Lofou – Agios Georgios – Sylikou – Kouka – Pera Pedi – Lofou.
Date Last Walked: October 2016
Distance: Approximately 13 miles (21 kms)
Duration: Approximately 5 hours 5 minutes (excluding stops)
Difficulty: This walk is on quiet asphalt roads. There are some long uphill stretches which can be quite hard work, particularly in the heat. There isn’t very much shade.
Points of interest: Commandaria wine villages, Timios Stavros church in Kouka, Agios Faneromenis shrine in Pera Pedi, the Lavrania spring in an ancient olive tree in Sylikou.
Although this walk is on country roads, they are very quiet and it is a great way to explore some traditional Cyprus villages on foot. Bear in mind that these roads are busier at weekends as the town dwellers head out to the villages to visit family or tend to their grape vines. If you walk on a weekday you won’t see more than a handful of cars during the whole walk.
Start the walk in Lofou Village. We park just off the main road at the north end of the village down a side road opposite a small roadside shrine but wherever you park, start the walk by heading out of Lofou on the F817 in the direction of Alassa.
After 40 minutes you will pass the church of Profitis Ilias to the left of the road.
After 1 hour turn left off the F817 onto the road signposted to ‘Agios Georgios 4km’.
Follow the road as it winds down into the valley, admiring the views of Kouris reservoir and Akrotiri salt lake to your right.
You are walking through some pine forest, then some agricultural land and you have views across the Kouris valley below you – this is the valley that you can see spreading out to your left when you drive up the Troodos road. The ‘golf balls’ of Mount Olympus are on view high above you as your road approaches the next village.
In 1 hour 55 minutes you will reach the centre of the pretty village of Agios Georgios. There are coffee shops here if you want to stop for an early break.
Continue the walk by leaving Agios Georgios on the Silikou road which is signposted to your left (as below) just before you get to the village centre.
After 2-3 minutes’ walking you arrive at a junction – turn left towards Silikou.
In 2 hours 15 minutes you will reach the road sign indicating that you are entering Silikou. A few metres beyond the sign on the opposite (right-hand) side of the road here is a pretty church where there is a water tap and are plenty of seats in the shade.
Continue your walk to the village centre – this is a long uphill haul – which you will reach after about 2 hours 40 minutes. Silikou is one of the Commandaria wine villages and there is a small wine museum here, also a couple of coffee shops where you can buy a cold drink. Next to the village church you can see the Lavrania spring which is set into the trunk of an ancient olive tree.
When you have finished exploring Silikou walk out along the road uphill in the direction of Kouka and Pera Pedi. As you leave the village you will see a Turkish cemetery on your left – this used to be sadly neglected but has recently been restored.
Continue uphill towards Kouka. If you look to your left you will see hills rising up in the distance – hard to believe at this stage but you will be walking back to Lofou along the ridge-line later in the day!
Although the uphill going can be tough in places you will be rewarded with increasingly panoramic views across the surrounding countryside. Take a breather at 3 hours 10 minutes to admire the scenery from a recently-constructed sun terrace-cum-shelter on the edge of a cliff face.
You should reach Kouka, another sleepy little village, after about 3 hours 20 minutes. There used to be a taverna on your left where you could pause for a pint of real ale from Cyprus’ Aphrodite’s Rock brewery but this seems to have been recently been replaced by the local village council offices. Next door is the church of Timios Stavros (Holy Cross)
About 50 metres past the church take the left road turning which leads uphill.
The asphalt road runs out after a couple of minutes and you continue your walk along a loose earth track through some pine woods to the newly-built church of Agia Paraskevi at 3 hours 30 minutes. Continue past the church on Parambela Street (signed on your right) until you reach the junction with the main road through Pera Pedi at 3 hours 40 minutes.
Turn left and walk along the pavement for about 50 metres until you reach a left turn signposted to ‘Lofou 7km’
Before you turn down this road (Timotheou Street) take a few minutes to look at the shrine to Agios Faneromenis which is almost opposite the junction.
You may see some wax effigies of various body parts here; rather strange to British eyes but a common sight in Cyprus’ churches where people leave these votive offerings when they pray for a cure for whatever ails them.
Follow the road signs to Lofou (via Foti Pitta Street) as your route climbs away from Pera Pedi and opens out into views of the valley, and the villages that you have already walked through, to your left.
At 4 hours 5 minutes you will reach a crossroads (signed to Koilani on your right) – continue straight over and ahead towards Lofou.
The road climbs once again – it can be a hard slog but, as before, there is the compensation of some stunning views in all directions, particularly southwards down towards the Akrotiri salt lakes and the coast.
At 4 hour 30 minutes you should reach the top as the road levels out and opens up into the next valley, with Koilani ahead of you in the distance. From now on the road follows the ridge-line between two valleys, eventually bending round and gradually down towards Lofou.
You should arrive back in Lofou after about 5 hours 5 minutes walking.
If you haven’t already had a look around the village, now is the time to do so. There is plenty to see here among the quaint back streets, both in terms of architecture and dining!
October 2016: Blackcap, Chukar, Crested Lark, Cyprus Warbler, Cyprus Wheatear, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Kestrel, Magpie, Pigeon, Red-backed Shrike, Sardinian Warbler, Stonechat, Wheatear, Wood Pigeon