaps you will be fortunate enough to see the work completed?

  4. Troodos to Pouziaris (includes Walk 11, Persephone, on route) Pages 6 / 7

    The tourist office leaflet tells you to begin this walk at the right of the trout farm restaurant at Psilon Dendron. There are several tracks shown (marked "blue" in the leaflet) in this area leading to the Kaledonia waterfall and beyond but they did not appear to be easy to follow due to various forks and intersecting paths. No specific instructions are provided in the leaflet.

    We decided that it would be much more enjoyable to walk downhill from the Troodos resort, conveniently including the Persephone Trail on route, picking up the Pouziaris section of the trail further downhill near "South Shoulder" (1629 m). This idea proved to be excellent and created a wonderful walk!

    Take a taxi to Troodos and ask the driver to take you to the start of the Persephone Nature Trail, where he can drop you off and turn his car around (the picture of Mr Andreas, included in the local taxi service section, was taken here). The Police station and "Civic Restaurant" can be found near the start of this walk. Follow the good wide loose surface road passing the stables on your left, soon after you begin (this is the home of the Troodos horses). We could hear barking dogs but the stables are set well back from the track so they didn't bother us. (We didn't meet any troublesome dogs on any of the walks). In ten minutes the views really open out and you will see the grey slopes of the (disused) Pano Amiandos asbestos mines over the valley to your left. They have been disused for many years so perhaps nature has already started to reclaim them - I didn't find them unattractive.

    Looking back you can see a dramatic view of Mount Olympus between the pine trees. Just as you begin to regret leaving such wonderful views behind you meet and join a right fork, which quickly leads you to the short diversion to the "End of the Persephone Trial". Follow the trail to the end and a truly magnificent view awaits you! Here you will find ideally placed benches, where you can sit and absorb the splendour.

    Returning to the main path, turn left and begin following a wide level road track for some distance. The views left are towards Limassol Harbour and the Salt Lake and equally as impressive as they were from the end of the Persephone Trail. Mount Olympus comes into view again ahead becoming clearer as you progress. Soon after meeting a junction, turn left to begin the dramatic descent into Platres via Pouziaris.

    The path becomes a little more challenging from now on. There are a few short steep sections to negotiate but if you take care you should not find the way too difficult. I am probably being over cautious as I am aware that some people are not quite so sure footed. This is an excellent walk and well worth taking a little extra time where the path becomes steeper. You will notice a square shaped mast on a distant hilltop, as you begin your descent towards Platres. The path is not as obvious at this point but the mast is your guide. You soon reach the mast and pass it, then progress to a zigzag path, which eventually leads you back towards the trout farm at Psilon Dendron. The views over Platres are unique to this walk and so impressive that it is easy to "get carried away with the camera" - allow extra time for photographs!

    Update 15/4/04:

    I have been informed that the "Square Mast" which was a useful landmark, has been removed from the mountain. Therefore it has become more difficult to locate the path, however as this is one of the best walks in the area I am requesting that the local authorities erect a signpost at the problem spot. The guide should now read…

    In a short distance the track appears to turn steeply back on itself. At this point turn off left downwards, on an indistinct dirt track, just before you "straighten out" from the bend i.e. before the road begins to climb again. (If you go too far up, you will see a white trig point just over the crest of the track — return to the bend and go down ahead, but slightly to the right on the indistinct dirt track). A signpost would have been useful here! This faint path quickly begins to drop down steeply to an increasingly more distinctive track below you. You will reach signposts in about ten minutes for "Kaminoudia 2 Km" and "Psilon Dendron 6 Km" left and "Psilon Dendron 3 Km" right (Total 1 Hour 10 mins / 3.2 miles / 5 Km).

    Take the right fork sign-posted "Psilon Dendron 3 Km", which rises immediately to pass a bench (and the concrete foundation where a radio mast was once sited). Again, the path down is indistinct but as soon as you pass the bench and begin, the way quickly becomes an obvious zigzag path. Continue until eventually you reach a wide loose surface road track in about 15 - 20 mins (Total 1 Hour 30 mins / 3.8 miles / 6 Km). Here you cross over the road track (in a slightly uphill direction) to re-join the sign-posted dirt track to Psilon Dendron which meets a junction in another 5 minutes / 0.2 mile (300m).

