TROODOS MOUNTAINS IN CYPRUS: A-Z GUIDE ON VENTURING OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
The Troodos Mountains in Cyprus are one of the world’s gems that are mostly untouched by tourists. And I can only assume that this is largely due to Cyprus being your typical ‘beach break’ – or at least that’s what we Brits are lead to believe!
I initially discovered the Troodos Mountains on just that – a beach break with my family, and quite frankly, I was shocked that these beautiful mountains, scattered with historic landmarks, cobbled towns, and surrounded by a network of hiking trails had been kept under wraps for so long!
If you’re considering Cyprus for your next adventure and you’re happiest among nature/sipping coffee from totally adorable little restaurants, then the Troodos Mountains are the perfect base filled with some of the best things to do in Cyprus.
GETTING TO THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS IN CYPRUS
Getting to the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus is really straightforward as it’s a fairly small island surrounded by the Mediterranean sea.
The two main airports are in Paphos and Larnaca, both of which are within an hour and a half of the Troodos Mountains. I always use Skyscanner, as not only do they compare the best deals across flight operators, but they also allow you to view by month, which makes it super easy to find even cheaper prices…and when you save £’s on flights, you can spend the £’s on even more awesome adventures.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport (Paphos is the closest of the 2, but either is fine), you can hire a car or book an airport transfer through Klook. Having a car is recommended as you’ll want to explore a lot of places across the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus and as it’s a pretty remote place, taxi’s aren’t always as readily available as they are in larger towns. If you’re from the UK then it’s no different to driving at home, as they drive on the left-hand side like us.
WHERE TO STAY IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS IN CYPRUS
There are five key areas in the Troodos Mountains – the first three are Troodos, Marathasa & Solea.
While there is not a great deal of tourism in the Troodos Mountains compared to other areas of Cyprus, these are the most popular areas as they’re home to a number of quaint towns with notable churches and offer well-trodden hiking routes such as the Caledonia Nature Trail (more on that later!).
The other two districts are Pitsilia and Fikardou, which offer a more authentic experience. Below I’ve listed out some of the most recommended villages to stay in the Troodos Mountains.
Located in the Marathasa Valley is Pedoulas; a small village that’s staggered down the mountainside with views of the Mediterranean sea in the distance.
In between the houses with rooftops splashed in bright orange paint, you’ll find pine woods and cherry trees, as well as Archangelos Mihail Church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, in all honesty, it isn’t much to look at and The Big Church of Holy Cross which is just around the corner is much more impressive.
Other key points of interest in Pedoulas include the Byzantine and Folklore Museum, as well as the Kykkos Trail which leads to the rather impressive Kykkos Monestry (again, more on that later!).
There’s also a great variety of cycling routes out of Pedoulas too, if that’s what you’re into.
On the north side of the Troodos Mountains in Solea is Kakopetria.
You’ll find cobbled streets that are beautifully decorated with vibrant flowers and the Clarios River that straddles the village. It’s home to four churches – Panagia Theotokos, Anglos Georgios Perachoritis, Anglos Pantelemon, however most notably Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis Church, which has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the old village, you’ll also find the Heroes’ Monument in memory of those who lost their lives during the National Liberation War between 1955-1959.
Not only is Kakopetria drenched in history, but it’s also a great base for those who enjoy hiking and mountain biking. Nearby there are popular trails such as the Atalanti and Kampos Tou Livadiou nature trail which you’ll need a solid pair of hiking boots for (him/her).
Evmelia Kakopetria Suites
Situated on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus is Platres. It’s one of the largest villages in the Troodos Mountains and is known for its wine as well as the great number of hiking trails nearby. You’ll also find the well-known millomeris waterfalls nearby, which are always worth dipping into on a hot day!
It’s a beautiful location among the forest yet due to the town sitting on the mountain edges it also boasts great views of Mount Olympus – the highest point in Cyprus!
Petit Palais Platres Hotel
Cozy mountain apartment in Platres
Not too far from Platres is Omodos and it’s SO beautiful! It was by far my favourite place in the Troodos Mountains – if you can only visit one village in Cyprus, I recommend making it Omodos!
And you won’t be surprised to hear that there are more Churches…yep, Cypriots are very Holy.
