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Hiking & Birdwatching

Beautiful and unspoiled scenery

Become one with nature in a region that is probably the Mediterranean’s best kept secret. The Pafos Region is an inspirational place, and a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the scenic countryside the area has to offer. From the bountiful plant life to the magnificent animal life that coexist with one another, Pafos invites you to become one with its beautiful, untamed environment.

Hiking

Walking holidays in Cyprus have become increasingly popular amongst holidaymakers opting for an outdoor adventure, as opposed to the more conventional holiday pursuits of sun, sea and sand.  The Pafos Region offers a wide variety of guided and self-guided tours for hikers, particularly for those who wish to explore the historic landmarks on foot or wander about the main towns and villages. Whether a short stroll or an exhilarating hike, the options are endless.

From the striking views of the Troodos Mountains, to the rugged beauty of the Akamas Peninsula, the island is a haven for locals and tourist trekkers. Clearly marked, the many mountain trails introduce adventure seekers to the flora and fauna of the island, guiding them through dense pine forests, across natural springs, and leading them to picturesque villages with traditional stone houses and historic churches.

Nature Trails

The Pafos Region offers a wide variety of guided and self-guided tours for hikers, particularly for those who wish to explore the historic landmarks on foot or wander about the main towns and villages.

Long distance Trails (8-14 KM)

European Long Distance Path E4

The European Long Distance Path E4 now extends further to include Cyprus, following a proposal by the Greek Ramblers Association to the European Ramblers Association, the coordinating body of the European Network of long-distance paths. The main partners in Cyprus are the Cyprus Tourism Organisation and the Forestry Department.

The path starts at Gibraltar, moves through to Spain, then onto France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, mainland Greece, the Greek island of Crete, and finally to the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is linked to Crete by both air and sea. In its Cyprus section, the European Long Distance Path E4 connects Larnaca and Pafos International Airports.

The route traverses the Troodos Mountains, the Akamas Peninsula and long stretches of countryside, along regions of great natural beauty and important ecological, historic, archaeological, cultural and scientific interest.

Few people have the time or stamina to tackle the whole route at once. The information provided here is a general outline, to help ramblers identify the route. It is by no means a detailed description of all aspects of the areas covered. It is advisable for ramblers to research those sections they wish to attempt further, with particular emphasis on the availability and proximity of overnight licensed accommodation, especially in remote areas.

The route, by no means, represents all that Cyprus has to offer. Primarily designed as a cross-country route, and as such inevitably selective, the route bypasses many beautiful landscapes and/or cultural sites. It merely provides a small taste of the scenic and cultural variety offered in Cyprus.

Adonis Circular
PS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 35.056063 Lon: 32.345565
GPS coordinates of the ending point: Lat: 35.056063 Lon: 32.345565
Altitude of the starting point: 35m
Altitude of the highest peak: 319m
Altitude of the end peak: 35m
Starting point: 400m before the Loutra tis Afroditis (Baths of Aphrodite).
Length: 7.5km
Estimated duration: 3 – 4 hours
Difficulty rate: 3

 

Points of interest: This exciting trail offers beautiful views of Polis Chrysochous, the Pafos Forest and the Akamas Peninsula. At the starting point of the trail, you can visit the Akamas Botanical Gardens.

The path lies adjacent to the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower) and connects with the Aphrodite Trail at the Tower, where a 500-­year­-old oak tree stands.  To return full circle, the trail follows the main road that connects the Baths of Aphrodite with Polis.

Flora: While hiking, you will see many endemic plants: Cyprus Bosea (Bosea cypria), Shrubby knapweed (Ptilostemon chamaepeuce var. cyprius), Entire – Leaved Horehound (Acanthoprasium integrifolium), Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana var. tenuifolium), Cyprus Golden ­Drop (Onosma fruticosa), Cyprus sage (Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area include the fox, hare, and hedgehog. The forest of Akamas also serves as a resting point for many migratory birds, including the wood pigeon, partridge, Cyprus warbler (endemic), and Cyprus wheatear (endemic). Reptiles include the Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard and black whip snake.

