In our most recent trip to Cyprus, we used the historic town of Paphos as a base to explore. One of our favourite trips of the holiday was without a doubt a full day road trip to the Troodos Mountains and onward to the highest point in Cyprus, Mount Olympos. Read on for a complete guide for visiting the Troodos Mountains, a sample road trip itinerary and all the cool places you’ll get to see along the way. It’s Cyprus nature at its best and a must-see place for everyone!
What are the Troodos Mountains?
The Troodos Mountains are the largest mountain range in Cyprus, located roughly in the centre of the island. They’re easy to get to from all four corners of the island, making them a great day trip no matter where you’re staying. The mountain range is one of the most picturesque places to visit, where you’ll find quaint wineries, villages and stunning forests and wildlife. It’s truly unlike anywhere on the coastline.
Being such a large area, there’s a lot to see and do here, so you’ll need a full day trip and to choose your destinations carefully. We’ve recommended our own Troodos Mountains itinerary below.
Should I hire a car or book a Troodos Mountains tour?
As the Troodos Mountains are so vast, you’ll need to hire a car or visit as part of a guided tour, either on a bus or with a private guide. We personally opted for hiring a car. It’s cheap, an easy route to drive and provides lots of flexibility for seeing the main towns and sites. If you’d feel more comfortable joining an organised tour, check out our recommendations below. 😊
- Troodos and Kykkos Day Tour from Paphos
- Kykkos Monastery and Kakopetria Village Excursion from Larnaca
- Kykkos Monastery and Kakopetria Village Excursion from Protaras
Tour routes may differ; however, they generally include the same must-see towns, just as you’ll see in our itinerary below.
Our Troodos Mountains and Mount Olympos road trip itinerary
As we were driving to the Troodos Mountains from Paphos, we opted for the below road trip itinerary, stopping off at each town on the way up the mountain in a linear route. If visiting from Limassol on the south coast or Ayia Napa, Larnaca and Protaras to the east, this route is also a good option.
Your drive up the mountain to Omodos will give you one of the most scenic views of the entire trip. You’ll pass wineries, rows of small villages below and have fantastic views of the countryside. Drive slowly down the hill into town to admire the terracotta rooftops of this quaint town.
Famous for its annual wine festival, Omodos is a postcard-perfect village that gives you a glimpse of local life in the mountains. It has lots of small gift shops, wine stores (which are very affordable) and winding alleyways of cobblestones. Spend an hour or two wandering the town streets, paying homage at the beautiful Timios Stavros Monastery and meeting the locals in a corner café. Omodos was a highlight of our Troodos Mountains itinerary!
Drive further up the hill and you’ll start to enter the more forested area of the mountain range. Plano Platres is a haven for holiday-seekers that want some time in nature, going on walks during the day and snuggling up in a wooden lodge in the evening. We parked up for a short walk through town and then embarked on the Millomeri waterfalls nature trail. It takes around 40 minutes of walking through to the forest to reach the small but beautiful Millomeri falls. Here you can relax with a snack and admire the view.
Although the trail is marked out on Google Maps, it’s not 100% accurate and you may get a little lost so be careful with your route. You can always ask a fellow hiker for directions. Decent footwear is also highly recommended!
Gerokamina view point
Driving further up the mountain, you’ll start to encounter miles of tall pine trees and a winding road of nature. The drive up here is breath-taking to look at and would be a race-car driver’s dream! It reminded us of the alpine routes in Austria or Western Canada…
On your way to the next destination, be sure to stop off at Gerokamina view point. It provided awesome views of the valley below and has picnic benches to enjoy lunch with a view.
You’re almost reaching the highest point in Cyprus! Troodos Square is the small town right below the final ascent to Mount Olympos. It’s a quiet town that attracts both locals and tourists and has a handful of traditional restaurants that overlook the villages and valleys below. You also have a collection of gift shops, ice cream parlours and a nice park. We personally used Troodos Square as a lunch spot as it marked halfway through the day. All that driving can make you hungry!
Aim to spend an hour or so exploring town before getting back into your car and making the final ascent to Mount Olympos.
Standing at 1952m above sea level, the majestic Mount Olympos is the highest point in Cyprus. The drive here from Troodos Square takes an additional 10-minutes. On the way to the very top of the mountain, you’ll arrive at the Sun Valley Olympos Cafe & Restaurant. During wintertime, this entire area has a layer of snow and is a popular winter sports destination. Summer sees a lush-green canopy of trees and views of the valley below.
Travel slightly further up Mount Olympos and you’ll arrive at the highest point, which is currently occupied by a military checkpoint and a radio antenna. There really isn’t a lot to see at the summit of Mount Olympos and you’ll have to stay in your car – the military checkpoint won’t let you proceed past the roundabout. Nevertheless, it’s great to say you’ve reached the highest point in Cyprus! We recommend returning to Sun Valley Cafe to enjoy a drink with a view.
At this point and depending on how long the rest of the day-trip has taken, you may wish to head back to your hotel and relax after a long day of driving. If you still have time to explore the Troodos Mountains and want to add one or two additional destinations before calling it a day, check out our recommendations below.
Kykkos is one of the best known and wealthiest monasteries in the whole of Cyprus. It sits on a mountain-side, surrounded by forest terrain and a winding road that leads all the way down to the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Inside the monastery you’ll find golden furnishings on every corner, an impressive range of paintings and murals on the ceilings and colourful Cypriot decor. It was founded by the Bzantine Emperor in the 11th century and is a sign of beauty and riches throughout.
Spend an hour or so exploring the inside and outside of Kykkos and taking pictures of the breath-taking scenery that surrounds the monastery walls.
Much like the town of Omodos, Kyperounta is a smaller village that sits even higher up in the Troodos mountains. It’s the third-highest altitude of all towns in Cyprus, at a staggering 1300m above sea level. Drive into town to catch a glimpse of the quaint terracotta rooftops and valley below. You can then park up and go for a short walk into town. Grab a snack, meet the locals and admire the low-key life the locals enjoy here. We highly recommend a stop at the small Kyperounta winery.
Kakopetria is a small village that sits at the foothills of the Troodos Mountains as you drive further north. It has an excellent tree-top adventure park, as well as cobblestone streets, cafés and shops that you’ve encountered throughout the rest of Troodos. Kakopetria is slightly off the tourist trail and suits those that want a feel of the local life away from the tourist attractions and crowds.
Top tips for visiting the Troodos Mountains
- Set off on your Troodos Mountains itinerary early in the morning. There’s a lot to see and do in one day and you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss anything!
- If visiting during the winter months, it can be quite cool in the mountains, falling a few degrees lower than the Cyprus coastline. It even has snow! Pack a jacket just in case.
- The day trip involves quite a lot of driving. Take frequent breaks and try to share the driving if travelling with someone else that has a licence. Roads are very quiet and easy to navigate!
- Make sure you mark out your various destinations on your sat nav or Google Maps app before setting off. It’ll keep your route marked even if you lose signal.
- Pack lots of snacks and drinks for your drive. A picnic with a view can be enjoyed almost anywhere in the mountains.
- Make sure you stop off at viewpoints for some picture taking and drone footage – there are various viewpoints near the top of the mountain.
We hope our guide to the Troodos Mountains will help you plan your own epic road trip! After seeing a lot of Cyprus’ top attractions, Troodos and Mount Olympos are unlike anything else. The nature and outdoor scenery are breath-taking and we recommend a trip here for anyone that likes the great outdoors!