The village is filled with charming boutique shops with handmade crafts and clothes. Alongside these, there are adorable family-run restaurants such as Katoi, which is highly praised for their scrumptious traditional Cypriot food, as well as Μαύρες Χήνες-The Black Geese which is great if you enjoy live music.
Another thing that Omodos is well-known for is its wine; it’s part of the Krasochoria Lemesou wine route that many people head to the Troodos Mountains to explore. If you want to try some for yourself then not far from the main square in the village is Linos – an old family-run winery that’s full of original historic character!
Omodos Square Mansion
Omodos Village Houses
THINGS TO DO IN THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS IN CYPRUS
Dating back to the 11th century, the Kykkos Monastery is one of the wealthiest and most popular in Cyprus.
It sits at the top of one of the Troodos Mountains peaks, with spectacular views across the country.
Yet, inside the monastery is much more impressive as it’s slathered with golden, carved-out walls containing the most intricate details alongside ancient paintings.
If I’m honest, this isn’t my usual kind of attraction when I travel, however it was hard not to be impressed!
It’s also home to the Archbishop Mikarios‘ Tomb – the first president of Cyprus, as well as a museum containing numerous religious icons and relics.
It’s important to note that you must have your shoulders and knees covered before entering the monastery, however, they do provide some rather dashing purple robes if required!
It will cost you €5 to visit the Kykkos Monastery and it’s open from 10 AM until 4 PM every day between November and May. From June until October they’re open for an additional 2 hours – until 6 PM.
Where to find it: Kykkos Monastery, F966, Cyprus
Needless to say that you will be spoilt for choice when hiking in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus. There are a variety of routes available that cater to all levels, yet they all offer stunning views in equal measure.
Some of the more popular hiking trails will lead you to waterfalls, whereas others will provide total serenity among nature and you’ll be unlikely to stumble across anyone at all.
Some of the most popular trails can be found here, however, my personal favourite is The Calidonia Trail – purely based on the fact that it leads to the most heavenly waterfall…or perhaps it was so heavenly as it was so damn hot that day and jumping in was so refreshing. It starts near Platres and although it’s just 3km long, it takes roughly 1 hour 30 before finishing up in Psilo Dendro. You can walk back or grab a taxi back up to the start as we did (wow, that sounds SO lazy to me now…my hiking has come on a long way since my time in Cyprus).
For those looking for an easier, child-friendly route, then the Livadi Trail is a great option that takes just 30 minutes through the forest and starts from Karvounas road, not too far from Troodos Square. For the more advanced hikers (which is obviously
not me these days) then the Kannoures Agios Nikolaos Tis Stegis Trail seems a good choice. It crosses some picture-perfect valleys and leads you by some key points of interest such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Agios Nicolaos tis Stegis (hence the title of the hike!).
Some key hiking gear that you should always remember:
- A great pair of hiking bottoms (him/her)
- A lightweight and breathable top (him/her)
- A decent pair of hiking boots (him/her) is essential. Skimping on a pair of hiking boots will almost guarantee a day of pain…it’s just not worth it.
- The key to avoiding blisters – a good pair of hiking socks (him/her). It’s no good having a good pair of hiking boots if you’re going to pair them with some naff socks!
- A backpack to keep all of your essential bits and bobs in (most importantly, snacks – obviously!)
- A First Aid kit – you never know what trouble you’re going to run into on your adventures!
- The lobster look is never great – sunscreen is a must, no matter what the temperature. Don’t forget the face too!
- Hydration is KEY, especially in the Cypriot sunshine. Always pack a water bottle.
- Energy gels are life-savers when you start to flag – always keep a few stashed in the bottom of your bag for emergencies.
Mount Olympus in the Troodos Mountains shares it’s name with the well-known Mount Olympus in Greece. However, the Cypriot mountain is an equally noteworthy attraction to visit.
You can hike up to the peak, however, I thought it deserved its own section as a lot of people prefer to drive.
Regardless of which way you’re heading up, you’ll likely find snow between the months of December and April, and while temperatures by the beach may hover around 20, it’s often below 0 by the time you reach the top. For this reason, a merino wool layer (him/her) is a good idea, and if you don’t already know about this fine piece of magic, then it keeps you cool when you’re hot and hot when it’s cool! voila – magic!
