14 Night 'Walking in the magnificent Troodos Mountains' itinerary.
Price from £1,374pp. Includes; return flights, transfers, 14 nights B&B accommodation, luggage transfer between the mountain resorts, maps, a visit to a winery, beekeeping and honey workshop and a workshop teaching how to make traditional preserved fruits.
You could be in another country when you visit the Cyprus mountains. Gone are the bustling cities of Larnaca, Limassol and Paphos, the large hotels, the noisy streets and bars. In the mountains you can smell the pines, hear the wind rustling the trees and, other than that, silence.
The Troodos range is located in the southwest centre of the island and, in area, covers half of the island; but this is a half that 90% of holidaymakers never see.
The Troodos range, criss-crossed by mountain streams is heavily forested with common pines, black pine, Aleppo pine, the endemic Cyprus cedar, Cyprus oak and plane trees. The highest point is Mount Olympus at 1,952 m (6,404 ft). In winter, the mountains are usually snowbound but from April onwards, average temperatures begin at around 15C, peak at around 28C in July and fall to around 13C in November. April to mid-June and September to November are ideal walking months.
Up until the 1950s the mountains were the favoured holiday haunts of Cypriots. Several of the grander buildings in the villages, which were then popular summer resorts, bear witness to the fashions of the time. Platres has always been the most fashionable resort and the family-run Forest Park, then the most sought-after hotel and best on the island, which, in the 1930s, hosted King Farouk of Egypt who famously invented the Brandy Sour, the national cocktail of Cyprus. Daphne du Maurier wrote most of her novel Rebecca at the Forest Park. The hotel is now much more akin to a country house hotel.
The Mouflon, an indigenous horned sheep roams the mountains as do hares and foxes. Bats live in old buildings and in the galleries of abandoned mines. The endangered Bonelli’s eagle and griffon vulture can be seen, as can the northern goshawk and long-legged buzzard. The endemic Cyprus wheatear, the Cyprus warbler, the short-toed tree-creeper can all be found in the mountains, along with the red crossbill, Eurasian wren, nightingale and also the common raven which is close to becoming extinct on the island. Read more about the wildlife of the Troodos Mountains in our blog.
During the Byzantine period, the mountains became a centre of Byzantine art because building near the coast because of the likelihood of pirate attacks was too risky and dangerous. These beautiful frescoed churches are one of the major cultural attractions of Cyprus and several are designated as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some of these churches are located on our recommended walking routes.
Finally, you should be aware that the Troodos Mountains are famous worldwide for their geological formation, hence the number of mines which have since been abandoned. The mountains rose from the sea over a period of time as a result of the collision of the African and European tectonic plates. Cyprus is one of the only places in the world where one can view the rock formations that were formed without having to dive beneath the sea.
The Cypriots love their mountains and are very proud of the fact that they have undoubtedly the best forestry department in the middle east, thanks to the British administration when Cyprus was a colony.