Wine Tours in Cyprus
Cyprus is the gateway to eastern Mediterranean culture and three gorgeous nearby continents. The area is known for its sun soaked beaches, breathtaking scenery, exquisite dining and of course, its wine. Oenophiles (wine enthusiasts) have known about the secret pleasures of the Mediterranean coast for a very long time. Boasting some of the worlds oldest wineries from Sicily to Athens and Corsica, the bouquets found here are unlikely to be seen in any shops or restaurants outside of the regions from which they originate.
The local countries maintain exclusive rights to their signature flavors and bottle in limited supplies. As a consequence the only to way to experience each unique delicacy is to visit the homes of the vineyards where their distinct flavors originate. One particularly adored and coveted location for sampling the fine fare the old world has to offer is the island of Cyprus. Specifically Limassol region.
Following is a guide to some of the can’t miss wineries you should definitely visit on your vacation.
Lambouri is one of the highest vineyards in Cyprus, sitting atop the gorgeous Troodos mountain at 1128 meters (3700 feet) above sea level. They are also the only winery that produces one of the world’s oldest variations, Yain Kafrisin. They produce a superb range of international award winning flavors from chardonnays to Cabernets, organics and their famous Maratheftiko.Cyprus Wine photo credits: courtesy of Onirovins
Shoufas Winery is a family owned traditional establishment handed down through generations of innovation and constant expansion. They specialize in Maratheftiko and Cabernet Sauvignon. Located deep in the countryside, thirty minutes from Paphos in the village of Kilinia, Shoufas is remote, rustic (despite recent remodels) and surrounded by vineyards. Today, much as in the past, produce from the winery is still largely consumed locally and contained to the island.
Nestled in the village of Agios Amvrosios on the southern slope of the Troodos mountains, Zambartas resides in the heart of the Cyprus wine country in the region of Krasochoria Lemesou. The internationally famed courtesy and hospitality of locals becomes immediately evident as Zambartas serves it’s elegant Xynisteri to groups of up to 30.Cyprus Wine photo credits: courtesy of Onirovins
One of the greatest parts about visiting Cyprus is that you don’t have to venture too far inland to get a taste of all the fine varieties available. There are several fine dining options serving up the best of the local palate within walking distance of the island's renowned beaches. The Royal Apollonia Hotel located within a stones throw of the gorgeous azure waters of the Mediterranean, has several dining options on site that routinely serve the regions finest choices from all of the local wineries. The Soho Wine Bar in Limassol is a New York inspired local favorite offering a smaller, targeted menu but also serving some of the best local food delights for just the right pairing.
Traditional Villages of Limassol Cyprus
Limassol is an eclectic mix of modern comforts and ancient wonders. For the best visit spend some time in the city and then head out into the country to appreciate this countries humble beginnings. First find yourself a good home base. The Royal Apollonia Beach Hotel is a great start, located within feet of white sand beaches and turquoise blue seas every journey requires a refreshing place to rest. While you’re there for the very best in traditional Limassol food visit Meze Taverna on St. Andrews street. They sell the finest Grecian cuisine in a warm atmosphere and more than generous portions.
Since the sustainable tourism initiative established routes for tourists to discover the inland wonders of Limassol and Cyprus, a wealth of opportunities have presented themselves for intrepid travelers seeking to find something more from their vacation spots. Whether for anthropological curiosity, cultural and craft exposure or wine tasting adventurous there are numerous reasons to leave the beaches behind, seek higher ground and come face to face with what life in Cyprus is all about.
Limassol itself was once a simple seaside village between the ancient cities of Amathus and Kourion, known as Neapolis (New Town.) Its historical center revolves around the old port and Kolossi Castle built in 1210. The nearby village of Omodos still maintains this ancient mystique. Stone paved roads lead down old world alleys to open air markets and eventually a Medieval monastery built in the 17th century. The village produces an abundance of wine, so should you arrive in August, definitely visit the wine festival held annually.
