Whether you’re a nature lover, or into photography or painting, the Akamas peninsula will enchant you. With its rugged coastline, alternating between rocky shores, promontories and sandy bays, it is an area of outstanding beauty, exuding an aura of timeless tranquility, while, inland, picturesque little villages nestle in the hills.
Rare endemic plants, like the Cyprus orchid, tulip and crocus grow here, and in the spring delicate wild anemones dot the landscape, making it a botanist’s paradise.
The sandy beaches of the Akamas are important nesting grounds for green and loggerhead turtles, whose numbers have greatly increased thanks to a successful conservation project at Lara.
Cyprus, including the Akamas area, has been identified as one of the 22 areas of endemism in Europe and one of only three European areas holding two or more restricted-range species of birds.
The beaches are a vitally important characteristic of this peninsula. Akamas is the last largely unspoiled coastal area remaining in Cyprus and one of the very few significant sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean. Both the Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest here; the latter depends on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists Loggerheads as “vulnerable” and Green Turtles as an “endangered species”. According to the IUCN, the number of Green Turtles nesting annually in the entire Mediterranean could be as low as 325-375.
Flora and Fauna
The Akamas peninsula covers about 230 square km and is located on the western tip of Cyprus. It is an area of great natural beauty unaffected by development. The uniqueness of the area for Cyprus, and for the whole of the Mediterranean, is centred on its precious ecology. The diversity of flora and fauna living in this relatively small area is truly impressive. Rare endemic plants grow here; it is home to foxes and bats, while snakes and other reptiles live here, along with many species of birds which pass through Akamas on their migrations. Of the 128 plant species endemic to Cyprus, the following 39 are found in the Akamas peninsula:
Plant species of Akamas
Alyssum akamasicum, Anthemis tricolor, Arenaria rhodia ssp. cypria, Asperula cypria, Astragalus cyprius, Ballota integrefolia, Bosea cypria, Carlina involucrata spp. cyprica, Carlina pygmea, Centaurea akamantis, Centaurea calcitrapa ssp. angusticeps, Centaurea veneris, Crocus veneris, Cyclamen cyprium, Euphorbia cypria, Gagea juliae, Gladiolus triphyllus, Helianthemum obtusefolium, Odontides cypria, Onobrychis venosa, Onopordum cyprium, Onosma fruticosum, Ophrys kotschyi, Ophrys lepethica, Origanum majorana, Ornithogalum pedicellare, Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis, Pterocephalus multiflorus ssp. multiflorus, Ptilostemon chamaepeuce var. cyprius, Rubia laurea, Scutellaria cypria var. elatior, Sedum cyprium, Sedum porphyreum, Senecio glaucous ssp. Cyprius, Taraxacum aphrogenes, Teucrium divaricatum ssp. Canescens, Teucrium micropodioides, Thymus integer, Tulipa cypria.
The area is also important because of its diverse habitats. Some of these are:
Pine and juniper forests