Sweeping golden sand bays befriend glistening azure seas, hidden coves along the rocky coastline provide endless inspiration, deep valleys beckon the curious visitor, while caves and fascinating gorges add to the almost dream-like appeal. Welcome to the wilderness of the Akamas Peninsula!
So far protected from the hands of rampant tourism and urban development, there is no better time than spring to visit the stunning area on the island’s west coast, known for its extraordinary wildlife and brimming with flowers in all their colourful glory. What to see and do once you get there? My Cyprus Insider is here to help!
1. Take a good look at all the flowers in full bloom
Home to approximately 530 indigenous plants, 35 of these are rare and endemic. Visit the area now and keep your eyes peeled for the rare wild red tulip (Tulipa Cypria) and several kinds of orchids (orchis). A species of an endemic cyclamen also grows in the Akamas area, while it’s hard to miss the crown daisies (Similloudi) and characteristic ‘Lapsana’ (Charlock/Sinapsis alba) with their small yellow flowers. ‘Lales’ (Anemone coronaria) also grow in the area, as well as the yellow ‘Xinidin’ (Oxalis) and white flowered ‘Arkoscordos’ (Allium neapolitanum). And you certainly can’t miss the Rasin; a thorny bush characterised by an abundance of pretty, yellow flowers, widely known in as the ‘Prickly broom’.
2. Walk through the area’s nature trails before it gets too hot
With some gorgeous nature trails weaving through Akamas, spring is by far the best time to really make the most of the area on foot, because once summer sets in, walking any distance through the area because almost impossible (unless it’s very early in the morning or late afternoon). With five nature trails in total, each offer great views of the west coast, whether you’re making your way through the Aphrodite, Smigies or Adonis trail, or walking by the stunning Avakas Gorge.
3. Make the most of the spring bird-watching opportunities
Akamas is one of the 34 Important Bird Areas (IBA) of Cyprus and it’s also one of the larger, distinctive, key sites for bird conservation on the island while standing as the top breeding site on the island for the European Roller Coracias garrulous. And with Cyprus being one of the major bird migration routes in the Eastern Mediterranean (strategically linking Africa, Europe and Western Asia), and spring migration continuing until mid- May while millions of birds pass over the island, the Akamas peninsula offers brilliant bird-watching opportunities.
Cyprus Warbler. Credit: Stavros Christodoulides
Take binoculars with you and you’ll get to spot all sorts of birds – both permanent residents and migrating species, from the European Roller, Cyprus warbler (endemic species), Cyprus wheatear (endemic species) and Sardinian Warbler to the Cretzschmar’s Bunting, Black-headed bunting, Little Egret, Glossy Ibis, Little Owl, Peregrine Falcon, Black Francolin, Chukar Partridge, Shag, Squacco Heron, Masked Shrike, Little Owl and Cyprus Scops Owl (endemic sub-species).
Little Owl. Credit: Dave and Jan Walker
If you want to find out more about birdwatching in Akamas or in Cyprus as a whole, just get in touch with BirdLife Cyprus.
4. Relax on the area’s beaches in total peace
While Akamas is never a place that gets too busy at any given time of the year, tourists and locals do tend to gravitate towards the area come summer, especially during the July and August holidays. So if you want to make the most of the area’s magnificent coastline in peace, spring is a perfect time to do so!
Head to Lara Bay – a truly idyllic stretch in every sense of the word – and discover the turquoise waters of the blue lagoon without the dozens of visitors found exploring the spot at any given moment in the summer months. Then, just unleash the explorer in you and head to whichever sandy stretch takes your fancy!
5. Take a boat trip along the stunning coastline
With most of the companies offering boat trips around the west coast kick starting the season in April, there’s no reason to wait until mid summer to take in the island magic! Just head to Latchi harbour and take your pick from a range of companies offering great tips that usually last a few hours. Of course, do be sure to give them a call first, and check what the Covid guidelines are at the moment, and how many people will be allowed on board.
The Alkion Glass Bottom boat (Latchi Boat Cruises) gives you the chance to have a look deep into the underwater world as you set sail, taking you on a journey from Latchi harbour along the Akamas peninsula to the tip of Akamas; cape Arnaoutis. Not only will you get to see the gorgeous blue lagoon, but you’ll become better acquainted with plenty of beautiful bays along the way like Blaji, Manolis, Chamili and the famous Fontana Amoroza. Other companies offering boat trips include Cyprus Mini Cruises, Argonaftis tours, and more.