This tour offers the perfect combination of a picturesque ride with an authentic experience of Cyprus tradition and wine tasting. Lefkara is famous for its lace (known as ‘Lefkaritika’) and intricate silver handicrafts, whilst the village takes its name from the white of its silica and limestone.
Points of Interest: Environmental Information Centre of Larnaka’s Mountainous Areas, Dafermou Winery, Lefkara Village, Timios Stavros Church (Holy Cross), Ethnological Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmith-work, Panagia Eleousa Church, Bee & Embroidery Museum, Ktima Christoudia Winery, Agios Minas Monastery, Loulla’s Farm – Halloumi Cheese Workshop, Petros Nikolaou Basket Weaving Workshop, Ktima Georgiades (olive oil and donkey milk products)
Pass through Tersefanou and follow the signs for the Highway to Limassol and after about 20 mins drive down the Highway you will see the signs for Skarinou. Built on the side of the hill with the unique Cypriot terrain as its background, Skarinou preserves its traditional architecture. The houses resemble the old traditional stone buildings reminiscent of days passed and gone. And as with most small villages in Cyprus, Skarinou’s dominant landmark is the church of The Guiding Virgin Mary (Panayia i Odigidria) which stands proud and tall at the entrance of the village, welcoming both locals and visitors. Furthermore, the old style identity of the village remains intact with its narrow streets leading to squares and natural openings. Houses with central courtyards and heavy, big entrance doors (outer-doors known in Greek as ksoportia) are still found all over the village which is built in different levels due to the morphology of the ground. In this small village, where architectural structure blends in with nature and modernization co-exist with tradition, culture and customs have survived through time. A walk through the village may lead you to see women embroidering or knitting in their courtyards or even making the traditional halloumi (Cypriot cheese). Don’t be surprised if you are called in by these hospitable people to be treated to a homemade sweet or a cup of coffee as this is considered natural and is very common. Next you will need to drive steeply uphill to Lefkara, this road has beautiful panoramic views.
Just before reaching the village of Kato Lefkara you can make your first wine tasting stop of the day at Dafermou Winery, an old style winery that uses modern production methods. After finishing your first winery visit, you can continue your journey through Kato Lefkara to reach Pano Lefkara. This is really one of the most beautiful villages on the island, with numerous traditional houses that have been listed by the Department of Antiquities and the Department of Housing and Urbanism.
As well as enjoying the traditional architecture of the village, you can also visit the Local Ethnological Museum of Traditional Embroidery and Silversmith-work, this is contained within the ‘House of Patsalos’, which was named after its owner – a member of one of the village’s richest families. The entire house is constructed out of local white limestone and contains several rooms built during different periods from the 19th to the early 20th century. The ground floor showcases traditional village life within a rural-type dining room and storeroom that display large jars and agricultural implements and tools. The three rooms of the upper floor contain the typical furnishings of a grand Lefkara house of the 19th and early 20th centuries, along with traditional costumes, jewelry, silverwork, and a large collection of old Lefkara embroidery, for which the village is renowned. The ‘House of Patsalos’ was acquired by the Department of Antiquities in 1983, thanks to a donation by Mr Stelios Ioannou, and after its restoration was officially opened to the public as a museum in August 1988.
Timios Stavros Church (Holy Cross) and numerous historic chapels that can be found in every part of the village. You might also want to buy gifts and souvenirs from the multitude of interesting little shops here, as Lefkara is also famous for its lace-making.
Your tour continues towards the traditional village of Kato Drys, with its charming limestone houses and winding roads. In Kato Drys, you can stop for a visit at the informative Bee & Embroidery Museum (closed on Thursdays) and the charming Panagia Eleousa Church before you descend towards the next winery of Ktima Christoudia, which is on the way from Kato Drys towards the village of Vavla. The winery offers all of the local wine varieties, as well as many traditional grape products, including Shoushoukos and Palouzes sweets and the potent spirit, Zivania. Wine tasting is complimentary for visitors.
If you wish to continue exploring the area after your wine tasting, you can ride towards the next village, Vavla, to enjoy a taste of different products made with honey from the local beekeepers. On your way to Vavla you will also pass by 15th century Agios Minas Monastery, which is worth a visit as it is one of the biggest in Cyprus. The monastery dates back to the early 16th century and is mentioned by monk Vasily Barski, when he visited the monastery in November, 1737. The elaborate wood engraving and the fresco of Saint Minas have made the monastery famous. The monastery from the mid-18th century was abandoned and reopened after renovation in 1964, as a female monastery.
After Vavla, the route back to Skarinou can be taken by following the road to Choirokoitia, where you will be rewarded with another interesting visit, this time at the local Halloumi farm – ‘Loulla’s Farm’. At the farm you will have the opportunity to watch the farmer make Halloumi cheese in the traditional way, and for a small fee, you can also partake in the tasting of fresh Halloumi with locally-grown tomatoes, village bread and traditional coffee.
With the Halloumi cheese having whetted your appetite for local cuisine, the journey back passes by the restaurant of Ktima Georgiades, a traditional rural retreat complete with Donkey Farm in Skarinou Village, which is well known for its olive oil and donkey milk products. There you can feast on a variety of local home-made dishes, including moussaka and a range of meats cooked over charcoal. (open until 5-6pm)
You can journey back to Fig Tree Villa, by heading back up the main Highway turning off at the junction for Klavdia which will take you back via Tersefanou past the wind turbines, or alternatively follow the signs to Zygi from the Highway and follow the picturesque coast road back into Kiti. Both routes should take you around 30-40 minutes.