7 of the best hiking routes on Cyprus
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Cyprus is all about beaches, right? Wrong. Seriously wrong! This island nation does boast a rich necklace of stunning stretches of sand along its spectacular coast, but it's also a top-notch destination for hikers: the coast and hinterland are alive with over 150 dedicated trails.
There are cliff-top coastal strolls and forest hikes that link up UNESCO World Heritage sites, through to rugged rambles in the mighty Troodos Mountains. Anyone with the right gear and a bit of experience can enjoy walking in Cyprus, though you should always seek local advice before setting out.
In summer, temperatures can get a little hot for walking and water is scarce, while in winter snow - yes, snow here in the southern Mediterranean - can dust the island's mountains.
Hiking beneath a snow-capped peak, though, makes for an even more spectacular experience in a place that stacks up brilliantly for both hikers and those looking for a short, scenic walk.
Getting to Cyprus: however you like to holiday, be it with on an escorted tour or an all-inclusive getaway, Mercury Holidays* has the perfect trip to Cyprus for you.
1. Akamas Peninsula Trails
This trio of trails in the west of the island swim in myths and legend. The most famous is the 7.5 km long Aphrodite Trail, which lets you visit the baths (more a pool) where the goddess is said to have bathed. Its waters are apparently meant to have magical anti-ageing properties.
There are great views from the highest point of the trail, too. The Adonis Trail is a similar length option that explores a little more inland and takes in what are said to be the remains of an old monastery with more Aphrodite mythology.
The shortest route is the Smigies Trail (two wee trails actually share the name), which skips around 5 km, offering similarly spectacular views of the sea and this rugged nature reserve. If you love striking flora consider coming in spring when the wildflowers are mind-blowing on all these trails, notably in March and April, and in May at higher elevations.
2. Artemis Trail
It takes an Olympian effort to hike up mighty Mount Olympus, which soars almost 2,000 m above the Mediterranean (look out for this giant as you fly in) and the military is keen to keep away hikers anyway, but there is a much easier alternative.
This dramatic trail sweeps around the lower slopes of Mount Olympus with plenty of shade provided by the bountiful trees, essential as it can get hot en route. In winter, snow is more of an issue than the sun! As well as the views you can ramble around the ruins of an old Venetian fort.
3. Lara Beach
The rough trail inland from the resort of Coral Bay is often tackled by 4X4s and daring (read: foolish) rental car drivers, so you might want to cycle part of the way until you can ease off the trail and enjoy a walk through the bush out to this spectacular beach.
The world of resorts feels a million miles away here as there are no facilities at all. The great draw is the solitude and sense of space.
If you're lucky you may catch sight of wild turtles that come here to lay their eggs, typically at night in June and July - although please note, we only advocate responsible wildlife watching. The small turtle station, which nurtures young turtles struggling to find their way in life, can advise on this.
Looking for more information about hiking on Cyprus? Official Visit Cyprus lists an extensive collection of nature trails and walks.
4. Paphos to the Tomb of the Kings
If you want to stroll back through time without straining your leg muscles too much this is the one for you. You drift away from the seafood restaurants that line Paphos' waterfront, soon leaving behind the Roman and Greek remnants that have led to UNESCO bestowing World Heritage status on the city.
The sea is a constant companion to your left on this pancake-flat walk, with benches to relax on and playparks for younger amblers. If you can rouse yourself continue on in the rich historical vein and reach the Tomb of the Kings.
There may be no kings buried here, but it's great fun rambling below ground to check out these spooky otherworldly lairs. Plus, it's only a 5 km round trip, too.
5. Aphrodite's Rock Coastal Trail
This striking rock formation, with its mythical story, may well be one of the most famous sights on the island, but few visitors realise there is a great coastal hike here, too.
This easy-going 5 km trail snakes along from the car park and promises sweeping views as it works its way along the cliffs, with the option of getting down to a secluded beach for a dip - and you'll want to on a hot summer's day.
6. Tour the churches
The Cypriot hinterland is sprinkled with some remarkable places of worship and the most spectacular churches lie between the Troodos Mountains and the south coast.
UNESCO has placed a number on its World Heritage list and the good news is that you can hike between them. Look out for vineyards and wineries on the slopes of the mountain, too, around Omodos, handy when your hike is done.
7. Ayia Napa
There is an Ayia Napa of busy bars and pumping nightclubs, but there is another Ayia Napa that lies a million miles away from the hedonism.
Within easy striking distance of the resort, and close to Protaras as well, is the wild oasis of Cape Grecko with its epic sea cliffs and rock arches.
Here, Europe ends as its most southeasterly point plunges spectacularly off the cliffs in Cape Grecko Forest National Park. There is a network of hiking trails that open up this wildscape. It's a brooding place to watch the waves crash in as you dream of Africa across the horizon.
Weather in Cyprus
The weather guide shown below is for Paphos. Overall, the weather in Cyprus is an important consideration if you're planning to hit the hiking trails. As mentioned already, they can be baking hot in summer and, some, icy-cold in winter.
|Maximum daytime temperature °C|
|Hours of sunshine (daily)|
|Days with some rainfall|
|Sea temperature °C|
Arguably the very best time to go hiking on this beloved island is in the spring when the trees are in blossom and flowers in bloom, however, autumn is another excellent option with cooler, more manageable temperatures than the preceding summer season.
Ready to book your trip? Check out the latest deals on breaks to Cyprus with Mercury Holidays, which offers a huge range of holidays, from all-inclusive escapes to escorted tours and hotel-only offers.
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