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Hiking & Birdwatching

A beautiful unspoiled scenery

Commune with nature in a region that is one of the best kept secrets of the Mediterranean. Pafos is an inspiring place for appreciating the countryside: the variety of plant and animal life and the beautiful unspoilt scenery are a delight.

Hiking

Walking holidays in Cyprus are increasingly popular for holidaymakers who wish to get away from the more conventional holiday pursuits of sun, sea and sand.

For hikers who wish to stroll around the historic centres of the main towns, there are a wide variety of guided and self-guided tours to choose from.

Whether you prefer a short stroll or an exhilarating hike, there is a wide variety of options.
The striking views of the Troodos mountains and the rugged beauty of the Akamas peninsula are the most popular areas for walkers. The mountain nature trails, many of them clearly marked by the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, introduce visitors to the flora and fauna of the island and take them through pine forests and past natural springs into picturesque villages with traditional stone houses and historic churches.

Nature Trails

For hikers who wish to stroll around the historic centers of the main towns, there are a wide variety of guided and self-guided tours to choose from.

Long distance Trails (8-14 KM)

European Long Distance Path E4

The European long-distance Path E4 was extended to 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, goes through Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, mainland Greece, the Greek island of Crete, to the island of Cyprus. Cyprus is linked to Crete by air and sea.

In its Cyprus section, European path Ε4 connects Larnaca and Pafos international airports.
The route traverses the Troodos mountain range, the Akamas peninsula and long stretches of countryside, along regions of great natural beauty and important ecological, historic, archaeological, cultural and scientific interest areas.

Few people have the time or stamina to tackle the whole route in one go. The information given 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. Ramblers are strongly advised to research further any sections to be attempted, with particular emphasis on the availability and proximity of overnight licensed accommodation, especially in remote areas.

It should be stressed that the route by no means represents all that Cyprus has to offer the rambler. It is primarily designed as a cross-country route, and as such is inevitably selective, missing out some fine landscapes and/or cultural sites. It does, however, provide a sample of the scenic and cultural variety that is 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 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 passes by 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 Loutra tis Afroditis (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 are:

Mammals: Fox, hare, hedgehog.

Birds: Wood pigeon, partridge, Cyprus warbler (endemic), Cyprus wheatear (endemic).

The forest of Akamas also serves as a resting point for many migratory birds.

Reptiles: Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard, 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 most important areas of interest on this trail is the Loutra tis Afroditis (Baths of Aphrodite), where legend has it that the Goddess of Love and Beauty used to take her baths. You will also pass by the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas (Queen’s Tower), which is 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 near the ruins of Pyrgos tis Rigainas, and another between the Baths of Aphrodite and Kakoskali. The trail connects with the Adonis trail, and at its starting point you can visit the Akamas Botanical Gardens.

Flora:  The endemic plants you may see include the Cyprus Golden–Drop (Onosma fruticosa), Cyprus sage (Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area are:

Mammals: Fox, hare, hedgehog.

Birds: Wood pigeon, partridge, Cyprus warbler (endemic), Cyprus wheatear (endemic).

The forest serves as a resting point for many migratory birds.

Reptiles: Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard, 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, offers shade to travellers on hot summer days, making the walk a very pleasant experience.

Flora: You will see these indigenous plants: 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 most paths are now covered in thick vegetation. The few that do remain are used mainly for nature study and recreation.

With financial support from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation, the Forestry Department has created a number of trails in various parts of the island, from Cape Greco in the southeast to the Akamas peninsula in the west. These have been carefully designed to cover areas of rich natural vegetation and cultural interest. They have been landscaped on gentle gradients and are usually circular so that walkers end their hike where they started. All age groups can use them with ease. ln many cases, there are signposts in place, to indicate a trail starting point, as well as flora and geological features along the route.

Although hiking in Cyprus can be enjoyed throughout the year, the recommended seasons are during late autumn (November) and in spring, when the Cyprus countryside and forest areas are in full bloom.

Αll nature trails are divided into 3 categories of difficulty as follows:

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

Category 2: Medium degree of difficulty, suitable for adults in generally average to good state of fitness. 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, and particularly rough or slippery or narrow or steep terrain. Suitable for adults in generally good to very good state of fitness.

Useful Advice

  • Wear footwear suitable for walking on cross-country terrain.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses and carry an ample supply of water at all times.
  • Entrance to monasteries and churches is permitted only to persons suitably attired.
  • When you walk:

o  respect the property of others

o  avoid any disturbance and damage

o  do not leave litter behind

o  show cοnsίderatίοn for animals and wildlife and avoid disturbing them

o  leave flowers and plants where they grow

o  take care not to cause fires

In Cyprus there are 8 species of snake, of which only one is dangerous to man. In case of a snake bite by the Vipera lebetina, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Wells are the most dangerous spots.

