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A New Way To See Cyprus

11/02/2014 - by Melissa South
Head a little further up the age-range, and you'll find those who seek generic sun-drenched villas that could be anywhere - Greece, Italy, Spain.  Both of these miss out on what really makes Cyprus Cypriot - the rural culture around Pafos and Lemesos that has followed the same rhythms for millennia.  No longer, though, are these areas with their gorgeous, picturesque traditions an afterthought, a hasty day-trip on which to nurse a hangover - for some tourists, they're becoming the beginning and end to a trip to Aphrodite's Island.

A New Kind Of Tourism

There's a name for when you try to embed yourself in the rural lifestyle and traditions of a particular country: agrotourism.  If you've come from a busy city, it makes perfect sense as a way to unwind and relocate yourself - why swap a jammed-out and sweating underground carriage for the same thing but with the added ear-splitting bass in Ayia Napa, or a generic office block for a generic villa? Instead, get yourself an apartment in a converted stables among in the pine trees in the hills above Lemesos, where the sweltering summer heat drops lower into the kinder twenties, and spend your days wandering from vineyard to village, as true Cypriot life meanders around you. Aware of the growing popularity to tourists of their rural idyll, the Cyprus Agrotourism Company can provide you with specific details about events and local festivals taking place in the villages - but wouldn't it be just as fun, and more in keeping with the spirit of the place, to just see what you happen to stumble across?

Investing In The Past For The Future

The one thing that might, if you're of the more pampered persuasion, fill you with dread about all of this, is the prospect of what your actual living quarters in that Cypriot village will look like. Spartan at best, right? At worst - a donkey in the next stall, air-conditioning provided by a fan emitting clouds of dust and not much else, so little security for your valuables you might as well arrange them display-style. Perhaps once, but no longer. In the past twenty years of so, an initiative spearheaded by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation has brought about a program of restoration to traditional rural buildings to make them inhabitable, and beyond. Take, for example the now-famous Casale Panayiotis, a hotel-spa hybrid built in the shadow of the St John Lapadistis monastery, that houses eager agrotourists in 28 separate traditional village houses. It's luxury, but in its own, authentic, unique way.

Off The Beaten Track

Of course, deep down most people know that while some tranquillity is bliss, a lot is too much of a good thing - but don't imagine that just because you're away from the fleshpots and sunspots of the coast that all chance of excitement is gone.  Mountain biking, for example, is hugely popular in the Cypriot countryside, and you can do a number of guided tours through the Akamas and Troodos regions, taking in beaches, coastlines and all the randomly-scattered archaeology that a small country with 3000 years of history can throw at you.  But if you'd prefer to stay at a more leisurely pace, simply rent a bike and spend the time winding along the roads connecting the villages, exploring what you wish to explore.

The Necessary Facts

Lastly, a little pre-emptive housekeeping.  Any resident of the EU can stay in Cyprus for up to 90 days with only a passport, and this is the case for many non-European countries, although visas are country-dependent. You can bring pets in too with only an up-to-date pet passport, which is a boon - after all, why you should you be the only one roaming free in the rural idyll? At present the only accepted currency in Cyprus is the Euro, although the Cyprus Tourism Organisation has sought to make money-changing facilities available to holidaymakers through their tourism-focused developments, should you get caught short.  Otherwise, unfortunately you might have to briefly venture back to humanity - but fear not, a glass of wine and the muted sounds of village life will be waiting for you when you get back.

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  • 18/01/2014 - by Eleni P Hoplaros

    As CyHerbia explains, each plant has a purpose, to benefit humans and animals in many ways. In fact, so many are the benefits of herbs to our body, that man has been studying herbs for thousands of years and volumes of books have been written about them.

    Around 80% of the earth’s population use herbs as medicine for various health problems. Herbal medicine forms the foundation of every traditional medical method around the world. Even now, pharmaceutical companies are always researching medical properties of herbs, and they are extensively used in modern medicine. Studies have indicated that generally they have fewer side effects and many are as effective as chemical medicine. (source: World Health Organization)

    In the Mediterranean in ancient times herbs were used both as food and as medicine.

    2500 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote: If people ate correctly and ate well there would not be any illnesses!  In effect, he said that prevention is better than cure. He knew that the appropriate diet could not only prevent but also cure certain diseases. Science has changed since then, but this statement has always been true even until today. The diet Hippocrates wrote about is now known as the Mediterranean diet.

    Cyprus has a rich tradition of herbal medicine, first and foremost as prevention, and also as cure. Until the last century, heart diseases and cancer were almost unknown on the island.