Aphrodite Circular
GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 35.056063 Lon: 32.345565
GPS coordinates of the ending point: Lat: 35.056063 Lon: 32.345565
Altitude of the starting point: 35m
Altitude of the highest peak: 333m
Altitude of the end peak: 35m
Starting point: The Loutra tis Afroditis (Baths of Aphrodite).
Length: 7.5km
Estimated duration: 3 – 4 hours
Difficulty rate: 3

 

Points of interest: One of the key areas of interest on this trail is the Baths of Aphrodite where legend has it that the goddess of love and beauty used to take her baths. The trail lies adjacent to the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower), believed to have been part of a medieval monastery. A 500­ year­ old oak tree stands near the ruins. This trail will give you excellent views of Cape Arnaoutis, Polis Chrysochous and Pafos Forest. There are two non-­potable water fountains along the trail, one of which is located near the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas, and the other between the Baths of Aphrodite and Kakoskali. The trail connects with the Adonis Trail where one can visit the Akamas Botanical Gardens.

Flora:  Endemic plants include the Cyprus Golden–Drop (Onosma fruticosa), Cyprus sage (Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area include the fox, hare, and hedgehog. The forest of Akamas also serves as a resting point for many migratory birds, including the wood pigeon, partridge, Cyprus warbler (endemic), and Cyprus wheatear (endemic). Reptiles include the Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard and black whip snake.

Ezousa Circular
GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 34.791653 Lon: 32.523179
GPS coordinates of the ending point: Lat: 34.791653 Lon: 32.523179
Altitude of the starting point: 247m
Altitude of the highest peak: 247m
Altitude of the end peak: 247m
Starting point: Environmental Information Centre of Episkopi, Pafos (Paphos).
Length: 7.6km
Estimated duration: 3 hours
Difficulty rate: 2 (downhill and uphill gradient around Ezousa Valley)

 

Points of interest: The Environmental Information Centre houses exhibitions as well as showing documentaries about the natural environment and biodiversity of the surrounding area.

There are excellent views along the way but the most impressive is from the “Rock” on which the village church, dedicated to Saint Ilarion the Great, is built. Here, you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the Ezousa Valley below. From this particular point, visibility extends to the Pafos forest and the Troodos Mountain Range. The trail crosses the Ezousa Valley where lush vegetation, especially Oriental plane trees and Oriental alder, offer shade to travellers on hot summer days, making the walk a very pleasant experience.

Flora: Indigenous plants include Cyprus cyclamen (Cyclamen cyprium), Bosea (Bosea cypria), Oleander (Nerium oleander), Oriental alder (Alnus orientalis), Oriental plane tree (Platanus orientalis), Oak tree (Quercus infectoria), Locust tree (Ceratonia siliqua), Terebinths (Pistacia Terebinthus), Kermes oak (Quercus coccifera), Spiny broom (Calicotome villosa).

Short Distance Trails (0-7 KM)

Before the arrival of the motor vehicle, paths and cart tracks made up the main road network in Cyprus and were the only link between villages and towns. Nowadays, cart tracks have virtually disappeared, while thick vegetation has swallowed most paths. The few that remain are used primarily for nature study and recreation.

With the financial support from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Forestry Department has created a number of exciting trails in various parts of the island, beginning at Cape Greco in the southeast, ending at the Akamas Peninsula in the west. Carefully designed to cover areas of rich, natural vegetation and cultural interest, the landscaped trails feature gentle gradients and are usually circular in design so that walkers are able to end their hike at the point where they originally started.  The trails are suitable for all ages. In most cases, signposts are in place indicating starting points. Flora and other geological features are also clearly marked along the route.

Although hiking in Cyprus is enjoyed throughout the year, the recommended seasons are late autumn (November) and in the springtime when the Cyprus countryside is in full bloom and the forest areas are at their most fragrant. All of the nature trails have been categorised into three divisions according to their level of difficulty.