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

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 within Pegeia state forest with the end of the trail 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, reef and grain limestone and bentonitic clays. 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 thick vegetation and a particularly attractive, shady and moist environment.

Flora:  Indigenous plants: 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:

Mammals: Fox, hare, hedgehog.

Birds: Cyprus wheatear (endemic), Cyprus warbler (endemic), Scops owl (endemic), partridge, little owl, kestrel, wild pigeon.

Reptiles: Stellion lizard.

Amphibians: Marsh frog, iridescent frog, tree frog.

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 with exceptional views along this trail, but the most impressive is from the top of the hill where you can look towards both the south coast: Tzioni, Geranissos, Lara, Agios Georgios Pegeias, and the north coast: Chrysochou bay. Part of the trail passes through a pine forest that offers shade on warm summer days. Smigies picnic site has drinking water flowing from a spring.

Flora:  Indigenous plants: Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), terebinths (Pistacia terebinthus), rockroses (Cistus creticus, Cistus monspeliensis etc), 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 beautiful views of the coastline of the Akamas peninsula to the west,­ including Lara Bay, ­and later on, to the east, with views of Chrysochous bay in the direction of Latsi, Polis, Pachyammos and the Pafos forest. 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 walking trail. Both routes pass by the Forestry Department’s Piana fire lookout station.

Flora:  Endemic plants: 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:

Mammals: Fox, hare, hedgehog.

Birds: Wood pigeon, partridge, Cyprus warbler (endemic), Cyprus wheatear (endemic).

The Akamas forest serves as a resting point for many migratory birds.

Reptiles: Cyprus viper, Cyprus lizard, black whip snake.

View Pafos Natural Trails Brochure

Birdwatching

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean with an area of 9250 square kilometres, is situated right in the middle of the migration routes for millions of birds flying from Europe to Africa and Asia in the autumn and back again in the spring.
There are 378 species of birds Cyprus, including two endemic species – the Cyprus Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) and the Cyprus Warbler (Sylvia melanothorax). In addition there are 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 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 at Akrotiri and Larnaca. Travel agencies specialising in birdwatching organise tours for visiting birdwatchers. These can take place at Dhiarizos valley, Akhna dam, Akrotiri area, Akamas and Latsi area, Kiti dam, and the Larnaka 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 should be managed to ensure proper conservation of the priority bird species they support.

Kato Pafos (Lighthouse Area)

This site consists of a small area north of Pafos castle around the Pafos lighthouse. Cyprus wheatears and Cyprus warblers breed at the site and the area is a key wintering ground for the Greater sand plover.

Problems:

Disturbance is the main threat to birds at this site as hundreds of tourists walk in the vicinity when visiting the coast and 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

This site is in the northwest of the Troodos mountain massif. Its boundaries more or less coincide with the boundaries of the Pafos State Forest. It covers a large area from near sea level up to the peak of Tripylos at 1,352m. The site is the most important area in Cyprus for nesting raptors, supporting the highest number of breeding Bonelli’s eagle and Goshawk. Two more species, the Griffon vulture and the Black vulture, which used to nest at the site, have now disappeared as breeding species. Griffon vultures regularly visit the site to drink water from the spring in the Tripylos area. The site supports the biggest populations of the endemic Short-toed treecreeper, the Cyprus wheatear, the Cyprus warbler and the Coal tit. Notably, this is the only site where Sparrowhawks have been recorded breeding in Cyprus.

Problems:

The fire risk is high, but the frequency of fires is low, mainly due to forestry management, although the construction of firebreaks can lead to serious destruction and fragmentation of habitat. Hunting is permitted within the site, but this need not pose a threat provided enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, taking into account 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 , Lemesos District

Vouni Panagias

This 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 site is especially important for three rare breeding raptors of Cyprus: the Griffon vulture, the Peregrine falcon and the Long-legged buzzard.

Large numbers of Cyprus Wheatear also breed in the area. The site is also 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.

Problems:

Viticulture is currently non-intensive, but the potential danger of agricultural intensification and agricultural abandonment, in particular, exists. Hunting is permitted within the site, but this need not pose a threat provided enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, taking into account the conservation needs of the species for which the site is designated. Poaching is also a problem in the area (including limesticking).

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

This site is situated in the southeast part of the Pafos district and covers the Xeros river valley from Roudias Bridge to Asprokremmos Dam. The Xeros river runs only during winter and spring. A total of 76 Birds Directive Annex 1 species have been reported in this site, ten of which breed here regularly. The site also supports important populations of Black Francolin.

Problems: 

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 need not pose a threat provided enforcement of the relevant law is strict and hunting is exercised in a sustainable manner, taking into account 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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