The Akamas Peninsula
The Akamas Peninsula
The Akamas Peninsula, which is a preserved nature reserve, is located on the western tip of Cyprus and covers an area of about 230 square kilometers. The area is an important ecological site and has not been developed. The natural beauty of the area is very impressive and the diverse flora and fauna as well as the picturesque coastline is breathtaking. There are amazing sandy beaches and caves to explore and swimming in the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean Sea is a real treat. One of the most outstanding beaches is Laura’s beach were you might be lucky enough to see the nesting sea turtles.
There are over 500 indigenous plants in the Akamas peninsula and in spring you will be able to admire rare species of orchids and beautiful tulips. Note that it is prohibited to cut any flowers in the area. There are many nature trails that have been developed by the Cyprus Tourist Board that you can enjoy in order to see all the beauty of the area first hand. This must be the best way to enjoy the magnificent bay and unspoiled west coast. To drive around the park you would need a 4X4 vehicle as there are sand roads and steep cliffs. You could also take a so called safari through the park with organized tour guides. This can be a lot of fun and very interesting.
The summer months, especially July and August are very hot and you should avoid walking or being out in the open in the midafternoon hours. The best time to be in the Akamas area is early morning or late afternoon during this period. If you are lucky enough, you can even watch the magnificent sunset. One of the most visited spots in the Akamas Park is the turtle sanctuary and the Baths of Aphrodite which is near Polis. The southernmost part of the park is near the town of Pegeia and on the northeast side is the town of Polis. The actual park is relatively accessible but you would need a four wheel drive to enjoy the park to the fullest.
Out of the many trails available for walking, the Aphrodite Trail is probably the most beautiful hike on the island. The highest point of this trail gives you a magnificent view of the coast. The trail start at the Baths of Aphrodite in the Polis area and lasts for 2.5 hours. Remember to protect yourself from the sun. Another highlight of the trail is the Chrysochou Bay which is high up on a ridge and has a bench for you to sit and take in the panoramic view of the gulf. Around this area you will find characteristic plants and shrubs of Cyprus as well as olive and carob trees.
If you would like to stay near this natural environment there are great hotels, villas and holiday apartments just out of the nature reserve. The town of Polis is the nearest and they boast many tavernas and other types of restaurants for your meals. Polis is a great area if you want to have an active holiday and experience the beauty of nature at the same time. It is a small sleepy town which has all the important amenities but also promises peace and tranquility.
Another way to see the Akamas Peninsula if from the sea. There are boats that you can hire to take you on a mini cruise around the peninsula. Some of the boats even offer a meal cooked Cypriot style. This is usually ‘souvla’ which is barbequed meat, a Greek Salad, maybe potatoes and a glass of red wine. Toasted village bread with olive oil and oregano is also offered and you can purchase other refreshments on the boat. This is a great way to experience the beauty of this area, especially when it is enjoyed with friends. The boat does make a stop for those who would like to swim out to the blue lagoon or Lara’s beach.
Hopefully this area remains as it is, unspoiled so that people can enjoy it for many years to come. It is definitely worth visiting!