Anyone flying over Cyprus is bound to be impressed by the rugged inland mountains, with the towering Troodos peaks painting a rather different picture to that which is usually promoted in tourist brochures, where the glistening seas and golden coasts take pride of place. So when you do arrive at your designated Kanika Hotel or Resort and have enjoyed your fill of sunny days by the endless blue, hit the road to follow inland trails begging to be discovered as you put your best foot forward through the natural world. Wondering where you might be able to enjoy some of the best hikes on the island? Follow our lead as we take you on a journey through the country’s stunning countryside!
With Cyprus revered as the island of Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite, the namesake trail in the stunning and tranquil Cape Greco National Forest Park is within easy reach of Olympic Lagoon Resort Agia Napa and is just about as far away as you can get from the buzz of the town centre. Following a downhill incline, the signposted trail leads you through some of the most beautiful spots in the park, including the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Aphrodite.
As you make your way down to the water’s edge, you’ll pass by natural caves and dry-stone walls once used by shepherds, before connecting to the Sea Caves – Agioi Anargyroi Trail which takes you on to the stunning ‘Kamara tou Koraka’ natural rock bridge (a popular spot for love birds and photographers alike), and uphill to the Visitor Centre. Take in indigenous plants as you walk, including Phoenician juniper, wild thyme, prickly burnet and rock samphires.
If you’re going to walk through the gorgeous Akamas Peninsula – an easy and scenic drive from Alexander the Great Beach Hotel , the brand new Amavi Couples Only Hotel (opening on March 23rd 2019) and the Olympic Lagoon Resort Paphos – be sure that it’s the Avakas Gorge Trail. Taking you through one of the most stunning natural wonders on the island, make sure you’re wearing sturdy shoes as you’ll be clambering over rocks and making your way through all sorts of vegetation in a moist and shady environment.
The trail follows the course of the Avgas River which has etched away at the surrounding limestone rocks to form the gorge. But first up comes a dirt road, through an open valley and into the gorge, where water usually flows throughout the year. A beloved spot for many bird species, keep your eyes peeled for the Cyprus wheatear, Cyprus warbler, scoops owl, partridge, little owl, kestrel and wild pigeon.
In an island blessed by rugged mountains that reach for the skies at almost 2000 metres above sea level, you simply cannot leave the Troodos mountains off your bucket list. With the Persephone Trail taking you through a dense pine forest, you’ll end up at Makria Kontarka, with stunning views across the mountains. As you explore the area, take note of the endemic Golden oak, Cyprus Skullcap Troodos catmint, Cyprus Germander and Manouthkia – an evergreen small shrub with pale pink flowers – and Troodos sage.
Fancy kicking back to take in the splendours of the natural world? The Kampos tou Livadiou picnic area is a mere 2 kilometres from Troodos Square, while the ‘Armyrolivado’ and ‘Livadi tou Pasia’ picnic sites are also nearby. Look up to the skies to spot Bonelli’s eagle, Eurasian jay, Wood pigeon, Partridge, Cyprus warbler and Cyprus wheatear.
Enjoying lazy days at the Elias Beach Hotel in Limassol but keen on exploring the Cyprus countryside? Head towards the Germasogia dam (a very pretty spot in the winter and spring months when filled with water) and head through the area’s designated nature trail, passing through dense forest and continuing along the Kyparissia River, with panoramic views of the Germasogeia dam and Limassol town.
Cameras at the ready: the trail runs through a forest, with clusters of stunning Cypress trees, and connects to the circular trail of Germasogeia dam. There are countless endemic plants in the area, but you’re bound to want to take a photo of the Cyprus Yellow Sun Rose, while the aroma of wild thyme will surely take your breath away!
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