Whether you’re an avid explorer or not, there’s no denying that the Akamas Peninsula simply makes you want to put on your walking shoes and rejoice in the absolute splendour of the great outdoors.
What’s so special about this area? It’s wild, it’s beautiful, but most of all, it has been protected from the hands of rampant tourism, defiantly jutting out into the deep blue Mediterranean waters in all its unspoilt glory. And the abundant flora and fauna are testament to the wonder of the area, with about 530 indigenous plants, of which 35 are endemic. Visit the place during the spring and it’s quite literally brimming with plant life in all its colourful glory.
That’s not to mention the narrow deep valleys, caves and gorges that render the whole place a real masterpiece of nature. Cocooned by a sweeping coastline punctuated by soft sand bays, there really isn’t much you can fault.
A great way to explore the area is by hiring a sturdy four wheel drive, with humps and bumps along the dusty path all part of the fun experience. But if you don’t have a car, the place also marks the start of some great walking trails. There are two short trails- namely Aphrodite and Adonis– which start and end at the Baths of Aphrodite and are both 7.5 km long respectively.
But be warned: don’t try to undertake these walks during the height of summer – spring or autumn are definitely best, and early morning is the nicest time of day. Don’t attempt to start along the trails in the late afternoon either, as you won’t want to be stuck out there after sundown.
The trails are well marked but not always easy going. Wear strong comfortable walking shoes, a hat to protect you from the sun, and make sure to take plenty of water with you.
Off the trail and back on the road, or track, as it now becomes, you can head further up the coast to Fontana Amorosa (‘fountain of love’). This is a natural spring near the tip of the peninsula, which was supposedly a constant source of inspiration for poets. Yet another legend says that those who drink from the spring will fall in love. There are several wells in the area, most of them being used by local shepherds to water their flocks. What effect the water has on the animals has yet to be determined!
But perhaps the best thing about visiting Fontana Amorosa is, getting there. The rough track follows the coast on your right, with stunning forested areas, hills and ravines to your left. The coast is dotted with several tiny sandy bays, some of which can only be approached by boat, (which is another fabulous way of getting there). During springtime, the entire area is covered with flowers – wild cyclamen and narcissus, pastel coloured anemones, pink asphodels and bright yellow broom.
Then there’s the much talked about Avakas Gorge, yet another trekker’s paradise carved out of limestone rocks rising up 30 metres and winding along the stream that has formed this natural wonder over thousands of years.
Prepare to walk or clamber over slippery stones and rocks along a 3km path and keep your eyes peeled for pine trees, cypresses, junipers, wild fig trees, ferns and oaks as well as a profusion of wild flowers. Prize specimen among them is the extremely rare endemic centauria akamantis with its purple flowers that blossom in the spring.
Fancy a refreshing dip? The untouched beaches of the area are the perfect place to soak up the sun’s rays in peace. And if you’re looking for somewhere that sets itself apart from the rest, the revered Lara Bay wears the gold crown, truly idyllic in every sense of the word and even favoured by turtles of the area that make a bee line towards the golden shores to lay their eggs.