Troodos Mountains Kykko Monastery


Troodos Mountains

The Troodos Mountains offer welcome respite to anyone suffering from an overdose of Mediterranean beach life. Travelling inland; Cyprus’ palette changes from the thirsty ochres of the coastal strip to a lush green mosaic that cloaks the mountains. The Troodos Mountains form the country’s backbone, stretching across Western Cyprus and rising to a height of nearly 2000m.

Driving up the helter skelter of hairpins and switchbacks of the Troodos Mountains takes you back in time to an older and wiser Cyprus; a world away from the bustle of the coast. Hiking trails weave through the forests to half forgotten villages, glorious Byzantine churches and remote monasteries. Pine resin scents the crisp mountain air and it’s easy to believe that little has changed since the first visionaries and churchmen chose Troodos as their pious retreat.

The Troodos Mountains are littered with Orthodox churches, ten of which are now protected with UNESCO World Heritage status. The churches of Asinou, Panayia Tou Araka and the Archangel Michael are notable highlights and well worth a visit. A glimpse of monastic life can be had at the celebrated monasteries of Kykko (20km west of Pedhoulas) and the spectacular Ayios Ioannis Lamndhistis (near the village of Kalopanayiotis). Local monks are happy to welcome visitors and pilgrims alike.

If you’re on the island between New Year and the end of March it’s possible to go skiing in the Troodos Mountains. Mount Olympus has seven runs, so there’s something to suit all abilities, and you can always head down to the coast for some lively après ski.

Driving in the Troodos Mountains has been elevated to something of an art form; road conditions are perilous, corners lethal and the scenery distracting. However, if you take things slowly you shouldn’t have any problems. Troodos has some great accommodation options, ranging from slick spa resorts to cosy farmhouses. Back on the coast the mountains might seem a distant memory, but their physical presence ensures that at least one corner of Cyprus will avoid the headlong rush into the modern age.