Western Cyprus; Nature's Secret Corner

It may seem hard to believe, as you drive through the built-up outskirts of Paphos to your holiday villa, yet some of the loveliest and most unspoiled parts of Cyprus are right on your doorstep. Here, too, are some of the most productive farms, growing everything from vegetables to exotic fruit such as star fruit or kiwis, plus hillside vineyards making exceptionally tasty wines.

Leave the town of Paphos behind and drive your hire car into the mountains for an explosion of wild flowers in the spring, or watch hatchling sea turtles scuttle to the sea on the beaches of the Akamas Peninsula. It's all within a few minutes drive of your Paphos rental villa.

Exploring the Troodos Mountains

The Troodos Mountains rise up in the middle of this part of Cyprus, where roads wind up into the mountains, alternatively offering spectacular views and cool shade. There are many areas to explore from your villa in Paphos, but a favourite for locals is Panayia, birthpalce of Archbiship Makarious. North of here is the area of wooded hills known as the Tillyrian, where a ramble along one of the nature trails from Stavros tis Psokas might include a glimpse of the shy Cyprus moufflon, a type of wild deer.

Spring Flowers in Cyprus

Cypriot Child holding Tulip As the last of the mild Cypriot winter fades away, Cyprus comes alive with wild flowers, including the rare Cyprus tulip and orchids. You can discover them in meadows in the mountains, where butterflies rise in clouds from your feet as you walk, or on the nature trails in the Akamas Peninsula. Look out for crown daisies, poppy anemones, rock roses, prickly broom in bright yellow bloom, caper bushes in flower, and the pungent smell of wild garlic.

Bird Watching in Cyprus

Twice a year, migrating birds visit Cyprus for a rest and some tasty food, as they head for Africa and Asia in the autumn, and then back to Europe in the spring. Over 378 species of bird call Cyprus home at one time or other, and this includes endemic species such as the Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Cyprus Warbler, the Cyprus Scop Owl, and the Short-toed Treecreeper. Cyprus has designated Special Protection Areas (SPAs) where the landscape is managed for the benefit of birds, which include:

Kato Paphos lighthouse, a major breeding site for the Cyprus Wheatear and Warblers, and a major winter home for Great Sand Plovers.

The Paphos Forest, covering a large area of land rising from sea level to the Tripylos peak. This is the place to see raptor birds such as Bonelli's eagles, sparrowhawks and goshawks (who nest here) and Griffon vultures andBlack vultures (who don't.)

However, Cyprus also has a songbird hunting and trapping tradition, and hunting is allowed within certain SPAs, under strict controls.

Paphos Wine Tours

One of the most enjoyable ways to support local agriculture near Paphos is to head into the hills for a Paphos wine trail. There is no 'fixed' route, and half the fun is just finding some of the wineries for yourself. Remember to buy some bottles for the driver to enjoy back at your Paphos holiday villa. Wineries worth a taste include:

Mesogi Industrial Estate Paphos: Fikardos winery, with a good selection if not the most pretty setting!
Kathikas: K and K Vasilikon and the Sterna winery
Statos: the Avakas winery and Amforeas winery
Akamas Villages: wineries in and around Drouseia, Ineia, Pano and Kato Arodes
Vouni Panagia, Troodos foothills: pretty wineries in a lovely setting, producing crisp white wines from the local Xynisteri grape