Call us strange, but are you looking for things to do in Cyprus that DON’T involve beaches, temples or booze…? A walking holiday in Cyprus is the perfect alternative – or why not try both? We’ve got 15 of Cyprus’ best walking, hiking and nature trails here to get you started!
Eating and hiking are our two passions.
First we eat. Then we find a hike so we can walk off all the calories we just consumed! 😀
Let’s just say that with all the AMAZING food to be found in Cyprus – omg…the meze… – we were in desperate need of a LOT of walking during our 3 months on the island.
In planning your Cyprus holiday you’ll be bombarded with photos of azure blue seas and yellow sand beaches strewn with stripey-red umbrellas. All-inclusive resorts are very popular, and if you’re a budding archaeologist you’ll be spoiled for choice.
But if you love the outdoors you could be forgiven for thinking there aren’t a lot of options. Dig a little deeper, and it’s no joke when we say that you’ll find some of the most incredible hiking anywhere in the world!
Even better, access is easy from Larnaca, Paphos or Nicosia, and most Cyprus hiking trails aren’t difficult, meaning the whole family can enjoy themselves for as long, or as little as you like. To be honest, calling some of them ‘hikes’ is a BIG overstatement, and ‘walking trails’ is probably more accurate 🙂
A walking holiday in Cyprus may be considered by some to be a little unusual, but we think it’s the perfect way to explore this wonderful island – and these 15 hiking, walking and nature trails are the ideal place to start!
Cyprus walking and hiking trails
When reading these trail notes, it’s worth keeping in mind that we have an average level of fitness (for a couple on the wrong side of 40). So if you’re super-fit you’ll find many of these hikes a walk in the park, and if your mobility isn’t the best, or if your fitness levels aren’t what they once were, then you may want to allow extra time.
The most important thing to remember is to take plenty of water and to bathe in sunscreen before leaving – that Mediterranean sun is intense!
|Millomeris Waterfall||100m / 2.5km||5min / 1.5hrs||Easy / Moderate|
|Smigies Loop||2.5km / 5km||1hr / 2.5hrs||Easy|
|Sea Cliffs - Cape Greko Loop||4km||2hrs||Easy|
|Konnos Beach - Cape Greko||5km||2.5hrs||Easy|
|Aphrodites Rock Coastal Trail||6km||2.5hrs||Easy|
|Tomb of the Kings - Paphos Castle||5km||2hrs||Easy|
|Panagia tis Agapis||6km||3hrs||Moderate|
Troodos Mountains walking, hiking and nature trails
Ahhh…the Troodos Mountains.
We’ve got such great memories of our time in Vouni, exploring this oasis of cool pine forests and cascading streams that extend along the spine of the island. Only an hour’s drive from the coast, you could lose yourself for weeks on its many hiking trails and it’s the perfect place to start your walking holiday in Cyprus!
The Millomeris Waterfall hiking trail is a fantastic option because it gives you two access options.
If you don’t have a lot of time, or you prefer a flat, short trail, then you can drive almost all the way to the waterfall. Leaving your car in the car park it’s only a few minutes’ walk to the waterfalls.
If you feel like a more challenging walk, drive around to the other side of the valley to the village of Plano Platres and find a park. The start of the walk is clearly marked on the eastern side of the road next to the Spring Hotel.
The trail descends to the Kryo Patamo (Cold River) and then follows the river through the dark, dank forest all the way down to the waterfall along a well-made trail. Along the way you get excellent views down the valley.
Length: Short – 100m / Long – 2.5km (return)
Duration: Short – 5 minutes / Long – 1.5 hours (return)
Difficulty: Short – Easy / Long – Moderate
Caledonia (Kaledonia) Waterfall is found in the heart of the Troodos Mountains. It’s an interesting option because you can make this a long hike by starting in the north, or a shorter hike from the south.
We left our car in the car park just outside Plano Platres – next to the fish farm – and hiked in from the south.
It’s a gorgeous little hiking trail, taking you along and over the bubbling brook. This is the very same Kryo Potamo, the only river in Cyprus to never run dry year round!
The waterfall is beautiful, and it’s a great place to relax with a picnic lunch. You might even get a visit from one of the local cats 🙂
Length: 3km (return)
Duration: 1.5 hours (return)
In the centre of Cyprus and at nearly 2,000m stands Mt Olympus. Unfortunately you can’t access the peak – unless you want to mess with the Cyprus military forces – but there are a number of trails that circle the top of the mountain and these are your next best option.
