Paphos may be awash with ancient sites and age old buildings taking you back in time, but anyone who lives in, or has visited the area, knows that it certainly doesn’t fair badly when it comes to breath-taking natural splendours. Characterised by a gorgeous rocky coastline and the brilliant Akamas national park, there’s plenty to lure lovers of the great outdoors.
But make your way inland and you’ll soon discover more spectacular sites, as gorgeous valleys give way to magnificent dams that take on great charm in the winter months as they glisten in all their glory. Where, exactly, are these gorgeous spots? My Cyprus Insider gives you the lowdown on three of the best that you simply have to visit.
1. Evretou dam
If you’re taking the journey down to the west of the island and the blissful Polis Chrysohous, then you simply must stop off at Evretou dam, about 15 kilometres from Polis itself. Birdwatching is very common in the area, while the dam itself stands as the third largest on the island, with some spots so idyllic (enhanced by turquoise waters) that you’ll probably be left wondering why this place was never featured on your ‘to-do’ list before.
Just a stone’s throw away from the abandoned Turkish Cypriot village of Evretou, it’s a great place to take fabulous pictures, while the small yet pretty Skarfos Medieval bridge is also close by – a feat that will surely impress lovers of history and architecture – as you meander through the unkempt countryside.
2. Asprokremmos dam
Not far from the historic village of Kouklia just outside Paphos town, you’ll be lost for words when you visit Asprokremmos; the second largest dam in Cyprus built in the 1980s on Xeropotamos river that sits beside the abandoned village of Finikas. Getting there is a bit of a mission – aim for the village of Anarita – and then you’ll see signposts towards the dam, but once there, you’ll be lost for words.
Not only is the dam itself a site to see and a great place to go for a long walk, but you’ll be totally taken aback by the abandoned village of Foinikas, claiming a dramatic position right beside the dam. Foinikas is sometimes referred to as the ‘sunken village’, with some of the old buildings half submerged in water in years where the island has witnessed an exceptional amount on rainfall which caused the dam to overflow. Mostly inhabited by Turkish Cypriots, sources site the conflict of 1974 as the main reason for the displacement of the population, leading to its sudden abandonment.
3. Arminou dam
If there’s one place that will be forever etched in your memory, it has to be this one. And it’s not because the dam (fed by the Diarizos River) is any more spectacular or awe inspiring than the others mentioned in this article, but, that the journey to get there, and the scenery which surrounds it, is absolutely out of this world.
Right next to the gorgeous Tzelefos medieval bridge (and some 5km north of Salamiou), take some time to sit back to take in the splendour while you listen to the Diarizos river gurgle beneath the bridge. And if you want to take in views of the whole area, then just head out on a path that takes you through a dense pine forest as panoramic views abound, with the path then leading on to the idyllic Pera Vasa picnic area. Then, walk on to Saouris farm belonging to Kykkos monastery, past the Cave of Saouris, and beyond!