Rural tourism Cyprus

Travel tips from experts

Today we are going to another Cypriot village to get even closer to the culture and history of Cyprus, as well as to learn how modern villagers live. Our new choice fell on the village of Polemi, the largest settlement in the area, currently home to 850 people, including 20 families from abroad.

The village is located on the picturesque hills in the Paphos district at an altitude of 450 m above sea level, 4 km north of Letimvo and 3 km from the village of Strumbi on the main road from Paphos to Polis.

Mild climate and developed infrastructure

Most of the traditional village houses in Polemi are located on a plateau overlooking green gardens and a valley. The main feature that attracts visitors and residents of the island here is the mild climate: in summer it is cooler here than in the coastal area of ​​Paphos. The village is located in a very convenient location - surrounded by water streams flowing from the valley towards Mavrokolypos, Chrysochou Bay and the southeast.

Historically, Polemi has always been a fairly large village by local standards, which is why it boasts a well-developed infrastructure. Now it houses the primary school Demotiko Scholeiou Polemiou, where 84 children study, and the local secondary school Gymansio/Lykeio Polemiou, where both children from Polemi and other nearby villages come to study.

The village will also delight guests and local residents with three restaurants, three small cafes, three supermarkets and several small shops. Here you will also find a couple of bank branches, a butcher's shop, a bakery, a flower shop and even a small winery.

Warrior Village

There are different legends about the founding of Polemi and the origin of its name, but the history of the development of the village has not been clarified until the end. Most likely, a settlement of Greek Cypriots existed here since the time of Byzantine rule. Polemi's name can be translated in different ways. For example, in the meaning of "village of warriors." The fact is that polemos in translation from ancient Greek means "battle", in modern Greek the word polemios is translated as "enemy" or "alien", and the word polemiko means "like in war" - as a result, some locals assume that the village was so named because of the resettlement of former soldiers in the village in the Byzantine era.

Countryside Attractions

The houses in the village are a combination of old buildings, which were built from local white limestone, and new buildings from the late 20th - early 21st century. Traditionally, the village united several farms and was upset along with them. That is why there is no “village center” as such in Polemi, but over time, all life began to concentrate around the Church of Panagia Chryseleusa (Our Lady of Mercy), built in the XII-XIV centuries.

Other places where locals, especially the elderly, gather, is the Chapel of Profitis Elias (Prophet Elias) in the western part of the village of Matsima. Also in the village is the town of Agios Georgios (Saint George), located to the west of the center of the village, where the eponymous chapel is located, which is located among olive trees and has recently been restored.

History of Polemi - secular and ecclesiastical

Polemi has a long and rich history of the Cypriot and Greek Orthodox churches. On the northern outskirts of the village is Metokhi, a large building with a courtyard made of stone and built in the form of an outpost of the Kykkos Monastery, one of the main monasteries in Cyprus. The connection between Kykkos, located high in the Troodos mountains (Troodos), and Polemi has been known for a long time.

Travel to the village of Arsos, or the Grape Ode

Ah, these small, cozy Cypriot villages, which are like beads gathered on a thread of endless mountain serpentine!

Some are in plain sight on the well-trodden tourist routes and are spoiled by attention, while others, on the contrary, live their quiet, measured life, not striving for great popularity. Such places are no less interesting and will certainly become a source of new impressions for you!

Autumn Journey

The village of Arsos, although located on one of the wine routes of Cyprus, is still not as popular as its neighbor Omodos. But it is definitely worth a visit.

To get to it, you need to turn left from the A6 motorway after the village of Erimi. Then follow the signs towards Omodos. If you go non-stop, the road from the highway to the village will take about 25 minutes.

The name of the village has no literal translation. But according to one version, it comes from the ancient Greek word ’αλσος, which means“ grove ”. After all, once these slopes were covered with lush vegetation and the locals called them the grove of Aphrodite.

Especially now, in early November, climbing the mountains, you can feel the change of seasons. All deciduous trees were colored yellow and red. Numerous vineyards to the right and left of the road stand with yellowed leaves. And if you're lucky, a fine drizzle will complement the autumn picture. After all, “nature does not have bad weather,” and when you live in Cyprus for a long time, the rain becomes a pleasant exotic….


Arsos village greets all travelers with a greeting message. Immediately behind it is a monument dedicated to the Cypriot volunteer soldiers who died in various wars.

