Our hike of Sunday 7 January 2018 kicks off the new year program in the picturesque mountainous area of Pitsilia, and follows a forest road 4 km long, from Selladi Karamanli towards Polystypos; we return by the same forest road, which translates to a walk of 8 km. The hike is rated 1 (easy in terms of difficulty), and is expected to take about 2 hours. The hike is generally on level ground, with gentle downhill sections on the way out, hence gentle uphill sections on the way back. The path is in dense forest with vines, pine trees, golden oaks, oaks, and several other species of trees and bushes offering a rich reward to the Stroller. As anticipated, the hike offers some magnificent views. Selladi Karamanli lies at an altitude of 1260 m and forms part of the Grand Circle of Madari. We shall access it by car, along the only paved road that reaches it, via the village of Saranti.
The walk starts at 11:15 am. Xenophon is leading this walk, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97613720. At the end of the walk we shall drive to a taverna in the vicinity, for a meal. You need to register for lunch (e-mail by end Thursday).
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. The car trip starts at 10:00 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.
How to get from Nicosia to the walk start:
Take Archangelos avenue, the principal road towards Troodos. At the traffic lights where you have Cineplex on your left hand side and Apolloneion Hospital on your right hand side, go straight. At the next traffic lights (about 500 m further on), zero your odometer and go straight. At the 2.5 km reading you leave the main road, taking the side road on your left, named E903 and signposted to Palekhori. At the 2.8 km reading you get to a roundabout; take the first exit to the left, signposted to Palekhori. Drive along this main road. At the 15.5 km reading turn right into the E929 road, towards Agios Ioannis and Kato Moni villages. At the 26.6 km reading you pass through a short tunnel. At the 26.8 km reading you reach a T-junction: turn left. At the 28.3 km reading turn right into the E907 road, towards Xyliato and Agia Marina. At the 33.6 km reading you pass the village of Xyliato. At the 36.7 km reading you pass a large dam on your right. The road begins to climb towards the picturesque area of Pitsilia, through a beautiful forest scenery. At the 43.7 km reading you reach a right turn to Saranti village: go right, uphill, towards Saranti. After about 1 km you arrive at a T-junction, with Fountoukia taverna facing you. Take the right turn, signposted to Spilia. The road begins to climb; after 100 m you go left at a Y-junction. After 2.5 km along this road you have arrived at Selladi Karamanli. Park on the side. The hike starts here.
How to get from Limassol to the walk start:
Take the main road towards Trimiklini, then Saittas. Get to the principal junction at Saittas, where you have the options of going straight to Platres or left to Pera Pedi, or right to Amiantos. Zero your odometer and turn right. At the 10.9 km reading you reach the principal junction of Karvounas (note, no traffic lights). Do not go straight, downhill (this takes you to Kakopetria). Do not turn left (this takes you to Troodos square). Turn right, signposted to Pitsilia region. Drive through and out of Kyperounda, the first village on your way. The second village you meet is Handria. As you drive through Handria look out for a left uphill turn, signposted to ‘Panagia tou Araka’ (8 km) and ‘Lagoudera’ (7 km). Turn left and drive a couple of km, until you reach a crossroads. At the crossroads you go straight, following signs to Lagoudera and Panagia tou Araka. A few km further on, you come to the first next junction, where you turn left, following signs to Lagoudera and Panagia tou Araka (3 km away). About two km further on, you come to the second next junction, where you turn left, following signs to Lagoudera and Panagia tou Araka (1 km away). Once you reach Panagia tou Araka, on your right, zero your odometer and stay on the main road, driving past Panagia tou Araka and through the tiny village of Saranti. At the 0.9 km reading you reach a junction, where you ignore the right turn, signposted to Xyliato and Nicosia; take the left turn, signposted to Spilia. The road begins to climb; after 100 m you go left at a Y-junction. At the 3.4 km reading you have arrived at Selladi Karamanli. Park on the side. The hike starts 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.
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
Google Maps: Here is a map taking you from the church of Panagia tou Araka to the junction in Saranti https://tinyurl.com/yaurj4fu
About Pitsilia: The region east of Mount Olympos (Troodos) is known as the Pitsilia area and includes about 30 villages. Its tallest peaks are Madari (1612 metres) and Papoutsa (1554 metres). The picturesque villages nestle on the mountainside amid vineyards, or are hidden in valleys, maintaining much of their traditional charm. The surrounding hills and valleys are full of vines, as well as almond, hazelnut, walnut and other fruit trees. The area is also known for its traditional products such as aromatic rosewater, ‘hiromeri’ (smoked ham), ‘loukanika’ (smoked sausages) and ‘lountza’ (smoked pork loin).
Pitsilia has four of the famous Byzantine churches on the World Heritage list – The Church of the Transfiguration of the Saviour (tou Sotiros) at Palaichori, the Church of Stavros tou Agiasmati near Platanistasa, the Church of Timios Stavros (Church of the Holy Cross) in the village of Pelendri and the church of Panagia tou Araka in the village of Lagoudera.
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.