With its reputation for dramatic scenery and a gentle climate, it should come as no surprise that a growing number of visitors are discovering Cyprus as the perfect place to enjoy an energizing outdoor adventure. Whether you’re a local, or visiting Cyprus on holiday, there’s really no better way to experience the great outdoors than a hike through nature. And what better time do so than during the glorious spring?
Hiking is an increasingly popular way of experiencing the island’s rich and abundant natural landscape, from its rugged stretches of undeveloped coastline to the pine covered range of the Troodos Massif. And springtime is a truly magnificent time of year to get out and about, providing an opportunity to witness the spectacular kaleidoscope of wild flowers in full bloom.
With several designated national parks, countless picturesque villages, and numerous historic sites, walkers are spoilt for choice when it comes to exploring beyond the hustle and bustle of the island’s main tourist centres.
The unique geological features of the Troodos National Forest Park have fascinated scientists and nature lovers for years. A wide variety of plants and trees flourish within the ninety square kilometres of protected parkland with brutia pine, olive and seasonal chameleon, the Arbutus andrachne, or strawberry tree dominating the lower slopes, whilst centuries-old black pine form an imposing backdrop to the range’s highest peaks.
The park supports a large number of endangered species of flora such as the endemic Troodos golden drop, Cyprus crocus, and many of the island’s forty or so species of wild orchid.
Almost 60km of walking trails have been mapped out across the mountain range with numbered route markers providing helpful information about the best vantage points plus geological and botanical highlights specific to each of the four main Troodos trails – Atalante, Persephone, Kaledonia and Artemis.
As you make the most of your outdoor adventure, take in multitude of sights. Atalante goes round Mount Olympus, Persephone leads to a spectacular viewpoint, Kaledonia leads to the Kaledonia waterfalls, while Artemis encircles the Chionistra summit. Other trails go across the Madhari ridge. Many important features or plants are signposted along the way pointing to the numerous endemic plant species of the area.
Cyprus is the furthest easterly point of the European E4 long distance walking route, one of eleven designed by the European Ramblers Association. Taking in ten countries from its starting point at Tarifa, the most southerly point of mainland Spain, the 10,450 kilometre route ends at the Cape Greko National Park on the south east tip of the island.
To the west, the wild beauty of the Akamas peninsula remains a perennially popular destination for hikers, many of whom say that a visit to Cyprus would be incomplete without an excursion to the Avakas Gorge, one of the island’s most awe-inspiring naturally occurring phenomena.