    In the first century AD, Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman historian and scientist, wrote: ‘The herbs of Cyprus are the best of the Roman Empire.’ The climate and soil conditions here are ideal for herbs to grow and to have the highest yield of essential oils.
    When you use herbs in your every day diet, as tea or in cooking, you’re much less likely to get ill, and your food tastes so much better too!

    Winter’s arrived and many are suffering with a cold. Why not start drinking herbal tea now?  Herbs augment the body’s own defenses, nipping that nasty cold in the bud –without medicine. Some of the most effective herbs to combat a cold are thyme, sage and elderflower. All these herbs grow in abundance on the island. They are antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial and strengthen the immune system.

    When a cold has settled in the throat, or even in the bronchae, there are many herbal remedies to clear out phlegm, bring relief from cough and sore throat and combat viral or bacterial infection. Licorice root forms the basis of most cough medicines even today, it’s wonderfully soothing. Sage and thyme are great expectorant herbs, plus they combat viral and bacterial infections. If you’ve ever been to the mountain villages in the winter, you’ll see all the old boys drinking sage tea all day in the kafenia. Sage protects them from colds, strengthens the blood and keeps them warm. It is also called the herb of longevity. For blocked sinuses and stuffy noses we can take elderflower or chamomile, or even blend the 2 together, to really clear out these blockages and get rid of all that mucus.

    For further information, visit www.cyherbia.com

    CyHerbia Organic Herb Garden & Maze

  • 18/01/2014 - by Eleni P Hoplaros

    Things To Do In Troodos

    There are 9 picnic sites within the park area which provide the facilities that one may need such as tables, toilets, drinking water, and so forth; and there are also 3 camping sites, 2 of which are very basic and therefore only suitable for short stays.  These are located at Kampi tou Kalogyrou and Platania.  The third site which can be used for longer stays lies about 500m east of Troodos square.

    There are also 10 renowned nature paths whose overall length measures at 57.6km and which are well looked after and signposted.  Accessibility by wheelchair has been made available for one of those paths.

    Things to see in Troodos

    In terms of geology, the Troodos Forest area has been of significant interest to the international scientific community because of the different types of rocks that can be found there.  They belong to the ophiolithic complex which is one of the most developed internationally and this is why they are being studied. There are many rocks found in the Park including serpentine, dunite, wehrlite, and volcanic rocks, amongst others. 

    There is an abundance of flora recorded in the Park as well.  Of the almost 750 individual species, 72 are native to Cyprus, 12 of which are exclusive to the Park.  The Park also serves as the main habitat in Cyprus for a variety of hardy plant species like the wild service tree, barberry, etc.

    With regards to fauna, the Park is also home to rare and protected animal life such as the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), Raven (Corvus corax), Bonelli’s Eagle, to name a few.

    As for the hydrology of the Park, much of the drinking water supplied to many of the villages surrounding Troodos Park stem from approximately 50 springs in the forest feeding off Kouris, Kryos Potamos, Karkotis and Marathasa river.

    Troodos National Forest Park

  • 18/01/2014 - by Eleni P Hoplaros

    Located in the southeast of the island, next to Cape Greko, the Ayia Napa Sea Caves are easily accessible, and therefore a site worth visiting while on vacation in Ayia Napa, Paralimni or Protaras.

    The caves have been formed thanks to the sea pounding on the walls of the cliffs over thousands of years.

    Not far from the sea caves there are a couple of sites where you can enjoy amazing views of the Ayia Napa’s coast. 

    Konnos Bay is only a short distance away and also worth a visit.


    • To explore the caves climb down carefully to sea level at the east end of the cliff and walk close to the walls. 

    • The water is crystal clear and quite deep, so the adventurous usually like to jump off the cliff into the water instead of climbing down the rocks.

    • Make sure you have a camera with you: the sunset here can be pretty spectacular!

    Look Out For:

    • Make sure you wear comfortable shoes so that you can explore the caves safely.

    The Ayia Napa Sea Caves


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  • Akrounta Dam

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    just a heads-up that Akrounta dam is the same with Germasoyia dam
  • Germasogeia Dam

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    You have to choose the time of year when you visit the dam (and the nature trail behind it). In sumemr it is dry-as all of Cyprus- an dmostly empty, but in late wintera nd spring, especially if the winter has been good and rainy, it is all green and full of beautiful flowers. It is one of my fav. spots to visit in Limassol
  • Caledonian Falls

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    Mother Nature again showing off.The falls are not very high, only about 10 metres or so but they are impressive and the walk to them is nice.One word of advice - walk up from Platres, not down from Trrodos, becase when you leave you go downhill back to Platres instead of uphill to Troodos

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