An autumn escape in Cyprus: Village hopping though the Limassol wine district
25 November 2019, 21:32
With 300 days of guaranteed sunshine a year, the third largest island in the Mediterranean isn't just ideal for a lazy holiday in the sun, it's the perfect destination for wine lovers.
It's undeniable that us Brits love Cyprus, with more than 1.3 million of us visiting last year.
With 300 days of guaranteed sunshine a year, the third largest island in the Mediterranean is ideal for a lazy holiday in the sun, but the country offers much more beyond its fab beaches.
Few people are aware that its wine heritage dates back almost 6000 years, making Cyprus one of the oldest producers of wine in the world.
Experts believe that in ten years' time, Cypriot wines will be as familiar as their Italian counterparts. However, impatient tastebuds don’t have to wait a decade.
Limassol is the perfect area to get an exclusive taste of the up-and-coming varieties and take in the country’s rich cultural history.
There are 104 villages in the district waiting to be discovered, but here's a few favourites to start you off on your very own Grecian odyssey.
Enchanting Arsos is one of the biggest wine-producing villages in Cyprus, just 45 kilometers from Paphos.
It is built on the slopes of the Laona Mountain, more than 1000 metres above sea level.
The local wine is considered one of the best produced on the island - winemaking is one of the main occupations here, after all!
Be prepared to feast, and save room for dessert. Grapes are also used to prepare a traditional delicacy, soutzoukos. It’s made from a thick, creamy mixture of boiled grape juice with a little bit of flour.
Rope strands of walnuts or almonds are dipped in the concoction, and then hung to allow setting before being sliced and served.
There’s a uniquely ‘old Cyprus’ feel to historic Omodos. Its winding, ancient maze of streets is ideal for losing yourself on a lazy stroll, shopping and stopping for lunch at a taverna along the way.
Katoi is an excellent choice - well known for its mezze and jugs of local wine.
It’s a little hidden away along a corridor of ivy-covered stone houses and spice shops, but worth a detour from the areas surrounding the cobbled square.
Nearby Ktima Gerolemo is one of the best wineries to visit for tours and tastings, plus it offers stunning views of the nearby mountains.
Platres is one of the best-kept secrets in Cyprus, a treasure located in the middle of a vast forest of pine and cedars on the southern slope of the Troodos Mountains.
The Troodos area is the green heart of Cyprus, home to more than 800 species of plants. Think scented forest air, waterfalls, terraced vineyards and unspoiled wilderness.
It’s a favourite spot for Cypriots looking to escape the heat and crowds on the coast, and a must-see for nature-lovers who can hike, mountain bike or fish in the nearby rivers.
For a traditional hotel with a relaxed atmosphere, try the New Helvetia Hotel- a ten-minute walk from the centre of Platres.
Kolossi and Erimi
No trip through Cyprus wine country is complete without having a taste of the world famous, Commandaria, one of the oldest named wines in the world.
It’s an amber-coloured dessert wine, that’s sweet, heady and aromatic. Its name originates from Kolossi – the castle once served as the ‘Grand Commandery’ during the medieval period.
During that time, the Knights produced and exported the wine, and thus it became known as ‘vin de Commanderie’.
Today, Kolossi Castle is a historic landmark that’s worth a quick trip.
As for trying Commandaria, head to the Cyprus Wine Museum, which is less than three kilometers away in the nearby village of Erimi.
Limassol is just one region in the diverse Cypriot wine landscape. Other areas are begging to be explored, and wine enthusiasts can discover these themselves thanks to helpful wine routes.
There are seven routes with more than 40 wineries dotted along the way, each more excited than the last to show off their wines with tastings, tours and that undeniable Cypriot hospitality.
For more information, head to the Ministry of Tourism for Cyprus website at www.visitcyprus.com