Arrival to Cyprus and accommodation in the Hotel
We continue our journey with visit to one of the famous Archeological site mount of Kourion, on which the ancient city-kingdom developed, occupies a dominant position on the coast 4 km southwest of the village of Episkopi in Limassol district. The earliest evidence of settlement in the broader area of Kourion dates to the Neolithic period (4500-3900 B.C.), whilst the most ancient remains in the area of the ancient city itself are connected with settlements and tombs of the Middle and Late Bronze Age. According to tradition Kourion was founded by Argives in the 13th century BC, during the first wave of the Mycenaean expansion and others followed the Argives in the 12th century as a result of the Dorian invasion of Greece.
Systematic excavations were undertaken in 1933-54 by the Pennsylvania University Museum with a break during the war years. During the excavations, the building of the Achilles Mosaic, the Theatre, the Baths and the Complex of Eustolios, the Stadium and the Sanctuary of Apollon Hylates came to light. In 1974-1979 the American Mission of the Dumbarton Oaks Centre for Byzantine Studies carried out excavations in the Early Christian Basilica of Kourion. At the same time (from 1964 until today) the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus excavated the Agora, the House of Gladiators, the Small Basilica next to the Stadium and the newly discovered Coastal Basilica. The Department is also responsible for the creation of the archaeological park of Kourion.
The city has a very large market place and you can find an early Christian Basilica as well within the city walls. Furthermore, large public baths which were equipped with cold, warm and hot spas were built. The large amphitheater sits 2000 spectators and held mostly gladiator games in the city; there is also a Palestra or a training place for gladiators. It’s one of the best sightseeing tours in Cyprus and must be on your Cyprus Holiday agenda.
We will stop for early dinner at one of the traditional Fish tavern on the beach at the bottom of Kourion.
Free day to explore the city
Full day Grand Safari excursion will take you on a grand tour of what the true world of the Cypriot is. It will necessarily be on a 4x4 Landrover, as the hilly roads into and across the Troodos mountains are narrow, winding and steep when you leave the main road.
In this tour of Cyprus, we could start our day of rugged mountain scenery at 10 am, with our first stop at the Dam of Asprokremos, the second largest dam in Cyprus, at an altitude of about 100 m above sea level and 16 km (10 miles) east of the city of Paphos. Keep your cameras handy for our drive through Diakizos Vallery and a coffee break at one of the local traditional villages. It will serve as a reminder of the places we could then drive to Gefalos Bridge, a 15th century bridge built by the Venetians.
Our next off-road experience will be at Stavros Tis Psokas, in Paphos forest where we will stop at Platania Forest Station forest station to see the famous Moufflon in their natural habitat. The elusive Moufflon, or agrino, is native only to Cyprus and if you are lucky, maybe a sighting too!
We should have lunch at Pedoulas village (the cherry village of Cyprus), an enjoyable traditional Cyprus lunch, i.e., eat and drink as much as you can washed down with local ‘plonk’, the vernacular for wine. In an enthralling drive through Platres you will encounter lush greenery and waterfalls as well as springs and beautiful wildlife.
Continuing the excursion, we will stop in the small traditional village of Laneia, in the hills of the wine making region of Limasol. The village probably got its name from Lana, the daughter of Dionysos, the God of wine. Its altitude provides great views for tourists. On a downslope facing south, its white chalky soil offers ideal conditions for growing grapes for producing top quality wines.
Laneia village nestles in the Camanderia wine region of Cyprus. Laneia is indubitably the prettiest village on Troodos Road. Typically narrow lanes, with roads a donkey width, Laneia is made up of ancient stone houses and cottages. We will approach the village from the South, park at the lower end, and walk through flowered lanes past the museum, winery and olive presses. Most tours around Cyprus have a scheduled stopover here.
Archeological artifacts dated circa 1050 –750 BC show this village to be at least 3,000 years old. Moreover, there are clear indications Laneia was an important settlement for the miners during the peak of copper production in Cyprus around 1600 BC.
This village has a rich religious background and forms a part of religious tours as well. An important legacy of Laneia is its church, built during the 17th century in honour of Panagia Chrysospiliotissa. The 12th century Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary of Valana in the Church is believed to have miraculous powers. A pair of wooden carved boards depicting the scene of Adam and Eve with the serpent offering the forbidden fruit is also kept there, reportedly dating back to the 12th century.
We will then continue through the woods and villages of Troodos. While driving through Troodos’ picturesque mountains, we will stop almost two thirds the way up, at the elegantly crafted inspection platform, just off the main road, for about ten minutes as this is probably the best located place to capture the Cypriot natural world in your camera. The platform itself is worth a close look. The top of Mount Olympus also provides stunning views of the north and south coastline. You really get a good insight into the true Cyprus and the views are awesome - plus the smell of the mountains is delightful.
Of the most interesting sight to visit, are the very old monasteries, most of which are found along the perimeter of the Park. Many of them have been restored and are protected, like the Agios Nikolaos at Kakopetria, Ayios loannis Lampadistis at Kalopanagiotis village, Timios Stavros at Peledri, Trooditissa near Platres and Trikoukkia at Prodromos.
Furthermore, visitors can have a pleasant time visiting Kaledonia falls, the closed Asbestos mine where restoration works are in progress, and the centuries-old trees of black pine and foetid juniper on the higher elevations of the park.
Our tour will finish with stops for dinner in one of the local tavern. Choice of fish or meat meze will be included.
Free day to explore the city
Full day trip to Birth Place of Aphrodite (Paphos).