Category 1: Easy trail, with gentle gradient. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Category 2: Medium degree of difficulty, suitable for adults with fitness levels ranging from average to good. Expect sudden changes in gradίent, and perhaps some narrow or rough terrain.

Category 3: High degree of difficulty. Route with difficult terrain such as sudden changes in gradient, with particularly rough, slippery, narrow and steep terrain. Suitable for adults with excellent fitness levels.

Useful Advice

It is advisable for hikers to wear footwear suitable for walking on cross-country terrain.

Both a hat and protective eyewear is also advisable.

Hikers should carry ample supplies of water at all times.

Entrance to monasteries and churches is only permissible to persons suitably attired.

When you walk:

  • Respect the property of others
  • Avoid any disturbance and damage
  • Littering is prohibited at all times
  • Please show consideration to animals and wildlife, and avoid disturbing them
  • Leave flowers and plants in their original habitat
  • Fires should be avoided at all times

In Cyprus, there are eight species of snake, of which only one is harmful to man. In the event of a snakebite (caused by the Cyprus blunt nosed viper, or Vipera lebetina) medical attention must be sought immediately.

Wells are the most dangerous spots.

Picnic sites contain sanitary facilities and drinking water. Most sites also accommodate for barbecues. When walking through remote mountainous areas or rural parts, it is highly recommended that you have access to a mobile telephone.

Below are the short distance trails:

Below are the short distance trails:

Avakas Gorge Linear
GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 34.920499 Lon: 32.337698
Altitude of the starting point: 47m
Altitude of the highest peak: 45m
Altitude of the end peak: 45m
Starting point: Avakas Gorge, following the Agios Georgios Pegeias – Toxeftra road for 2.5km and heading east from where Toxeftra Bay begins.
Length: 1.2km
Estimated duration: 45 minutes
Difficulty rate: 1 – 2

 

Points of interest: The Avakas Gorge Trail is located in the area of Pegeia, within the state forest. The end of the trail is located inside the gorge. It follows the course of the Avgas River, from which the gorge gets its name. The river has eroded the sloping limestone rocks composed of loams, chalks, and reef and grain limestone and bentonite clay. The gorge is also a Natura 2000 area.

The trail follows a dirt road (closed to private vehicles) through an open valley and then enters the gorge. The last section of the trail is in the stream itself, in which water usually flows throughout the year. The route through the gorge is characterised by its thick vegetation and particularly attractive, shady and moist environment.

Flora:  Indigenous plants include lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus), thorny broom (Calycotome villosa), common smilax (Smilax aspera), oleander (Nerium oleander), storax (Styrax officinalis), and the endemic endangered Akamas centaury (Centaurea akamantis).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area are the fox, hare and hedgehog. The site also includes various bird species such as the Cyprus wheatear (endemic), Cyprus warbler (endemic), Scops owl (endemic), partridge, little owl, kestrel and wild pigeon. Reptiles include the stellio lizard; the amphibians drawn to the area are the marsh frog, iridescent and tree frogs.

Pissouromoutti Circular
GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 35.023417 Lon: 32.333405
GPS coordinates of the ending point: Lat: 35.023417 Lon: 32.333405
Altitude of the starting point: 285m
Altitude of the highest peak: 400m
Altitude of the end peak: 285m
Starting point: Smigies picnic site.
Length: 3km
Estimated duration: 2 hours
Difficulty rate: 2 (upward and downward gradients around the hill)

 

Points of interest: There are many places offering exceptional views along this trail, but the most impressive is from the top of the hill towards the south coast (Tzioni, Geranissos, Lara, Agios Georgios Pegeias), and the north coast (Chrysochou Bay). Sections of the trail pass through a dense pine forest that offers shade on warm summer days. Smigies picnic site has drinking water flowing from a spring.

 

Flora:  Indigenous plants include the Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), terebinths (Pistacia terebinthus), rockroses (Cistus creticus, Cistus monspeliensis etc), and wild thyme (Thymus capitatus).

