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Carefully Crafted Holidays

Responsible Tourism in Cyprus

Sunvil has long been involved in helping to guide Cyprus along the ‘sustainable tourism’ path. In the mid 1980s, we were instrumental in marketing village based tourism as an alternative to mass-market coastal development which is difficult to control and can change the nature of a destination. Our initial collaboration with the ‘Laona Project’, which was set up to loan renovation funds to owners of village properties, led to the Cyprus Government taking an active role in a much bigger scheme. Many Cyprus villages have been transformed and their beauty realised.

The Cyprus Sustainable Tourism initiative is a Cyprus charity affiliated to The Travel Foundation, a unique UK travel industry charity set up to ‘care for the places we love to visit.’ Members of the CSTI include Sunvil, Tui, Thomas Cook, village communities, village producers and crafts people, various environmental organisations and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

In April 2010, the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, The Travel Foundation and the CSTI signed a five year co-funded agreement to make Cyprus the first ‘sustainable destination’. Water, energy and waste will be looked at in great detail and sustainability in hotel management especially so. This is an enormous undertaking, spanning several government departments and progress will understandably be slow and there will be many obstacles to overcome. But, as long as the will is there to make a difference, then success will follow.

One of the ways CSTI meets the changing needs of today’s more sophisticated travellers is through the production of a series of six village routes. These routes can easily be linked to a fly-drive holiday. The routes encourage visitors to discover the ‘real’ Cyprus and this will help boost the economy and regenerate people’s lives in the villages.

The detailed booklets, including maps, are available at a small charge (which goes towards helping the work of the CSTI) from our Paphos office. The routes cover the whole island and are ideal for anyone incorporating car hire in their holiday.

  • Village Route 1 – Central and Western Limassol District
  • Village Route 2 – Inland from Larnaca
  • Village Route 3 – The Famagusta District – red earth villages and windmills
  • Village Route 4 – Troodos Mountains and Southern Villages
  • Village Route 5 – Troodos Mountains and Northern Villages
  • Village Route 6 – Akamas National Park Area

There are small and interesting museums in many of the villages, mostly funded by individuals or the local communities, which give an interesting insight into the history and daily life of the inhabitants. Usually there is a nominal entry charge.

Listed below are three private village museums worth visiting.

Cyprus Wine Museum on village route one

The museum is located in Erimi village at the crossroads of the wine routes of Cyprus. It is near to Kolossi Castle, a medieval Commanderie of the Knights Hospitaller that gave the name to the Commanderia Wine first produced by them. Anastasia Guy, who created the museum in 2004, was “inspired by the fact that Cyprus is one of the first wine producing countries and, with the advantage of owning a traditional Cypriot building that has been in my family for generations”, instigated the creation of the Cyprus Wine Museum as a tribute to this integral part of the history of the island.

Oleastro (the wild olive tree) Olive Park on village route one

Located between Limassol and Paphos on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Anogyra, Oleastro is the brainchild of Andreas and Lina Ellinas. Oleastro is all about teaching the visitor the history of olive oil. A small but dynamic company, Oleastro Enterprises is the market leader in the production of Cyprus organic olive oil. The centre and olive oil museum offer a wealth of information, interesting items to purchase and a good taverna and coffee shop.

The Carob Museum on village route one

The picturesque village of Anogyra is the only village where the tradition of Pastelli (carob, honey and sesame pie) making is still practised.

The seeds of the carob bean, a tree seen over many areas of the island, are so consistent in weight, shape and size, that they were used to weigh gold – hence the word ‘carat.’

The museum traces the history of the carob tree and the uses to which this unusual looking bean pod is put. An unusual and interesting visit. Many families in the village are still involved in this cottage industry. There is an annual Pastelli festival in September.