Cyprus – a hideaway experience

A holiday in Cyprus is a getaway from the hectic buzz of city life, an opportunity to enjoy the heart and soul of this beautiful island

miriam
Miriam Dalli
24 February 2017, 7:30am
The Troodos mountain region is not only truly magical in winter, but offers some of the most beautiful hill resorts, Byzantine monasteries and picturesque villages
The Troodos mountain region is not only truly magical in winter, but offers some of the most beautiful hill resorts, Byzantine monasteries and picturesque villages
Cyprus is an island that, at first glance, may look similar to Malta, but in actual fact it is quite different in its natural landscapes, architecture and cuisine. The most common similarity is the people – they are equally friendly and welcoming.

On a recent trip to Cyprus, we wanted to experience a different kind of vacation – a holiday away from the hectic buzz of city life to enjoy the heart and soul of this beautiful island. We decided to stay in a central location that easily leads to the Troodos mountain region which is not only truly magical in winter, but offers some of the most beautiful hill resorts, Byzantine monasteries and picturesque villages. 

Cyprus Villages is situated in the pretty village of Tochni – just 40 minutes away from Larnaca Airport and very centrally located to explore the whole island
Cyprus Villages is situated in the pretty village of Tochni – just 40 minutes away from Larnaca Airport and very centrally located to explore the whole island
We found accommodation at Cyprus Villages situated in the pretty village of Tochni – just 40 minutes away from Larnaca Airport and very centrally located to explore the whole island. Cyprus Villages own a number of renovated traditional houses where guests can enjoy the tranquillity and relaxed pace of village life, something that is not that common nowadays.

A fairly comfortable one-bedroom apartment with own kitchenette and living area opening onto a large sun terrace provided an eclectic mix of old and new furniture, very simple yet welcoming. It forms part of an agrotourism complex of traditional houses, with sunny courtyards and swimming-pools all enjoying panoramic views of the village and a peaceful environment. 

The weather in Cyprus is normally slightly warmer than Malta, even in winter so it did not hold us back from touring the picturesque villages in the mountain region
The weather in Cyprus is normally slightly warmer than Malta, even in winter so it did not hold us back from touring the picturesque villages in the mountain region
The weather in Cyprus is normally slightly warmer than Malta, even in winter so it did not hold us back from touring the picturesque villages in the mountain region. Driving is easy in Cyprus, so it is recommended that one hires a car.  We picked up our rented SUV from Larnaca Airport. Apart from the good roads and great countryside drives, everywhere is well signposted.

On our first day we visited the neighbouring villages of Kalavasos, Choirokoitia and the fishing village of Zygi, and then continued driving along the winding roads which led us close to Troodos Square. A Cypriot lunch in Omodos complete with a couple of beers only costs €28 for two persons. Once there, a visit to the majestic monastery in the village square – one of the oldest monasteries on the island – is an interesting must. This region is a wine-growing district and there are many traditional old fashioned wineries, but with state-of-the art machinery. Many are open for wine tasting. We stopped in Koilani to try out some wines at Ayia Mxavri, and were welcomed by the winemaker who showed us around the production floor, their wine cellars and tasted a nice selection of their award- winning wines. No doubt, our hands were full on our way back to our car.

With its narrow cobbled streets and restored houses, Lofou is a delightful agrotourism getaway, situated on the mountains
With its narrow cobbled streets and restored houses, Lofou is a delightful agrotourism getaway, situated on the mountains
With its narrow cobbled streets and restored houses, Lofou is a delightful agrotourism getaway, situated on the mountains. There we came across a charming quaint hotel right on a hill and surrounded by panoramic views. It was a pity we couldn’t stay for lunch as the restaurant was closed for a private function.

Platres is another typical mountain and popular place for excursions. Many tourists visit Platres to see the Caledonia Waterfalls, accessible via a walking path. As a treat after lunch, we indulged in chocolate at the Chocolate Workshop on Platres’ main street. The owner offered us tastings of pure dark chocolate cultivated in different countries around the world. The workshop is actually a boutique school for aspiring chocolatiers.  

Kakopetria is a small village on the northern side of the Troodos mountains with a beautiful landscape, and a cascading stream of water passing through the forest and the village
Kakopetria is a small village on the northern side of the Troodos mountains with a beautiful landscape, and a cascading stream of water passing through the forest and the village
Kakopetria is a small village on the northern side of the Troodos mountains with a beautiful landscape, and a cascading stream of water passing through the forest and the village. This is a favourite area for tourists especially in summer because of its cool climate. There are several eateries and cafés. Once there, a visit to The Mill Hotel’s restaurant, reached via a panoramic lift, is a must.

Before reaching Kakopetria from the Larnaka district, a drive through the rural villages of Kato Drys and Lefkara, the latter known for its lace and silverware, is a pleasant experience. 

Cyprus offers many food choices for visitors, from international cuisine to traditional taverns serving local delicacies. Many taverns serve traditional mezedes beginning with a set of starters – usually olives, hummus, tahini and other dips. The main courses include practically everything; vegetables, lentils, fish, and all types of meat. “Ofton kleftikon”, which is lamb cooked in traditional clay ovens with potatoes, is a delicacy that should be tried. Tip: eat mezes slowly and don’t rush…especially the first plates.

How to get there

Emirates is offering clients travelling to Cyprus a special Economy Class fare of €143 per person, inclusive of taxes. Tickets can be purchased by 28 February for outbound travel until 31 December 2017. Terms and conditions apply.

Emirates operates a daily scheduled flight between Malta and Larnaca, and onward to Dubai on a wide-bodied Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with eight Private Suites in First Class, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 310 spacious seats in Economy Class.

Travellers can enjoy Emirates world-class service and comfort onboard, gourmet cuisine and ice inflight entertainment system with over 2,500 channels from movies, TV, music and games. Passengers also enjoy generous baggage allowance of up to 35kg in Economy, 40 kg in Business and 50kg in First Class.

Further information and bookings can be obtained either online: www.emirates.com/mt, from respective travel agencies or directly from the Emirates Sales Office at MIA (Departures Lounge) on tel: 2557 7255.

Select travel agencies are offering holiday packages starting from €253 per person inclusive of flights, taxes and three nights’ accommodation in a 4-star hotel on bed and breakfast basis and in a twin-sharing room. Similar holiday packages in a 5-star hotel start from €280 per person. These packages are valid for sales until 28 February for travel period till 31 March 2017, and are only available through travel agencies. Terms and conditions apply.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...