Cyprus has a rich history in wine-making. With many wine villages, it’s the ideal place for a connoisseur to enjoy a relaxing holiday in. Τhough not all wine villages produce wine or have a winery, some are named and categorized as wine villages because the grape vines and grapes used to make the wines are cultivated there. Most of the villages are situated in the Troodos Mountains which are accessed via a road originating from the Main Highway as it passes through Limassol, which is about a 45 minute drive away from FIg Tree Villa. But it is well worth a day out in Troodos, especially if you want to escape the heat in high season as it is much cooler up there, it is also very pretty in the other seasons and there are many nice walks passing monasteries, interesting churches and waterfalls, you can even ski or snowboard in Troodos in Winter.
The village of Arsos is one of the biggest wine producing villages in Cyprus. It lies 40 kilometres from Limassol and 45 kilometres from Paphos It is built on the slopes of Laona mountain, 1092 metres above sea level, with an open horizon on the Valley of the Diarizos River, as far as the sea of Paphos. Thanks to this geographical position, it enjoys a wonderful cool and dry climate in summer and attracts hundreds of tourists. There are two stories regarding the origin of its name. One says that it comes from the Holy Alsos (grove) of the goddess Aphrodite, where the village is built, and the other tells us that it was one of the 4 towns founded by Ptolemy Philadelphos in the honour of Arsinoe. The Nikolettino Winery was established in the eighties and is run by Yiannakis Achilleas. The winery has it’s own vineyards in the nearby villages. Amongst their grapes are Maratheftiko, Mavro, Xynisteri, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Barignan Noir and Mataro. It is a modern winery with storage and maturing of the wines in isothermal cellars. The winery’s annual production is 70 000 bottles. Telephone: +357 25 56 82 22, Mobile: +357 99 43 71 37. See more at: http://wineriescyprus.com/nikolettino-winery
Vasa Koilaniou or Krasochorio
The Vasa winery is one of the largest wineries in Cyprus. The village can be found on the slopes of Troodos mountains range. Located roughly 36 kilometers, to the northwest of the city of Limassol, it is situated at an altitude of 790 meters. The intensive cultivation of its vineyards, grapes and wines has played a big role in the rise and prosperity of the constant economic growth of the village. Thus, the famous wine village Vasa Kilaniou or Krasoxorion has traditionally contributed to the production of high-quality Cypriot wine. After the Second World War, Vasa, along with the rest wine villages, experienced the economic decline. It is noticeable that the 2001 census showed that Vasa was inhabited by only 120 people. However, the village has been developed as a tourist destination managing both, to preserve and highlight its tradition and history. Apart from the production of local wine, Vasa’s people still prepare traditional products derived from their grapes, such as “soutziouko”, “palouze” and “kiofterka.”
Pachna is a large village located about 35 kilometers southwest of Limassol. The village altitude ranges from 400-745 meters above sea level. It mostly consists of two-storey houses that are gloriously characterized with limestone blocks, which are beautifully hugged day and night by the village’s vine trees. The main occupations of the villagers are livestock and winegrowing and that is why it is considered to be the largest winegrowing village in Cyprus. Every year around the middle of August, the village hosts a grape festival. Pachna is also very famous for its dairy products, traditional Cypriot Zivania and the excellent food in its local taverns.
Omodos is the main wine village of Cyprus. It is located on a hill, about 80 kilometers southwest of the city of Nicosia and is situated around 900 meters above sea level. Aside from the winery, the village of Omodos also houses several museums; the museum of Byzantine Icons, Museum of Folk Art and the National Liberation museum. The village itself was built to go around the monastery of the holy cross, which according to reports dates back as far as 337 A.D. when Saint Helena came to Cyprus. Inside the monastery lies a piece of the holy rope that was apparently used to tie Christ’s hands to the cross during his crucifixion. Omodos is well known from antiquity for its choice grapes and tasty wines. According to tradition the excellent quality Moschato wine Afamis, took its name from the name of the mountain east of the village and made the Soultan Selim the B’ want to own the Cyprus just to have this famous wine. The fact that Omodos produced traditional wine is also known from the medieval lino which is located at a small distance from the monastery of the Timios Stavros. Omodos, apart from the agriculture of vineyards and the production of wine and zivania, is also well known for the production of soutziouko, palouze, kofterkka and koulouria. The arkatena koulouira of Omodos are famous in Cyprus. There are also excellent Greek fruit sweets produced in the village from fruit trees in the area. Cottage industry has also bloomed in Omodos. The women of the village apart from working hard on the land, also create handmade embroidery, producing crochet work, table-cloths and bedspreads. Omodos is built on the side of a mountain amongst a green carpet of vineyards, surrounded by mountains, and is one of the most beautiful villages in Cyprus. The large village square houses the monastery of the Timio Stavro. The medieval lino, the narrow roads and the stone- built houses give the village a particular beauty and Cypriot charm to which the flower-filled gardens and the wooden decorations on the balconies contribute.
