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Platres

Location

Platres village is located just 39 kilometers away from the Limassol city and 9 kilometers away from Troodos. The village is built in the shape of an amphitheater and there is a level difference from the higher to the lower point of the village. The average level is 1200 meters above the sea. Its level and the location are considered ideal and this is what makes the climate in Platres most perfect. Summers are generally dry, with minimum to none humidity and the temperature significantly lower than the one in the city (June: 24 degrees Celsius, July: 26 degrees, August: 28 degrees).

History

The village is known by the name Platres. It is a most ancient village. It is one of the 119 villages which has been in Cyprus since the age of the Franks (1192 – 1489 AC) and the Venetians (1489 – 1571 AC). Its population has increased and decreased several times. Back in 1881 the residents of the village were 100, in 1901 the population increases to 154 residents, in 1931 they were 396, in 1946 they were 502, in 1960 they were 413, in 1980 442. Now, Platres have 250 permanent residents, who can reach 10000 in the summer, especially in August.

Most of the residents of the village in the village are employed in the tourism and hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues), much fewer are the ones in agriculture, growing fruit trees, and others in services provided with the village as a basis. 

​In 1878 the British discovered the special natural beauties of Platres and they invested in turning the area into a holiday resort. The Cypriots expats from Egypt, who returned to their place to meet this “Paradise on earth” were wealthy enough, and they were the reason for the growth of the tourism industry to begin, both in Platres and in the rest of the island.

The first hotel built in Platres was “Krya near” (Cold water) and it first operated in 1900. “Grand Hotel” followed in 1905, “Pafsilipon” in 1912, “Helvetia” in 1915, ‘Monte Carlo” in 1920 and “Forest Park” in 1936. The hotels “Pendeli”, “Kallithea”, “Splendid”, “Petit Palais”, “Minerva”, “Spring”, “Vienna”, “Semiramis”, “New Helvetia”, “Edeweiss”, “Mount Royal” and “Lanterns” were built after 1936. “Monte Carlo” hotel had one of the largest ball rooms in Cyprus, back in the days and it hosted some glorious moments. “Forest Park” was known for its balls and the beauty pageants for Miss Cyprus.

Apart from the Cypriots spending their holidays there, Platres also became a destination for international personas, members of the royal families from Egypt, Greece and the UK, diplomats, aristocrats, artists etc. 

Check this!
Platres, during their time of great glamour, hosted personas such as King Farouk of Egypt, Princes Irene of Greece, Princess Mary of England, the Prime Minister of Malta, Mintof, the Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Prad, the Prime Minister of India, Indira Ghandi, the Nobel awarded poet, Giorgos Seferis, the infamous writer, Daphne du Murie, the actor Tely Savalas and many more.

During the struggle of EOKA (1955 - 1959) Platres were turned into an operational camp of the British army and the hotels were used by the military. Thus, the village seized to be a resort for tourists.

After the independence, in 1960, the tourism industry did begin to grow again, until the Turkish invasion in 1974, when Platres lost the old-times glamour for good. These past few years, after the establishment of new facilities, a new wave of visitors returned to the resort.

Name

There are 3 versions about the origin of the name of Platres:

- “Platra” and “Platres” in plural comes from (pratria), which is the ancient Greek word for the woman that weaves and sells farmers’ fabrics.

- In French, there is the word “plâtres” which means white plaster. According to some information, when the Francs ruled in Cyprus, there was a monastery on the southeren side of Troodos, over the area where Platres village is located today. The monks were called “Plâtres”, because they were all dressed in white.

- The village is named after the word “platsa” (Greek Cypriot idiomatic word for an open area or square), which then became Platra and eventually Platres.

Square

At the center of the village, between the old neighborhood and the mansions built by the first Europeans that moved there for vacations, there is the square, the place where you end up for a walk, dining or drinks. It is an area with the distinct presence of the colonial architecture, especially for public use buildings, such as the Police Station and the Post Office. The Police Station in Platres was initially constructed by the British to be used as a church.

Community center

 

The building housing the Community Council of Platres is in front of “Georgios Seferis hall”. There building was constructed with the traditional, local stones. The building housing the Electricity Authority is right next to the Community Council. It was built back in 1930 and it has been serving the Electricity Authority ever since.

“Giorgos Seferis” hall

The old Municipal Market building is at Makarios III street, right next to the Community Council. It is a traditional, stone built construction, renovated in order to be used as a multi-purpose event hall, fully air-conditioned, with modern sound installations. It is used for all kinds of events, such as exhibitions, conferences, seminars, concerts and audiovisual screenings.

