Cyprus with Cobalt Air: Mountain villages of Cyprus
Though Cyprus is most famous for its beaches and ancient ruins, the many mountain villages across the country offer some wonderful holiday experiences. Especially for travellers who love peace and quiet, expansive panoramas, and night skies filled with stars, a stay in a Cypriot mountain village presents the possibility of experiencing another kind of Mediterranean holiday. Not that the nightlife need be far away; some of the most scenic villages in Cyprus are less than an hour from its major cities.
Vavla is the perfect example. A tiny village on a ridge with endless mountain views, Vavla is only about 35 minutes’ driving time from Larnaca International Airport but is worlds away from city life. That does not mean it is not international, though. Vavla Rustic Retreat, a charming family compound restored to welcome guests looking for serenity and comfort, welcomes visitors from all over the world. The family who own Vavla Rustic Retreat want their guests to feel the generations of history in the private courtyard and in the rooms which open onto it. It often happens that families and groups of friends buy out the entire property to have a private compound for their stays. Though there is no restaurant on the premises, right around the corner is Our House, another
guesthouse run by a couple devoted to the preservation of traditional village life. This includes traditional cuisine. Our House is well known for its excellent breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and though is a guesthouse too, the friendly owners welcome Vavla Rustic Retreat guests as if their own.
Eating well is also a focus for Lofou Agrovino in the village of Lofou about 45 minutes’ drive into the mountains north of Limassol. Lofou Taverna is famous throughout Cyprus for its excellent food and attracts visitors from far and wide who come to enjoy the best of country cuisine next to the fireplace, especially in the winter when the occasional snowfall brings curious Cypriots to the village to see a phenomenon they may have only seen on television or in the movies. Lofou Agrovino is the friendly wine bar run by the affable Dimitris, who also handles bookings for the various guestrooms, here called studios. As at Vavla Rustic Retreat, there are rooms grouped around courtyards which can be made private for families and friends.
Paphos also has a mountain village popular with international travellers. Close enough to the city to enjoy the sights and go shopping but in a totally different atmosphere once the urban area is left behind, Episkopi Heights is a group of three restored houses next to the soaring cliff for which the town is famous. Looking in the other direction is an expansive view of green hills; it is hard to believe this tiny village is less than 15 kilometres from Paphos. The one-bedroom house called Anoi sits highest on the compound’s cliffside location and offers splendid views from the bedroom windows and outdoor seating area. A fourth residence called Piskopos House, across the road and down the hill, is the most luxurious of all and can also be hired for an indulgent getaway.
The organisation Cyprus Agrotourism is making a spirited effort to promote holidays in guesthouses in small villages across the island. A visit to the Cyprus Agrotourism website shows the current members. Cyprus Tourism also has information on its website about mountain village holidays. The enjoyment of mountain life is impossible without a car, so it’s a good thing that locally owned Astra Car Rental can provide late-model automobiles with unlimited kilometres to explore the country at leisure. A family-owned enterprise, Astra Car Rental knows Cyprus from end to end and has offices in various locations across the country.
Cobalt Air, the new national airline of Cyprus, continues to add new routes connecting Cyprus to European and regional destinations. The airline’s newest route connects Athens with Paphos, supplementing existing service to the airline’s hub at Larnaca International Airport.