I could write novels about Cypriot wines.
Wine making is a tradition that goes back centuries and rumours say that Cypriots were among the first wine makers in the world.
There has to be a grain of truth in it as they are pretty good at their craft. To their credit, the weather has something to do with it. Cyprus is blessed with over 360 days of sunshine and pretty good conditions for growing vines at higher altitudes.
I made it my mission, while living in Cyprus, to visit every winery on the island and taste all these wonderful grapes have to offer. I came pretty close I have to say!
If you’re looking for some activities during your holiday in Cyprus, wine tasting should be at the top of your list! But please beware – you will find lots of articles online about winery experiences and in my opinion, they are mostly sponsored by larger wineries and feel very much like a crowded tourist experience.
There are dozens of family wineries and business around the island that offer a much more personal experience, and in almost all case – a better wine quality.
Over the years, me and my husband tasted everything that we could get our hands on, until we settled on our absolute favorite – Kolios winery. We loved the wines so much that we specifically requested them to be served at our wedding in Cyprus.
In this post, I compiled a list of my favorite wine tasting experiences around the island. I visited each and every one of them and would not recommend something just because I would see it written somewhere online.
So with that out of the way, lets dig in (feel free to enjoy with a glass of wine if the hours permit it).
This was one of the first wineries I discovered on the island and I absolutely fell in love with it. Not just because their wines are the best tasting out of all of Cyprus produce, but also the setting of the winery is absolutely breath-taking.
The winery is a family business, the owner makes a presentation about the winery in person, every day. He will take you to the production facilities, show you where the vine groves are and also show you the cellar and storage facilities.
His wife in the meantime, cooks up a storm in the kitchen to serve as the most delicious mezze you will ever eat.
All with this stunning view of local countryside and Troodos peaks at the edge. Last year, they’ve done a bit of an upgrade, so they now also have a summer terrace which stretches just behind the windows on the photo below.
My favorites from their wines are Saint Fotios (red) and Persefoni from whites.
To enjoy a mezze lunch with your winery tour and wine tasting, book ahead – they do cater for vegetarians too.
The food is cooked from local fresh ingredients and is absolutely delightful.
Kolios Winery is about 40 minutes drive from Paphos or Limassol, the road will take you high up towards the mountains and the building is fairly easy to spot.
There shouldn’t be any problem with parking. Please call ahead and book your slot as the wine tasting and lunch only takes place at 1pm each day except Sundays.
Kolios Winery – tel. +357 26 724090 – location on map here. Open Monday to Saturday 9am to 3pm.
Vouni Panayia Winery
Just like Kolios, the winery offers amazing views towards the valley and surrounding countryside. It has a very large outdoor seating area and additional seating area on the first floor, offering even better views and a nice breeze in summer.
The winery is relatively large and the tour of the premises is included as part of your wine tasting.
The wines are superb and I did love their zivania matured in oak casks. Looks like whiskey but tastes much much smoother. On our last visit we got a couple of bottles as a nice gift for family and friends.
In here you can also book a mezze lunch which is served on the first floor and the terrace.
A gorgeous place with super friendly people, welcoming atmosphere and stunning surroundings. What more can you wish for?
Vouni Panayia Winery – located in the village of Vouni Panayia, about 30 mins drive from Paphos. Tel +357 26722770 – opening hours are not listed so please book before you arrive.
Tsangarides Winery might be a little hard to find as it’s located in a tiny village of Lemona, but it’s well worth it.
It’s the only winery that produces organic wines on the island and is located in a gorgeous old building. It’s a very small winery but offers much more personal experience compared to its bigger brothers.
It feels like you’re visiting your family for Sunday lunch – there is limited seating area that feels more like home and you don’t feel like a tourist vising yet another attraction.
When me and my husband visited we felt very welcomed even though we didn’t book in advance and the wines did live up to our expectations.
The village itself is super picturesque so you’re in a treat not just for wines, but for gorgeous views too.
Tsangarides Winery – open Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, call (+357) 26 722 777 to book your visit.
Ayia Mavri Winery
Ayia Mavri was recommended to me by friends from Limassol and in all honesty, it’s the cutest one on the list.
It looks like going to grandma’s house for Sunday lunch – if it wasn’t for the signs by the road, you wouldn’t know you are visiting a winery.
The building is surrounded by cute garden and vine groves growing around it and inside you will find a tiny museum with old winery equipment, family pictures and much more.
The owners are older couple who prepared a feast of their wines, cheeses, bread, olives and more. They patiently answered all our questions and were very welcoming and friendly.
We ended up buying a few bottles of their red wines and also the organic olive oil they also offer.
Ayia Mavri Winery – the winery is open 7 days a week, from 10am to 5pm, but its best to book before you come. Reservations at (+357) 25 470 225. The winery is located at the edge of village Koilani, near Limassol.
My last and latest discovery on the island is the boutique winery of Makarounas, also a family business.
It feels much more modern and new compared to the previous picks on the list. We arrived on a hunch, without booking, hoping to be able to taste a few of their best wines.
We were accommodated without any issues and had a short winery tour with a few samples of their wines.
For such a small winery, they have a wonderful selection of wines, including ones from Morokanella grapes which I’ve never tasted before. My favorite was probably the rose, which we’ve heard is called the “Provance Rose” thanks to its light colour.
This winery is on the tourist hot-list (seems like) as just before we arrived there was a crowd of tourists from a bus that left the place. If you want to visit, book yourself a time and ask for a quiet spot to enjoy a private tour, not as a part of 20-something crowd.
Winery Experiences I Didn’t Like
Ok, I have to include this in here because according to Tripadvisor some of the black sheep on my list are top rated experiences.
Please keep in mind these are personal opinions and the impressions. What you expect from a winery experience may be very different to me.
I personally don’t like tourist traps disguised as genuine local gem and there are a lot of those falling into this category.
Some of the family wineries on the list below have lovely owners, but the influx of tourists seems to have taken toll on the hospitality and the usually welcoming nature of locals.
- Lambouri Winery – this winery is situated in the village of Platres, just at the edge of the village heading from Paphos. The building is right by the main road and consists of one open space with tables and wine tasting stations. Upon arriving, we were not really sure where to go or who to speak to. There was a group of tourists so we ended up going to the bar and tasting some wines. The whole experience felt like going to a supermarket, even the person serving the wine wasn’t too keen to talk to us or tell us too much about the grapes etc.
- Kalamos Winery – this is a very small winery in a tiny village and even though the owner was lovely, it didn’t really feel like you’re siting in a winery, more like a very tiny local taverna.
- Vasilikon Winery – this winery near Kathikas has been recommended in many articles and I really don’t understand why. The building has been renovated and it’s huge, they also have a small museum as part of it. It felt like it was built more to host wedding and events rather than provide a genuine winery experience. You get to taste the wines at the bar, with limited or zero information about the winery or grapes.
- Sterna Winery – lovely looking old building, the wines were also really nice, but instead of wine glasses, we tasted couple of wines in shot glasses and the owner seemed like he couldn’t wait to get us out to get another set of tourists.
So this concludes my roundup!
I do appreciate it’s a little biased towards the Paphos side of the island since that’s where I lived and visited most wineries. If you have further recommendations from the other areas in the island please feel free to leave a comment!