Akamas Peninsula

The Akamas Peninsula, the north-western tip of Cyprus, is named after an Athenian warrior and son of Theseus, who arrived here after the Trojan war. It is a unique area of natural wilderness, both geologically and physiographically and with regard to flora and fauna, where pine-clad cliffs plunge down into turquoise waters. With its rugged coastline, alternating between rocky shores, promontories and sandy bays, it is an area of breathtaking beauty exuding an aura of
ancient peacefulness.

The area was one of the favourite haunts of the mythological goddess Aphrodite. Legend has it that after swimming in the crystal clear waters of the bay, she would walk up the hill and bathe in a pool fed by a freshwater mountain spring dripping down the sides of a shady grotto overhung by a leafy fig tree, which has come to be known as the Baths of Aphrodite. It is here that Adonis saw and fell in love with her while hunting in the Akamas forest.

Here a network of trails, such as those of Aphrodite or Adonis (see below), provides spectacular views across the Mediterranean. Nature trails go from near sea level past carob, mastic and eucalyptus climbing up to juniper and pine. Along the way you can see rare endemic plants, like the Cyprus orchid, tulip and crocus. In the spring or autumn thousands of migrating birds pass by overhead, as the island is on the migration path between Europe, Asia and Africa. The sandy beaches on the western coast are important breeding grounds for the green and loggerhead turtles.

Deserving of a particular mention is the Avakas Gorge, which offers spectacular views and a full introduction to local flora and fauna. Carved out of limestone rocks, rising up as high as 30 metres and narrowing dramatically at one point, the gorge is a fairly difficult hike as the rough track winds its way along and over the stream that formed this natural wonder over thousands
of years.

Get to know the area on foot along one of the nature trails that cross the peninsula, affording marvellous views of the bay and the west coast and an opportunity to admire nature from close up. The pan-European path E4 cuts through the region as it goes across the island. Stop off for a rest in the shady Smygies picnic site, a place associated with love and where Digenis met Rigaina. The area is also ideal for cycling due to its numerous forest roads.

Of special interest on the 7.5-km Aphrodite trail are the Baths of Aphrodite and the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower), which are believed to be part of a medieval monastery complex. The trail also offers excellent view points towards Cape Arnaoutis, Polis and Pafos Forest. The Adonis trail is also 7.5-km long and offers fine views to Polis, Pafos Forest and the Akamas Peninsula. The path goes past Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower), linking up with the Smigies trail at Kefalovrysia, where there is a fountain with drinking water.

Source: Cyprus High Commission

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