Europe Family Travel Ideas

Wandering through the real Cyprus

ic: Cyprus Tourism Organisation


There was a time when the only transport through the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus would have been by burro – now the ancient stone paths that cross these ranges make perfect walking holiday trails!

Catching views across arid hills and forested valleys  make for perfect days walking in Cyprus and as the peaks turn rose-gold in the late afternoon sun it is time to turn downhill through the dark black pines that shelter tiny orchids.

It is difficult to believe these wild and beautiful landscapes are only a short drive away from the sun, sand and sea worshipping people enjoying Cyprus holidays on the highly developed coastline.

Troodos National Park covers 860 square kilometres and has nearly 100 marked walking trails. It also offers a window into the serene rhythms of rural Cypriot life. It’s a world that many visitors to the fabled birthplace of Aphrodite never see and it is ripe for exploring both on foot and by car.

In the traditional villages bougainvillea flowers pour down white-washed walls and the air is scented with wild rosemary. An ancient olive mill rubs shoulders with a tiny but exquisite church. Carob seed pods crunch underfoot. I can hear the distant music of animal bells.

Red wine produced from Cypriot Vamvakada grapes can be tasted at the Tsiakkas Winery in the mountain village of Pelentri. The tradition of wine making in Cyprus dates back 5,000 years and a few sips of the sweet Commandaria are perfect to finish a meal of delicious Cypriot fare.

For ten millennia Cyprus has been at a meeting point between three continents and its history reflects this with a good selection of monasteries and archaeological sites.


In the Troodos national park you can visit the nine famous ‘Painted Churches’ awarded world heritage status by UNESCO. These date from the Byzantine era, when thanks to some profitable mining, art and culture flowered here away from the more vulnerable coastline.

These monasteries and churches with their rich icons and frescoes cling to the mountainsides like the wild moufflon sheep.

Near Pafos the Tombs of the Kings is probably the finest archaeological site in Cyprus and the ruins include homes, burial chambers and a peristyle atrium from the Hellenistic and early Roman periods.

On the west coast Maa-Palaeokastro was originally settled by the Mycenaean Greeks around 12,000 BC. The tall fortification walls enjoy commanding views over the Mediterranean Sea.


Back in Limassol it is time to enjoy some beach time to end the holiday. If you wish to go to Cyprus for a holiday try Thomas Cook. Just make sure you wander past the glittering Mediterranean coastline into the green heart of Cyprus where a peaceful way of life is maintained with timeless traditions.

By Natasha von Geldern

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