Cyprus is full of hidden treasures, and you'll discover some of its rural gems on this full day tour to the Troodos Mountains. You'll drive into the countryside, visiting Lampadistis Monastery in Kalopanayiotis, and enjoying a few pleasant surprises in rustic villages in between. Nefeli, one of our local guides, says, ‘Arsos is the sort of village where you see old men playing 'tavli' – backgammon – in coffee shops.'
First up is Platanisteia – a small village famed for its printmaking museum. After finding out about the history of the island's print industry, we'll visit the medieval Tzelefos Bridge – it's a standout selfie spot deep in the middle of woodland. Then, it's on to the village of Kalopanayiotis. It's sprawled over a remote valley dissected by a picturesque stream. You'll drop into a traditional family-run taverna for a lunch made from locally sourced ingredients.
The highlight of the day is the village's Monastery of St John Lampadistis. Nefeli says, ‘Its Byzantine frescoes are so exquisite that UNESCO has listed them as world heritage.' The murals, which date as far back as the 14th century, are highly refined and very well-preserved. Admission fees to the monastery, which are included, go to its upkeep. Apart from a trio of churches to amble around, there are monastic buildings, including cells, auxiliary rooms and an oil press. And before heading back to the resort, you'll be able to sample some local wines in a typical Troodos Mountains winery.