Travel Southern Cyprus

Using up my remaining holiday allowance... I'm going to Cyprus for 4 days next month. Looking forward to it, as I have so far neglected the Eastern Mediterranean somewhat.

Will have a car and, as I'll be on my own, I am intending to use it ;) I think I will have two nights in Limassol and two in Polis. Interested in any recommendation for wineries I might visit, if possible easily combinable with other stuff and - especially - a good walk or two. I would prefer to pay for tasting really, as I won't have luggage to bring bottles back (though I will certainly check out the duty free on leaving!)

I am thinking I'll have one day in the main wine area to the south of Mt Olympos (around Omodos, Lofou etc), and another driving through the high mountains past Olympos to Polis via Kykkos Monastery and Lysos. Wanted to visit Nicosia, but I think it's probably a bit much (unless I get a rainy day maybe).

Any recommendations for places to visit or eat in those areas? Or indeed restaurants in Limassol or Polis!
I enjoyed visiting the Vouni panayia, Fikardos and Kolios wineries. I did want to go to Zambartas but failed twice to find it. Paphos wine tours are really friendly and can customize tours.

Limassol marina is nice for a walk round, and the coast from Paphos to Pissouri is rugged and spectacular although not for sunbathing. My missus always wanted to visit Famagusta, but not got round to it.

In Paphos the Tomb of the Kings is really interesting and ridiculously cheap about 2.5 euros entrance, and Paphos harbour is also good particularly after sunset. There are loads of wineries around Omodos, but haven't got round to visiting them yet.
Thanks. Would rather sort the trip myself, esp as I won't be in Paphos probably until the last day (when I'll visit the Tomb). And one winery would definitely be enough :) Did you have a favourite?
Kolios has a great viewpoint tasting room, and we tried a number of wines although we got ripped off with some cheese and olives. Vouni was very modern and also in a great location in the Troodos foothills and Fikardos although the tasting rooms were in a kind of industrial area had very friendly staff and they have a range of older wines.

Kikkos monastry was really good for a visit with impressive example of Greek Orthodox iconography. With the coastal road between one end of the island to the other being so quiet , and that they drive on same side of the road it is easy to travel around.
Sounds great, thanks! Did you notice any quality difference between the wineries, and did you find any others you'd recommend trying?

I guess the duty free selection is as rubbish as anywhere else?
Only flown to Paphos and nothing exciting at airport. There was some really enjoyable wines without being outstanding, but I did enjoy the Vlassides Shiraz and Cabernet.
Hi Mark,
In Limassol you can visit Vlassides, Tsiakkas, Argyrides and Zambartas which are among the best wineries in the island.
For lunch or dinner you should go to Fat Fish in Limassol which has an interesting wine list and very good food.
In Paphos you should visit Ezousa winery which in my view produces the most elegant wines in Cyprus. It is not always open to visitors so call before going or send me a pm as to arrange a visit for you.
For restaurants in Polis, try "Old Town" which is very good.
Thanks, Charis! Great to have a local perspective! :)

Thanks for the fish recommendation. Another one I thought of in Limassol is Petroktisto - do you know that? Might be more my thing as I'll be alone and so good QPR is key - I don't really want to go to more expensive places where I might go with my girlfriend ;) But then I will be two night in Limassol.

By the wineries "in Limassol" I guess you don't mean in the city itself? And I imagine Ezousa is also outside Paphos? I would like to visit a winery but would rather pay for the tasting if possible, as I will be travelling with hand luggage so won';t be able to bring any wine back. I will probably be visiting the Omodos wine area on Sunday too, which may also be a factor. Will be around Paphos on Wednesday.
I do not know Petroktisto. Was this restaurant recommended to you? Wine prices at Fat Fish are maybe the most reasonable in Limassol.
Yes all the wineries are outside Limassol on the way to the mountains. I have no idea if they charge for a tasting. You can consult their web-pages for additional information:
Vlassides Winery - Discover Cyprus Wines
Tsiakkas Winery, Pelendri, Pitsilia, Limassol, Cyprus - Home
Vasa Winery - Argyrides Vineyards
Zambartas Wineries | A family affair
Ezusa is about half an hour drive from Paphos
Ezousa Winery - Cyprus Wine
Thanks again! And for all the links ;)

How much might a meal cost at Fat Fish? No, I found Petroktisto on the web and from what I read it sounded my kind of place. But as I said, I have two nights :)
OK, thanks! I'm a cheapskate when it comes to solo travel (though I admit I am having trouble with hostels these days :))

Thinking of visiting Zambartas, as they seem to be the area I was thinking of visiting on the Sunday. Is there much to do and see in that area?

Btw, are decent half bottles widely available in Cyprus?
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Charis - unfortunately it seems that my day in the main wine area will be Sunday, which obviously makes visits impossible. Do you know of any quality wineries that are nearer to Polis or Pafos (i.e. visitable from Polis)?
Just back from Cyprus after driving around much of the island (weather wasn't up to much else), and pretty impressed with the wines. The beautiful countryside and refreshingly small-scale vineyards, coupled with the fact that wineries are in general very keen on visits, make it a great place for a wine trip.

