Akamas Peninsula, western Cyprus

Akamas Peninsula in PaphosThe Akamas Peninsula is one of the few areas of natural wilderness left in southern Cyprus, and is just a short drive from our Paphos rental villas on the west side of town. Don't think however, you can just drive all the way across the Peninsula; this is a landscape best explored either in a sturdy 4x4 hire car, or on foot.

The Akamas Peninsula has resisted the almost relentless march of development west of Paphos for three main reasons; the breeding sea turtles on its beaches, a major campaign to have it designated as a National Park (so far sadly unsuccessful) and its previous use as a British Army firing range. The result is a landscape with deep gorges, pine and juniper forests, secluded beaches, volcanic peaks, and dramatic cliffs.

Driving to the Akamas Villages

The villages of the Akamas lie along a ridge that runs parallel with the coast. You can leave your Paphos villa in your Cyprus hire car, and within a few minutes, leave the coastline behind as you climb up the hillside. (The best route is to head for Coral Bay, then turn inland towards Peyia and Kathikas just after the beach area.)

Life in Peyia revolves around the village fountain, surrounded by good restaurants offering hearty meals at reasonable prices. Kathikas is home to the wine growers of this area, so keep an eye open for local wineries offering free tastings. You can buy wine at the cellar door by the bottle, so non-drinking drivers can have a glass or two later on the terrace of your Paphos holiday villa!

From Kathikas, you can head over the ridge and down towards the beach at Polis via the winding streets and great views at Dhrousha village, or continue until the good road runs out at Fasli and the rugged side of the Peninsula rises before you.

Walking the Akamas Peninsula

There are three good walking trails in the Akamas Peninsula that start at the car park at the Baths of Aphrodite on the east side of the Peninsula, up the road from Latchi.

The Smiyies Trail climbs up past an old magnesium mine to the old Ayios Minas and a picnic site at 419metres. The Adonis Trail and the shorter Aphrodite Trail both take you to Pyros tis Riyenas, the site of either a Byzantine monastery or a Lusignan fort, depending on who you ask, and involves short but sometimes steep climbs on a 2.5 hour circuit.

If that all sounds like hard work, wander along to the Baths of Aphrodite, where the goddess was said to bathe after trysts with her lovers. In truth, the 'Baths' are a natural grotto with a small spring, lush undergrowth and coachloads of bemused tourists. So, walk on through eucalyptus trees to where the landscape opens to reveal the sea, and just enjoy the scenery.

Turtle Watching on the Akamas Peninsula

Bother loggerhead turtles and the rarer green turtles nest on the beaches, and you can learn more about these fascinating creatures and the efforts to conserve their habitat at the Lara Beach turtle centre.