Travel tips


CAROB SYRUP – THE ISLAND’S ‘BLACK GOLD’
Carob pods contain nature’s healthy sugar and have been referred to as the island’s ‘black gold’ as they were once a main source of income. Cyprus produces some of the sweetest carobs in the world, thanks to the limestone soil. The edible seed pods of the carob tree are used to make a number of products, including the syrup which can be stirred into natural yogurt, drizzled over ‘anari’ cheese and generally used to replace honey or sugar. As carobs are low in calories, high in calcium, rich in vitamins A, B and C and contain iron and other minerals, they are the healthy (and guilt-free) alternative to other sweeteners.

COMMANDARIA – THE WORLD’S OLDEST EXISTING WINE
Commandaria is a sweet, amber-coloured dessert wine and is the oldest known wine still in production. Thought to date back to 800 BC, it was referred to as ‘Cypriot Nama’ before it was given its current name by Richard the Lionheart and the Crusaders in the 12th century. Produced in the wine-making villages of the Troodos mountains, it is made from the indigenous Xynisteri and Mavro grapes which are picked late, dried in the sun to enhance their sugar content and then pressed. The run-off is collected and fermented in tanks or in earthenware jars. It has an alcohol content of around 15%.

HALLOUMI – LOCAL CHEESE WITH A UNIQUE TEXTURE
Made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk (and sometimes cow’s milk), Halloumi is a white, semi-soft cheese that is registered as a protected Cypriot product. It doesn’t melt when cooked, which gives it a unique texture that squeaks when eaten! It is delicious when grilled and is often one of the dishes served in a ‘meze’ (a meal made up of lots of small dishes). It is also served cubed in the traditional ‘trahana’ soup (made from buckwheat) and is a popular toasted sandwich filling with the cured pork, ‘lounza’. Halloumi is equally enjoyable when eaten cold and traditionally complements watermelon for a refreshing and unique dish.

KLEFTIKO – THE MELT- IN- THE – MOUTH LAMB DISH
Kleftiko is lamb on the bone, slow – cooked in a clay pot (although parchment paper or foil can be used instead). In bygone times, the meat would be placed in a hole in the ground with red hot stones and sealed with mud so that the steam could not escape. Left to cook for hours, the meat would present itself as a delicious hot meal at the and of the day.
Today, a traditional clay oven has replaced the hole in the ground (some people still use mud to seal the oven), but the essence of slow – cooking for hours remains the key to exceptionally tender and full – flavoured meat.

OLIVE OIL – THE VERSATILE LIQUID GOLD
Cyprus produces some of the best olive oil in the world and this ‘liquid gold’ forms part of the staple diet of the island with many people producing their own for personal consumption. The history of the olive tree in Cyprus dates back to the Neolithic period, and today its versatile oil is used in everyday cooking, whether as an ingredient in traditional dips or to drizzle over salads and black-eyed beans. As well as being delicious, olive oil is cholesterol free and contains properties that guard against cancer, cardio-vascular and other diseases. It is also used in beauty and health products and for medicinal purposes.

OLIVES ‘’TSAKISTES’’ – GREEN OLIVES A LA CHYPRE
While olives are common throughout the Mediterranean region and beyond, olives ‘tsakistes’ can safety claim to be the ‘first among equals’, thanks to an unrivalled, typically Cypriot seasoning.
After being ‘cracked’, green olives are flavoured with crushed coriander seeds, garlic, lemon juice, salt and olive oil, creating a flavour combination unlike any other. They are commonly eaten with bread and tomato as a meal, particularly during fasting periods when meat and animal products are not consumed.

SOUJOUKO – AN EYE-CATCHING DELICACY
Soujouko is a traditional, chewy sweet with a nutty centre coated with thickened grape juice. It is served, chopped into slices, as an accompaniment to wine and Zivania, and is commonly sold at the traditional ‘panayiri’ (traditional churchyard festivals). Made from the surplus of white grapes after the harvest, it has an unusual appearance much like that of candles!
To make soujouko, almonds are threaded onto string then dipped into a hot mixture of grape juice mixed with flour. This process is repeated three to five times with the soujouko hung to dry between each dipping.

SOURDOUGH KOULOURI – AROMATIC TRADITIONAL BREAD
Koulouri bread is an aromatic white bread that is covered in sesame seeds and aniseed. Made into rings, or a long, segmented loaf, it is eaten with halloumi or olives and a must have on holidays including the Green Monday picnic (marking the first day of Lent). In the past it was given as a wedding invitation in a traditional ‘tsestos’ basket. You will always find fresh koulouri bread in any local bakery to enjoy as a snack, and on your buffet at breakfast as well as on Cyprus Nights.

