A Paradise for Walkers
What a long, wet winter this has been. If, like us, you yearn for blue skies and sunshine, have you thought about taking a walking holiday in Cyprus this spring on the hottest, driest island in the Mediterranean? Here’s what this beautiful island has to offer:
- Brilliant sunshine for more than 320 days a year
- Average daytime temperatures of 22°C in April
- Water temperatures in April averaging 20°C
- Hours of daily sunshine averaging 9
- Only 4 rainy days in April
April in Cyprus is always warm and sunny, ideal for walking holidays or sightseeing and at this time of year wonderful wild flowers abound, sunsets are spectacular and the clear night skies are alive with twinkling stars.
Where to Walk
If you plan to go walking in Cyprus, you need to know where to walk. Both the North and South of the island provide some wonderful walking. However, since some of the island, particularly in the south, has been totally ruined by prolific, ugly development, you need to choose your walks carefully. It initially took us a few visits to the island to find the best walks. This is always achieved by trial and error. Some walking areas that look promising initially, subsequently reveal ugly development en route and have to be abandoned. Proper walking maps are non-existent so in Cyprus we used a combination of old military maps and sketch maps produced by local people. The tourist boards in both the north and south have produced some literature which is a good indication of walking areas, but don’t expect detailed directions or waymarking. There are also a few published walking guides which contain some worthwhile walks.
Varied, Scenic Walking
When in the south, we like to base ourselves in the far west of the island in the little laid-back unspoilt resort of Polis. It’s less than an hour from Paphos airport yet provides easy access to the beautiful Akamas Peninsular, one of the island’s last remaining wildernesses. The air is scented with wild herbs and the flowering plant species number 1600, resulting from the position of the Akamas in relation to the plant zones of Asia, Africa and Europe. Here you will see yellow, blue and red anemones, red poppies, rare orchids, cyclamen, gladioli, iris, tulips, chrysanthemum, hyacinth, daffodils and many more in full blossom. That’s not to mention the 44 different species of orchid to be found on the island.
The Republic’s second paradise for walking holidays is the Troödos Massif, also accessible from Polis. You can walk just below the summit of Mount Olympus at nearly 2,000 metres without climbing hardly a metre. The views extending to both the south and north coasts are truly magnificent. Or, if you prefer, there are other more strenuous options: the choice is yours and the tourist offices produce some useful literature on this area. Where else can you spend the morning walking among pine trees with far-reaching views and, possibly, snow on the ground and in the afternoon swim in an azure sea?
In the Turkish north of the island the best walks are centred around the wonderful mountain ridge which runs from east to west. Along its length are some fabulous crusader castles which can be visited as part of your day’s walking. We like to base ourselves in the beautiful village of Bellapais, made famous by Lawrence Durrell. We highly recommend the Bellapais Gardens Hotel, both for its outstanding service and renowned restaurant.
Rich history and romantic legend
The ancients in classical times named this beautiful Mediterranean island, the Isle of Aphrodite after the Greek Godess of Love. The romantic atmosphere of this island still draws discerning visitors to the beautiful Akamas peninsular to see where Aphrodite bathed and met her legendary lover, Adonis. Sunshine, beauty, sea, mountains and romance – that sums it up! Well, almost! On your walking holiday you could combine walking days with visits to historical sites; in fact to world heritage sites. One day you could visit Paphos to admire the remains of ancient Roman villas and their precious mosaics and picturesque harbours where fishermen return from the sea every morning to sell their night catch fresh in the local market. Then there’s ancient Lefkos or Nicosia, the fascinating capital city, Kyrenia, a real jewel of a harbour, and world-famous monasteries such as Kykkos.
I have not even mentioned the lively tavernas, the culinary adventures, the delightfully friendly people.
From time to time we offer guided walking holidays in both the north and south of the island and, on occasion, a two centre holiday in both the north and south. At the end of March 2014 we are running a holiday in the north, based in the beautiful village of Bellapais. See here for details.