I’m Cypriot, I live in Cyprus but hence there are a few small villages that I don’t know yet, and one of them was Vavla. I was searching for a place to stay for the weekend with some friends, something traditional with a fireplace, away from the city center, something for Argotourism. I came up with a few results in various villages but this particular accommodation caught my attention – Vavla Rustic Retreat in Vavla village. I checked the map and it’s located within the Larnaca district, in the foothills near Kato Drys and Lefkara, only 30 minutes away from Limassol. It’s an authentic Cypriot village in the countryside suitable for a quite holiday.
Vavla is a small village built with white stone from Lefkara and combined with traditional features. It has been declared by Town Planning and Housing Department as a “preserved” village. The architecture is very similar to its neighbouring village, Kato Drys and Lefkara. The few inhabitants used to grow carobs and were mainly engaged in other agricultural occupations. During the first decade of the 20th century, most of the population left Vavla and immigrated to the UK, US and Australia. We asked a lady how many people live there and she said only 30.
The natural environment of the village as well as the hospitality and kindness of the few residents make Vavla an ideal destination for any visitor. Walking around the village you’ll notice that it’s very quiet and you might see a few people. The coffee shop is located in the entrance of the village on your left. There’s a staircase which takes you up the coffee shop where you can make your own coffee and pay by leaving your money there.
In June 2000 there was a big fire in Vavla that destroyed the natural environment of the village. In memory if this, there’s a burns wood and plants which symbolize death and new life.
There are 3 churches of Saint George, Archangel Michael and Panagia tis Agapis. This raises a lot of interest because of it’s name, Lady of Love. 3km away from the main village you can drive up to “Panagia tis Agapis” a chapel, located in an idyllic landscape. This is the only church in Cyprus and around the world with this name. The church operates once a year, one week after Holy Friday; however it is open daily for visitors all the time. If you’d like to walk there from the village be prepared, it’s a long walk, maybe an hour but I think it’s worth going there by car. The road is good enough for a salon car.
You should know that in case you wish to stay at the village, there is no kiosk or supermarket to purchase things. The nearest store is Alphamega in Skarinou so if you wish to spend the night there be prepared.
Without doubt I booked at Vavla Rustic Retreat since it had the best reviews and met our requirements. Rustic means relating to the countryside; rural. Kelly, the owner, emailed me straight away asking me what time we’ll be arriving, if we need wood for the fireplace, or dinner/breakfast in order for her to sort it out with their neighbors Donna Marie and George. Donna Marie and George are former owners of an award-winning restaurant in New York, and are excellent chefs and hosts. They primarily offer a traditional Cypriot cuisine, however are often open to requests, and can also cater to those with food requirements. Note that they serve on a reservation-only basis.
We arrived at Vavla Rustic Retreat and Kelly was waiting for us. She toured us around the place and even showed us all rooms and told us the history of the old traditional family house. This place has been restored though funding by the Cyprus Government and the EU. The rooms contain traditional Cypriot items which were used mainly for preparing and storing food e.g. bread. They have maintained the old traditional food scales, some cookware, traditional old sweepers, even in the garden there’s the original water well (an excavation created in the ground to get water). The garden is amazing! It has the traditional stone oven where you can use yourself to prepare food – if you know how to use it of course.
We stayed at the Anoi, a 2 bedroom apartment, cosy, warm and most of all comfortable and clean. The kitchen literally provides everything! Even a juice maker and a coffee machine. You don’t need to take anything, just your food. All rooms are fully air-conditioned. You can purchase a big basket of wood for the fireplace, which costs 15 EUROS, that is enough to last all night and a few hours the next morning.
The property has been awarded with the Green Key International Environmental Award (an international voluntary eco-label for tourism facilities that promotes sustainable tourism).
For more information about Vavla Rustic Retreat’s visit their website.