Our excursion of Sunday 11 December 2022 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. The hike starts outside Mahairas Monastery, goes downhill on narrow paths, to the Pedieos river bed; then climbs up to reach Lazanias village, which it crosses. We then climb up a mountain, and down the same mountain, to reach Fikardou village. After a break, for the return 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. 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.
11 December is the International Mountain Day, and we shall devote part of our conversations to this topic.
The walk starts at 10:45 am. Antonis is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97803728. Do not be deterred by the degree of difficulty; given the trail is linear, you can pause earlier than the far end, and wait to rejoin the group on its way back.
Depending on the government restrictions on the day, we shall follow the walk with a served lunch. Kindly visit this page in the week prior to the activity for updated news. In the case of lunch, this will take place at a restaurant of our choice in the area.
To provide you with maximum safety vis-à-vis covid-19, and in order to have maximum traceability, we require every participant to register, irrespective of your participation at lunch or not. To facilitate arrangements, for your better service, you are required to sms the walk leader or e-mail Xenophon by end Friday, indicating whether you will be joining us for lunch or not.
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 the Handicrafts Centre (Kentro Heirotechnias) on Leoforos Athalassas (Athalassa Avenue), which offers ample parking space. 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: Get to the round-about next to the Presidential Palace. From downtown Nicosia you reach this along the Kyriakou Matsi avenue or along the D. Severi avenue. Set your odometer to zero on the round-about and drive along the principal road towards Strovolos and then Lakatamia. At the 4.2 km reading you reach the main crossing with the major bypass road (named Spyrou Kyprianou avenue) linking Makedonitissa on your right with the Nicosia-Limassol highway on your left. This is the popular by-pass road which drives past the Jumbo toy store and the American Heart hospital. Traffic coming from the Presidential Palace can follow the tunnel that dives under this main crossing. There is a large Metro super market on your left at this main crossing, as well. Set your odometer to zero at this main crossing and continue straight, towards Lakatamia. At the 1.5 km reading you drive past the very large church of Agia Paraskevi on your right hand side. At the 1.9 km reading you reach a round-about. Take the 3rd exit, which is at right angles to your right. At the 2.1 km reading you drive past a Lidl supermarket on your left hand side. At the 2.5 km reading you reach traffic lights (the first traffic lights after the round-about). There is a Papa John’s pizza house at the corner on your right. Turn left at the traffic lights, following the sign towards Mahairas. You drive straight along this main road for many km, going through the villages of Lakatamia, then Deftera, then Psimolophou, then Pera Orinis, where the road begins to ascend. Be mindful of road humps in each village. At the 15.4 km reading you drive through the village of Kampia. At the 20.1 km reading you drive past a sign indicating the village of Kapedes. Immediately after (20.2 km) you reach a round-about. Take the 4th exit to the right, following the sign to Mahairas (the Monastery is a further 13 km away). The road ascends. At the 24.1 km reading you reach a large picnic site, with tables and benches on either side. It is named Mandra Kampiou. You drive along the main road. At the 27.5 km reading you drive past the church of Agios Onoufrios on your right hand side. At the 31.3 km reading you reach a junction. Do not go straight (a road that takes you to the Kionia picnic site). Turn right following road signs to Mahairas Monastery, and after another few km, you reach the monastery. Park your car outside the monastery. The walk starts here.
How to get from Limassol to the hike start: (this is one route, there may be another)
Drive along the Limassol – Nicosia motorway, heading towards Nicosia. Exit the motorway at exit number 13, following signs to Skarinou and Lefkara. Zero your odometer as you exit the motorway. Be very careful at the 19 km reading to observe a sharp turning to the right and up; you leave the main road (which leads to Vavatsinia village) at this point, and turn right; the signs indicate Kionia and Mahairas as your direction. 2.3 km further up on this road (i.e. approx. at the 21.3 km reading) you pass a forestry department wooden post on your right hand side; continue straight uphill for another 5 km, until (approx. at the 26 km reading) you reach a junction, with signs indicating a left turn towards the village of Agioi Vavatsinias and straight ahead to Kionia; continue straight and after another 3 km (approx. at the 29 km reading) you arrive at the Kionia picnic area. Continue ahead, following road signs, for several more km, until you reach Mahairas monastery. Park your car outside the monastery. We meet here.
How to get to the walk start, coming from Larnaca:
Get on to the main Larnaca to Nicosia highway. Take the exit for Agia Varvara (exit number 8) and follow the road to the village. Drive through Agia Varvara heading for Mathiatis. Once in Mathiatis, do not continue to the next village Lythrodontas; look out for a road sign instead and take a right turn for Analiontas. At Analiontas look for the sign and turn left for Kampia. At Kampia turn left and head for Kapedes. About 5 km later you drive past a sign indicating the village of Kapedes. 200 m after you reach a roundabout. Zero your odometer and take the 4th exit to the right, following the sign to Mahairas (the Monastery is a further 13 km away). The road ascends. At the 3.9 km reading you reach a large picnic site, with tables and benches on either side. It is named Mandra Kampiou. You drive along the main road. At the 7.3 km reading you drive past the church of Agios Onoufrios on your right hand side. At the 11.1 km reading you reach a junction. Take the sharp right turn that takes you to the Monastery of Mahairas. Park your car outside the monastery. We meet here.
How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Landmark (formerly Hilton) hotel area:
Get yourself on Makarios Avenue, heading out of town and set your odometer to zero as you drive past the Landmark (formerly Hilton) hotel. At the 0.1 km reading you reach traffic lights (with the Apoel club building on your right), go straight. At the 0.5 km reading you reach another set of traffic lights, go straight. Driving along, you pass a few more traffic lights, staying on this main road (named Leoforos Lemesou/ Limassol Avenue). At the 2.1 km reading, you reach a principal set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn right here. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue. At the 0.2 km reading you see a large empty space on your right and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your left. Park in the parking area. We meet here. The Handicrafts Centre is next to the church of St. Barnabas.
How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Presidential Palace area:
Get to the round-about next to the Presidential Palace. From downtown Nicosia you reach this along the Kyriakou Matsi avenue or along the D. Severi avenue. Set your odometer to zero on the round-about and drive along the principal road towards Strovolos. At the 0.3 km reading you reach traffic lights. Go straight. At the 0.6 km reading you reach a 2nd set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn left. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue full of shops. At the 2.6 km reading you see a large empty space on your left and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your right. Park here.
Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Landmark (formerly Hilton) hotel area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/phjc6s7
Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Presidential Palace area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/neo9duy
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.
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