Platres is a very old village and is mentioned among the 119 villages of the Limassol district that existed during the Lusignan (Frank Rule, 1192-1489 AD) and the Venetian Era (1489-1571 AD). Platres is located on the southern slopes of the Troodos Mountains, and it’s situated at an altitude of 1.128 meters above sea level. Platres is a highly popular holiday getaway for locals and tourists alike. It is surrounded by a Forest and the Cold River (Kryos Potamos). That combined gives Platres its fantastic climate for growing and cultivating grape vines. It has a number of great hotels, a gorgeous cottage, a tourist information office and several souvenir shops. On the way to Platres, you will pass the Trout Farm and a very famous nature walk, the “Kaledonia Nature Trail”, which has a popular waterfall, but at certain times of the year, this may be reduced to more of a trickle! Head on up just a little further to the village of Troodos after visiting Platres to shop in the busy square and gaze at the amazing views.
Doros village can be found in the Limassol district, about 25 kilometers outside the city. It is situated on a hill with an altitude of 470 meters. Surrounding the village are almond trees and grape vines. Doros, build its reputation by making the finest Koumandaria in Cyprus (sweet dessert wine) and Zivania, a popular spirit among the locals, by using nothing but the highest quality of grapes. In 1998, Panayiotis Karseras, the Community President of the village, his wife Lenia, and their four children, refurbished the old Karseras Family Winery and recommenced the production of Commandaria, “the world’s oldest named wine still in production”. This winery is the only independent family winery that specializes in Commandaria. It is open daily all year round for free wine tasting and tours around the winery. Doros also has a community park filled with pine trees, a windmill and an old water pump that functions till this day and continues to provide a clean supply of fresh water. The village houses a church built early in the 20th century, called Panagia Galaktotrofousa, named after a Byzantine picture presenting Virgin Mary, breastfeeding Jesus Christ.
According to legend, Lаneia received its name in honour of the daughter of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. You can find an ancient and authentic wine press, Linos, dating back to 1822, which proves the history of the village, famous for its wine-making traditions, vineyards and wine of high quality. Painters and writers who come to the island choose this village as their retreat, mesmerized by the beauty of the surrounding mountainous landscape, the small streets of outstanding beauty and picturesque views. In a village tavern they will treat you to tasty home-made food, whilst the locals teach you about bee farming, fruit growing (pears, plums, apricots and others), processing of walnuts and, of course, wine-making. Is it said that after the vineyards died in France, King Henry himself arrived here to find healthy wine plantations. Laneia villagers gave some vine shoots to the king and he loaded them on a ship and later planted them on his native French soil to produce the champagne wines. Laneia is one of ten villages in the region which produce the basis for Commandaria. If you get the chance, try the tangy old wine called ‘nama’
Lofou is another village famous for its Koumandaria, and its abundance of water supply from the “Kryos” and “Kouris” rivers. Lofou village is located about 28 kilometers northwest of the city of Limassol. Several taverns can be found around the village, which only serve authentic, traditional Cypriot food. Today the restored houses of the village with their beautiful wooden balconies, the narrow cobblestone streets, the neoclassical school, the magnificent church, the traditional olive and flour mill in the rural museum, the taps and cisterns and numerous other small beautiful details that constitute the village attractmany visitors. The village holds special events like the ‘Palouze Festival’ on the last Sunday of September, the commemoration of the hero of Lofou ‘Ioannis Stavrianos’ and the 25th March feast of the Virgin Mary. The visitors can taste Palouze for free at the festival, you can also see folk craftsmen, potters, woodcarvers, exhibiting their traditional creations. For the children there are donkey rides. The cultivation of vineyards constituted one of the main occupations of the Cypriots from older times until today, and it was closely connevted with their life, customs and culture. The soft climate and the territorial conditions were ideal for the growth of vineyards. The local wine of Lofou was famous all over Cyprus for its excellent quality.
If you would like to visit a couple of wineries a little nearer to Fig Tree Villa in the area of Lefkara, then please see my other post here. Also if you are in Cyprus at the end of August/Beginning of September you may want to visit the Limassol Wine Festival, see details here.