Mahairas – Lazanias and Fikardou trail: Sunday 7 May

N.B. We are testing a new meeting point in Nicosia for this outing.

Our excursion of Sunday 7 May 2017 takes us to a picturesque trail full of thrills, involving mountain tops, as well as a river bed. The area is North West of Mahairas monastery, at an altitude about 900 m, and our itinerary includes two small, beautiful villages, Fikardou and Lazanias, reminiscent of past decades.

The walk will take close to 4 hours and is rated 3 (difficult), with several demanding downhill and uphill sections. We set off at Fikardou village, climb up to an adjacent mountain top, then down the other side, to the neighbouring village of Lazanias; from there we continue our descent, all the way down to the Pedieos river bed; finally, we climb up to the monastery of Mahairas. After a break, we follow the same path back to Fikardou. The total distance is close to 10 km. The walk covers an area rich in vegetation (almond trees, pine trees, golden oak, vetch etc.) and also offers several beautiful scenic views.

The walk starts at 10:45 am. Laurent is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 96414853.

At the end of the walk we shall sit down for a meal in a taverna in the area. To facilitate arrangements, for your better service, you are required to pre-register, if you are joining us for lunch. To do so, please sms the walk leader or e-mail Xenophon by end Friday. No need to register if you are not dining.

You have the choice of meeting the group at the walk start, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions. Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is an open field which offers ample parking space in Archangelos. This is a new meeting point, which we are testing only for this excursion. The car trip starts at 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.

How to get to the walk start:

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and continue straight ahead (on the principal road towards Troodos). At the 0.5 km reading you come to traffic lights, go straight. At the 3.0 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori.  At the 3.3 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 17.2 km reading ignore the left turn signposted to Fikardou (a brown sign). Continue straight. At the 22.2 km reading you drive past an army camp (named Tasos Markou) on your right. At the 23.5 km turn left (signposted to Kalo Chorio and Farmakas). As you drive through the village of Kalo Chorio, at the 25.1 km turn right. Drive along this road and follow the (well-marked) signs for Fikardou. At the 32.5 km reading turn left. You drive through the village of Gourri. At the 33.5 km reading you arrive at a T-junction: turn left. At the 33.7 km reading take the left turn. Fikardou comes about 1.4 km after Gourri. As you reach Fikardou, on your left you see the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) at the 35.5 km reading. There is space for parking. Park your car. We meet here.

How to get to the walk start: (here is an alternative route)

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and continue straight ahead (on the principal road towards Troodos). At the 0.5 km reading you come to traffic lights, go straight. At the 3.0 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori.  At the 3.3 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 17.2 km reading take the left turn signposted to Fikardou (a brown sign). You drive through the village of Arediou. At the 21.2 km reading take the left turn signposted to Fikardou. The road continues ascending, with lots of bends. At the 29.9 km reading you reach the village of Fikardou. At 30.1 km the tarmac ends, giving its way to the cobbled village road. The road bends right and after another 100 m reaches the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) on your right. There is space for parking. Park your car. We meet here.

How to get to the meeting point for the car trip:

From Nicosia get to the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital. At the traffic lights where you have the Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, zero your odometer and go straight, along Archangelos avenue, in the direction of Troodos. At the 0.3 km reading you reach the first traffic lights; turn left into Agiou Alexiou street. At the 0.4 km reading you reach a T-junction; turn right into Agiou Gennadiou street and immediately after you observe on your left an open field used for parking; get onto it and park your car. We meet here. In front of this field there is a violet box for collecting clothes and also a water tank from where people can buy water.

How to return to Nicosia from the walk start:

Zero your odometer as you start in front of the church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) in Fikardou, with the church on your right. At the 1.7 km reading turn right at the T-junction. At the 2.0 km reading turn right. At the 3.0 km reading turn right at the T-junction. At the 10.3 km reading ignore the sign pointing to a right turn for Nicosia, turn left at the T-junction. At the 11.8 km reading you reach the T-junction with the main highway: turn right and enjoy the rest of your return trip.

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the junction between Cineplex and Apolloneion Hospital to the parking field on Agiou Gennadiou street http://tinyurl.com/lg3u78q

Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the Presidential Palace to the parking field on Agiou Gennadiou street: http://tinyurl.com/k9gabhs

About Fikardou: At an altitude of about 900 m, this entire small village has been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site. It is a fine specimen of Cyprus village architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its church of Apostles Petros and Pavlos (St Peter and St Paul) was originally built in the 18th c. Its houses have the characteristic red tile roof. Most of the houses are deserted. The village comes to life on weekends, thanks to its visitors.

About Lazanias: Also at about a 900 m altitude, this small village traces its name to the Lusignans, or Francs, who reigned in Cyprus between 1192 and 1489 AD.

Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.