Learn, Play and Grow with a Cypriot Eco Experience

by Asako Maruoka /
Asako Maruoka's picture
May 04, 2012 / 0 comments

You might think there’s nothing more to be had from holidays to Cyprus than fun in the sun: lazing on the beach, sipping cocktails, or partying in Ayia Napa. You might think this, but you’d be wrong. The third largest island in the Med has much more to offer than just that and is the perfect place to take a trip for those who need their brains stimulated as well as the pigment of their skin!

Ecotourism is alive and well in Cyprus where the discerning traveller goes to experience the traditional lifestyle of Cypriots away from the glitz and glam of the tourist villages and resorts. Buyukkonuk village, settled in the shadow of the Besparmak Mountains, is but a stone’s throw from beaches and beautiful, shady forests, but a visit here is like stepping back in time. The rural Cypriots here farm and craft just as their ancestors did and life could not feel further removed from Ayia Napa.

Visitors to Buyukkonuk won’t be expected to rest on their laurels and expect to be waited on hand and foot: here hard work is rewarded and you will be expected to get your hands dirty if you want your evening meals. There are goats to be milked and the eggs aren’t going to collect themselves: these are some of the delicious components of a traditional Buyukkonuk meal, but not without olive oil! For the freshest around, explore the village’s ancient olive groves to find those little green spheres of manna from heaven.

While delectable in themselves, the Cypriots craft even greater foods from these materials. That goat’s milk will eventually be turned in to mouth-watering goats cheese by locals, who will be more than happy to show you how to do it yourself, as with the olives that will be slipped between mill stones to extract their oil.

If you prefer to craft, head to Lefkara in the Larnaca district. Known as ‘The Lace Village’ because of a long-standing tradition of fine lacemaking locally, Larnaca is also where you can learn how to make Turkish delight and try your hand at silver-smithing, both local specialties.

Cyprus is at its most alive when you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, so roll up your sleeves and head for the Med!