Cyprus is amazing! Just imagine, in winter, the seacoast is so warm that you can sunbathe there and even swim in the sea. But in the mountains everything is different: snow falls on the peaks, and snow thickness can be 2 meters.
Cypriots traditionally visit mountains at least once, in Christmas: they want to look at the snow, relax in a cozy village in nature, go skiing and snowboarding. Tourists 'are not far behind' locals and go to mountains, so winter life is in full swing in Troodos.
1. Why do you need to visit winter Troodos?
The Cyprus Troodos mountain range is beautiful at any time of the year. The highlands dress up in a snow-white outfit in winter and become completely different: quiet, majestic and very unusual for the subtropical island.
A trip to Troodos is a big and fun adventure that can include:
- booking a hotel-house with a real fireplace
- snow walks among pines and cedars
- visiting natural and man-made sights of mountain villages
- winter fun: skiing, sledding, snowballing
- acquaintance with Cypriot culture, cuisine and New Year traditions.
Even if you are not an athlete and not a lover of winter activities, it is worth visiting Troodos: at this time of the year it is full of a festive atmosphere, which will be remembered for a lifetime.
2. Mount Olympus, the center of ski holidays in Cyprus
The highest mountain in Cyprus is Olympus (in Greek, as the locals say, 'Olimbos'). It reaches 1950 meters, and fr om some of its slopes you can see the sea. Funny landscape! Here you are standing in warm clothes and mittens in the snow, and the warm sea and palm trees are seen on the horizon. This contrast is noteworthy. But that's not it.
On two slopes of this large mountain, there are tracks for skiers and snowboarders. Now there are 9 tracks and 5 lifts. There is also a rental center. All this is managed by the Cyprus Ski Club, an organization that is part of the International Ski Federation.
2.1. Location and how to get to Mount 'Olimbos'
Mount Olympus is located very close to a village called Troodos (yes, the name coincides with the name of the mountain range). It is to this village that you need to go.
The easiest way to get there by car is fr om Limassol or Nicosia along the B8 or B9 highway. The road takes no more than an hour. When you get to Troodos, turn west at a sign that shows the location of Olympus.
Note: there is no show tire in Cyprus, but mountain roads can be covered with snow. Therefore, it is necessary to take the snow chains, and then put them on the wheels.
You can also use public transport as well. Buses from Nicosia and Limassol run daily, the final stop is the Troodos mountains. If you do not want to sit on the bus for a long time, but are ready to walk, you can get off a little early at the Platres stop and visit the village of the same name.
2.2. Slopes and lift system
Two slopes of Olympus are equipped for skiing tracks. The southern one is called the Sun Valley, the second is the North Face. Each track has its own name and difficulty level: there are short and straight tracks for beginners, there are tracks for children, there are tracks for professionals.
Five lifts provide access to all slopes. They usually work from 09:00 to 16:00 daily during the winter season. They are stopped only in case of a thunderstorm: yes, such a weather phenomenon occurs in Cyprus in winter.
3. Weather is an important indicator
Since we are talking about a thunderstorm, it is worth spending more time on the topic of weather and seasonality in general.
The skiing season opens in December and closes in March. Since everything depends on the weather, no one can give the exact dates. The official website of the Cyprus Ski Club always contains up-to-date information about the operation of the ski resort. As soon as at least one lift is open, you can safely go for a drive!
In winter, there are thunderstorms in Cyprus. Usually they are short-lived, but during the bad weather, the lifts don't operate, and vacationers go to bask and drink hot drinks in the traditional Cyprus houses.
The weather on the slopes can be monitored in real time, at the base of the Zeus track, a webcam is installed that takes pictures of the current weather conditions several times a day. You can also read or watch the news: such a significant event as snowfall is always the first to be told in Cyprus.
4. Cyprus Ski Club, it's membership benefits and prices
The Cyprus Ski Club is responsible for the maintenance of the slopes, lifts and equipment rental. It is a kind of union of all the Cypriot ski clubs of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Famagusta and Troodos. Any of the members of these clubs is eligible for discounts when purchasing a ski pass and renting equipment.
There is also a ski school at the Club. At the foot of the North Side, there is the Dias restaurant, wh ere you can grab a bite to eat if you are tired of skating.
