Covering around a third of the country, the Troodos Mountains feel a world apart from the bustling towns and cities of the coast. This privately guided tour, which generally takes most of a day, gives you a chance to head inland to the mountains, exploring small towns and villages. You’ll pass through valleys dotted with churches and monasteries, some of which you can visit for a closer look, and take time for a leisurely two-hour hike along a nature trail. (You also have the option to do this tour without the hike if you’d rather.)
Throughout the day, your guide will fill you in on the history and culture of the area, as well as helping to identify the flora and fauna you encounter as you walk through pine forest. You’ll also have time to pause for lunch at a local taverna.Your day begins as you’re picked up from your hotel in Limassol or Pissouri by your private driver and guide. As you journey inland, the landscapes changes gradually, becoming increasingly hilly and mountainous. The cooler air here attracts locals looking to escape the heat during summer, while in winter, the deep valleys and pine forests are coated in snow. Your guide will point out the region’s highest point, Mount Olympus, which rises 1,952 m (6,404 ft).
On reaching the start of the hiking trail, you’ll head out on foot with your guide leading the way through thick forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife — the Troodos region is home to around half of the species endemic to Cyprus, including the mouflon, a wild sheep with huge curved horns, as well as the Cyprus wheatear and the Cyprus warbler.
You might also spot rare griffon vultures, whose numbers in Cyprus are being bolstered by vultures brought over from Crete, and Bonelli’s eagles, which are the only eagles that breed in Cyprus. Your guide will help point them out, along with some of the rare fauna found along the route. The walk covers around 3 km (1.8 miles) and is suitable for anyone with limited hiking experience.
After your hike, you’ll travel to the village of Kalopanayiotis, where you’ll visit a taverna for a local lunch. Then, you head to your last stop of the day, the monastery of Saint John Lampadistis. The monastery is one of nine Byzantine churches in the area, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll find a centuries-old complex of three churches, the oldest dating back to the 11th century. While unassuming from the outside, the interior is covered from floor to ceiling in painted Byzantine frescoes dating between the 11th and 19th centuries.
Once you’ve finished looking around the monastery, your driver will take you back to your hotel.