As the pitter patter of much needed rainwater begins to refill the lakes around the country, there’s nothing like an adventure in the great outdoors to discover some of the island’s most dreamy inland waterside locations. My Cyprus Insider takes you on an inspiring journey to some of our favourite spots. Go for a stroll, kick back, relax and enjoy!
1. Memi-Alepou mine lake, Xyliatos
Drive out of the island’s capital towards the village of Xyliatos and you’ll no doubt make a beeline for the well-known Xyliatos dam, surrounded by green mountains with the nearby trees reflected in the gorgeous waters. But what many people don’t know, is that the area was once well known for a mine known as ‘Memi-Alepou’, a place that once extracted copper and iron. And while it stopped operating in 1973, these days it makes for a beautiful spectacle come winter, filled with water that is the most vibrant blue imaginable. Idyllic and as peaceful as can be, you’ll be lost for words!
2. Athalassa Park Lake, Nicosia
Cocooned by the suburbs of Aglandjia, Strovolos and Latsia, this is a fantastic place for city dwellers to break up the day to day routine with a long walk or cycle and good dose of fresh air. And as you make your way through the greenery, you’ll be please to know that the part of the park (Agios Georgios) is also home to its very own lake. Encircled by a lovely walking path that will give you a lift and get your heart racing, there is also a bird observation point. A special dog path also means that you can take your beloved pooch with you for a ramble by the water’s edge.
Photo credit: Elmos Neocleous
3. Kokkinopezoula (acid lake), Mitsero old mine
If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about the magnificent ‘red lake’ of Cyprus, they are by no means exaggerating. South west of the capital and about a 28 km drive out towards the village of Mitsero, you’ll come across the old copper mine of Mitsero, which operated between 1953 and 1966. And once you get to the area, you’ll be taken aback by the ‘acid lake’, seeping up minerals and ore which turn it red. Do not touch the water under any circumstances! But do take as many pictures as you can- it’s a rare site if ever there was one.
Photo credit: daskalos06
4. Larnaca Salt Lake
We certainly can’t forget the Larnaca Salt Lake, right beside the impressive Hala Sultan Tekke Mosque. Undoubtedly one of the town’s biggest attractions, it’s home to thousands of graceful migratory pink flamingos that call the place their home between the wetter months of November and March as the lake fills with water.
One of the most important biotopes in Europe, it is one of the most important habitats for waterfowl. A source of commerce from ancient times, salt was exported from Larnaca as far as Venice, in a trade that was worth thousands of pounds every year. Salt was last harvested here in 1986. Make the most of the area on foot with a linear trail (4km in length) that leads all the way to the old Kamares aqueduct.
5. Oroklini Salt Lake
Far less known than the Larnaca Salt Lake and much smaller in size, this place about 10 kilomteres outside the centre of Larnaca also attracts gorgeous flamingos in the wet season, albeit less in number than the main Larnaca Salt Lake. But it’s still a rather special site when it fills with water, designated a Natura 2000 site and hailed the best nesting site for the Black-winged Stilt and one of the top 5 nesting sites for the Spur-winged Lapwing on the island.