  5. Platres to Perapedhi. Pages 8 / 9 / 10

    An easy walk visiting Perapedhi and the Perapedhi Dam, with several options, which also include the Millomeri Waterfall on route.

    Perapedhi is easily reached by taxi so you could choose to walk in either direction if you prefer to shorten the walk. If you wish to include the waterfall I advise you to start at Perapedhi and walk uphill towards Platres. This is the best direction in which to negotiate the path after the waterfall.

    There is a bench and car parking area near the dam. The road track from Perapedhi seemed to be very popular with the Jeep Safari people. They usually travel in five vehicle convoys, at terrific speeds with little concern for walkers (or themselves?) frequently showering them with dust and stones as they race to impress (?) their worried passengers!

    I would advise you to complete this walk during the quieter weekdays but the Jeeps don't usually arrive in the mountains much before midday, so make an early start. Fortunately this was the only road on which we experienced this.

    This is a beautiful and easy walk and should not to be missed.

    Perapedhi is a small village where you will find a few shops and a café. The road route from Perapedhi offers magnificent views as you approach Platres and the mountain slopes - the foliage and colour was extremely impressive here (see picture). The road is tarmac-surfaced initially and the uphill slope is not too steep. Soon after passing a new housing development (ignore the road right, leading into it) the road surface gives way to loose stones, minutes before reaching the dam.

  6. Platres to Phini (plus optional walk including Trooditissa Monastery) Pages 11 / 12

    The tourist office route includes the Trooditissa Monastery in this long walk. The initial part of the route to the Monastery involves following a good tarmac road uphill for a considerable distance. If you would like to visit the village it is possible to walk directly to Phini (Foini) from Platres and so I have included this option. This is a wonderful walk and if you want to see the local countryside at its best should not to be missed. I recommend that you take a taxi to the café (at the rear of the Monastery) and follow the guide from there. This is the very best part of the walk and would be far more enjoyable if you avoided the long uphill climb by tarmac road.

    The walk begins in Platres, passing the Pendeli Hotel on your right as you walk uphill to the road junction opposite the Forest Park Hotel, on the outskirts of the village. Pass alongside the left of the hotel on the main road dropping down to the road junction, where you begin following the good tarmac road, sign-posted to the Trooditissa Monastery. The road climbs gradually, with many curves and bends and always offers good views to the left towards Phini.

    You reach the Red Lantern Café quite early in the walk, where you can turn left to walk directly to Phini following a pleasant country lane (pictured left). Continuing on the main road, eventually it reaches the Trooditissa Picnic Area at a left bend. Continue ahead here, passing the picnic area (it was tempting to explore but doesn't lead to the Monastery) and then beyond the next bend to reach the Monastery entrance. Follow the access road down to pass through an archway at the bottom entering the car parking area behind the Monastery to reveal the café. This is open in peak seasons and possibly weekends (ask at the tourist office first) at other times. There is a notice at the start of the access road stating that the Monastery is not open to visitors (it is still used as a place of worship).

    The route to Phini is downhill all the way, following a good wide road track, which begins by passing through the gate at the far end of the car parking area just after the café. The views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are spectacular. You can visit the Chantara Waterfall just before reaching Phini.

    When you arrive in Phini you will find a choice of shops and restaurants to explore. This is a convenient place to stop for lunch as it is about half way back to Platres (if you started from the Trooditissa Monastery).

    Your return journey follows the Pano Platres road uphill initially, before turning left to follow a pleasant country lane leading back to the Red Lantern Café just outside Platres.

  7. Prodromos Reservoir. Pages 13 / 14

    You will need to arrange for a taxi to take you to the start of this linear walk and collect you at the opposite end. It is possible to walk both ways so you could use a hire car and leave it at the start. The walk is five miles each way following a very good wide loose surface road track. We didn't meet any traffic and the road is marked no entry at the Prodromos end.

