After one week in Limassol, it was time to hit the road. Our destination was the lovely village Omodos in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains, about 40 kilometers to the northwest of Limassol. This adorable place is situated in the center of the country’s famous wine making area and the perfect place to escape from the crowded beach resorts.
The village has only around 311 inhabitants and yet it is full of atmosphere. We stayed at Katoi Holiday Homes for two nights and really enjoyed this peaceful place. Omodos is a a good starting point for trips into the Troodos Mountains. The area offers many hiking and biking trails, very well marked. Temperatures are milder and dry compared to the heat of the coast.
The village is built around the Monastery of the Holy and Life-giving Cross, which is one of the oldest and most historic monasteries in the country. It is home to a piece of the Holy Rope with which Christ’s hands were tied to the cross as well as other invaluable relics. The monastery attracts a lot of tourists who come to visit the grounds and afterwards enjoy the pleasant ambience at the cobblestoned village square with its coffee houses, tavernas and shops.
Another highlight is the medieval wine press, also known as Linos, which is based in an ancient vault not far away from the monastery and village square. It introduces tourists to the traditional wine making techniques. Right next door you can taste and buy local wines.
As you move further away from the village square and monastery you meet less tourists. For us it was an incredible experience to stroll through the narrow streets, with our camera always ready for the next shot. The charming houses and tight backstreets offer fabulous photo opportunities. See for yourself.
- Katoi Restaurant: The venue is absolutely amazing and the food is excellent. You either enter the restaurant through the medieval hall or the entrance courtyard. A delightful setting, extreme friendly service staff and a cuisine which is worthy of the stars – we would always come back again. The restaurant owners also manage the holiday homes we stayed at.
25 Linou street, Omodos 4570, Limassol, Cyprus
- Omodhos Tavern: At first glance the taverna may look unspectacular, but once you have tried the food this impression quickly changes. The staff was so friendly and the food tasted superb. We tried the meat mezze platter and it did not leave us hungry.
Omodos 4760, Limassol, Cyprus
A journey through the Troodos Mountains is pretty exciting and worth while. You are driving your way up and around the winding roads, through beautiful villages and the landscape is just stunning. Our first stop was in Plano Platres, about 30 minutes away from Omodos. We parked our car in front of the troud farm and restaurant Psilo Dendro and then took the path up to the Caledonia Waterfalls. The trail is three kilometers long and runs along a forest which protects you from the sun. It is a beautiful area to enjoy nature and see the local flora. You will benefit from sturdy footwear. Once arrived at the waterfalls you can take a “quick shower”. The water cascades down from approximately 12 meters and is really cold.
Trodoos’ highest peak is the Mount Olympus at almost 2000 meters which is covered with snow during the winter and houses Europe’s most southerly ski lifts. At Mount Olympus’ peak a British radar currently operates. It is therefore not allowed to take pictures up there. The Troodos Station is the oldest remaining British Military asset in Cyprus. The view from up there is amazing. Half of the way up to the peak is accessible by car and the last bit you are asked to walk (max. 15 minutes).
Having stopped at the Caledonia Falls and Mount Olympous we continued our ride to the Kykkos Monastery, the wealthiest and most famous of its kind in Cyprus. Founded by the Byzantine emperor Alexios I Komnenos between the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century, it is situated on a hillside at an altitude of 1318 meters. As it was burned down several times, its original structure has not remained. The property is well tended and indeed impressive. The corridor walls of the two courtyards are decorated with magnificent mosaics. The church is built like a basilica with domes and adorned with murals. The iconostasis is from the 18th century and reflects the wealth of the monastery. The monastery museum houses a comprehensive collection of valuable art treasures.
The first President of the Republic of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III, started his ecclesiastical career as a monk in Kykkos Monastery. His tomb lies three kilometers west of Kykkos monastery and is guarded by military personnel.
We managed to do all three stops – Caledonia Waterfalls, Mount Olympus and Kykkos Monastery – on one single day. On the route from Mount Olympus to the Kykkos Monastery we passed by Pedoulas, a village located at an altitude of 1,100 meters know for its numerous churches. One of them, the Archangelos Michael church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the top of the Fidkias Hill which overlooks the viallage you have a stunning panoramic view of the Troodos Mountains and the surrounding area. You cannot miss this spot as there is a 25 meter high cross situated on the hilltop, next to the Holy Cross Chapel.
A trip into the Troodos Mountains provides you with an alternate view of the island. Away from the big coastal cities this part of Cyprus offers pleasant landscapes, charming villages and UNESCO World Heritage churches. Nature lovers, trekking and cycling fans will be in their element.
We were a little sad when we left Omodos after two days to move on to Polis at the north-west end of the island, north of the city Paphos.