Smigies Circular
GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 35.024020 Lon: 32.333115
GPS coordinates of the ending point: Lat: 35.024020 Lon: 32.333115
Altitude of the starting point: 273m
Altitude of the highest peak: 388m
Altitude of the end peak: 273m
Starting point: Smigies picnic site, 2.5km from Neo Chorio, within the Akamas region.
Length: a) Short route: 2.5km, (b) Long route: 6km
Estimated duration: (a) Short route: 1 hour, (b) Long route: 2 hours
Difficulty rate: 2

 

Points of interest: This trail offers striking views of the coastline of the Akamas Peninsula, including Lara Bay to the west, and Chrysochous Bay to the east. The longer route passes old magnesium mines and abandoned kilns, and runs through a dense section of the Akamas forest. At the starting point, the route is adjacent to the Pissouromoutti Trail. Both routes pass by the Forestry Department’s Piana fire lookout station.

Flora:  Endemic plants include Thyme (Thymus integer), Cyprus germander (Teucrium micropodiodes), Cyprus Golden – Drop (Onosma fruticosa), Entire – Leaved Horehound (Acanthoprasium integrifolium), Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana var. tenuifolium).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area are the fox, hare and hedgehog. The site also includes various bird species such as the Cyprus wheatear (endemic), Cyprus warbler (endemic) and wood pigeon, which use the Akamas Forest as a resting point while migrating. Reptiles include the Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard and black whip snake.

View Pafos Natural Trails Brochure

Birdwatching

Covering an area of 9,250 square kilometres, Cyprus lies at the crossroad of one of the major bird migration routes across the Mediterranean. The island is a major staging post used in the autumn and spring as millions of birds move between Africa, Europe, and Asia.

The island is home to over 378 species of birds, two of which are endemic: the Cyprus Pied Wheater (Oenanthe cypriaca) and the Cyprus Warbler (Sylva melanothorax). There are also four endemic subspecies: Cyprus Scops Owl (Otus scops cyprius), Coal Tit (Parus ater Cypriotes), Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae) and Jay Garrulus (glandarius glaszneri).

Of all the islands in the Mediterranean, Cyprus possesses the most interesting and varied bird life. According to ornithologists, the resident breeding bird population is relatively small, but during the migration periods millions of birds pass through the island spending a few hours or even a few days here. A large population of winter visitors includes flocks of duck, mallard, widgeon, pintail, and shoveler as well as flamingos which inhabit the salt lakes of Akrotiri and Larnaca. Travel agencies specialising in birdwatching organise tours for visiting birdwatchers. These take place at Dhiarizos Valley, Akhna Dam, Akrotiri, Akamas and Latchi, Kiti Dam, and the Larnaca Salt Lake, depending on the season.

Special Protection Areas – SPAs

As an EU-member state, Cyprus is obliged to implement the EU Birds Directive. This provides for the most important sites for threatened, wetland and migratory birds to be designated as Special Protection Areas (SPAs). These areas are managed to ensure proper conservation of the priority bird species they support.

Kato Pafos (Lighthouse Area)

Located north of the Pafos Castle, the Lighthouse Area at the Pafos Archaeological Park is a breeding ground for Cyprus’ endemic species, the Cyprus Warbler and the Cyprus Wheater. It is also a key wintering ground for the Greater Sand Plover.

Concerns:

One of the many threats to the birds in the area are the vast numbers of locals and tourists who walk along the coastal path adjacent to the archaeological park, or when visiting the nearby archaeological sites.

Priority Species:

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) Migrant Breeder

Cyprus Wheater (Oenanthe cypriaca) Resident Breeder

Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) Resident Breeder

Site Details:

Area of the site: 24he

Elevation: 0 – 5m

Longitude: 445,413.82

Latitude: 3,846,370.95

Pafos Forest

Located northwest of the Troodos Mountain Range, the Pafos Forest covers a large area that stems from near sea level reaching a peak of 1352 metres at Tripylos. The site is an important area for nesting raptors, supporting the breeding of Bonelli’s eagle and Goshawk. The Griffon and Black vultures once populated the area, but no longer breed here. Griffon vultures, however, are known to visit the site regularly for water, acquired from the sprint in the Tripylos area. The site is also home to the largest populations of the endemic Short-toed treecreeper, Cyprus Wheater, Cyprus Warbler, and the Coal Tit. Notably, this is the only site where Sparrowhawks are known to breed in Cyprus.