    The views are impressive throughout the walk. We noticed many unusual plants and flowers along the roadside, which we had not seen in such abundance on any of the other walks featured. The road crosses over a small stream, which contained a variety of wildlife in the shallow pools. As you progress Prodromos comes into view to the left, growing closer as you follow an easy contour. Soon after a right turn you meet an unmarked junction where you must follow the road more steeply uphill from this point. Although this is a steady climb, the scenery distracts you and the Dam is reached in just over an hour. There is a picnic area and plenty of benches available. The main Troodos to Prodromos road is reached soon after passing the Dam where a taxi can collect you at the Nature Trail Notice Board.

  8. Platres to Troodos (see Walk 4, as these are virtually the same). Page 14

    There are several variations based on paths converging at Psilon Dendron (near the trout farm). The tourist leaflet doesn't explain how to follow any specific route. If you started at Troodos as suggested, it would be quite difficult to locate and follow the correct path.

    When you study the leaflet all will become clear, however their route, shown in green, can easily be located by following Walk 3 "Mesapotamos" (page 5) for forty minutes, or until you reach the path (left) sign-posted Troodos. This is quite a distance from Psilon Dendron and if you walk in this direction it would involve a long ascent to Troodos. I am not certain how to locate the opposite end of this path but perhaps this might help you...

    The "green" route will take you a long way out meeting the Mesapotamos track (Walk 3). This would be a good walk to follow from Troodos if you use a taxi. I suspect this route might start by following the Persephone Trail, then at the first junction sign-posted "Vryses 7 Km" turn left - this is a my best "guess". Soon after setting off (within twenty minutes) if you are heading the correct way, the track should have turned right (SW). Eventually it should cross the "Arkolachania" mountain-river before dropping down to the Mesapotamos track (T-junction) where you turn right, sign-posted Psilon Dendron. From this point it will take about thirty to forty minutes to reach Psilon Dendron plus another twenty minutes to walk downhill into Platres. Please see my walk 11 for locating the Persephone trail, the "Vryses 7 Km" signpost is mentioned in my text.

    I included Walk 4 as an impressive downhill alternative, although the leaflet doesn't clarify which route to follow. The options included in Walk 1 could equally fit the description "Platres to Troodos" if reversed.

  9. Artemis (ideal easy walk, spectacular views for Troodos day-trippers). Page 15

    If you complete only one walk during your holiday it should be this! This is one of two similar walks, which skirt Mount Olympus at different levels but the lower Atalante circuit is much longer.

    You will need to take a taxi or hire car to the start of the trail, which is just beyond the Troodos resort, on the F593 Mount Olympus road. Full instructions are provided in the guide.

    The path is flat and very easy to follow - you don't really need a guide because the way is so obvious. The scenery is quite spectacular throughout and the views of Prodromos and the Dam are breathtaking! Foliage and colour is equally impressive here. Wild birds (swallows?) soar around your head and swoop dramatically to take a closer look at the intruders! Benches are provided at various places on route. We were surprised to discover how quiet it was, especially as the route is featured as a half-day guided tour.

  10. Atalante. Pages 16 / 17

    This is the longer, lower level version of the previous walk starting at the top of the Troodos main street, at the main road junction. The views are just as impressive although the higher Artemis Trail claims to offer the best views based on the altitude. Follow the good wide, mostly level track passing through impressive pine forests initially but with a lot of open views later on. The trail takes you right out into the mountain countryside with dramatic views in every direction. Many of the trees have been deformed by the weight of the winter snow. Although this is quite a long walk it is easy to follow and you shouldn't experience any problems following the actual trail.

    I found the old Chromium Mine entrance an interesting distraction from the forest scenery (see picture right). For safeties sake please keep away from the mine entrance, which is dangerous.

    Unfortunately there seems to be some confusion regarding the alternative return journey (as shown on the trail notice board) from the end of the trail. I have included instructions to simplify this. When you reach the end of the trail you can choose which way to return, however this rather depends on how much energy you have remaining! The alternative route is interesting but includes more ups and downs so you might prefer to follow the tarmac road back to Troodos. The extended route drops away from the tarmac road initially but almost re-joins the tarmac after climbing back up again some distance later. You can "intercept" the extended path further along the tarmac road if you wish. This makes the extended route shorter but looses some of the road walking! All information is provided in the guide.

