Nothing could be more dramatically different from Mediterranean beach life, than the impressive mountain range that stretches across the centre of Cyprus and reaches up to 1.952 metres at Chionistra, the highest point of Mount Olympos.
Admiring panoramic vistas and breathtaking the cool, pine-scented air makes a heady change from the coasts and plains which are only a relatively short drive away.
There's plenty to see in these mountains. Nine of the many Byzantine churches are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the exquisite art depicted in their icons, frescoes and architecture. Moufflon have been protected for a number of years in a huge natural reserve in the magnificent Cedar Valley, and nowadays these timid creatures can often be seen by visitors.
There are scenic walks to take, a great variety of interesting birds and flora to be seen, waterfalls and special picnic sites, and above all, there are villages of immeasurable charm to wander round, or simply to dally in and observe the unhurried rustic country life.
The mountain villages are absolutely charming and the people friendly and hospitable. Each village has a special crop, craft or product for which it is known - fruits such as cherries, apples or peaches sweet specialities like soujouko and palouze, wines, zivania - a highly alcoholic vine by-product. Close enough to touch, herds of grazing moufflon, or agrino — the shaggy mountain sheep indigenous to Cyprus — pass by. And the clear mountain air is fragrant with lemon and orange from the groves below. Happily, a natural reserve in the heart of the region insures that this wild beauty will remain forever.
Along the way, each village will be glad to offer you its local specialty, whether that be a mountain goat cheese, a characterful Cypriot wine, fresh cherries, or rosewater. And of course, because you’re still on Cyprus, history and culture are never far away.
Nine of Troodos’s remarkable painted Byzantine churches have been listed on UNESCO’s prestigious World Cultural Heritage List. The famous Kykkos and Trooditissa Monasteries are well worth a visit for their icons, frescoes, and inspiring architecture.