Fountains

Victorian fountains at the old neighborhood: These are 2 similar fountains, built during the rule of Queen Victoria. They are at the old neighborhood of Platres, close to the church of Panagia Faneromeni.

Roxane Koudounari fountain: It is a beautiful monument, nicely designed, built with marble on the local, traditional stone. It was constructed back in 1936 and it is found at Caledonias street, opposite the Valley of the Graces. On the fountain there is an inscription with the name of Roxane Koudounari, the benefactor who funded the project. The water of the fountain of Roxane Koudounari is available to thirsty visitors who walk by.

Good to know…
Water is a dominant element in Platres, something that produces the plenty of greens in the area, too. Apart from these well-known fountains, you may find some more on your way, while exploring the village, like the one at the entrance of Panaria Iamatiki chapel. The water is suitable for drinking and always chilled, which is all you need at a hot summer day.

Paved paths

The path in the old neighborhood: The old neighborhood of Platres begins a few steps after the church of Panagia Faneromeni. This is where the first traditional houses were built, back in the 19th century, and the alleys will guide you through the steps of the old residents of the place. On your way you will see the 2 Victorian fountains, built during the British rule, while there is also a magnificent, huge oak tree that impressed you with its generous shade in summer. 

Agios Nicolaos chapel path: The path is located right next to Agios Nicolaos chapel, on the northern part of the village. You will find it after climbing down the stairs, on the right of the chapel, where a green refuge has been created, a gift from the nearby river, crossing the area. The scents are intoxicating, while the serenity and the beauty of the landscape create a scenery ideal for romantic walks, which end at the Valley of Graces.

Path at the Community Center: The network of alleys and paths in the village also includes a route, just as green as the one by the chapel of Agios Nicolaos. It is one of the paths the consisted a main way of moving from one part of the village to the other, especially after the holiday houses started spreading to the north.

Architectural mosaic

The local architecture has been intensely influenced by the Europeans that chose the place as a holiday resort. This is why there are 6 different schools of architecture on different sample constructions of the German school, the Maltese school, the Alpes’ school, the Commonwealth school, the school of the British countryside, the Danish school.

Churches

Panagia Faneromeni church: In 1880 this church was built closer to Platres than the initial smaller chapel with the same name, in order to serve the needs of the growing population in the area. This church was actually dismantled and a new one was built on that same place, larger and much more majestic than the first one, with the cost covered by a great benefactor, Frixos I. Demetriou, the investor of Mont Parnes casino in Greece. The inauguration of the church took place in 1973. It is a building of a beautiful design and it is considered to be a jewel for the area, which visitors are eager to see.

Chapel of Panagia Faneromeni: The little chapel of Panagia Faneromrni used to be the main church of the community. Built in a small distance from the village of Platres, it is now operated just twice, on September 8th and on Friday after Easter.

Chapel of Panagia Samatziotissa (Iamatiki): The construction began in 1940, over the ruins of an old Monastery. The chapel was finished in 1975. It is dedicated to Panagia Iamatiki (the one with healing powers) but it is known as Samatziotisa, from the location Samatzia at which it was built, close to Forest Park hotel. The chapel operates on Easter Tuesday and on August 31st

Agios Nicolaos chapel: It was built back in 1995 on the location of the ruins of an ancient monastery. The locals used the chapel of Agios Nicolaos once a year until 1930. Now, the chapel operates twice a year, on December 6th and on Sunday after Easter.

Sports center

Surrounded by evergreen slopes, this modern sports center is a recent addition to the community of Platres, aiming to provide opportunities for sports activities. It has football, mini football, basketball, tennis, volleyball and handball fields, as well as a gym area. It also has changing rooms and a cozy coffee shop.

Sparti Adventure Rope Park

Is the first theme park of its kind in Cyprus, which offers the opportunity for an alternative kind of exercise and contact with nature. This unusual and interesting place is ideal for family trips in the beautiful forest of Platres, since the activities are suitable for anyone, from infants to adults without age limit (the oldest visitor so far was over 60 years old).

The park was named after Ancient Sparta, where this kind of activities were a regular part of the physical and mental education of the children, from a very young age. With more than 110 activities straight from France, the park changes the point of view on exercising options in Cyprus, underlining that fun can be a main element of this activity. Some of the activities, such as the speed zip line and the speed free fall, came for the first time in Europe through Cyprus from the USA. 

