East (Ayia Napa)
To explore the country we set as our home base, we started our journey on the east end of the island, Ayia Napa and Cape Greco. Except for the swarms of tourists swimming around and about, the water is crystal clear and the views are fantastic. After a day of exploration, we started our journey east-bound towards Nicosia, taking the exit before the city into the Troodos mountains.
There, we drove through endless valleys, villages and curves (the moment you wish you could replace the rental car with your motorcycle) through the forests. We stopped for a quick picnic of local baked goods (Halloumi and Olive bread!) near Mount Olympus and continued on our way east towards Kato Pyrgos, which is the first village on the north-east coast after the green line (UN buffer zone).
North-West (Kato Pyrgos)
We spent the night in Kato Pyrgos, a small fishers village and drove along the coastline through Polis, Latchi and finally Droushia, a small village in the wine area of Paphos, near the Akamas natural park. Droushia was the perfect spot on the mountain between the small wine villages (definitely get a wine tasting at Vasilikon Winery nearby), the fishing village Latchi, the legendary Aphrodite fountain, hiking trails in the Akamas natural park and on the other side Paphos, Coral Bay and Lara Bay.
Luckily, the first day wasn’t too hot, so we drove down to Paphos to explore the archeological site and the city. Afterwards we spent the rest of the afternoon at one the Sea You beach bar near Coral Bay, which was a great place to have a drink and enjoy the sunset.
On Sunday we planned to rent a motorboat in Latchi. Tourists can captain a motorboat with just a driving license. Cypriots need a boat license. Go Cyprus 🇨🇾👍🏼! Unfortunately the weather didn’t play along and with heavy clouds covering the sky in the morning, we decided to for for a hike instead. We found the Adonis Nature Trail in a guidebook. It’s a bit shorter and easier than the Aphrodite Trail, although we missed the point to turn left and continued up the Aphrodite Trail just enough to capture the most amazing views from the top of the mountain down to the crystal clear bays of Akamas.
From there we turned around and went back on the Adonis trail. During the hike up, we spotted several plastic shotgun shells and after a while I couldn’t stand it any longer, emptied a bag that we carried and started picking up the shells and other trash. We ended up collecting a full, heavy bag of shotgun shells, a canister of chain oil and other plastics. Unfortunately we only had one bag, as we could have easily filled another one along the way. Considering Akamas is a Natural Park of Cyprus and hunting is prohibited, this is shameful.
The best day was Monday. We decided to contact Andreas from EcoTour Adventures again and arranged a private jeep tour through the parts we haven’t seen the week before. He showed us canyons, secluded bays, and explained us more about the history, flora, fauna and wildlife in Akamas Peninsula. And he even made an effort to speak in German for my dad. We had a blast.
Thanks to the English occupying a chunk of land in the south with their British Forces, and the general lack of sights and beach access, we decided it’s not worth stopping in the south.
The north of the island is illegally occupied by the Turkish army. Although there are borders, unfortunately we didn’t make it there. A visit is definitely high up on the agenda.
Since Cyprus is a small island, it took us only about 2 hours to get back to Larnaca, which were the most boring two hours of the whole trip, taking the highway back with the little rental car. However, we learned a lot of things, seen even more things and got a good impression of our new home base: Cyprus. ❤️