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
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, rosewater,
pottery ... the list is endless.
stay in the mountains is definitely recommended. There you
will enjoy the morning mist on the mountain peaks, cool air
and breathtaking views that makes staying at one of the 'hillside'
hotels a welcome break.
The higher slopes are thronged with sports enthusiasts
throughout the year, so much for skiing as for hiking along
the nature trails, which have clearly marked environmental
features of interest.
A number of interesting monasteries are scattered in the
Troodos range. The largest and most famous is Kykko
monastery , with a golden icon of the Virgin Mary,
allegedly painted by Saint Luke. Other monasteries are
Machairas and Trooditissa with its distinctive steepy sloped