Nature trails

Caledonia nature trail: The trail which is about 3 kilometers long starts north to Psilo Dentro area and leads to the waterfalls, through an amazing, dense forest, by Kryos Poatamos river. The trails follows an upward route and there is a 400-meter difference in altitude, from its start to its finish (the altitude is 1200 meters at Psilo Dentro and 1600 meters at its highest spot of the trail). One would need 1 – 2 hours to cross through the entire trail. The trail is hiding under a dense forest, with plenty of scents from the local flora by the river. If you decide to have a shower under the waterfalls, you should keep in mind that the water is quite cold, even in the summer, and it falls from the rock with great strength.

Good to know:
The starting point on the main road from Platres to Troodos (opposite the area of the government’s vacation houses) allows the visitors to climb down towards Psilo Dentro, which is of course less demanding than climbing up the opposite direction. The visitors should have shoes suitable for hiking on, preferably water resistant, since the trail crosses a river and there is always a possibility to get wet. Hikes should have water with them, while in the summer, if they wish to have a shower in the waterfalls, they should better have a swimsuit and a towel with them.

Pouziaris nature trail: This trail is also north to Psilo Dentrro area and it is the second longest nature trail on Troodos. One route leads both to the southern slopes of Troodos, while the other leads to Caledonia waterfalls. Depending on the route one will follow, there will have to walk a 9 or 12,5 kilometer distance. Hikers may also choose to follow a circular route, instead of a straight one, while there is also the option of a bike trip from that same starting point.

Millomeris nature trail: The trail is 1 km long and it leads to the waterfalls, located southeast to the village. The starting point is right at the entrance of Platres, just before the church of Panagia Faneromeni. The route is rather easy, though you will have to walk a part with some inclination, as you climb down towards the waterfalls.

Milia nature trail: A short route, on a smooth ground, surrounded by wild flora with bushes and pine trees, leads to the Venetian bridge of Milia (apple tree). A large variety of local plants appear on the side of the trail, from aromatic herbs to plane and oak trees, as you get closer to the river bank. Short indeed, the trail does offer an interesting range of scents and when you reach the bridge you feel a stream of breezy air around you.

Milia bridge 

This is a medieval bridges which crosses over Krios Potamos, which comes from Chinistra, the Olympus of Cyprus, heading to the south, while passing through the east of Platres village. The river has created an evergreen valley on this path, within which the Milia (apple tree) is found. Following the signs towards Millomeris waterfalls, you will be on your way to the ridge. The trail that leads to it begins at the asphalt road, just a few meters after the turn to the waterfalls.

Good to know:
The water stream of Kryos Potamos river is constant, stronger or lighter, depending on the weather. It is a source of life for the community of Platres and the rest of the communities it runs through. It ends at Kouris river, where it joins other smaller rivers and ends at Kouris dam, the largest one in Cyprus. On its way, it creates the waterfalls of Caledonia and Millomeris, which are the most well-known in Cyprus.

Waterfalls

Caledonia waterfalls: The name of Caledonia waterfalls came from the British (and, in fact, the Scots). When they first saw the place, around 1878, they saw, around 2 kilometers north to Platres village, a location that amazed them with its beauty and similarities with their homeland. So, they decided to name it Caledonia, which is the name of the ancient Scotland. The locals learned to call it the same way ever since. It is one of the highest waterfalls in Cyprus, with water falling from a 12-meter high rock. There is a way to get close to the waterfall by car, from the northern end of the nature trail, while there is always the option to walk the distance of the nature trail.

Good to know:
If you want to see the waterfalls, without walking the 1,5 kilometer long trail down to that spot, you can choose an alternative route, which is much shorter. There is a way for cars, from the starting point opposite the government’s vacation houses, which allows you to drive along the trail, towards the location called “Throni Makariou”, since the Archbishop and President Makarios used to visit the place to enjoy the view. From there, you will have to walk part of the trail to reach the waterfalls.

Millomeris waterfalls: It is located south to Platres village, at a distance of approximately 1 kilometers from the starting point of the nature trail, which leads to it. The waterfalls can also be reached through a dirt road, where a car can get close enough to it. The waterfalls were probably named after the word “millos”, which means wet in the Cypriot dialect, and the word “meros” (place). The flow of Kryos Potamos has turned the place into a breezy and wet refuge, so the name is quite just. The water fall from a rock 15 meters high. This waterfall has just recently become famous to visitors, since its location was originally too difficult to reach. After the road and the trail were properly fixed, the place became one of the most famous sights in Platres, attracting many visitors who admire its beauty.

