Troodos gained its name from the three roads that run into it, 'tria odos' meaning three roads, which became Troodos. It is the biggest mountain range of Cyprus, covering most of the western and some of the southern parts of the island, and accounting for almost half of its area. The highest peak is Mount Olympus at 1,952 metres. The area has been known since ancient times for its copper mines, as well as a great centre of Byzantine art.
The mountain range is made up of numerous little villages, each having its own unique charm and character. There is much to do in the whole of the Troodos area, such as walking, rambling and hiking along the nature trails, mountain biking / cycling along the dedicated cycle routes, skiing on Mount Olympus, visiting the various monastery's, churches and museums, following the main wine routes and visiting the wineries, watch the Cyprus Rally, bird watching the many species in this area, botanists too can find plenty to fill their interest with the vast ranges of fauna and flora that the Troodos mountains have to offer, and even disabled people are catered for with two nature trails that have been designed with wheel chair users in mind.
Download the E4 Nature Trail (in pdf format, may not be compatible with mobile devices) Disabled people should look look for special routes on page 24 - Sheet 3 the Mnimata Piskopan Trail, and page 33 - Sheet 6 (the Mantra tou Kampiou Trail).
Download the cycle routes (in pdf format, may not be compatible with mobile devices)
Download the Wine Routes (in pdf format, may not be compatible with mobile devices))
The Troodos massif is grouped into five district regions around Mount Olympus, those regions being;
The Lemesos Mountain Resort
Located around the central higher elevations of Troodos, which includes Platres, Troodos resort, and just beyond the summit of Mount Olympus. The town is divided into two parts, Pano (upper) and Kato (lower). Platres straddles a perennial stream which provides a reliable source of drinking water, which also contributes to the profusion of year-round foliage. Platres resort gets very busy during the hot summer months (July and August), when locals flock to cool off from the heat. It is also very busy during the coldest winter months (January, February, March) when the resort is packed with skiers, both local and tourists. Troodos resort consists of Troodos Square, with several souvenir shops and restaurants, and Troodos National Forest Park Information Center, located 200m west of Troodos Square, which includes an exhibition gallery, a film and lecture theatre, a shop, and a short circular trail with geological and botanical exhibits. 2km up from the square is Mount Olympus, the main ski resort. During heavy snow, vehicles are not permitted to reach the slopes unless the car is a 4x4 or using snow chains. The ski resort consists of five slopes, with ski lifts that operate between 09:00 until 16:00 all week long during the winter season. One must pay for a ski pass, the 2012 winter ski pass cost 23 euros for a full day, and 16 euros for half day. More information can be found on Cyprus Ski Website.
There is also a webcam available online so that you can see how much snow is on the slopes.
The Pitsilia region
East of Mount Olympus, this region includes some 40 villages. Known as the orchard of Cyprus because of an abundance of vineyards as well as almond, hazelnut, walnut and other fruit trees. It is absolutely glorious in spring when the entire Valley is in flower. From some of the villages in this region are produced Loukánika, pastourmá, loúnza and tsamarélla, and the famous Commandaria wine.
The Solea Valley region
This is known as 'Apple Valley' because the best apples come from this region. The lower part of this region contains some of the islands most important copper mines. There is also a mine museum next to the Skouriotissa mine in Katidata village. The villages of Kakopetria, Evrikhou, and Galata are some of the most popular in this region, as well as smaller ones, such as Flassou, Korakou and Spilia.
The Marathasa Valley region
This area takes up the northern slopes of this mountain range and is a very fertile area. Its name comes from the plant Marathos which is a type of fennel that grows in the area. The very best cherries also come from these valleys, and the cherry blossom in the spring is a sight for sore eyes. It consists of 12 villages, including Prodromos, Lemythou, Kalopanayiotis and Moutoullas. It is also the home to Trooditissa and Kykkos monasteries. The Cultural Festival of Southern Marathasa is an annual event of arts and crafts fairs and performances of traditional dance and music, storytelling, as well as food and drink exhibitions.
The Krassochoria (The wine Villages) and Koumandaria region
As the name suggests, this region, found on the southern slopes of Troodos, is the main wine making region, and where the famous Commandaria wine is produced. It includes wine making villages such as Omodos, Koilani, Lofou, Vasa, Pachna, Kilani and Arsos. Each September they hold the 'Krassochoria Cultural Festival' to celebrate the end of the grape harvest.
Troodos National Forest Park
The largest part of the forest, about 90km2, was designated a National Forest Park in 1992. Under the Forestry Law 'National Forest Park' means a Main State Forest which may be declared by the Council of Ministers as a Forest, and which is intended for entertainment and relaxation of the public in general. There are 9 picnic sites within the Park area, and three places for camping. Fires should not be lit anywhere except in the areas provided for barbecues and grills. There are about 50 springs with substantial flow throughout the Troodos Forest, which run into some of the largest Cyprus streams such as Kouris, Kryos Potamos, Karkotis and Marathasa river, and used for supplying drinking water to many villages.
The UNESCO World Heritage has 10 churches listed in the Troodos region. Each of them are well worth a visit. The names and locations are:
Agios Nikolaos tis Stegis - Kakopetria
Agios Ioannis Lambadistis - Kalopanagiotis
Panagia Asinou - Nikitari
Panagia to Araka - Lagoudera
Panagia (Moutoulla) - Moutoullas
Archangelos - Pedoulas
Timios Stavros - Pelendri
Panagia Podithou - Galata
Stavros tou Agiasmati - Platanistasa
Metamorphosis tou Sotiros - Palaichori