- Troodos Mountains
The peaks of the Troodos massif culminate in Mount Olympus, a mountain composed of volcanic rock rising to 1952 meters or 6404 feet at Chionistra. Skiing can be enjoyed in the Troodos Mountains from January to March (weather permitting) and though a short season, the slopes can be easily reached from Limassol, making it possible to ski in the morning and swim in the afternoon.
Also in the Troodos mountain range besides Machairas to the east and the actual Troodos district around Mount Olympus, there are four other districts each with its own character and charm. These include Pitsillia with its vineyards and orchards to the east of Mount Olympus, the Solea Valley, the Marathassa Valley to the north of Mount Olympus and the Krassochoria (the Wine Villages) to the south. These districts are easy to reach from either Limassol or Nicosia.
In addition to its natural beauty, Troodos is the setting for a remarkable group of lavishly frescoed Byzantine churches dating from the 11th to the 17th centuries. The area has been known since ancient times for its mines, and during the Byzantine period it became a great centre of Byzantine art as churches and monasteries were built in the mountains and hidden in the valleys away from the threatened coastline. Ten of them are included in the official Unesco list of World Cultural Heritage with the largest and the most famous being the 11th century Kykko Monastery. It is covered with murals dating from the 11th to the 17th century and is considered one of the most interesting Byzantine churches on the island.
Other interesting places to visit include Kakopetria Village on the Nicosia to Troodos Road. Kakopetria lies in the Solea valley situated at 700m above sea-level amongst orchards and groves of poplars. Parts of the old village have been restored making an interesting walk and the Mill Restaurant provides both an excellent view of the valley. Heading north of the village about 5 kilometres is the church of Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis.
The mountains provide endless scope for exploration by car or by foot with walks of all levels available for the most avid hiker to the social walker. Many clearly-marked nature trails can be found in the mountains with signposts giving details on local points of interest.
Explore the many picturesque villages like Louvaras, Palaichori and Platanistassa set among apple, almond and hazelnut orchards, and don’t forget to try the local village crafts and produce including the local wines and liqueurs. With its National Park status, and home to the mouflon, the islands wild indigenous sheep, the Troodos is a true paradise for walkers, bird watchers and nature lovers alike.
There are non-stop flights to Cyprus from all the major cities of Western and Eastern Europe with Cyprus Airways and the national airlines of the European countries via Larnaca International Airport. During tourist season, many charter flights will also go to Paphos Airport.
There are three driving routes to get to Troodos:
-Limassol to Troodos road,
-Nicosia to Troodos road, or
-Paphos to Troodos road
Local buses are available between small towns and schedules should be obtained from the Cyprus tourist board. There is no train service.