I visited Vouni Panayia and Ezousa, near each other in the hills above Pafos (VP a good 400 metres higher despite only being a few km away). They were very different, Vouni Panayia with a somewhat forbiddingly modern and spectacularly sited winery Home, and Ezousa Ezousa Winery - Cyprus Wine much smaller, with more of a family atmosphere. I only stopped briefly at VP, but was impressed by both their premium reds, their Barba Yiannis being one of the best Maratheftikos (probably the most interesting of the native reds) I tried (€9), and their (unique?) rediscovered Yiannoudi also a lovely wine (€15). Their Xinisteri-based whites were disappointing, though - go for reds here. Very well priced too, like almost everything on the island.

My visit to Ezousa was arranged with the kind help of Charis, and I spent a very pleasant hour and a half there, exchanging views and opinions about wine and the wine market. It was fascinating to hear about the many issues involved in producing wine in Cyprus. When I arrived they were busy labelling bottles (by hand, of course), and a couple of testers from the Ministry of Agriculture had also turned up at the same time to collect samples for pesticide residue testing, so tasting was delayed for a bit. Eventually we got under way...

Viognier 2016
Bottled only two weeks ago, these vines were planted in 2008. Michalis, the owner, hopes Viognier will find a place in the Cypriot market, and I didn't see anyone else growing it, and it was available in the airport duty-free (btw, the selection here is a fair cut above the generic crap that one normally finds). This was a hot year, but alcohol is low (harvested early August - this seems fairly typical for whites in Cyprus). I don't normally like Viognier but this one avoids the high alcohol/overbearing aroma common to so many. Very well made, with typical apricot nose, silky mouthfeel and nice balance. €16

Xinisteri 2016
I had a lot of Xinisteri on the island, being a fan of fish, and liked its combination of lemony freshness and some mineral complexity a lot. Harvested over a period from mid-September to late October, and only bottled a week ago. Complex, interesting nose, lemon, herbs, almost salty and resinous on the palate. Lovely. Reminds me a little of Vermentino, though Michalis thought maybe Verdejo? €8. Normally drunk within a year on the island (Michalis said "they want to drink it in August" - i.e.before it's harvested!), but...

Xinisteri Fumé 2012
This was an experiment, Xinisteri aged in old oak for 6 months (I notice also that Kyperounda's Petritis, seemingly the benchmark Xinisteri, though in a somewhat atypical richer style, also makes claims to ageability, and naturally I intend to find out!) Very deep colour, looks like a sweet Jurançon. tastes very old and rich, but the palate doesn't live up in the nose. Michalis thought this might be because of the techniques used rather than because Xinisteri can't age per se.

Rosé 2015
Lovely colour from this Maratheftiko rosé, and a complex nose more like a red wine. Certainly seems to capture the elusive aromas of the variety. Michalis explained that Maratheftiko is a difficult grape to grow and vinify, as it ripens unevenly. This makes it suitable to rosé, however, as the less ripe grapes add useful acidity. This was the first Maratheftiko rosé in Cyprus, apparently. €8.50

Gris 2014
Also Maratheftiko, and a much smaller production. I've only had vin gris in Morocco, not sure where else it is made. Lovely delicate colour, and higher aciditry and lower alcohol (12.5%) than the "straight" rosé. This is made from the first and third tries (given Maratheftiko's ripening pattern, this is required). A touch of tannin there, a very food-friendly wine I think. €15

Maratheftiko Syrah Mourvèdre 2015
Ezousa's "house" red, proportions 40/30/30, with a small portion of the Maratheftiko aged in old oak (9 months). Bottled 10 days ago. This is the first year Syrah has replaced Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend - Michalis feels Cabernet is not so appropriate for Cyprus's climate (he's also becoming more and more interested in Mourvèdre, and is thinking of making a varietal from his 20 year-old vines). Rich nose, cherries and red fruit. Lovely everyday wine, with good acidity , very clean and elegant. Really like this. €8

Syrah 2014
More oak on the nose, dark fruits. Smoky bacon. Leathery on the palate, with soft tannins. 8 months in old oak. This was probably my favourite wine, and I'm sure it will age beautifully for a few years, especially from this excellent vintage. €17

Syrah 2010
Opened by way of comparison to the 2014. Oak now much more integrated, with everything in place. Slightly drying tannins, structure and acidity. Perhaps lacks something of the exuberance of fruit of the 2014, but I am already regretting not picking up a bottle of this in the airport shop.

Maratheftiko 2014
Complex nose with the full array of Maratheftiko aromatics - cherries, spices, the oak already well integrated in comparison to the Syrah. Quite a dense wine, rich and full of the taste of fresh berries. Really nice, and will surely age well in the medium term. €18

I know my palate is pretty shite and I can't write notes for toffee, but hey, it's the least I can do for Mr Michalis and hopefully it will be of interest to some. Had some other nice wines too... Tsiakkas Xinisteri, Argyrides Maratheftiko... I'll have a go at loading a few pics at home later on.
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Glad you enjoyed the wines. I have never been to Esousa so something to look forward to next time. Can't remember the name of the winery but there was a small one we popped in to by chance as one of the planned visits had fallen through, and they were really friendly. It was run by a old couple and they brought out fresh olives and other bits and pieces for us to enjoy whilst sitting having a drink with them.