This morning it was time for us to leave Paphos behind and travel inland to our next destination: Platres. Today was going to be all about the journey, because I had planned what I hoped was going to be a very scenic route to Platres through the Tilliria forest.
We checked out of the apartment at around 10am and began driving towards the small village of Lysos, which is located about 25 miles north of Paphos. Once we'd left the sprawl of Paphos behind us, the road took us up into the hills and we soon had some beautiful views
Lysos was a small place, but it had a pretty little church...
...and we could even see all the way back down to the sea.
From Lysos, we followed a small road (F723) towards the forest. The Tilliria forest is very remote and some of the roads which cross it are only dirt tracks. My research on the internet had suggested that the F723 was a proper tarmac road, so it was a relief to get to it and see that it was
The road soon began climbing higher into the mountains.
Every so often there were little laybys where we could pull over and admire the views.
The road took us deeper into the forest.
The guidebook had warned that there were no petrol stations once you were on this route and no shops either, so we'd made sure we were well stocked with both petrol and water.
We were driving towards a small hamlet called Stavros tis Psokos, which seems to be the only habitation within the forest.
It was only 12 miles from Lysos, but it probably took half an hour to get there because the road was so steep and winding.
Once we arrived and parked we were confronted with a sign which warned that the risk of forest fires was high today. Not surprising I guess, given how hot and dry it is.
The main reason for stopping in Stavros tis Psokos is to see the mouflon.
These horned sheep are a national emblem of Cyprus.
There is a small path you can follow around the mouflon enclosure. The sheep themselves are behind a high fence; apparently someone who got inside the enclosure and started goading the sheep was gored to death The ones we saw seemed quite timid though; the younger ones ran off when they heard us walking around.
Apart from the sheep there isn't much else to see here and so we were soon on our way again.
We stopped at several viewpoints outside Stavros tis Psokos and came to one which seemed to be the start of a short signposted walk.
We decided to give it a go.
The path was a bit narrow in places, but overall a lot easier to walk on than yesterday's.
We soon had some lovely views
The start of the path was quite uphill, but the higher we climbed the further we could see.
It was all so beautiful that it was hard to stop taking photos
After a while we realised we could see one of the little roads cutting through the forest.
Partway through the walk we came to a crossroads with several possible directions and we didn't have a clue which one was correct.
After looking at our photo of the map, we eventually realised that the scratches on this sign post were showing us the way to go.
It was quite a sharp turn (we'd come from the wider track and the arrow was pointing up the narrower path). We could easily have missed it and gone the wrong way!
The next part of the walk continued to have some amazing views.
It hasn't come out very clearly in the photos, but at this point we could see the sea in the distance
The narrow path eventually took us back to where we had started.
Then it was back in the car again, towards our next destination.
Our next destination was a place called Cedar Valley, described in the guidebook as being one of the most picturesque places in Cyprus. We found it about 15 minutes further on and parked in the small car park. It wasn't immediately obvious what there was to see, so we started following the only signposted footpath which we could find.
The path led uphill through the forest.
Finally we started to see some cedars!
They have a rather distinctive shape.
They were growing in amongst lots of other trees though, so sometimes we had to look quite carefully to be able to pick them out.
I had thought the walk was just going to be a stroll, but it ended up taking us quite steeply uphill.
We could look down towards the road we'd been driving on.
Unbeknown to us we were climbing to the top of Mount Tripylos.
When we finally got there, there were some great views though
Then it was time to head back down towards the cedars again
Once we got back in the car, we started driving towards Platres, our destination for the evening. On the way we passed the Kykkos monastery.
This is apparently the richest and most famous monastery in Cyprus.
From there it wasn't far to Platres. We found the village without any problems, but finding the correct address for our accommodation was a bit more challenging. We got there in the end though and found we've got quite a spacious house for the next two nights.
In addition to a nice living area with a kitchen...
...we've got a bedroom with a four poster bed...
...and a spare bedroom in case we fall out
We've also got an outdoor area...
...with some nice views.
We were pretty hungry by this point, so we walked uphill into the centre of Platres to find some food. We found a nice restaurant, where I had chicken souvlaki again and Tim had a chicken schnitzel. He didn't get to eat all of it himself though, because he made a new friend
Afterwards we had more baklava and coffee. Tim ordered something which on the menu was called "Cyprus coffee". It turned out to be very similar to Turkish coffee.
The sun was just setting as we made our way back to the apartment. It's been another lovely day, and we're looking forward to exploring more of the region tomorrow