TROODOS – HOLLY MONASTERY OF KYKKOS
This is a memorable day off the beaten track, through idyllic mountain villages unchanged form generations. On the way to the Troodos Mountains we will stop to one of those picturesque villages- village of Lania to have a look at the traditional handcrafts and to try some local village wine. We pass just below the Mount Olympus – the highest point of Cyprus, with an attitude of 1951 meters- and take in the panoramic views from Troodos Square. We head for “Throni”, to see the Tomb of Archbishop Makarios 3, the first President of Cyprus. Enjoy the spectacular views of the countryside and the pine forest we will drive to the famous Holly Monastery of Kykkos, built in 1092 and dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Monastery houses one of the three surviving icons painted by St. Luke. A break for lunch will be taken in a nearby restaurant. On the way back we also have a stop next to the Monastery of Troditissa, which has an amazing panoramic view.
This tour will take you back in time to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Passing the Cyprus alleys and citrus gardens we will arrive to the ancient “Kurrium” to see Greek- Roman amphitheatre and the well preserved mosaics. Heading for Pafos we will stop at the Rock of Aphrodite, where according to legend the Goddess of Love and Beauty was born from the sea foam. When we arrive to Kato Paphos, we will visit the catacombs of St. Solomoni and the Pillar of St. Paul. Later we will take you for a round the picturesque Paphos Harbour. The tour continues with a visit of the House of Dionysus, a Roman Villa with beautiful floor mosaics depicting scenes from Greek mythology. Ample time will be given for lunch. Alternatively, at a small extra cost, you can visit the Paphos Aquarium, which houses an amazing range of see and fresh water fish. Finally, we will pass by the 9th century Basilica of St. Paraskevi and stop to Yeroskipou village try the famous Cypriot delights “Loukoumia”.
NICOSIA –LEFKARA –LARNACA
Visit the only divided capital in the world. We enter Nicosia by driving along the Green Line, the capital’s dividing line. Passing by the newly restored Famagusta Gate, we proceed to the Archbishop’s Palace where we visit St. John’s Cathedral. We then travel to the city centre and visit the Byzantine Museum with its priceless and fascinating collection of icons and paintings. Our tour continues to the shopping centre and picturesque old quarter of “Laiki Yitonia”, where you will have time for lunch and a stroll around the charming winding alleys lined with shops and galleries. We leave Nicosia and drive you to the village of Lefkara, which is famous for its handmade “lefkaritika” laces and silverware. It’s said that Leonardo da Vinci visited the village and bought an altar cloth, which he donated to the Milan Cathedral. Also we will visit St.Lazaros Church in Larnaca.
On the way to Paphos we will stop at the Rock of Aphrodite (Petra tou Romiou), where according to legend the Goddess of Love and Beauty was born from the sea foam.
From there we will head for the Temple of Aphrodite at the village of Kouklia, where we will visit the local museum and have a walk around to see the remains of the wall, which are believed to have been part of the wall surrounding the sacred precinct with the altar of Aphrodite. Moving on towards the Akamas peninsula we will stop for lunch at the tavern. Then we will visit the bath of Aphrodite, where the Beauty used to bath with her lover Adonis. On the way back we will stop to one of the wineries where you have a chance to try some premium local wine. A great experience not to be missed!
THE CHARM OF MOUNTAIN VILLAGES
Our morning begins with a visit of a sponge workshop and exhibition by the old harbour of Limassol. We will then continue to the picturesque village of Omodos with its white houses. Omodos is built around the most ancient monastery of Cyprus, the Holy Cross which contains old icons, excellent woodcarving and other ecclesiastical objects of interest. After our visit we will walk with our guide through the narrow streets and visit an old wine-press known as Linos. Free time will be given for shopping before continuing to Olympus winery where we will have the opportunity to sample some of the famous brands of Cypriot wine. Lunch will be taken in a traditional village restaurant. After lunch we will continue our way to Agros, the village famous for its rosewater, used to flavour pastries and as an effective skin cleanser. We will visit the rose distillery before beginning our return journey
This memorable day will start from a visit of the female monastery Agia Thekla, which was created by Elena (mother of Emperor Constantine). We will have a chance to wash faces in Holy Water Spring, which help against eye- and skin- sicknesses. Then we will have coffee break in new restored old village Pera. Going among pine mountainsides we reach unique old village Fikardou, which UNESCO protect as World culture heritage. We continue our way in one of great monasteries of XII-century Macharias, which was based on that place where St.Neophitos found an icon of Virgin Maria. We will make some photos of beautiful views at Konia (high top of Eastern Troodos area). Delicious village meze, wine and special Cypriot desert – boureki will meet us in restaurant Maria in Vavatsinia. On the back way
we will stop in village Lefkara, which is famous for its silver jewels and hand made laces besides the amazing architecture. We will stop in Savva Morozov house that to taste Cypriot coffee and to make some buyings. We will also visit an “Olive Shop” in the neighbour village of Skarinou, where you will have an opportunity to try different kinds of olives and olive oil. The shop itself is absolutely dedicated to the products based on olive oil and Mediterranean herbs.
FAMAGUSTA : HISTORY AND CULTURE
(From Larnaca, Limassol, Ayia Napa and Protaras)
After the passport control at the checking point of Vryssoules we will enter Famagusta. A short drive will take us along the line, which separates the deserted “Ghost” part from the main town. We will then lead for the old city of Famagusta which is encircled by the historical walls, dating back to mediaeval times. They are also referred to in one of the well- known Shakespeare's plays “Othello”. The largest medieval Gothic style building in Famagusta, -St. Nicolas cathedral commenced in 1300 AD is our next destination. From Famagusta we will drive to the first Hellenic civilisation settlement of the island - Salamina - the capital of Cyprus as far back as 1100 B.C. You will be given time to walk around and to have a look the impressive well preserved amphitheatre and Gymnasium. And finally we will visit the tomb of Apostle Varnavas – the inventor of Christianity in Cyprus.
NORTHERN CYPRUS - KERYNIA
Today you are offered a unique chance to visit the part of Cyprus that had been closed fro many years. Your journey will begin with the visit to the capital of Cyprus – Nicosia – the only European capital divided into two parts. We will visit St. Sophia Cathedral built in the Gothic style in the centre of Nicosia. The next stop will be made at the castle of St. Illarion - the amazing building carved right in the cliff on the height of approximately 1000 m which used to be the residence of Cyprus kings in ancient times. Then we will go to Kerynia which was objectively considered to be the best resort of Europe in the middle of the past century. There you will take a walk on the famous Kerynia bay, visit the castle of Louisians and get acquainted with the medieval history of Cyprus. The final point of our tour will run through Kerynia mountains to the abbey Belapais representing the brightest example of the Gothic architecture, where you will have your lunch enjoying the breathtaking view.