The phrase hidden gem carries a little sprinkling of magic – as soon as you hear it there’s extra excitement for what you’re about to hear. This is something reserved exclusively for you and a select few! And if Cyprus is high on your holiday list, you might already be on the edge of your seat. So without further ado here’s our list of hidden gems. The sights that somehow fly under the radar and some of the island’s finest attractions you never knew existed.
Like something out of a fairy tale, this Venetian bridge sits in the shade of Paphos Forest. You won’t find any trolls waiting below, although there’s no guarantee that you won’t find goats clip clopping across. The Diarizos River runs below and from the right angle Tzelefos is reflected perfectly in its waters. Its claim to fame is that it’s the biggest medieval stone bridge ever built on Cyprus, so it’s surprising that it remains such a hidden treasure! Good news for you, as you’ll escape the crowds while you take in this little piece of island history. For a time this would have been the only way for locals to cross the river – living like a native of the past has never been so good.
There’s something about a waterfall that just grabs your attention. Whether it’s the sound of the rumbling falls or the sight of rushing water, you’ll find it tricky to pull yourself away once it’s caught your eyes or ears. Cascading from a height of 15 metres, Millomeri is one of the tallest on Cyprus. It’s a little less of a hidden gem thanks to a recently-built road that takes you a stone’s throw from the falls. Perfect if you’re exploring the area in your hire car and want a flying visit to the area’s amazing sights. Rushing might be your big holiday no-no, so how about a scenic walk to the falls? Platres Church is roughly one kilometre from Millometri, so the route from here falls well within the leisurely stroll category.
Your scenic drive through the Marathasa Valley will definitely give you the feeling that you’re headed to somewhere tucked away from the rest of the world. And with a hire car, you’ve got the freedom to stop off whenever you spot something that takes your fancy! Although the ultimate views await at the top. Kykkos Monastery sits up in the mountains, at an altitude of more than 1300m – so expect some brilliant panoramas of the hills and villages below.
The monastery dates back to the 11th century, when it was founded by the Byzantine Emperor. Sadly its original structure was destroyed by fires and replaced by the lavish buildings you’ll find here today. Dating back as early as 1831, these ‘new’ buildings have plenty of charm of their own! And with the addition of the icon of the Virgin Mary that survived those blazes, there’s still original history behind its doors. An impressive courtyard welcomes you to Kykkos, home to an old well and leading you to the monastery’s amazing sights. For a true sense of its history, head to the museum where you’ll be told its tale through art and artefacts dating back across the centuries.
Larnaca Salt Lakes
How can something so beautiful remain such a little known sight!? That’s the head-scratching question we’re asking ourselves and you’ll soon be asking yourself too. Seeing these wonderful lakes up close and personal leaves you even more puzzled! Although this does mean that you won’t have to fight through the crowds to enjoy these four interconnected salt lakes for yourself. Between November and March migratory birds set up camp here, including flocks of flamingos! You’ll be tickled pink as you watch these birds playing, dancing and serenading one another. The Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque sits on the bank of the largest lake, adding hundreds of years of history to your visit here. Its gardens also offer an amazing spot to look out over the lakes – a peaceful setting for great natural beauty.
‘You look years younger’, ‘you’re glowing!’, ‘you look so refreshed’ – these are the kind of compliments you can expect to hear after your trip to the Hamam! So it might be worth practicing your modest and surprised faces. Traditional treatments include exfoliation and massages, perfect for soothing aches and removing dead skin. And if it is a relaxing dose of tradition you’re after, there’s nowhere better than Hamam Omerye. Built by the Ottoman’s in 1570, it was closed in 2002 to be restored to its former glory. Wonderful domed roofs, intricate decorations throughout, this is a wonderful setting to recharge your batteries.