Leaving your car on the outskirts, you can easily get to the central square of the settlement along the narrow winding streets.

An unusual house with green shutters will draw your attention. This is a local bakery. The wonderful smell of fresh baked goods is already felt on the street!

Very small Cyprus can be crossed in a day by car. At the same time, it is often recognized as a favorite vacation spot by both calm couples and clubbing youth.

Winter swimming features

Real winter, with snow, in Cyprus only in the Troodos mountains. Sometimes, if there is precipitation, the main peak of the ridge - Olympos, which does not reach up to two kilometers in height of only fifty meters, is covered with a snow cap. From January to March they even go skiing there. At normal times of the year - there is practically one on the island - the namesake of the Greek Olympus is crowned only by the white dome of the English radar station. But this is not about her. We are talking about the strange change of the Cypriot seasons, when after the summer comes Indian summer (if anyone wants - autumn), and then immediately. Spring! In early December, there is a short rainy season - and the red steppe is covered with a luxurious lilac-scarlet carpet of gladioli.

True, there are only 10-15 rainy days in Cyprus a year, and recently there is no such thing either. Reservoirs are shallowing, desalination stations are hastily built near large cities. On the roof of each house there is a white tank-tank, since the water supply is usually turned off in order to save money two or three times a week. For tourists staying in the private sector: never take a bath! If later you also want to wash in the shower, you can comprehend the fate of the lathered engineer Shchukin from Ilf and Petrov. Of course, this does not apply to hotels - they have uninterrupted water supply. But in principle, water is the main item of shortage here. Everything else is in Cyprus. As in Greece.

This "all" is offered to vacationers all year round, but it is better to consume it in the off-season. Agree, it's nice to take the spa benefits without fuss, crowds, without queuing. Leave your room on the beach and slowly choose any sun lounger. Go knee-deep into the water, slowly spray on yourself, grunt and arrange a demonstration swim in front of amazed British pensioners. At the beginning of "winter" (without quotation marks, this word is perceived with difficulty in Cyprus) water for a Russian person is quite nothing - plus eighteen or twenty! Local residents, including our former fellow citizens who settled here, no longer bathe. From the principle! But even if the sea seems cold to you too, there is always a pool with sea water. The pool, unlike the bath, in Cyprus is not a pleasure for the elite. It is in every hotel and in every self-respecting cottage economy with apartments. However, swimming is only a small part of the program prepared for tourists by off-season Cyprus. So - a tribute to the beach essence of the island. The entertainment menu is as rich as nowhere else. Everyone will find something to do to their liking. And again - no queue and no peak margins.

Meze as such

No, this is not a dish, it is a way of eating. A whole meal, with a change of large plates filled with food. Meze - a mishmash, platter, a complete set of everything that the chef has prepared for the day. True, only in one kind of food. Let's say you ordered a seafood meze - and they will bring you one plate with different sea creatures: cuttlefish, small octopuses, squid, shrimps, one plate with small fish, such as gobies and red mullet, and another one with the most delicate fried chain (a local delicacy) or flounder ... And if you take a meat meze, you will be served with pieces of roast beef, pork loin, lamb on ribs and juicy kebab. And don't forget the side dish! As a side dish, among other things, be sure to order the local potato substitute - kolokasi root vegetable, which tastes like sweet potato. Sweetish, delicate, very tasty. At one time, he was extremely liked by Richard the Lionheart, who founded a transshipment base for the Crusaders in Cyprus: the physically strong king ate so much kolokasi that he was forced to skimp on the first wedding night with Berengaria of Navarre. In general, emptying all the plates is an almost impossible task and is equated here with a feat. Food in cafes and roadside eateries in Cyprus is so good and satisfying that, choosing a place to stay, you can not fool yourself with full board. It is really possible to save a good amount of money on government grub. After all, a meze lunch or dinner for two will cost about 20 euros per person, and even less for a large company. Moreover, a bottle of wine or local grape moonshine - zivania will fit into this amount!

Vegetable meze

The first thing that catches your eye when you drive away from the coast inland in winter is the black driftwood of the vine with rare yellow leaves. The harvest is gathered, new wine of the new year is ripening in the cellars. I see no obstacles to the beginning of the tasting! You can taste new vintage wine in different ways. There is an option to sign up for an excursion to one of the wineries in Limassol. True, tastings are held there for early birds - in the morning. You can combine this event with a visit to the Wine Museum in the western suburbs - Erimi. But there is a chance to experience the wine routes of Cyprus yourself.

