A gorgeous haven on the western tip of the island that defiantly juts out into the deep blue Mediterranean waters in all its unspoilt splendour, its narrow deep valleys, caves and gorges render the whole place a real masterpiece of nature. With 10, 231 hectares of land cocooned by a sweeping coastline punctuated by soft sandy bays, there really isn’t much you can fault.
With Akamas – a designated Natura 2000 site – now the subject of ongoing discussion and debate, a proportion of the area (specifically privately owned land) is subject to new development zones with government plans to reduce the size of the nature reserve by 25%, resulting in a wide public outcry.
As environmental protection and nature loving groups urge the government to abstain from development and to declare the Akamas Peninsula a fully designated National Park – thus protecting the area and its surrounding villages – an online petition launched by Friends of Akamas has been circulating for a while now, still gathering signatures in a last attempt to save this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Other groups have also taken a stance against recent developments including Birdlife Cyprus, Friends of the Earth Cyprus, the Federation of Environmental Organizations of Cyprus, the Ecological Movement Cyprus and more.
In this light, the team here at My Cyprus Insider thought it fitting to point out all the reasons why we absolutely love Akamas, unspoilt, wild and beautiful!
1.It’s the last substantial slice of nature on the island left unaffected by development
With the whole of Cyprus luring in tourists from far and wide, there aren’t many areas left the way that nature intended. Akamas is one of the few spots that has thus far been protected from the hands of rampant tourism and overall development; a natural gem that is so very beautiful because of the fact that it has been left relatively untouched.
2. It’s a place of remarkable geological diversity, like no other spot on the island
From vibrant green forests of pine and juniper, to gorges, narrow valleys, sand dunes, dramatic cliffs and gorgeous sandy beaches, the geology and topography of the area is as unique as it is breath-taking.
3.It’s home to a fascinating plant world that dreams are made of
Due to the lack of development in the area and a varied topography resulting in different micro-climates, the wide diversity of flora that grows here is truly impressive. Home to approximately 530 indigenous plants, 35 of these are rare and endemic. Visit the place during the spring and it’s quite literally brimming with plant life in all its colourful glory.
Keep your eyes peeled for a rich variety of flowers, from the Cyprus cyclamen to the Cyprus tulip, alyssum and many species of orchid, white rock rose and many more.
4. A great number of animals love to call the place their home
Far more than just a place of outstanding beauty for humans to enjoy, creatures of the animal world claim their very own private spot in this remote little haven. From monk seals and fruit bats, to hedgehogs, goats, foxes, snakes and lizards, the list is endless, as animals here enjoy a peaceful and quiet world away from human intervention.
5. The area is a true haven for endangered turtle species
While mass tourism in the Mediterranean and the use of beaches for recreational purposes deprives turtles of their nesting grounds, the idyllic quiet beaches of the Akamas peninsula provide these little creatures with a bit of desperately needed solace away from the hustle and bustle of more built up areas, as both the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest in the area.
6. It provides for magical moments of birdwatching
Head here with your binoculars – especially in the spring and autumn – and you’ll get to spot all sorts of migrating birds when you look up at the open skies, from wagtails and wheatears to buntings, shrikes, flycatchers and all sorts of warblers. Look out to sea and you’re more than likely to spot movements of coasting ducks, herons, egrets, waders and seagulls.
7. It’s a real trekkers paradise
With five nature trails cutting across the area, there’s magical experiences to be had on foot. From the Aphrodite to the Adonis trail, each offers marvellous views of the magnificent bay and the west coast.
And let’s not forget the trail that weaves its way through Avagas Gorge; a stunning natural feature carved out of limestone rocks rising up 30 metres and winding along the stream that has formed this natural wonder over thousands of years.
8. The peninsula is cocooned by a trully pristine coastline
Ever plunged into the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Blue Lagoon? Or how about a walk along the water’s edge at Lara Bay? Then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about! Akamas is the last large unspoiled coastal area in Cyprus with translucent waters backed by swathes of golden sand. With unobstructed views across the horizon, watch the sun go down over Akamas and you’ll be in seventh heaven.
9. It’s a unique natural attraction for people from near and far, bringing quality tourism to the island
As a holiday destination, Cyprus doesn’t just offer sun, sea and wild partying. And Akamas stands testament to this, showcasing the true natural beauty and wealth of the island like no other spot, constituting a key point of attraction and interest for scientists – from biologists to botanists and ecologists – as well as nature lovers and environmentalists at large.
10. Last but not least…mythology comes to life with every step
Steeped in myths and legends, the echoes of countless tales come to life as you explore the unspoilt Akamas (named after an Athenian warrior and son of Theseus) with the whole area said to have been one of the favourite haunts of Ancient Goddess of Love and Beauty, Aphrodite.
From the place where she bathed in rejuvenating waters and met her great love Adonis (Baths of Aphrodite) to the reputed ‘Fountain of Love’ (Fontana Amorosa), where legend has it that those who drink from its waters will fall in love, the colourful age old tales that make the area unique are endless.
A one day festival named ‘Singing for Akamas’ will be taking place in the Molos area of Limassol on March 27th, with live music by a number of Cypriot bands. Find out more about the event here.