Cyprus is for Cycling
Text: Mikaelo Papadakis
“Cycling vacations last longer”. This is not a new age slogan, but rather the result of a research conducted by the University of Oslo, whose end results proved that cyclists retain and can recall more details of their holidays compared to those using conventional modes of transport at a whooping 400% rate. So if you wish your holiday in Cyprus to remain for ever engraved in your mind –as well as your heart– you should get on your bike and go freewheeling on the loveliest cycling routes you will ever encounter. Either short or long, flat, uphill or downhill, on dirt roads or asphalt and steep rocky mountains, one thing is guaranteed: these rides will be unforgettable…
RIDING UPHILL TO LEFKARA
North of Tochni, in the mountainous area of Larnaca District, we take an uphill asphalt route, that leads us to our first stop: the village of Skarinou at 12km from Bike Center, where we can taste donkey milk, carob honey and other traditional products at the Golden Donkeys Farm. Then we start a demanding 10km uphill course that will bring us to an altitude of 500 meters and picturesque Lefkara, the most popular village in Cyprus, world renowned for its embroidery. Lefkara Pavilion is by far the best restaurant, serving the famed lefkara’s ttava (lamb or goat in the oven with rice), while Tasties or Stone Lounge offer great snacks and invigorating coffee.
This route is also ideal for oenophile cyclists who wish to visit the nearby wineries, either while cycling towards Lefkara where Ktima Dafermou is located, or going downhill from Kato Drys to Vavla, to Ktima Christoudia.
MOUNTAIN BIKING ON TROODOS MOUNTAIN RANGE
Avid mountain bikers will thoroughly enjoy the challenge of a 24km difficult, cyclical route starting and ending at the Troodos Square (altitude 1,707m.) and a total ascension of 700m. From the square we follow the forest trail “Persephone” until we reach the famous Kalidonia waterfalls. The route is downhill, but requires advanced cycling techniques. Approximately 1km further away, beforethe ascent to Prodromos, we make a short stop to grab a bite and sip some coffee in Platres, the highest mountain village of Cyprus (1,380m.). After eating in the taverna Ayios Dimitrios, we indulge our sweet tooth at Sokolatopoieion and keep going. In Prodromos we visit the abandoned legendary hotel Veregaria, known as the “Hotel of Royals”, that operated from 1931 to 1984. Our return to Troodos is steep and crosses delightful open spaces like the Prodromos’ Dam, located 3km outside the village. Just before we reach the square, at an altitude of 1,757m. lies the Jubilee Hotel, the highest hotel in Cyprus, ideal for coffee and early drinks.
Don’t miss the Chantara waterfalls, near Platres, and you must definitely try the traditional phiniotika loukoumia (Turkish delights) at the village of Phini.