SOUVLA – BBQ, THE CYPRIOT WAY
The famous Cypriot souvla is a traditional barbecue of large chunks of skewered meat cooked over charcoal. On public holidays and special occasions (Easter, Christmas, birthdays, Sunday lunch) the delicious aroma of the popular souvla fills the air across the island. The typical accompaniments to the barbecued pork, chicken or lamb chunks include pita bread (toasted on the barbecue), a fresh village salad and dips including ‘tahini’ and ‘tzantziki’. During periods of fasting, octopus, squid and white fish are also cooked ‘souvla style’ – definitely a social affair!

ZIVANIA – THE POTENT ‘FIRE WATER’
Zivania is a very strong white spirit made from grape pomace and is registered as a product of Cyprus. Due to its high alcohol content (typically around 45%), it is often described as ‘fire water’ – so drink with caution! Locals keep Zivania in the freezer to keep it chilled, as it doesn’t freeze, and serve it as an accompaniment to ‘soujouko’, dried fruit and nuts or with the traditional ‘meze’. Aside from being a stiff drink, Zivania has a number of medicinal purposes: it is used to soothe toothache, sterilise wounds, massage sore body parts and to alleviate a cold.

 

THE TROODOS MOUNTAINS

Beneath the whispering pines

Take a trip into the mountains for a refreshing break from the heat of the central plains and the coast. Rising to almost 2000 metres above sea level, the Troodos peaks provide panoramic views and a place to go skiing in winter.

Charming villages, some with cobbled streets and preserved folk architecture, nestle on terraced slopes amid vineyards and orchards of almond, hazelnut and cherry trees. Stop off at one of the cafes or restaurants next to a burbling mountain stream and try one of the preserved fruit desserts served as a typical island welcome, or dine on the locally produced rainbow trout, a speciality in the region,

Spend the day walking along one of the many nature trails, resting at a picnic site along the way, or visit the Visitor Centre in the Troodos forest park area. The Cedar Valley is home to an unusually large number of Cypriot cedars and so far from the madding crowds that the only sounds you will hear when you switch off the engine of your car are those of nature. In the evening nightingales songs will lull you to sleep.

The Troodos mountains are where the painted churches of Cyprus, superb examples of Byzantine art, can be found. The church of Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis in Kakopetria, together with those of Asinou and of Panagia toy Araka in the village of Lagoudera, are considered to be some of the most outstanding on the island.Kykkos Monastery, the largest on the island, has an excellent Byzantine museum and a golden icon of the Virgin Mary, allegedly painted by St.Luke.

 

BYZANTINE ROUTE

See the famous pained churches of Cyprus, ten Byzantine churches on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, with their remarkable pitched wooden roofs, icons and frescoes. Scattered throughout the Troodos mountain areas of Marathassa, Solea and Pitsilia, they are often situated in beautiful settings among the trees and are bound to impress you.

NATURE ROUTE (EUROPEAN PATH E4)

The E-paths are designated by the European Ramblers Association and form a European network of 11 long-distance walking routes running for many thousands of kilometres across the whole of Europe. The Cyprus section of path E4 starts of finishes at Larnaca airport goes through Cape Gkreko, up into the Troodos mountains and down to the Akamas region, ending or starting at Pafos airport .Along the way it takes ramblers through areas of exceptional beauty, and significant ecological, historical, cultural and scientific interest.

ANTIQUITY ROUTE

Imagine life in the Stone Age by visiting the ancient settlements of Tenta and Choirokoitia with its quaint reconstructed round huts. Wander through the remains of the ancient city-kingdom of Kition, once a rich sea port and major copper trading centre. Admire the spectacular views from the cliff tops of Amathous and Kourion, the two ancient city-kingdoms that flank the modern town of Lemesos (Limassol). Amathous was where the world`s largest stone vase was found, now displayed in the Louvre Museum. The splendid Greco-Roman theatre at Kourion is still used for cultural performances today. Visit the world heritage sites of the sanctuary of Aphrodite at Kouklia, the Tombs of the Kings and the exquisite Pafos mosaics.

 

 

APHRODITE ROUTE

Follow in the footsteps of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty and protectress of Cyprus.

 

The route centres on the archaeological sites dedicated to the ancient cult of Aphrodite and includes Palaipafos (Kouklia), Amathous and Kition. These are linked to other sites and museums with artefacts related to the goddess.

