Although the mountain villages of Cyprus are sparsely populated nowadays , many of them are transformed into bustling holiday resorts in the Summer when the inhabitants of Nicosia and Limassol in particular take to the hills to escape the heat of July and August .

PLATRES , a favourite with Limassolians , is active almost all the year round and contains a number of hotels , shops and restaurants . Partially hidden on a wooded hillside it is about 45 minutes by car from Limassol . Platres is at its busiest in the Summer when an annual Festival is held there .

When travelling from Limassol to Platres it is worth leaving the main road to visit the pretty village of LANIA . On the road itself stands the ROYAL Oak , a tree which is reputed to be over 1,000 years old . Turning left off the Limassol - Platres road immediately before the Lania turnoff one comes to the village of MONAGRI . It was once celebrated for the now deserted monastery of ARCHANGELOS MICHAEL .

TROODOS is not a village , but a collection of cafes , shops and one or two hotels which are used in Winter when skiers flock to the mountains to enjoy the snow . It lies just below the island's highest peak , Mount Olympus (1,950 m. above sea level) and an annual tennis tournament attracts visitors in Summer . All the year round Troodos is a pleasant spot for walks . Five miles to the south , on the way to Platres , is Government Lodge , the President's Summer home . It is notable for the fact that the celebrated French poet Arthur Rimbaud worked on its construction and there is a plaque to commemorate this .

KAKOPETRIA , like Platres , is a favourite resort . Usually it is populated in the Summer by visitors from Nicosia who appreciate its shady corners . There are plenty of picturesque old houses , an ancient flour mill and some excellent restaurants .

Some 5km. from Platres is PHINI , a charming little village famous for its red clay pottery . It is also the location of a privately-run Folk Art Museum . The owner , Mr. Pilavakis , and his wife are always delighted to show visitors around .

A mile from Phini stands the MONASTERY OF AYII ANARGYRI . The church , which is probably of the 15th. century , is said to be haunted .

The village of OMODHOS lies 6km. From Platres and is famous for its vineyards , its lace and an annual Wine Festival . The Byzantine church of the MONASTERY OF STAVROS which used to stand in the middle of the village was replaced and then rebuilt in the 1930s . The key to the monastery door is reputed to be the largest in Cyprus .

PANAYIA in the Paphos district is famous as the birthplace of Archbishop Makarios III , the first President of Cyprus . The house where he lived as a boy is now a small museum .

STAVROS TIS PSOKAS is a forest station which was established in 1884 . It has a rest-house and a restaurant , and several mouflon , the wild sheep of Cyprus , may be seen here in protected confinement .

LEFKARA , nestling in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains , is renowned for its "Lefkaritika" or Lefkara Lace . The name is , in fact , incorrect since this "lace" is actually linen with drawn embroidery inserts . It has been well-known for centuries and it is said that Leonardo da Vinci visited Lefkara in 1481 and bought "Lefkaritika" for the altar of Milan Cathedral . Lefkara today is a pretty village where one still sees the women sewing in the courtyards of their homes as their mothers and grandmothers did before them .