  11. Persephone (ideal easy walk, spectacular views for Troodos day-trippers). Page 18

    This is an ideal short walk, which can easily be included within a visit to Troodos. Take a taxi to Troodos and ask the driver to take you to the start of the Persephone Nature Trail, where he can drop you off and turn his car around (the picture of Mr Andreas, included in the local taxi service section, was taken here). The Police station and "Civic Restaurant" can be found near the start of this walk. Follow the good wide loose surface road passing the stables on your left, soon after you begin (this is the home of the Troodos horses). We could hear barking dogs but the stables are set well back from the track so they didn't bother us. (We didn't meet any troublesome dogs on any of the walks). In ten minutes the views really open out and you will see the grey slopes of the (disused) Pano Amiandos asbestos mines over the valley to your left. They have been disused for many years so perhaps nature has already started to reclaim them - I didn't find them unattractive.

    Looking back you can see a dramatic view of Mount Olympus between the pine trees. Just as you begin to regret leaving such wonderful views behind you meet and join a right fork, which quickly leads you to the "End of the Persephone Trial". Follow the trail to the end and a truly magnificent view awaits you! Here you will find ideally placed benches, where you can sit and absorb the splendour.

    Return to Troodos the same way. You will have plenty of time to take lunch and explore the resort before your return home.

  12. Madhari Ridge and Mount Adelphi - The second highest peak in Cyprus. Page 19

    This should not really be included in a Troodos Mountain walking guide however it is far too good to omit. Mount Adelphi (1613 m / 5292 ft) is the second highest peak in Cyprus and it would be unfortunate to miss visiting when you are so close! This is quite a dramatic walk and the views are certainly the most spectacular in the guide.

    Take a hire car or taxi to the "Madhari Area Nature Trails" notice board. Full road instructions are provided in the guide and the taxi drivers know where it is.

    This is probably more of a "mountain hikers" walk due to the more rugged terrain. The path is mostly easy although does involve quite a steady climb. Unfortunately there is one short steep loose gravel section, which could prove difficult unless you are sure footed.

    ViewpointThe views are outstanding so be sure to choose a clear day and don't forget to take your camera! The ridge walking section is extremely easy and follows a very wide path with no danger of vertigo. The Fire Lookout Station is perched on top of Mount Adelphi and this dominates the view as you approach. Don't miss the diversion to the viewpoint but beware - you won't want to leave!

    Unfortunately clouds formed when we visited (surrounding us) so the photographs don't do justice to the views plus many shots were missed altogether! There is an option to extend the walk when you reach the Fire Lookout Station but I did not try this.

Four local walks available in addition to my guide...

The Nature Trails fold out guide was produced in October 2000 and had not been revised when we visited in September 2002. It is possible that new trails have been opened (or perhaps some closed) so if you decide to follow any other walks, please check with the CTO before you set out. Ten trails are listed in the "Cyprus Nature Trails" fold out guide (for the Troodos area) and four of them are not contained in the leaflet "Platres" nature trails, which I based my guide upon. This means that there are some other walks you can do if you manage to deplete my selection! I didn't complete any of them but I will list them below and try to advise you how to locate them...

Walk 4 - Kampos tou Livadio (circular) (1.9 miles / 3 Km / 1.5 hours)

Please note that Walk 9 (linear) starts at the same place.

Take a taxi or hire car to the forest road leading to the Kampos tou Livadio picnic area. If you drive to the top of the main street in Troodos, turn right on the B9 Lefkosia (Nicosia) road. In approximately 2 Km (1.25 miles) you find the nature trail notice on your left, which marks the start of the walk. I have include the notes from the CTO guide but you will have to find your own way, as it does not seem to explain how this can be circular. We passed this trail on route to Kyperounda. It looked quite tempting - perhaps you can simply enjoy exploring the area?

"The trail passes through thickets of Pinus Nigra and follows a course along the edge of cliffs with a view towards the stream (Potamos tou Chromiou). The trail ends at the loose surface road Platania - Apotheri - Agios Nikolaos, where you can choose between three routes".