Agia Irene rock

It is located to the north east of the village, by the dirt road that leads from Psilo Dentro to Mesa Potamos. From the rock of Agia Irene, which is on the top of a hill, you can see the view of the village from above and enjoy the unique beauty of the area. Under this hill. the stream of Kryos Potamos is filled with the sound of singing nightingales during the spring time.

Bicycle trails

Interesting bicycle trails are crossing through the entire Platres area, allowing riders to enjoy the natural beauties of Troodos. On an altitude of 1000 meters and more, in ideal weather conditions, through a bicycle network of a total length of 57 kilometers, with the largest difference in altitude reaching just 400 meters, riders can basically explore around the the entire Troodos mountains.

Bicycle trails begin at Psilo Dentro, by the starting point of Pouziaris nature trail, while a much more interesting stop, just a few meters outside Platres, offers a view to the small dam of Pera Pedi village, where there is a cozy and shady kiosk to have a rest and a map to lead your way to the rest of your ride. 

Food and drink

Psilo Dentro

At a central location over the river, the restaurant — trout fishery has become a favorite stop for coffee, dessert and dining before or after a trip in the nature. The restaurant prepares daily its own "kleftiko" meat, as well as 1 kind of seasonal legumes or pulses, while there is also the option for take away.

Address: 13, Aedonion street
Contact number: 25 813 131

Skylight

Luxury and elegant, the restaurant of 400 seat capacity, with a closed area and an open yard, as well as a pool that is a natural extension of the restaurant. It is a favorite place for those who love fine cuisine, with unique special dishes that have left their mark for some years now.

Address: 524, Archbishop Makarios street
Contact number: 25 422 244

Anoi

The restaurant is located at one of the most chilling spots in Platres, on the main road leading to Psilo Dentro. It has a 250 people capacity, while there is also a spacious parking area. The restaurant has an open seating area, with a view  to the green bank of the river, and a closed one, in the company of a traditional fire place. After your meal, you can enjoy the treat of home made traditional sweets, cakes and seasonal fruits for free.

Address: 37, Olimpou street
Contact number: 25 422 900, 25 423 939

Pegasos

Located in the heart of the village, the restaurant that operates as a coffee shop, too, has a cozy inside area and an elevated outside area, which is used as a yard during the summer time. The restaurant works with traditional Cypriot cuisine, with dishes in the casserole or on the grill, covering the preferences of meat lovers and vegetarians, too. Fruits and home made sweets come as a dessert. It is open daily, for lunch or dinner.

Summer time: May - October(09:00 - 23:00)
Winter time: November - April (09:00 - 21:00)

Address: Olimpou street
Contact number: 25 421 744, 99 296 363

Caledonia – Rotis

A family restaurant hosts its guests in Platres village since 1975, just a few steps from the village square. Traditional flavors and home cooked meals are the elements that make it one of the top options for people, while its delicious apple cream is a main attraction, too.

Address: 31, Olimpou street
Constact number: 25 421 019

Mimis restaurant

In a warm family atmosphere, the restaurant offers Cypriot dishes, drinks and coffee, both in the inside area and the veranda, with a view to the village square.

Address: 1, Olimpou street
Contact number: 25 421 449

Cafe Antonis

Delicious, freshly fried, traditional honey balls, alternatively served with amazing chocolate sauces, traditional sweets, coffee, juices and refreshment drinks have made its guests love the menu of the place, which is located just after the entrance of the village, towards the main square.

Address: 110, Faneromeni street
Contact number: 99 804 292

Platres chocolate workshop

The traditional chocolate workshop makes unique chocolate creations with genuine chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, using traditional ingredients (such as tahini, halloumi cheese etc) to introduge imaginative combinations with exclusive Cypriot flavors.

Address: 1 Olimpou street (square)
Contact number: 99 766 446

Hotels

Being the oldest holiday resort in Cyprus, Platres area still holds some of the most famous mountain hotels on the island. The most well-known among them is Forest Park Hotel (contact number: 25 421 751), which was the first one built in Platres and hosted some of the greatest figures of the mid-20th century. Spring Hotel (contact number: 25 421 330) is one of the oldest, operating since 1952. Semiramis Hotel (contact number: 99 75 6 796) and Edelweiss Hotel (contact number: 25 421 335) are also considerable accommodation options, while the most recent hotel in the village is Petit Palais Hotel (contact number: 25 421 723) built in 1996.

Mountain Accommodation - Platres