Troödos Mountains, Cyprus – Divine Footsteps
Ancient Greeks were never ones to waste a good myth, and the legendary home of the gods, Mount Olympus, has had its name stuck on to other peaks around the Classical world (and also in the USA and on Mars). The Mount Olympus of Cyprus is the island’s highest point, and the centerpiece of the Troödos Mountains. At this time of year, temperatures are ideal for hiking. Responsible Travel’s walking holiday starts in the beautifully restored village of Kakopetria, at the foot of Mount Olympus, for six days exploring the Troödos and the little-developed Akamas Peninsula to the west.
Options include a trail to the cascades at Kaledonia Falls, and a walk with Mediterranean views that ends at a cave known as the Baths of Aphrodite, after the Greek goddess of love. Hiking in the hills might bring sightings of griffon vultures and wild mouflon sheep, as well as stops at old watermills, a winery, and Byzantine churches painted inside with vivid murals.
The howl of the wolf readily calls to mind some snow-shrouded Arctic forest – less often the land of sunlit plazas and pitchers of sangria. The far north of Spain has always been a land apart from the rest of the country, however; the Cantabrian Mountains mark off the coastal strip and ensure it stays a deep shade of rain-fed green. The range is one of Europe’s unheralded wild spaces, and home to perhaps the largest wolf population west of Russia. Autumn months are a good time to sight this elusive creature: Naturetrek’s tour takes walkers around the foothills in the north of Palencia province to known wolf haunts, with nights spent in a huddle of restored farm cottages. Previous tours have spotted wolves at least nine times out of ten.
In a county where the coasts get most attention, Coombeshead Farm gives inland Cornwall its due. Set in the rolling country near the border with Devon, this 66-acre former dairy farm has been revived by two chefs looking for a change from big-city pace: Tom Adams, the man behind London’s Pitt Cue eatery, and April Bloomfield, who launched The Spotted Pig in New York. Communal feasts here see guests sitting down to snacks and three-course dinners where anything pork-related is a strong point. Various cooking workshops run at the farm, too, and the hills of nearby Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor make for excellent excursions in the autumn.