Walk 8 - Katopanagiotis - Oikos (1 mile / 1.5 Km / 1 Hour)

You will need to take a hire car to Katopanagiotis village, which is quite a long but scenic drive. As this is a short walk, why not include the villages on route!

From Troodos, turn left at the top of the main street following the F952 to Prodromas then turn right on the E908 following road signs to Pedoulas. After passing through Pedoulas, then Moutoulas, continue on the E908 to arrive at Katopanagiotis village. The nature trail notice board marks the start of the walk.

"The trail passes through the Kykkos Watermill, the Katopanagiotis spas, Agios Ioannis Lampadistis Monastery (included in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List) and the spring of Faragga. The walk ends in the village of Oikos Marathasas".

Walk 9 - Kampos tou Livadio - Agios Nikolaos (5 miles / 8 Km / 3.5 Hours)

Take a taxi or hire car to the forest road leading to the Kampos tou Livadio picnic area. If you drive to the top of the main street in Troodos, turn right on the B9 Lefkosia (Nicosia) road. In approximately 2 Km (1.25 miles) you find the nature trail notice on your left, which marks the start of the walk. This is a linear walk so you would have to walk back the same way to collect a hire car. Alternatively you could take a taxi to the opposite end of the trail, near Agios Nikolaos and arrange to be collected near Troodos. Here are the notes included in the CTO guide...

"The trail passes through thickets of Pinus Nigra and follows a course along the edge of cliffs with a view towards the stream (Potamos tou Chromiou). The trail ends at the loose surface road Platania - Apotheri - Agios Nikolaos, where you can choose between three routes".

Walk 10 - Gerakies (circular) (2.5 miles / 4 Km / 2 Hours)

From Troodos, turn left at the top of the main street following the F952 to Prodromas then turn right on the E908 following road signs to Pedoulas. After passing through Pedoulas, then Moutoulas, continue on the E908 to arrive at Katopanagiotis village. Continue past the village and turn left on the F911 to Gerakies, where you will find the nature trail sign on your left.

"The trail takes an upward course to the fire station, progresses along the mountain crest and then descends to the village centre".

 

Day Trips

There are many options available for day trips, the local villages seem extremely popular with visitors and can be easily reached by taxi or hire car.

You will probably find that your holiday tour operator will offer a selection of organised coach tours including the popular towns and villages in Cyprus. Please ask your rep for full details but here is a selection offered by Inghams Travel (prices as of September 2002 and subject to change)...

Monday - Artemis Nature Trail

Start below the summit of Mount Olympus and follow a circular trail around Cyprus' highest peak, through divers habitats (birds) viewing endemic flora and spectacular views.

(CYP 4.50 includes Thursday)

Tuesday - Troodos Mountains Cultural Tour

Visit the picturesque villages, landmarks and viewpoints of Troodos including Omodos, Kiolani and Kykko Monastery.

(CYP 20.00)

Wednesday - Limassol and Currium (Kourion)

Visit one of the islands largest cities and explore the ancient ruins at Kourion. (Please see my notes below also).

(CYP 20.00)

Thursday - Caledonian Waterfalls Walk

Following "Kyros Potamos" (cold-river) through the pine forest, crossing the stream up the valley to the spectacular waterfalls exploring local flora and fauna.

(CYP 4.50 includes Monday)

Friday - Nicosia (Lefkosia)

Visit the island capital, its old town and the Venetian Walls surrounding it. Plenty of time to look around and shop, includes a visit to the village of Lefkara, famed for its lacework.

(CYP 20.00)

Friday - Cypriot Evening

Enjoy an evening at a local taverna with dancing musicians and a typical Cypriot Meze in true local style.

(CYP 15.00)

Saturday - Paphos and the Tomb of the Kings

Visit Paphos, the city of love, with its picturesque harbour and Aphrodite's Rock. See the Tombs of the Kings and discover their history (Guide).

(CYP 20.00)

 

Other Ideas

Egypt

One of the most spectacular organised tours involves a crossing to visit Egypt (four days duration). This would usually be pre-booked although you can decide to do it later. If you are interested, please ask your tour operator for full details before you travel.