If you’re driving, then you’ll need to park up by the ski lift (yep SKI! We’ll come on to that in a minute!) – although there aren’t many spaces and you will probably have to dump your car on the road. You’ll then hop on the lift that will take you to the summit.
Not far from the bottom of the ski lift you’ll also find an old English military base – it’s worth seeing however also bear in mind you’re unable to take any photographs.
If you’re lacing up your boots, then roughly 20 minutes drive from Platres is the highly recommended Artemis trail that will lead you to the top via some stunning viewpoints. The trail is a fairly easy 8km loop, however, the terrain can be uneven so a solid pair of hiking boots (him/her) is a must.
If you want to see the military base, then do so by taking a slight detour from the summit before joining the trail again.
Yep, skiing just off the Mediterranean coast is a thing…crazy.
In just a few hours you can go from lounging on a beach to togging up for your first run of the day, which is pretty unique. T
he Cypriot ski season is between January and April, with the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus housing 4 ski lifts to accommodate 8 runs. My trip to Cyprus was at the height of summer, therefore I didn’t ski and so I’ll point you in the direction of a great resource about skiing in Cyprus who is much better equipped than myself to tell you about it.
I’ll stick in a pretty picture of what it looks like though, just for good measure!
Sitting in the UNESCO Global Geopark area and not too far from Troodos Square is the Troodos Geopark.
This is every geologist’s nirvana.
However, even if you’re not into geology, the site is incredibly interesting and will keep you engaged with a short documentary explaining how the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus were formed.
Following your visit, you’ll be sure to find a new appreciation for the mountains, and at a bargain price of just €3 you can’t go wrong!
Where to find it: Troodos Visitor Centre Geopark, Pano Amiantos, Cyprus
Just round the corner is the sister site to the Troodos Geopark – Troodos Botanical Gardens. Dating back to over 100 years ago, it was previously an asbestos mine. However, in 2010, it re-introduced the area filled with new flora and fauna and allowed its visitors to explore completely free of charge.
The old schoolhouse has been transformed into an interactive information center with the necessary parking and bathroom facilities, however, there is not yet a cafe on site. This doesn’t matter though, as in-between the idyllic ponds and waterfalls there are the perfect picnic spots with stunning panoramic views.
There is also a telescope to allow you to get a closer look into the distance! Although the site is still in its development stages, it’s worth a visit, particularly if you’re visiting in April as this is when everything starts to bloom!
Where to find it: Troodos Botanical Garden, Pano Amiantos, Cyprus
Before I start, here’s a disclaimer – I have not cycled in the Troodos Mountains (disappointingly). However, I wanted to include this as I have since become a novice roadie and can see the huge opportunity that the Troodos Mountains presents.
Sure enough, after some extensive googling I can see that the Troodos Mountains is a highly praised location that will put you through your paces with some impressive climbs.
Here’s what I’ve found:
Cycling in the Troodos Mountains in Cyprus seems to be epic, as not only does it provide cooler temperatures but the scenery is staggering – which I can confirm is true from my hiking expeditions!
Whether you’re a keen road cyclist or mountain bike enthusiast, the Troodos Mountains have a lot to offer, so I’ll break it down and offer some (hopefully) helpful resources.
Adam Wolley from the YellowJersey talks extensively about his road cycling experience in Cyprus, frequently quoting the Troodos Mountains and specifically Mount Olympus, so I recommend having a read through his post if it’s an activity you’re considering.
If you already know that you want to do a bit of road cycling in the Troodos Mountains, then here are some of the top routes to try. The routes range from 20 to 70 miles, however, they all have one thing in common – they’re hilly. But hey, what were you expecting if you’re wanting to cycle in the Troodos Mountains.
If you’re looking to rent a bike, then look no further than CWC Pro-Cycling. They have a 100% success rate of getting 5-star reviews from their customers and after scanning their website and feedback, I would almost certainly be booking with them if I were to venture over to Cyprus on a cycling trip.
I’ve not been on a mountain bike since my Dad used to drag the family out every weekend (thank god those days are over!), however, timeoutdoors seem like a good direction to point you in to get you started.
I’ve also found what appear to be the top 20 mountain bike trails in the Troodos Mountains, however, as a rival roadie (which I’m not even sure I qualify to say) I’ll let you be the judge of that.
If you’re looking to rent a mountain bike, then CWC Pro-Cycling also offers the same service as they do for road cyclists.
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