According to one legend, Aphrodite was born from the waves on the site off the coast of Cyprus. Hesiod, in his Theogony (circa 8th century BC), provides a dramatic account of the event. Cronus, son of Gaia, castrated his father Uranus on his mother’s orders because of Uranus’ infidelity, and his testicles fell into the sea. A cascade of effervescent white foam appeared from which a damsel of extraordinary beauty arose. This maiden was named Aphrodite who was then escorted ashore on a shell by the soft breezes of the Zephyrs to the rocks known as Petra tou Romiou (Rock of the Greek) and also Aphrodite’s Rock.
According to another, this place is indeed the birthplace of Aphrodite. It is believed that she emerged from the sea at this bay. Aphrodite herself chose the famous rock to begin her life as a human. It is said that Aphrodite first traveled to the island of Cythera, but she found it too small and therefore reached Paphos and settled here. Whichever the legend, this is a popular site for an excursion in Cyprus.
After the lunch we will continue our journey to the Bath of Aphrodite.
The ‘Baths of Aphrodite’ is an area on the way to Akamas National Park just after pictures village of Latchi which attracts many visitors. This beauty spot is situated close to the tip of the Akamas peninsula. A natural pool grotto surrounded in greenery, the site lies at the end of a small nature trail. As its name suggests, the grotto is said to be where the Goddess of Love used to bath in a pond just before her marriage to Hephaestus, the maker of the weapons for the gods. Another version says she was married to Ares, the God of War. Whichever the version, the Baths of Aphrodite provide a magnificent view of the Bay of Polis. You can enjoy the most beautiful sunset during the dinner from the restaurant on the cliff.
Full day tour to the ‘Lost City’ is intensely exciting and evokes memories of Pompeii and Atlantis.
On this excursion, we will first start with the city of Famagusta, which has that infinitesimal element of mystery that attracts curious visitors. Famagusta is the de jure capital of the Famagusta District of the Republic of Cyprus. Just east of Nicosia, this city has started to develop and there is a general belief that it may finally be on its way to recapturing its past glory and once again become a world-class tourist destination. It possesses the deepest harbor of the island, though not in use today. To deepen the mystique, Famagusta has within its ramparts a surreal and beautiful ghost township called Varosha, frozen in time for 40 years now. This is definitely one of the many places to see in Cyprus.
Varosha had regal status in the 1960s as the Middle East's Riviera, with its crescent shaped white sand beach that lured 10,000 tourists at a time from all over the world. Movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Brigitte Bardot and high flying pop groups were regular visitors. The now decrepit Argo Hotel on JFK Avenue was always booked full. Varosha was also a posh residential area, mainly occupied by Greek Cypriots. But after the Turkish invasion of 1974, all Greek Cypriots were driven off and Varosha, with its four star category, was fenced off and left to decay.
Famagusta has a fascinating history, having been the residence of Mycenaean Greeks in the Bronze Age, followed by the Assyrian, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, Arab caliphates, and the French Lusignan dynasty, the Venetians, the Ottomans and the British. A once crowded historical centre area thronged by tourists is gradually recovering from the mist of anonymity. The old city centre is surrounded by Venetian fortifications, which you can explore and acquaint yourself with the city centre, letting your imagination do the rest. The walled-in sections of Famagusta contain many unique buildings well worth a sightseeing tour of Cyprus.
On the way back we will be stopping at Ayia Napa harbor and enjoy sunset cruise on one of the local boat. Food, drink and music will be accompanied you on this boat trip this evening.
Free Day to explore the city.
Tour to The Akamas Peninsula is an area of soothing natural beauty in the North West of Cyprus. The 230 sq km patch of wilderness is the most exotic area in the whole of Cyprus and is unaffected by the ravages of development. The area gets its name from Akamas, the son of Theseus, who landed there after the Trojan War. It is said that Akamas also founded a city called Akamantis in the area, but it has never been found. Akamas also lays claim to place of birth of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty, sensuality, sexual rapture and eternal youth, considering that her baths are in the vicinity.
Akamas is blessed with interesting flora and fauna and over 600 species of flora can be found on Akamas alone; 128 of these are found only in Cyprus. 168 different kinds of birds live there, as do 20 kinds of serpents, 12 different mammals and 16 kinds of butterflies, making the area a must see for naturalists. The beach at Lara Bay is known as Lara Beach and is a near-deserted sandy strip. Lara bay is an important sanctuary and breeding ground for a vulnerable species of loggerhead turtle and the rarer endangered Green Turtle, and is a popular tourist location. Lara Beach sees big waves breaking loudly on the wild white sandy beaches and is one of the places to see in Cyprus. Monk seals also dwell in the sea caves around the peninsula.
Points of interest: View to the east of Polis Chrysochous Bay, Latsi, Pachyammos and Pafos Forest, and to the west Lara Bay, Tzioni, Karavopetres, etc. The long route goes past the disused magnesium mines which include a deserted kiln and then through a dense part of Akamas forest. The long rout links up with Adonis trail at the location Kefalovrysia (potable water fountain location). At their starting point both trails pass by Piana fire lookout station.
Visitors can try to swim in the wild water of famous Lara Beach but please be very careful because waves are very strong and you could be easy wash out to sea. Children are not permitted to swim at any time.
This will be unforgettable tour for anyone who loves wild nature and we will do everything to help you to enjoy this trip in Cyprus!
At the end of our journey we will stop at one of the tavern on the cliff at the entrance to the Park to try fresh trout or any other Cyprus traditional dishes.
After breakfast, free time to explore the city. Transfer from the hotel to the airport and return to Warsaw.
* Cost include: private car and English/Russian speaking guide
* Cost per person and based on number of people.
* Prices do not include cost of food or accommodation.