Lemesos (Limassol) (also see below under Archaeological Sites)

You can reach Limassol using the Platres bus service (see previous notes under Transport / Bus Service section). Alternatively you could take a taxi, hire car or organised coach trip.

We visited the Archaeological Site at Kourion before continuing on to the west side of town and the old harbour. We called to see the museum and the new time elevator ride (unfortunately it was closed for maintenance work on September 3rd 2002). The bus stops close to the roundabout (old harbour) near the Medieval Castle (the museum and ride can be found at the rear of the castle).

For more information about this interesting ride (opened 2002) visit the parent site at www.time-elevator.com. After viewing the audio visual introduction sequence click on the Cyprus button to take you to the Cypriot page.

There are a few shops here and plenty of back streets to explore. You might prefer to stroll along the attractive (palm tree lined) promenade, offering numerous floral displays, water features and various designs of modern art (we noticed an unusual display of polished stones shaped like large eggs). This is the quiet side of town - you will have to take a service taxi further east if you wish to visit the popular tourist areas and the best beaches, which cover almost two miles of sea front!

Lemesos is reputable as the most fun loving city on the island and it is the largest resort on the south coast and the Cyprus' main harbour. The city enjoys all kinds of events so there is always something going on. As the hub of the countries wine making industry it celebrates with a wine tasting extravaganza in autumn (September). Here you can experience the local wine and food plus traditional dancing. There are museums, galleries, gardens and a variety of concerts and ancient dramas held at the outdoor theatre at Kourion, which is a magnificent archaeological site. The ten-mile coast provides a choice of water sports, with countless souvenir shops, bars and tavernas offering tasty treats in various styles.

Nicosia (Lefkosia)

Lefkosia formerly known as Nicosia lies roughly in the middle of the island and has been the capital for over 1000 years. It is a modern city displaying old and new - fine colonial homes and medieval buildings blend perfectly with the modern architecture of a bustling metropolis.

This charming city is home to the countries diplomatic headquarters and the only city in the world imposed by force and remaining divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

There are many cultural places to visit, don't miss the impressive Cyprus Museum, which contains some of the countries most precious collections of antiquities. There is also the State Collection of Contemporary Art. The city offers endless examples of Churches and Monuments for sightseers!

The municipality that is built within a fortress wall offers so many things to see and do, it is known as "the city to shop in".

 

Aphrodite's Rock (Aphrodite's Birthplace)

The famous site can be found on the southwest coast roughly half way between Lemesos and Pafos. We visited via an organised coach trip so I did not pay full attention to the road route, although the motorway exit seemed to be well sign-posted.

Leaving the main inland road (motorway) you head for the coast and be sure to stop at the best roadside viewpoint for photographs (a taxi or organised coach trip can be useful here). In my picture taken from this spectacular viewpoint, Aphrodite's rock is furthest away, closer to the horizon - the largest rock visible.

As you follow the coast road it drops down to a reach a café (right) and car parking area. If you head towards the café you will find steps leading to a tunnel, passing more safely under the coast road, to the beach and Aphrodite's birthplace. The views are impressive, don't forget your camera!

If you intend to include Pafos in your outing, please note that you pass close to the Sanctuary of Aphrodite soon after setting off. This is the Palaipafos Museum Medieval Manor, located at Kouklia Village (turn right heading inland).

 

Omodos Village

Omodos is a charming village and I highly recommend that you spend some time there. You can take a taxi (arrange to be collected later) or hire car. There is ample parking provided, with toilets in the car park and also at the bottom of the square to the right of the Church.

Here you will find local craft shops, a wide range of leather goods, plus a big selection of attractive hand make tablecloths and doilies. You will find several restaurants in the village and also one a little further out if you decide to take a stroll around. The village-square is the ideal place to sit and relax, especially if you arrive early in the morning. We enjoyed observing the relaxed lifestyle and did not wish to leave it behind.

Many of the local people will offer you hand made goods at very low prices, so if you are looking for hand made souvenirs this is the ideal place to visit.