Almost all of the area south of Troodos, from Paphos to Limassol, and even more broadly, is made up of wine regions. Soils here are calcareous, fertile - expanse for winemakers. So, moving along these roads, you will always stumble upon some farm, where they will treat you with a glass or two, and give you a bite to eat with fresh, pleasantly salty halloumi cheese. And it is hardly possible to leave there empty-handed, because the price of a bottle of dry wine in Cyprus is 5-7 euros. Despite the fact that the bus service on the island is underdeveloped - it is only between large cities - the problem of transport for independent travel is easily solved. We need to rent a car. Moreover, in the off-season, many offices have unique special offers - 15 euros per day instead of the usual 50-60! And there is no contradiction with the desire to have a good taste. The permissible blood alcohol level of a driver in Cyprus is perhaps the highest in Europe at 0.9 ppm. That is, you can drink a good half liter of dry wine. Or a couple of shots of zivania. The main thing is not to forget after ingestion that traffic in Cyprus is left-hand. When wandering around wine places, you just need to stop by the village of Omodos. It is practically an open-air museum of the Cypriot peasant life. There will be several tasting rooms, a fair of folk crafts, a real old press, shown to lovers of exotic, and, finally, a motel for tired travelers. In general, for the now fashionable village tourism in Cyprus are ideal opportunities. The Troodos slopes are littered with picnic areas. What a thrill these parties in the open air in the shade of pines and cedars, with kebabs and a variety of wines! Therefore, for those who want to spend the whole vacation in this way, campgrounds are equipped here. For those who prefer some kind of organization even in rural tourism, there is an opportunity to spend the whole day on an exciting "safari" along the Akamas peninsula, north of Paphos. There are four reserves here. Driving along them, you can see how anise grow, from which the Greeks make ouzo liqueur, and carob, whose dark brown pods taste like chocolate, and the seeds served in antiquity and still serve as a measure of weight for jewelry - those same carats ... If you're lucky, you can stop by Turtle Beach during the egg-laying period or, even better, at the time of hatching, which happens here once a year in March-April. You can watch the passage of young turtles to the sea directly from the coastal cafe. Finally, it is here, on the Akamas, that the famous "Baths of Aphrodite" are located. A simple pond in the shade of figs and oleanders, filled from a living spring, is a traditional pilgrimage site. Swimming in the Baths has long been prohibited, but a self-respecting tourist is obliged to touch the shrine, remembering that Cyprus is considered the birthplace of the goddess of love. By the way, the land near the "Baths of Aphrodite" is considered the most expensive on the island: villas here cost from 1 million euros. Almost like in the near Moscow region.

Meze of stones

Since ancient times, two cities have been arguing for the right to be called the wine capital of Cyprus - Paphos and Limassol (in the Greek way - Lemesos). And if Limassol is famous first of all for the present day of winemaking and the largest factories in the country, then Paphos is proud of the ancient history of the relationship between man and wine. Which, according to some legends, began in Cyprus, when the insidious Dionysus, disguised as a simple peasant, gave two shepherds to taste an outlandish drink. This happened, according to myths and legends, about 4000 years ago.

Culture of Northern Cyprus: Thorny Path

The thorny historical fate of Cyprus determined the fact that Cyprus found itself at the intersection of different civilizations and cultures. And each of them left its mark on the unique national appearance of this ancient country. In Cyprus, you can see layers of literally all cultures of Europe and Asia, starting from the 9th millennium AD. Remains of ancient settlements of the Stone Age; temples of the period of Ancient Greece; theaters where the Roman nobility spent time. These monuments of antiquity and ancient times are adjacent to Byzantine monasteries and temples, castles of knights-crusaders, Venetian fortresses. The spiers of Gothic cathedrals rise from the island just like the minarets of Turkish mosques.

Turkish is the official language in the northern part of the island. English is widely spoken as a second language. On road signs, the inscriptions are always written in two languages. Therefore, it is absolutely not difficult to navigate along the route while on the road.

Most Turkish Cypriots are Muslims. Very few go to the mosque regularly or wear religious clothing. But holidays of a religious nature are always welcome and celebrated with pleasure. Christian worship is permitted, which is why an increasing number of Europeans are coming to Northern Cyprus for their wedding ceremony. For this important event, many choose the beautiful old church of St. Andrews. The church is located next to the Kyrenia harbor, which has remained there since colonial times. In the village of Arapkoy, an Orthodox church was opened under the patronage of the Association of Orthodox TRNC.

