A Travellers Guide to Omodos, Cyprus

The beautiful village of Omodos, high up in the stunning Triodes mountains of Cyprus is a fascinating mix of traditional old Cyprus and tourist hotspot and I cannot believe it has taken more than a decade of visiting the island to finally discover it.

shutters in Omodos Cyrpus

 The trip up to Omodos in the Limmasol District of Cyprus from the Paphos region is a stunning and slightly hair-raising journey following winding, sometimes narrow, roads which form part of the wine route.

Grapevines on Triodes Mountains Cyprus

 You might well need a calming glass of wine if you did as we did and follow some of the lesser used roads through vineyards and tiny villages, or you could play safe and stick to main roads or choose an organised trip which usually involves one of those mini- minibuses. Y'know, bigger than people carriers but much smaller than a coach.

We parked just a short walk from the famous cobbled square in the centre of the village (there are even designated disabled spaces in the little car park) and although my step-dad was keen to stop for a cool drink in a shady seating area in the nearest taverna, I was even more keen to explore the shop of the local leather craftsman.

My mum had told me he makes amazing handbags, purses, belts, wallets and more at unbelievable prices and although I thought he probably produced those hard leather brown saddle bags which always smell slightly of dung, I was still curious. I do have a bit of a handbag-collecting habit!

Outside P.F.P Leather Goods was not terribly inspiring. But stepping inside into the cool shop/workshop was a treat with bags of all hues and styles from classic black bags to metallic slouchy bags with studs and tassels and other adornments.

PFP Leather Goods, Omodos  Cyprus

PFP Leather Goods Cyprus

I found a bag I loved  and was astounded when the craftsman told me it would cost just 34 Euros. I couldn't believe it. 34 Euros for a lined, leather bag with contrasting edges, beautiful stitching and a soft, fine grain! That's just under £30 at current exchange rates.

I expressed disappointment it didn't have a tassel and after a slight panic over some issue with his glue, the lovely craftsman swept up a gorgeous piece of red leather and swiftly snipped and snapped and in a minute I had my own custom made tassel to match my bag!

PFP Leather Goods Cyprus - craftsman working

My daughter had already offered to buy me a bag if I found one in Omodos and after finding out it cost less than she expected encouraged me to choose a matching purse. Again, gorgeous red leather with multi-coloured card sleeves - 25 Euros. (About £22). It easily the same or better quality than the Radley purse it replaces.

Happy with my purchases I headed back to the shady taverna for an iced tea before exploring the village further.

There's a monastery with a beautiful church you can visit - there are robes to cover bare legs and arms if you need them to comply with modesty expectations. Timios Stavros Monastery  (The Monastery of the Holy Cross) houses what is said to be an original piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on and a piece of the rope which tied Him to it. The monastery itself dates from a least the 17th century although much of it has been reconstructed as recently as the mid 19th century.

Timios Stavros Monastery, Omodos, Cyprus

Timios Stavros Monastery, Omodos, Cyprus

Like the rest of the village it is very attractive to photographers although be careful not to photograph inside the church as notices make it clear this is not allowed.

Luckily snappers amateur and professional have no end of other things to photograph from mountain views to narrow winding streets.

Omodos Cyprus

painted shutters in CyprusOmodos Cyprus, Grecian urns

Instagrammers fond of the #doors&windowsofinstagram theme will be spoilt for choice with ancient stone walls and all shades of blue paintwork making for picturesque shots.

window in Omodos, Cyprus

Cat lovers too will find plenty of furry friends to photograph #catsofinstagram style. This cheeky chap had found the perfect shady spot to relax in.

cat in Omodos Cyprus

Now I mentioned that Omodos is a mix of ancient and modern - let me elaborate.

In modern Cyprus towns and even villages now you rarely see wizened older folk in black clothing and some of the old habits like bringing you free fruit or cake or other treats with a drink or meal are less common than when I first visited around 13 years ago. I used to love being given grapes straight off the vine as a refreshing snack.

But in Omodos I spotted quite a few residents in traditional black clothing marking an almost endless mourning period for one family member or another.

icon shop in Omodos Cyprus

Then at the cafe we had lunch in we were given a small bowl of savoury biscuits which worked as the perfect accompaniment to the cool Cypriot beer. The service at both cafes we visited was exemplary with no sign of the apparent tourist fatigue you sometime see in the resorts. Many of the tavernas advertised that they cooked on charcoal  - the smell of barbecuing meat in the air backed this up!

Unexpectedly though both vegetarians and vegans were catered for at least one taverna/guest house. Stou Kir Yianni offered vegan and vegetarian mezes alongside the traditional meat and fish version with tempting delights including fried squash blossoms filled with rice, halloumi with sesame and honey, vegetarian moussaka, baked aubergine with tomato sauce and oregano bread.

Stou Kir Yianni guest house and taverna, Omodos, Cyprus

All this served in stunning surroundings occasionally with live piano, guitar and Greek music. One day I'd love to return, stay there and sample the food. If you get there before me, let me know if it was amazing as it looks.

Omodos does attract lots of tourists and there is plenty of tat on sale but amongst the fidget spinners and dodgy donkeys you can also pick up beautiful jewellery, glassware, traditional religious icons, lace wear and of course leather goods.

lace and geraniums, Omodos Cyprus

You can also buy traditional baked goods, honey, herbs, spices and of course the local wine produced from the vines you pass on your way to the village.

Allow at least a couple of hours to explore, especially if you plan to eat. I'd advise going early and plan to have lunch there when it gets too hot and before the main coach parties appear.

If you visit this lovely destination look out for this dodgy fellow (below) I loved how the enterprising shopkeeper had adorned him - presumably he no longer works as a ride-on-but sad I would not get to see the promised "song and movement" for just 1 Euro. He wins my award for scariest children's ride ever!

shabby chic vintage donkey ride on, Omodos Cyprus

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