We were invited into an elderly gentleman's home, which he had converted into a museum. It was very interesting to learn about his life in Omodos, from a small child to eighty years of age! He displayed a large collection of both household and outdoor equipment / clothing plus photographs of his family dating back many years before his birth. This was quite an experience and a valuable insight into Cypriot country life. If you have time to visit him, I am certain he would welcome you.

The museum can be located by turning left at the Church (bottom of the square) and walking directly ahead (don't turn right alongside the Church) on a narrow street. You will pass a craft shop (left) and soon after (one minute) you will see steep stone steps climbing to his museum - a house doorway on your right.

 

Other Villages

The most popular villages in the region include Prodromos, Pedoulas and Kakopetria, all easily accessible by hire car or taxi.

 

Telephones

Apart from the telephone in your hotel coin and card phones are available, cards being more popular. Tele-cards of £3, £5 and £10 denominations may be purchased from banks, post offices, souvenir shops and kiosks.

Coin operated telephones accept coins of 2, 5 10 and 20-cent denominations.

Reduced call rates apply between 2000 to 0700 weekdays and all day Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays.

For UK calls dial 0044.

For the international operator dial 198.

 

Postcards

Postcards and stamps are available in most shops and hotels. Post offices are open between 0730 and 1300 / Thursday 1500 to 1800 / Saturday 0900 to 1100.

We posted over ten postcards to the UK and they took between three to five weeks to arrive. I don't think postcards are given any priority in the postal system, however the postal fees are not discounted to reflect this. This would appear to be quite widespread and to be fair, not unique to Cyprus.

 

Money and Banks

Currency is the Cypriot Pound (CYP) and is divided into 100 cents. Bank notes are in denominations of CYP20.00 / 10.00 / 5.00 / 1.00. Coins are 50 / 10 / 5 / 2 / 1 cents.

Banks are open Monday to Friday 0830 to1230 and Thursdays 1515 to 1645.

Cash machines operate 24 hours / day and have a fixed rate fee of £1.50 / transaction. We found this to be the cheapest way to obtain money in the resort, the Bank charges are much higher. English debit / credit cards work in the machines exactly the same as at home and all our transactions were accurately debited.

 

Medical

There is a small hospital in the resort and if your are unwell it is often cheaper to visit the hospital rather than a doctor. Please speak to your holiday rep or reception if you require advice. The local doctor in Platres can be contacted on Tel 25 421 325.

Emergency Ambulance (also fire and police) Dial 112.

You can obtain further information from your rep or tour operators holiday information folder, which is usually located in the hotel reception area.

 

Shops

In towns, shops may remain open up to 1900 during the winter period (November to March) and up to 2030 during the summer period (April to October). From the 15th June to 31st August shops in town centres close between 1400 and 1700 for afternoon break. On Sundays shops in towns are closed. On Wednesdays shops close half day at 1400. Please note that many shops stay open all day so it is wise to check with your hotel reception, tell them what you want to purchase and they will advise you.

Fresh milk is available in Cyprus.

Beer

Two Lager Beers are available in Cyprus and these include Carlsberg and the locally produced KEO.

I prefer to purchase local produce but found the KEO to be superior anyway (and cheaper) - however, this is based on personal taste, so you will make your own choice! KEO is available in draught (most popular on offer in restaurants and bars) and large (630 ml I think) bottles or 500 ml cans (but much more expensive in cans).

Local Wines

Dry Whites - Graves, Palomino and Alkion

Medium Whites - Thisbe and Blond Lady

Sweet Whites - St Panteleimon

Sparkling White - Bellapais

Dry Red - Othello, Afames, KEO Claret

Rose - Rosella

KEO Wines and Spirits

KEO is one of the most famous Cypriot companies offering a superb range of beer, wines and spirits. I highly recommend the "Five Kings" brandy, although they offer equally good versions of Cyprus Whisky and Gin at extremely reasonable prices.

 

Sport / Outdoor Pursuits

Cyprus offers you a very wide range of outdoor sports and you should ask your local CTO for information, as there are so many different activities available.

You can choose from fishing, aviation, bird watching, country clubs, cycling / mountain biking, football, golf, hiking / walking, horse riding, diving, sailing / yachting, swimming, water-sports, shooting, skiing and a selection of Theme Parks.

