Whilst you enjoy your sun-filled holiday by the sea, consider a visit to the Troodos Mountains—they provide a delightful contrast and can be sampled in a day trip by car. Rising some 2000 metres above sea level, the forested range is dotted with picturesque villages along with churches and monasteries from the Byzantine era. Begin your drive from Pafos on the southern coastal highway, then climb up through the Diarizos River Valley. The valley’s vineyards grow eighteen varieties of grape, with mavro predominant; you can sample the local wine at the Nelion Winery in Praitori. Your next stop might be Platres, the mountain resort town developed by the British in the nineteenth century and known for its hiking trails and colonial era architecture. Then you might head to a monastery. The largest and best known, Kykkos, affords panoramic views of the mountain range. A lovely alternative, though, sits in Kalopanagiotis village. Its Church of Agios Ioannis Lambaditis is nestled in a valley next to a rushing stream. Examine the intricate frescoes of the eleventh-century monastery and explore the adjacent Byzantine museum. Then take a stroll on the cobblestone streets of the neighbouring village, stopping for a bite to eat. Every season reveals something new in the Troodos Mountains—spring wildflowers, summer breezes, fall colours, and winter snow (and yes, it is possible to ski there). Whatever your destination, be sure to take a deep breath and take in the scenery around you.
A day spent lounging by the pool or sunning on the beach can easily include activities that require wearing more than a swimsuit, so it is important to plan how you will dress up your look. Start by checking out your swimwear, advises stylist Christos Christou of Kult boutiques: ‘If it is monochrome, choose a patterned top; if it is patterned, go with monochrome.’ In a cohesive style, the colour of the monochrome piece is present in the patterned one. Women should think about length and fabric when choosing a kaftan: a long, silk one creates a formal look appropriate for an evening cocktail, while a short, cotton cover is the right style for a casual lunch. A simple brown belt gives a loose kaftan a chic silhouette. Women’s shoes can range from casual flip flops to sophisticated leather sandals. For men, Christou’s advice is to ‘keep it simple’: Combine swimming trunks with a linen shirt and sandals or a polo shirt and espadrilles. Men’s swimming briefs should be covered with linen shorts or pants. Kult, which recently reopened its Annabelle shop after a complete remodel, stocks everything you need to style your swimwear—including sunglasses, bags, and hats. It includes Cypriot designer Lila Eugenie’s collection of women’s kaftans cut from a white Italian silk-cotton blend and embellished with traditional Cypriot lace. The shop carries a full complement of swimwear and accessories from top designer labels. Stop by and put together the perfect look for your day in the sun!
A spa treatment offers not just the opportunity to nurture your body and soothe your soul—it can also help you strengthen your relationship with someone you love. While couples’ treatments are popular with romantic duos, these experiences are increasingly being sought by family pairs—mothers and daughters, cousins, or sisters, for example. Ouranos offers several massages for two. The Back to Bliss massage is a 30-minute tension reliever for the back and neck that puts both receivers in a happy state. We also offer longer, full-body treatments: The Dual Indulgence and Hot Stone Harmony massages. In the latter, therapists place warm polished basalt lava stones on vital energy points, balancing and harmonising the entire body before performing a massage with aromatherapy oils. Both are available in 60- and 80-minute increments. ‘It is always gratifying to see pairs emerge from treatment with a happy glow,’ says Ingrid Price, spa manager. With this in mind, she developed a new package, the Tea for Two Afternoon at Ouranos. The session begins with the spa’s signature Oxygen Cell Support Facial. Using advanced anti-ageing products, this heavenly 90-minute facial restores moisture and oxygen levels and protects the skin from future damage. And what better way to share that newly radiant visage than with a relaxing afternoon tea? Neighbouring Ouranos restaurant, where the cuisine complements the spa’s focus on wellbeing, offers three options: Asian, Cypriot, and English. Each comes with a generous selection of nine pastries and light snacks. It is the perfect setting to affirm a cherished relationship!
It is a staple of the Cypriot bar menu—the brandy sour. The drink some call the national cocktail has its origins in Platres, the mountain resort made popular by the British in the nineteenth-century under colonial rule. Enter King Farouk of Egypt. Known for his opulent taste and lavish lifestyle, he made Platres a frequent stop in his travels away from the scorching Egyptian heat. King Farouk enjoyed Western cocktails, but as a Muslim monarch he did not want to be seen drinking alcohol in public. His bartender in Platres devised a clever ploy—a cocktail that looks like an iced tea! The base of the drink is Cyprus brandy, a double distillation of wine from the Cypriot grape variety xynisteri aged in oak barrels. To that is added squash from Cyprus lemons, which have a yellow-green rind and a bitter taste (British author Lawrence Durrell named his memoir Bitter Lemons of Cyprus in their honour). Next come two drops of aromatic bitters; the bitters add complexity and intensity to the taste and temper the acidity of the citrus and the harshness of the alcohol. The long drink is finished with soda water and served with ice (like an iced tea, naturally). Now the brandy sour is a beloved refreshment on a summer evening—and one cocktail enthusiasts are proud to order. Ready to try it? The Byz Bar offers this and other classic cocktails on a nightly basis.
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the Pafos Aphrodite Festival, which brings an internationally renowned opera production to the harbour during the first weekend of every September. The medieval castle provides the romantic background for the outdoor performance; grandstands are assembled for comfortable seating in an amphitheatre format. ‘The Barber of Seville,’ Gioachino Rossini’s celebrated comic opera of 1816, is this year’s production. Set in seventeenth-century Spain, the opera shows how Figaro (barber and jack of all trades) helps Count Almaviva to win the hand of the lovely Rosina. Rosina is the ward of Dr Bartolo, who also wants her as his bride and devises various schemes to keep her away from the count. False identities and ridiculous ruses set the comic tone. The production comes from Italian opera company C.I.A.L.M./Teatro Lirico Italiano under the direction of Lev Pugliese; the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra provides musical support. The two-act performance is in Italian with English, Greek, and Russian subtitles. As the festival is only a ten-minute stroll from Annabelle, why not plan an evening of drinks, dining, and theatre? Enjoy panoramic views of the castle and harbour from Ouranos over a cocktail and light meal. Then head out for a night at the opera. The programme starts at 20:00 and runs three nights, 31 August and 1-2 September.
Tickets are available from the festival website contact Guest Services to make food and beverage reservations.
It is a classic found on every cocktail menu—the gin and tonic. For travellers, it’s a safety drink, delivering refreshment just like the one from home. Yet, following the gin renaissance of recent years, in which hundreds of new gins have come to market, it’s time to think beyond your comfort zone and explore new possibilities. At Ouranos, Annabelle’s new rooftop lounge, bar manager Alexandro Mavrikis offers a selection of 50 distinctive gins. ‘We’re not trying to impress with a big number—we just want to cover the range of the palate,’ he says. Indeed, with its variety of gins, garnishes, and tonics, Ouranos offers an incredible 650 gin and tonic combinations. How to decide which one is for you? Start by talking with your server about your gin preferences. A London Dry gin like Beefeater will have a light forest scent and the taste of juniper berries, while Thomas Dakin gin takes you deeper into the forest through its blend of 11 botanicals. Or, you may like the fruity taste of G Vine, which features distilled grapes and only a trace of juniper. The Japanese gin Wa Bi is a truly global creation—its base is half sake. Next choose the garnish (which can boost, counterbalance, or change the flavour of the gin) and a premium tonic. One popular version combines Tanqueray 10, pink grapefruit zest, Szechuan red pepper, ice, and Fever Tree tonic for a refreshing blend of citrus and spice notes. Choose your combination and gin up this well-loved cocktail!