The Akamas Peninsula By Foot
Located on the northwestern tip of the island, the Akamas Peninsula is one of the few unspoilt coastal areas remaining in Cyprus. Legend has it that Aphrodite brought one of her lovers, Adonis, to the island for some romantic time (wink, wink). As an ode to the Greek goddess of love, beauty, procreation and pleasure, one of the most stunning walks in Akamas is called the Aphrodite trail. Overlooking breathtaking blue lagoons, it stretches approximately 8 km and takes about three hours to complete. While on one of Monarch’s Cyprus holidays, make your way up to the highest point on the Aphrodite trail, the Moutti tis Sotiras—the view will more than make up for the hard work and nerve-racking climb.
Not to be outdone by his lover, there is also an Adonis trail. Both trails merge between the Baths of Aphrodite and Pyrgos tis Rigenas. Along the coast from Latchi, the Baths are where Aphrodite allegedly bathed and are therefore considered a source of fertility.
The diversity of flora and fauna in the area is extraordinary. Courtesy of Mother Nature, cost-efficient sightseeing is endless and will fit perfectly into your New Year plan for indulging in cheap holidays galore. As you wander, you will come across almost 600 types of plants including rare and endemic species like tulips, crocus, bougainvillea, orange and citrus trees as well as forty-five different species of orchids. The beaches are spectacular as well. In fact, one of the few sea turtle nesting areas in all of the Mediterranean for loggerheads and green turtles are located here. Don’t forget to look up since many types of migratory birds live nearby, or at least pass through the region as well.
There are nearly 50 different nature walks on the island (about 200 km in total) but if you prefer more urban sights, there are plenty of other routes that weave through mountain villages and across valleys too. On the northern coast, be sure to spend some time in the many fishing villages, including Latchi and Polis.
Troodos Mountains On Wheels
Although you can cycle across the Akamas Peninsula, for serious mountain bikers who want more of a thrill, the Troodos Mountains offer challenging routes and exciting trails. Located in the southwestern corner of Cyprus, the area boasts a mixture of offerings including wilderness adventures, village tours and scenic rides. You can escape the heat of the coast in the cool Troodos Mountains for a more enjoyable bike ride. And to make things even easier, check out the Troodos cycling route, a 57-km cycling path around Troodos National Park, that includes road surface markings, signage, maps and bike guides.
What to See (and Taste)
There are more than 50 boutique wineries in the mountains, including the Agia Mavri Winery. You can plan a day trip on wheels with frequent stops to enjoy a glass of vino. Or take your time and visit the region’s frescoed Byzantine churches, many of which are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are also a number of large monasteries in the area including the Kykkos Monastery near Pedoulas and the Trooditissa monastery near Platres which are perfect destinations for cycling.
Have you ever been to Cyprus? What were your impressions? Feel free to comment in the section below!
Article submitted by: Malwina Gudowska Tavern photo credit: Wikimedia Commons; all others licensed from Photoshot.