 

Wander through layers of history, culture and mythology, as you learn all about her birth, mythology , character, the rituals connected with her cult, as well as plants and seashells associated with her.

SPECTACULAR TREATS

There`s a myriad of events that take place in Cyprus throughout the year to tickle your fancy. Enjoy cultural performances with big star names in the most romantic settings from medieval castles to Greco-Roman theatres under starry Mediterranean skies. Book a ticket for the annual opera event in Pafos, attend an ancient Greek drama festival, enjoy a ``Musical Sunday`` οn the beach on a winter morning, or chase round the special stages of the Cyprus Car Rally.

 

Numerous traditional events are held throughout the year that you can also enjoy. Marvel at the sumptuous pageantry of Greek Orthodox Easter and become part of the celebrations of the many festivities held on the island, like Kataklysmos (the Festival of the Flood) in June, Epiphany by the sea in winter, or the many colourful village festivals throughout the summer.

 

You will get the directions and the key code for  the villa  either from  Larnaca, or  Paphos airport 60 days before your arrival..

 

How to get there:  All major airlines fly into the Cyprus airports of Larnaca and Paphos from every part of the UK and Europe. Pafos Airport is only 20 min drive with low cost carriers flying in from the UK on a daily basis. Larnaka International Airport is only 1hr away and there is flight access from a multitude of major European hubs as well as several low cost carriers. There are several car hire companies at the airport which are open 24hrs. Also there are always local taxis available.

 

 

• Cyprus is a member of the European Union since 1st May 2004 with Euro being the official currency since 1st January 2008.

• Visas: No visas are required for entry into Cyprus by nationals of most European countries. Nationals of other countries should contact the nearest Consulate of the Republic of Cyprus, or if none, the nearest British Consulate.

• Vaccination: None required.

• Tap water is drinkable.

• Banks in Cyprus open for the public from 08:30 to 13.30. Automatic Exchange Machines and ATM Machines operate on a 24-hour basis. Certain banks in tourist areas open during the afternoon.

• The voltage on the island is 230. Socket outlets are of flat 3-pin type.

• All international brands of medication are available in well stocked pharmacies all over Cyprus.

• Telephones: Cyprus` automatic telephone dialling system reaches over 200 countries.Telecards can be purchased from Post Offices, kiosks and souvenir shops.

• It is forbidden to remove antiquities from the bottom of the sea, or to take them out of Cyprus without a special licence.

• Visitors should respect ecclesiastic traditions and avoid wearing shorts and sleeveless garments in churches and monasteries.

• Short cruises to the Greek islands, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria can be taken on one of the many comfortable cruise ships which offer full-board accommodation and entertainment at very reasonable prices.

• Tipping in restaurants, taxis etc is optional but always welcome.

• A reasonably priced delicious meal popular with the locals is `souvlaki stin pitta` - kebab in a special envelope-type bread.

When you`ve had your fill of sun and sea, try something new.

Cyprus is perfect for indulging in your favourite outdoor activities or interests. Whether you just want to play for fun while on holiday, or are a professional athlete looking for winter training, there are facilities here for all kinds of sports.

European soccer teams have for years been coming to the island in winter in order to prepare for the next season. Many Olympic hopefuls come here to train, such as Greece`s Olympic gold windsurfing medallist, as well as the British Olympic team. Catch a top class international sporting fixture while you`re here, such as the annual Cyprus Car Rally, or the Men`s Challenger tennis tournament.

Or play a round of golf at one of the island`s purpose-built resorts set in peaceful surroundings with spectacular views.

Cycling and hiking are an enjoyable way both to keep fit and to explore the island. Short distances mean that cyclists can hone their skills on a variety of surfaces ranging from flat country roads to mountain tracks along peaceful, unfrequented and scenic routes that have been tested by many cycling champions.

Being an island, water sports feature strongly among the many activities available. Discover the magic of the underwater world by snorkelling or diving in warm crystal clear seas. Windsurfing and sailing can be enjoyed all the year round, thanks to the steady winds and mild weather, while coastal cruising and deep-water fishing are also popular. You could even use the island as a base for a short cruise to other nearby countries.

ARSOS FOLK ART MUSEUM

Arsos Village, Limassol District,

The Folk Art Museum is housed in a traditional 19th century house, right in the centre of the village and offers a glimpse into the traditional way of life of the Cypriot people. The museum is open year-round.

