The charming rural village of Kalavasos is set among orchard-covered hills about 6 miles from the coast in southern Cyprus. If you’re looking for a place to really relax and kick back, this is it. You can stroll around the stone-built village, admiring the views and perhaps stopping for a drink in one of the traditional cafés. Or head out for a hike on one of the numerous walking trails in the area. If you’re in the mood for seafood, head down to the harbour at Zygi, which is renowned for its fresh fish. And if you want to hit the beach, there are several sandy stretches at Zygi, or you could drive another 10 minutes to reach Governors Beach, one of the best on the island. The lively resorts of Limassol and Larnaca are both about a 25-minute drive away if you’re looking for shopping and nightlife.
Visitors come to Kalavasos for a taste of traditional Cyprus, and to soak up the fresh air and the relaxed pace. The charming stone-built village is a delight to explore on foot and the area boasts some wonderful walks. Some of these encompass some remarkable ancient sites, including Kalavasos-Tenta, which was inhabited as far back as the 7th millennium BC. If you feel like some sun, sea and sand, you could pop down to the coast at Zygi, or head to the wonderful, cliff-baced strands at Governors Beach, or even drive 25 minutes to the vibrant towns of Limassol and Larnaca.
Kalavasos has a sprinkling of traditional restaurants and tavernas where you can taste some of the delicious Cypriot specialities. Among them are the tasty mountain stews such as stifado, slow-cooked in wine and herbs, and afelia, a succulent pork dish. You might also want to tuck into some of the famous moussaka, layers of aubergine, meat and béchamel sauce. If you like seafood, you’re in for a treat: both the tavernas in Kalavasos and in seafront Zygi offer the wonderfully fresh catch on their menus. And no one should miss the meze, the traditional Cypriot starter which includes a wide choice of dishes, which might include dips, stuffed vine leaves, seafood and grilled halloumi cheese. The local wines make the ideal accompaniment to this fresh, Mediterranean cuisine.
For relaxed, wonderfully old-fashioned holidays in the sun, Kalavasos is a great option when you're travelling with kids. Many of the accommodation options in the area boast a swimming pool, which keeps most kids happy for hours. Give them a chance to let off steam by taking a stroll along the surrounding nature trails, or head to the beach for the day to make sandcastles and jump waves. You could also head to the water park at Limassol, or visit the camel park near Mazotos, which has a swimming pool and all kinds of other animals as well as the camels that are the main attraction.
Action & Adventure
Kalavasos sits on the lower slopes of the Troodos mountains, which are visible from much of the village. You’ll find scores of good hiking routes in the area, many of which are also suitable for mountain biking, or you could head further into the higher peaks for some adrenaline-pumping activities such as canyoning and climbing. Mount Olympos is the highest peak on Cyprus and offers lots of adventurous activities on its slopes, including some demanding hikes and climbs. The coast offer lots of water sports, from windsurfing to parasailing. You’ll find plenty of places to rent out equipment in Limassol and Larnaca, the two biggest resorts in the area.
The nearest beaches to Kalavasos are found at the fishing village of Zygi, about 5 kilometres away. The main beach in Zygi has sunbeds and parasols for rent, and there are lots of wonderful tavernas serving the region’s famous seafood (considered some of the best on the island) within a short walk. Governors Beach, about 9 kilometres away, is considered one of the loveliest on Cyprus, thanks to its dark sand coves backed by white cliffs. If you’re looking for a wider range of amenities and facilities, you could head to the big resorts of Limassol and Larnaca, which both offer a wide choice of beaches and have lots of options for water sports.
The nightlife in Kalavasos is limited to the local restaurants and tavernas, which, for most visitors to the region, is ideal. You can linger over drinks, chatting to the friendly locals, on a vine-covered terrace. Or wander happily from café to café. Occasionally in summer there will be some special events, usually live traditional music and dancing. There are a few more places for a drink in seaside Zygi, where you can watch the colourful boats bob in the harbour as you enjoy a cocktail. For some serious nightlife, you’ll need to head into the big resorts at Limassol and Larnaca, where you’ll find a wide choice of bars and clubs.
For sheer relaxation, a holiday in Kalavasos can’t be beaten. If your idea of a perfect romantic escape is a charming rural village with plenty of great walking in the area, then you’re in for a treat. Stroll hand-in-hand through the narrow village streets, stopping for a drink and a chat. Take some longer walks through the surrounding hills and orchards. Or head down to the seaside at Zygi to tuck into some fabulously fresh seafood at a harbourfront taverna, or just chill out on the beach. If you’re in the mood to shop or are looking for somewhere to party, then you could head into the big resorts of Limassol and Larnaca.
The tiny village is home to a sprinkling of beautiful churches and chapels that are worth a visit. The main church is dedicated to Panagia Titiotisa and, although only erected in the 19th century, contains a much older iconostasis and some beautiful icons. The fascinating archaeological site of Kalavasos-Tenta is also close by, and you can admire the remains of an Aceramic Neolithic settlement that was first inhabited around 7500-7000 BC. Larnaka, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities on the island, is now a big resort but offers several museums, and preserves the outstanding 9th century church of St Lazarus and the evocative remains of the ancient city of Kition.