4.1. Ski pass for adults and children
Here is the price for the ski pass on working days:
- full day: €15 (€12 for club members)
- Afternoon (after 13:00): €10 (€8 for club members)
- children: €10 (€8 for club members).
On weekends, the cost increases:
- full day: €25 (€20 for club members)
- Afternoon (after 13:00): €10 (€8 for club members)
- children: €10 (€8 for club members).
For avid skiers and snowboarders, it is sometimes cheaper to buy a season pass. For non-members it costs €200 and €130 for members (until the end of December) or €150 (from the beginning of January).
4.2. Equipment rental and prices
You can rent skis, sledges or snowboards on site.
- full day skiing for adults: €15 (€10 for club members);
- afternoon skiing for adults (after 13:00): €10 (€6 for club members);
- full day ski for children: €10 (€7 for club members);
- afternoon skis for children (after 13:00): €6 (€5 for club members);
- snowboard: €25 (€20 for club members);
- sled: €10 for everyone.
Experienced skiers advise to arrive early in order to get better equipment. During the high winter season, in the middle of the day, skis or boards may not be available at all. Current prices can be checked on the club's website.
4.3. 'Veterans; Race
On the last day of the season, a race of ski 'veterans' is traditionally held on Olympus. All adult participants get together and try to take first place in this race. The main thing in this event is not only the competitive spirit, but also what follows it.
Many people gather together, there is a musical program, everyone dances syrtaki. On this day, right at the foot of the slopes, you can find great fun and a generous feast.
5. How to prepare for the trip and what to take with you
The first step is to find out the weather forecast (see above). Even if precipitation is not expected, it is worth taking snow chains and putting them on if the road is bad. The weather in the mountains can be unpredictable.
Be sure to bring a change of clothing, after skiing and playing, everything will get wet and you WILL want to change. Do not forget mittens, hats and warm socks: wh ere there is snow, the temperature is below zero, from -2 to -6.
Take a warm blanket and a thermos with a hot drink. If you suddenly have stuck on the road, it will add some comfort.
If you have your own skis or snowboards, pack them well and place them so that they meet the safety requirements while car driving.
6. Other winter activities in Troodos in Cyprus
Not everyone loves and knows how to ski. But this is not a reason to abandon the idea to go to Troodos! There is always something to do there.
6.1. Winter fun
If you have lived in Cyprus for a long time, then you probably miss the snow and winter activities and fun. To play snowballs with family or friends... - why not?
Another option is to buy or rent a sled. Let's remember your childhood! This activity in beautiful nature is one of the best!
6.2. Cozy evenings by the fireplace
After walking in the snow and a light frost, you want more comfort than ever. The village Cypriot hotels are the best! Often they rent out the whole house or part of the house, which has everything: masonry, a fireplace with burning wood, kitchen stove in order to warm up a kettle or cook mulled wine.
Booking the "winter house" is very common among the inhabitants of Cyprus. This is a truly unique atmosphere that never happens in the city. But, since the demand for houses is high, you need to understand: it is better to make reservations in such hotels strongly in advance. At least 3 weeks in advance, and preferably a month.
6.3. Walk outdoors
There are many hiking trails near the villages of Troodos and Platres. Each of them has several observation points and natural attractions. For example, between Platres and Troodos there is one of the most beautiful and largest waterfalls in Cyprus - Caledonia. In winter it is full of water, so you should definitely see it.
Closer to Platres there is another waterfall - Millomeris. If in summer it is very small, in winter it delights.
You can always go to see ancient temples, of which there are many here in the highlands. Or just wander through the forests and mountains, enjoying the peace and fresh air. Children can be taken to the Sparti rope park.
6.4. Holidays in tourist mountain villages
There are many picturesque villages not far from Olympos, each of which has cozy hotels, magnificent taverns and stunningly beautiful nature. In winter, agritourism in Cyprus is absolutely amazing.
What is agritourism? It is a holiday in the beautiful countryside at a leisurely and sybaritic pace. A guest from the city walks along the paths in the forest, takes beautiful photos, breathes the purest mountain air, dines delicious national dishes, drinks amazing local wine... How delicious it sounds!
Even three days in a Cypriot winter village reanimate a person, literally renew him. For relaxation, you can choose lively Platres, Troodos or Prodromos, or quiet and calm Foini, Pedoulas or Agios Amiantos. All of them are close to Mount Olympos and the ski resort.
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