Monday, 17 May 2010

The Valley of the Roses, Agros, Cyprus

On Sunday, we went to the Rose Festival in the small village of Agros in Cyprus on the foothills of the Troodos mountains. The drive up was gorgeous, all the flowers were out and the mountains were verdant and fresh – a pleasant reprieve from the heat of Nicosia. Driving in the troodos is always a bit scary thanks to all the people driving too fast or too slow along the windy mountain roads. We finally made it to Agros and had a delicious lunch at the main taverna in the village. You can sit outdoors under the shade of a huge tree whose branches spanned the entire seating area of the taverna. As it was Sunday, there was a set menu of souvlaki (rotisserie pork, lamb or chicken). We ordered souvlaki with green beans, greek salad, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), fresh yoghurt and olives washed down with some local wine. The food was really good although a little pricey.

Afterwards, suffering from the accompanying sugar low of a large meal, we headed off to find the rose festival. Like most things in Cyprus, it wasn’t very easy to find. Eventually we got there – take the first left before the high school (the modern building with a green roof) - and follow the road down. First stop was the rose house of Agros which is home to the Venus Rose range of bio-certified organic rose products. All the roses are grown locally and harvested in May at dawn. The petals are distilled using by hand. It takes a lot of rose petals and a lot of work to produce even a tiny drop of pure rose essence.

We were given a guided tour of the venus rose range by Christakis Tsolakis who owns the company. It is a family business which has been running since 1948. Chris demonstrated the rose water cleanser which really did seem to work miracles. My skin was left cool, soft and very clean. We also got to try some of their local rose liquer, rose aperitif and rose wine. Chris was a charming if slightly eccentric guide. His demonstration of the flammability of the rose perfume certainly put me off buying it! The Venus Rose range is distributed worldwide which is incredible for a little company based in a mountain village. However, it is easy to see why people would want to buy it. There is no animal testing, no parabens and the ingredients are all organic and natural. The Venus Rose range is very ahead of its time!

The best thing about the tour is that you are under no pressure to buy anything. The shop is in a separate part of the building and you are left to browse alone at leisure or to leave empty handed. Unfortunately, we missed the main events of the rose festival but we were shown a video of the proceedings and it definitely looks worth visiting. The festival takes place in May each year.

Click here if you are interested in buying from their range.


  1. Sounds lovely! You made me hungry and it is 2 in the morning here! Oh and I love roses! A festival for roses sounds wonderful! It must have smelled amazing!

  2. Sounds gorgeous.

    Saw you on the etsy forums!


  3. Wow, what an interesting thing to do! Sounds like a wonderful journey.

  4. It sounds like you had a perfect day! No animal testing - immediately that whets my interest! We ought to go out of our way to support businesses that oppose animal testing.