The village of Lefkara can be found along route 2 of the tourism map available at any hotel for about 5 euros. This mountain village can be found on the southern slopes of the Troodos mountains. The name translated in Greek means roughly ‘White Hills.’ Lefkara is famous for lace making and silver crafting. The culture remains largely unchanged over the centuries. A common sight in the cobblestone streets of Lefkara includes local women sitting in the narrow streets preparing their fine embroidery. Legend has it that Leonardo Da Vinci visited Lefkara in 1481 and attained lace cloth for the altar of the Duomo di Milano.
The village of Kalavasos is located in the Larnaca district. The village has existed since the new stone age and is situated near a local copper mine. This traditional village has fluctuated in population over the last century always hovering well below 1,000 inhabitants. For a real look at unspoiled traditional culture look no further.
The many villages of Cyprus offer insight on what it’s like to be a resident Cyprus. Far from the beach resorts and fine dining of Limassol and Paphos. The residents here still enjoy the same cultural traditions of their ancestors and maintain their heritage faithfully. Visitors will have no trouble imagining what it was like to walk these streets in centuries past as much has gone unchanged. What has developed over time is the wine industry which has elevated the ethnic pull of the area. Wine making is a family business in Cyprus passed down through the generations developing rare varieties unavailable anywhere else in the world.
A visit to the mountains of Cyprus island should always include plenty of time to wander and explore. There is more beneath the surface of this popular vacation spot than can be easily conceived upon arrival. Give yourself time to slow down and appreciate the quiet calm and subtle charm that exudes from every moment spent amongst this ancient and interesting culture.
Far back in antiquity the port city of Pafos, Cyprus was founded. As far back as the 12th century b.c. in fact. The city exists in its current form as two separate settlements, Old Pafos and New Pafos. New Pafos is the currently inhabited area. Originally a pilgrimage site for worshipers of the Grecian goddess Aphrodite, Pafos quickly became the capital city of Cyprus. Over the years nearby metropolitan areas such as Cyprus’ two largest cities Nicosia and Limassol have drawn attention away from this original cultural and historical center. Development and tourism may have favored its neighbors but the city of Pafos has a lot to offer. Many changes have taken place over the centuries leaving a storied and vibrant history just waiting to be discovered by curious travelers.
This towering sea stacks rising out of the Mediterranean. Is the legendary birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. Ancient mythology holds that the turbulent waters that routinely break against the rocks of the natural cove are the same waters where Aphrodite (Venus in Roman culture) first emerged from the sea. She was eventually carried to Cyprus by the currents. However, Pilgrims from all over flocked to this spot to build temples in her honor and worship their goddess. The nearby Sanctuary of Aphrodite is a timeless example of this.
The Tomb of The Kings is a large underground necropolis that remains largely unexplored. The area is still undergoing excavation. The tombs are named for the magnificence of their appearance. While it is unlikely that any actual kings were buried here, in favor of aristocracy from the nearby settlement of Pafos. The Tombs have existed in the location for at least the last 2500 years carved directly out of the surrounding rock.
Pafos Castle has played a large role in most of the turning points of Pafos and Cyprus as a nation. Constructed on the edge of the old port as a Byzantine fortress the castle was destroyed in the earthquake of 1222. When the island was invaded by the Ottomans the inhabiting Venetians dismantled the castle to prevent its use. The Ottomans reconstructed and reinforced the castle during their reign. The British used the castle as a warehouse for salt during colonial periods. Eventually the fortification was converted into a jail and recently has become the home of the annual cultural festival each September.
In modern times the face of the city has changed significantly. It has a developing tourism department and is seeing an influx of modern culture that promises to marry the ancient world with the new world. Pafos International Airport has recently expanded and includes many connections throughout the region. Louis King Jason luxury hotel apartments offer studios and suites for travelers blended into the residential neighborhoods of the island attracting a unique flavor of touristry. Brand name designers like Prada and Miu Miu have found homes in the Kings Avenue Shopping Center, attracting fashionistas far and wide. All in all this once popular, former capital turned forgotten wonderland of ancient intrigue has certainly begun to make a comeback.