Concerns:

Although the fire risk is relatively high, the frequency of fires is low, largely due to the forestry management in the area.  The construction of firebreaks can lead to serious destruction and fragmentation of habitat. Hunting is permitted within the site, but this does not pose a threat as the enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, considering the conservation needs of the species for which the site is designated.

Priority Species:

Bonelli’s Eagle (Hieraretus fasciatus) Resident Breeder

European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) Migrant Breeder

Woodlark (Lullula arborea) Resident Breeder

Cyprus Wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) Migrant Breeder

Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) Resident Breeder

Cyprus Coal Tit (Parus ater cypriotes) Resident Breeder

Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla dorotheae) Resident Breeder

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus) Migrant Breeder

Cretzchmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia ) Migrant Breeder

Site Details:

Area of the site: 62600 he

Elevation: 35 – 1352m

Longitude: 469,451.30

Latitude: 3,875,079.03

Administration:

Pafos District, Limassol District

Vouni Panagias

Vouni Panagias site is situated on the northwest boundary of the Pafos Forest. A total of 23 Birds Directive Annex 1 species have been reported at the site. The area is important for three rare breeding raptors of Cyprus: Griffon vulture, Peregrine falcon, and the Long-legged buzzard.

Large numbers of Cyprus Wheatear are also known to breed in the area. The site is a hunting area for at least two pairs of Bonelli’s Eagle. It also maintains one of the last remaining pairs of ravens in Cyprus.

Concerns:

Although the area is a station for viticulture, it is non-intensive, the potential danger of agricultural intensification and agricultural abandonment exists. Hunting is permitted within the site, but this does not pose a threat as the enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, considering the conservation needs of the species for which the site is designated. Poaching is also a problem in the area (including lime sticking).

Priority Species:

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) Resident Breeder

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus) Resident Breeder

Peregrine (Falco peregrinus) Resident Breeder

European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) Migrant Breeder

Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax) Resident Breeder

Cyprus Coal Tit (Parus ater cypriotes) Resident Breeder

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus) Migrant Breeder

Cretzchmar’s Bunting (Emberiza caesia) Migrant Breeder

 

Site Details:

Area of the site: 2400 he

Elevation: 250 – 1144m

Longitude: 467,491.53

Latitude: 3,861,347.11

Xeros Valley

Situated in the southeast part of the Pafos district and covering the Xeros River Valley from Roudias Bridge to Asprokremmos Dam, the site his home to a total of 76 Birds Directive Annex 1 species, ten of which breed here regularly. Black Francolin are also known to breed here. The Xeros River runs only during the winter and spring months.

Concerns:

Road improvements in the area are expected to increase pressure for development within the site. The northern part of the site is relatively undisturbed by human intervention but is at great risk from fire. Hunting is permitted within the site, but this does not pose a threat as the enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, considering the conservation needs of the species for which the site is designated.

Priority Species:

Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) Resident Breeder

Stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) Resident Breeder, Passage Breeder

Roller (Coracias garrulus) Migrant Breeder

Cyprus Wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) Migrant Breeder

Site Details:

Area of the site: 8323 he

Elevation: 30 – 772m

Longitude: 464,716.34

Latitude: 3,850,740.74

Administration:

Pafos District

Greater Sand Plover
Cyprus Wheater
Cyprus Warbler
Bonelli’s Eagle
European Nightjar
Woodlark
Cyprus Coal Tit
Short-toed Treecreeper
Masked Shrike
Cretzchmar’s Bunting
Griffon Vulture
Long-legged Buzzard
Peregrine
Stone curlew
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