For Turkish Cypriots, family life is of great importance, and therefore a large amount of their free time is spent on family holidays, barbecues and, of course, a wedding is considered a big event.

Summer is considered the wedding season here. All major hotels and special wedding venues host wedding ceremonies every weekend. A Cyprus wedding gathers from 500 to 4000 guests. Wedding invitations are distributed to everyone who is at least somehow familiar with the families of the newlyweds.

When engaged, brides often wear traditional wedding dress. And with family and close friends they celebrate their intention to marry. Several years can elapse between engagement and marriage. Therefore, the desire to notify as many people as possible about the wedding is understandable.

Lefkara (lefkara) is a traditional embroidery that dates back to the Venetian period, where complex, amazingly beautiful elements are depicted on things such as bedspreads, tablecloths, napkins and scarves. It is said that during a visit to Cyprus, Leonardo da Vinci was so impressed with Lefkara that he adopted some elements to decorate the drapery of the altar of the Milan cathedral. This project is now known as “Leonardo da Vinci Design”.

Culture in North Cyprus: Weaving

Carpet weaving is another age-old Cypriot tradition and is found mainly in the area of ​​Famagusta (Gazimağusa). Kilims - small rugs - colorful patterns that are perfect souvenirs or gifts. Also, wicker baskets and baskets are another form of Cypriot art that is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Koza (goat) - applications from silkworm cocoons. Traditional type of needlework of Cypriot women. In Cyprus, silkworm cocoons have an amazing golden yellow hue. Cocoons imported from Turkey are white. Combining two colors, the craftswomen embroider amazing appliques on a velvet basis. The delicate work of cutting out elements in the form of petals and flowers requires perseverance and great love.

Sela and Sesta (Sela and Sesta) - weaving plates and baskets from reeds. This skill was passed down from generation to generation from mother to daughter. A good bride should have had in her dowry with her own hand woven villages and sisters.

Source: Free Internet The article was prepared by: Julia Ozerdzhe

From our previous reviews, you learned how to navigate and rationally organize your vacation here. Now it's time to think about how to make the program of stay (accommodation) more varied, useful and completely inexpensive.

What do I mean? Well, let's say, find out where to learn one of the crafts or when certain festivals and other festive events will take place; which museums will open their doors for you free of charge - that is, for free, where to go by bike or on foot, where there are street libraries in Cyprus, and so on, and so on.

Read about all this in the review.


One of the types of this economical type of active and, at the same time, comfortable rest [1], aimed at immersion in the atmosphere of rural life in the country is exactly it [2]. However, you can not only indulge yourself daily with pastoral views, the freshest home cooking and walks in the surrounding area, but. also take part in the traditional seasonal work of local farmers.

Harvesting grapes, peaches or melons - all year round in Cyprus, something is keeping pace and the participation of assistants is only welcome here; cheese making (the season for making halloumi, for example, begins in May, when young kids and lambs grow up and they no longer need mother's milk) or going out on a boat with fishermen in the sea (this event is only for big enthusiasts, because going out to sea takes place somewhere at 5:00 - 5:30 am), - not only will enrich the impressions of the country and its people, will allow you to learn more about local customs, traditions or the same cuisine, a new, albeit temporary, way of life will give you the opportunity to test yourself well.

Life is like a holiday

Wherever you stay, be sure to try to visit the various festivals: they run throughout the year, from March-April (Easter week) until Christmas.

Festive events that everyone should definitely take part in: concerts of folk and modern music, dance evenings and costume performances, tastings and mass feasts, master classes and sales fairs - all this awaits you in many Cypriot villages, because they all in one way or another prefer to show themselves and have fun.

Cyprus municipalities (and even district governments) from time to time hold free concerts, celebrations and performances for their residents. To familiarize yourself with the program of the nearest to you, go and subscribe to their sites or visit this resource from time to time: www. yprusevents. et.

Information about holidays and festivals in Cyprus can be found on the website: www. yguidecyprus. om.

Note for students, serious people and just book lovers

So, if you are invited to Cyprus by important things, or maybe you came here not only as a tourist or you have to study here [3] in one of the universities, you should think about what you will do in your free time when there will be a couple or three hours during the day.

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