I have listed a few links, which you might find interesting, however most of the Cypriot web-sites provide far more information so it is well worth surfing the net.

Horse Riding

Horse riding is very popular in both mountain / inland and coastal resorts so you should easily be able to locate a local stables / riding club.

Visit the Donkey Sanctuary, 4772 Vouni Village (36 Km north of Lemesos) www.windowoncyprus.com/friends_of_the_cyprus_donkey.htm open Monday to Saturday 1000 to 1600 hours.

Skiing

There is usually good snowfall in the mountains between January and March. The Cyprus Ski Club possesses four Ski-lifts on Mount Olympus, two on the north face, which have lengths of 350 m and 500 m and two at Sun Valley, each 150 m long. Ski equipment can be hired at very reasonable rates. From 2003 there will be an artificial snow surface available on the North Face Slope (the more difficult slope). Ask for the CTO information paper called "Skiing in Cyprus" and visit...

www.windowoncyprus.com/skiing.htm and www.shoestring.co.kr/dest/eur/cyp.htm

Golf - visit www.cyprusgolf.com for further information, also www.eliasbeach.cy.net (Lemesos)

Water Parks - visit www.wetnwild.com.cy (Lemesos)

Aviation - visit www.caf.org.cy (Para-gliding, hang-gliding and parachute)

 

Festivals

The people of Cyprus enjoy celebrating so cultural and religious festivals are held throughout the year. Some have ancient origins while others relate to history and tradition. "Carnival" dates back to a Greek Festival in honour of the God Dionysos, divine patron of theatre. This begins 50 days before the Greek Orthodox Easter. The festivities take place in most towns and the finale is a parade on Carnival Sunday in Lemesos. Easter is the most important religious festival celebrated with typical processions, services and traditional games.

In May you can see the Anthestria Flower Festival dating back to a celebration of the rebirth of man and nature in ancient Greece.

The Kataklysmos Festival on Pentecost celebrates the transition of man from springtime to the new season. The coastal towns have boat parades, fireworks, dancing and folk music.

In September there is a Wine Festival in Lemesos and for a small admission fee you can sample all evening while enjoying the music and folklore. Also in September is the Kypria Festival - a major arts event including performing arts.

The most important Greek Orthodox religious celebration is Epiphay Day on the 6th January.

 

Archaeological Sites

Please check with the CTO for current entrance fee charges and opening hours of all sites.

Pafos

We visited two sites during our holiday, the most impressive being the UNESCO site featuring the "Tomb of the Kings" near Pafos. Ask for the Pafos map, which includes all the landmarks and sites in the area. Parking is available near the harbour just before the site entrance. I believe that several (previously individual) sites have been included within the entrance fee, which was about CYP1.75 per person and was truly excellent value!

Limassol

There are several sites in the area. Ask for the Lemesos (Limassol) map, which includes all the landmarks and sites in the area. Kourion, with the amphitheatre, being the most popular and impressive. Parking space is available in the grounds. The site is 19 Km west of Lemesos, open 0800 to 1700 (0800 to 1930 summer) entrance fee CYP1.00

The Amathus site can be found at the eastern edge of the main sea front (11Km east of the town) open 0900 to 1700 (0900 to 1930 summer) entrance fee CYP0.75.

Visit the Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates 3 Km west of Kourion. Open daily 0900 to 1930 (0900 to 1930 summer) admission CYP0.75. This is the famous ruin featured in many books and postcards and an essential site to visit if you are in the area!

 

Other Web Sites

I hope that you have found the information provided useful - please tell your friends about islandwalking.com.

I attempted to make this page more widely available to people visiting Cyprus by contacting over twenty five of the most popular Cypriot web sites plus several UK organisations. I would like to offer sincere thanks to the following for taking time to reply, you can visit their excellent sites at...

sela-v.com/middle-east/cyprus.htm

www.cypria.com

www.paphosfinder.com

www.cyprus-start.com


Back to mrwalker's Home Page - Cyprus


This page was last modified at September 10, 2005.

©2002-2005 Christopher Thompson, use of pictures must include his credits, full size high res JPEG copies available on request.