If you’re looking for a slightly different day out, there’s nothing better than getting your walking shoes on and heading towards one of the island’s dams. With some blissfully bucolic spots simply begging to be explored, there’s something to be said about spending a morning or afternoon staring out at the glistening still waters of one of Cyprus’ dams. And with a whopping 100 plus dams to be discovered, there are certainly plenty of spots that are bound to impress you that you probably never even knew existed.
While the first dam in Cyprus was constructed in Kouklia in 1900, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that many more began to sprout up around the country. Read on for the My Cyprus Insider pick of some of the most beautiful reservoirs to visit today, with details on their fantastic surrounds. Then, all that’s left, is to plan your escape into the countryside on a day that best suits you!
- Xyliatos dam, Nicosia district
Nestled between the sleepy villages of Xyliatos and Lagoudera, some 45 km from Nicosia, this dam is cocooned by a thick pine forest that makes for a rather dreamy picture. What’s more, there’s a circular nature trail in the vicinity that provides for magnificent views across the area.
Almost 4 kilometres long, it should take you around an hour and a half to walk the path, and its rated medium in difficulty, so it’s advised that you only get going if you’re in relatively good physical condition due to the changes in gradient and slightly rough terrain. Feeling hungry? The area is also home to a gorgeous picnic site where you can sit back, indulge in a hearty nibble, and rejoice in the glory of the picture perfect surrounds.
- Kalopanayiotis dam, Troodos district
Perfectly poised in the heart of the Marathassa Valley, locals and foreigners across the island flock to Kalopanayiotis for a slice of rural paradise at its best. Some stop off to visit the beautifully revamped village on their way to Kykkos Monestary, others look forward to a bite to eat at one of the restaurants of the area, while many put their feet up for the night in one of the region’s top hotels, Casale Panayiotis.
But just outside the village is a wonderful area of glistening blue, flanked by vivid greenery that calls out for attention. A popular place for fishing trout, this type of fish only survives in deep waters of mountainous areas, making the Kalopanayiotis dam a perfect spot for them to call home.
- Evretou dam , Paphos district
If you’re taking the journey down to the west of the island and the blissful Polis Chrysohous, then we highly recommend that you 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 rather haunting 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.
- Arminou dam, Paphos district
If there’s one day trip in Cyprus 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, 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!
- Kouris dam, Limassol district
If you want to tick the biggest dam in Cyprus off your list, then the Kouris dam is a must-see. With a capacity of 115 million cubic metres of water, it’s situated 15 kilometres north west of Limassol in a steep valley and collects water from three rivers: Kouris, Limnatis and Kryos. And what’s interesting, is that in order to be constructed, the whole nearby village of Alassa had to be relocated to a nearby site overlooking the reservoir.
Love a bit of intrigue on a day out? Local legend has it that the dam is home to a sea monster that apparently looks like a crocodile or serpent, with locals often having claimed to have seen the wild ‘creature’ on numerous occasions. Whether you believe the tales or not, it’s still rather fascinating, and if you do per chance spot anything weird and mysterious, you can’t say that we didn’t warn you!