 

CYPRUS WINE MUSEUM

Trace the history of Cypriot wine and production methods at the Cyprus Wine Museum in Erimi village, next to the fertile vineyards of Kolossi, whose military administrators in the castle gave their name to the traditional sweet Cypriot wine, Koumandaria (Commandaria).

 

Entrance includes a glass of wine. Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm.

Telephone: 25 873808

 

FAMOUS CHURCHES AND MONASTERIES

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) has defined three routes which start and in Limassol, taking visitors to churches and former monasteries in the district, dating back to the 12th century AD, significant for their architecture, paintings or history. The journeys (varying from six to seventy-two kilometres) wind through a number of attractive villages. Details of the routes are available from the CTO.

KOLOSSI CASTLE

Built on the site of the original castle of 1210, the present Kolossi castle was constructed in 1454 and is said to have housed at different times Richard the Lionheart, the Templars, and the Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. The fort held great strategic importance during the Middle Ages and contained production of sugar, one of the island’s main exports at that time.

Opening hours: 9am – 7.30pm daily during July and August. For the rest of the year, the castle closes at 5pm.Free entrance for all European Union citizens on Sundays.

Telephone: 25 934907

 

KOURION (CURIUM)

Kourion stretches over a wide area, with numerous sites of interest in modern day Episkopi including an agora, a Roman Nymphaeum-a sacred place devoted to the nymphs, daughters of Poseidon – private houses of the late Roman period, mosaics, an early Christian basilica, a sports stadium, and the remains of an aqueduct, as well as an aqueduct, as well as an impressive theatre, and the Sanctuary of Apollo. The Hellenistic Theatre, originally conceived in the late 2nd century BC, was remodelled in the 3rd century AD to accommodate gladiatorial contests. In the late half of the century, the theatre was restored to its original purpose for orchestral performances and is in fact still used today for Shakespearean productions, which are well worth attending,

 

Opening hours: 8am – 7pm daily during July and August.

The rest of the year Kourion closes at 5pm.

Telephone: 25 934250

 

LIMASSOL ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM

Situated near the Limassol public gardens, the museum displays a vast collection of antiquities dating from the Neolithic Age to the Roman period. Artefacts include Phoenician pottery, jewellery, tools, coins, idols, and a sculpture of the Egyptian fertility god, Bes. A number of artefacts relate to the goddess Aphrodite.

 

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm, Saturday 10am -1pm

Telephone: 25 305157

 

LIMASSOL CASTLE

Reportedly built around 1000 AD by the Byzantines, the castle was demolished by the Venetians, and rebuilt by the Ottomans in 1590.It was subsequently used as a prison from 1790 to 1940 despite its romantic beginnings as the reputed site for Richard the Lionheart`s marriage to Princess Berengaria, crowning her Queen of England – the first coronation and royal marriage to take place outside of England. Today, the castle serves as a mediaeval museum covering the period 400 – 1870 AD.

 

Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 9am – 5pm

Telephone: 25 305419

 

LIMASSOL WINE ROUTES

The CTO has produced a booklet of wine routes, enticing visitors to discover for themselves some of the famous villages, vineyards, winepresses and wineries. There are two routes in the Limassol district: Koumandaria: Starting in Kolossi and ending in Agia Fyla, the route winds through fourteen villages, reflecting on the time in the 12th century when the Knights of St.John were perfecting the production of perhaps the world’s first wine to be identified by the name, `Koumandaria`; Krasochoria (`The Wine Villages`): The route from Kolossi to Avdimou passes through unspoilt villages with characteristic traditional Cypriot architecture. In Omodos and Koilani villages alone there are ten wineries.

 

Brochure and maps available from the CTO.

 

RIALTO THEATRE

The Rialto Theatre is a bastion of quality performances and has hosted the National Orchestra of Montpellier, the Boris Eifmann Ballet, the National Ballet of Israel, and contestants competing in the annual European Dance Festival. The theatre’s unique 1930’s style building neighbours the town’s bustling main shopping district and was designed by the German architect Gunberg to hold 800 people.

 

Telephone: 7777 7745 or 25 343900 for Box Office Location: 19 Andrea Drousioti, Platia Iroon, just off Anexartisias Street.

 

SCULPTURE PARK

Spanning one mile of reclaimed land along the coast of Limassol’s shopping district is a public sculpture park and pedestrian walkway. The park is perfect for long summer walks and is liberally speckled with works of art, such as “Birth’’, a collection of 96 stone eggs in tribute to the dead and fallen land of Kyrenia, and the ‘’Frozen Wave’’, a stainless steel sphere and coil created by German artist Victor Bonato.