Summer is officially here, the flowers and fields have bloomed and there's only so much time left to enjoy them before heavy heat hits us. Back in the dawn of summer 2018, I spoke to Miranda Tringis from CyHerbia Botanical Park & Labyrinth about how we can explore Cyprus' flourishing nature, and particularly during their upcoming annual Lavender Festival. Continue reading to find out all about it!
First things first, for those of you who may not know much about the Park, here's an introduction, though it seems unlikely, unless you've been living under a rock.
Once Dutch herbalist Miranda and her husband witnessed the remarkable healing qualities of Cypriot herbs, they decided to create a space where people could discover these plants for themselves, learning about their many uses. Tucked away in the seaside village of Avgorou, CyHerbia Botanical Park & Labyrinth opened its doors in 2012, inviting people to explore the island's nature.
CyHerbia hosts nine themed gardens divided according to their uses, which include cuisine, medicine, cosmetics, relaxation and more. Visitors are welcome to roam through a woodland area where hundreds of Cypress trees take the shape of the outline of the island, forming a mesmerizing lavender labyrinth and an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired maze.
The park stretches over 24000 square meters and is open year-round. Besides the picturesque gardens, CyHerbia is also home to a distillation room, where visitors can witness the extraction process of a variety of essential oils, which can then be bought alongside other organic products.
Miranda has noticed an increasing interest in herbs and natural healing as adults visit CyHerbia to relax, learn and purchase organic items, whilst children love to run around exploring the corners of the park. Families will most likely enjoy the Halloween festival in the autumn and the Fairy festival. And to wind down, you can head to the cafe to taste herbal cakes and teas.
"We make it our goal for people to have a beautiful experience reconnecting with nature, and to de-stress, be refreshed and invigorated by it, as well as learning to some extent how they can improve their health with the herbs of Cyprus" commented Miranda.
Cyherbia grows Mediterranean herbs resistant to heat and spring is when everything comes to life and most plants start to flower. The first ones to bloom are laurel bay, thyme and sage, closely followed by ironwort, yarrow and rose.
"A little later honeysuckle and jasmine spread their fragrance all over the garden, and finally at the end of spring and in summer all the lavenders come into flower, which is the highlight of the herbal year and the start of our annual lavender festival. Every season has its charm but mid to late spring and early summer certainly are the most colourful and fragrant times to visit" she adds.
So, the rich flower beds, the charming layout of the gardens and Miranda's keen interest in bringing local herbs closer to the people, make CyHerbia a unique spot to host a lavender festival.
The Lavender festival
So the season calls for the annual lavender festival, a magnificent period to visit the park. All throughout June 8th to June 23th the lavender fields are in full bloom and the park is open from 09:00 - 20:00 welcoming flower fans to take part in lavender craft workshops.
There will be numerous activities during the festival such as the extraction of lavender essential oil, witnessing the fragrant processing of lavender, meditation walks in the lavender Labyrinth and even a cosmetics-making workshop. You can also book a professional photo shoot in the lavender gardens with the resident photographer to take these memories home.
And of course no festival is complete without getting a taste of the principal character - free lavender cakes, sorbet, liqueur and ice cream will be offered.
I'm well excited and can't think of a more fitting place to enjoy a lavender festival in Cyprus and a more stunning time of the year to visit CyHerbia, amidst purple fields and playfully learning all about local herbs and their qualities.