The Artemis Loop trail is highest of these, and as you would expect the views are magnificent in all directions across the island. You can even explore the ruins of an ancient Venetian fort!
A word of advice, if you’re thinking of doing this hike in winter then check to see that there isn’t too much snow on the mountain. We visited in March and had a lot of fun trying to find where the trail even started under all the snow, let alone follow it around the mountain 🙂
If you love the grace and beauty of a Venetian architecture then you’ll love this short walk to Milia Bridge.
The walk starts at the Platres Sports Centre, and while it isn’t very long you will need to bring shoes with decent traction as the surface of the steep-ish dirt road near the start is loose underfoot.
The bridge is small, but very eye-catching. You can also explore up and down the river banks, making it one of our favourite Cyprus walks.
Length: <2km (return)
Mesa Potamas (Argolachania) Waterfall
Half the fun of this short walk was finding the starting point – it is in the middle of nowhere!
The Mesa Potamas picnic grounds are extensive and are located in a beautiful position in the pine forest, next to the small stream that dances down the mountain. We visited late in the day and the grounds were nearly empty, but you could see from all the fire-pits that this place must get very busy on a weekend.
We recommend parking at the picnic grounds and then walking back to the road where you’ll find the start of a very short trail that takes you down to a lovely little waterfall – and further downstream if you’re interested.
The mountains in this region are criss-crossed by many small roads and access tracks, but we recommend taking either the shorter road from Saittas in the south, or the longer option from Kato Amiantos in the east. Either way, it’s picturesque and with many twists and turns. Put your window down and breathe in the heady aroma of pine needles!
Length: 400m (return)
Other hiking and nature trails in the Troodos Mountains
The are so many trails in the Troodos Mountains that you could spend weeks in the area and never cover them all. Other great options that may interest you include:
- Atalanti Trail – a longer version (14km) of the Artemis Loop
- Kannoures Agios Nikolaus tis Stegis Trail – a 9km trail that takes you past the UNESCO listed Agios Nikolaus tis Stegis church, finishing in Kakopetria Village
- The 3 Venetian Bridges – Elia bridge, Tzelefos bridge and Roudias bridge are three large Venetian bridges within close distance of each other, and they make for a great little day trip. it isn’t a hike as such, however you may need to park and walk to Roudias bridge, as the access road is more suitable to 4WD vehicles.
Akamas Peninsula walking, hiking and nature trails
In the far north-western corner of Cyprus lies one of the most remarkable regions in which we’ve ever hiked – the Akamas Peninsula.
For much of the year it is dry, hot and dusty. But if you can time your visit for late winter or spring then you are in for one heck of a hiking experience!
Of all the hiking we did in Cyprus, it is the Aphrodite Loop nature trail that we remember most fondly.
The grand reveal at the top of the mountain, looking down on Blue Lagoon and the chalk-white limestone coast, is something you will never forget for as long as you live – so make sure you walk the loop in a clockwise direction to get the full effect.
Difficulty: Moderate (clockwise)
The Adonis Loop nature trail sits below the Aphrodite Loop and actually shares the same trail across the top.
Where the Aphrodite Loop is all about the spectacular views of the Peninsula, the Adonis Loop looks inward. Deep rocky gorges, cold streams, herds of goats roaming the valleys with their bells tinkling in the sun, fields of cyclamens flowering in the Spring warmth – it’s paradise.
Again, we recommend hiking this loop in a clockwise direction.
The Smigies Loop nature trail gives you two options. The full loop extends north nearly as far as the Adonis Trail (there is a trail linking the two if needed), but there is also a path that cuts the larger loop in half, giving you the option of a much shorter walk if you’re tight for time.
Whether you opt to hike the long loop, or short loop, you’ll experience some amazing views of Cyprus’ rugged west coast, down towards hidden Lara Beach where the turtles lay their eggs.
There is also an excellent picnic ground where you park your car – the perfect place for a lunch in the shade.
Length: Long – 5km / Short – 2.5km
Duration: Long – 2.5hrs / Short – 1hr
Cape Greko, Ayia Napa and Protaras walking, hiking and nature trails
Before visiting Cyprus, whenever we heard the words ‘Ayia Napa’ we thought of parties, booze, and drunken shenanigans by D-grade soapie stars. How wrong we were!
After spending a week in Protaras (right next door to Ayia Napa) it didn’t take long to find out that there are a LOT of fantastic walking trails in the region just begging to be explored.
The coastline around Cape Greko is stunning – complete with stone arches, cave churches(!), sea cliffs and pure white sands – and the best way to experience these natural wonders is to go by foot.
Sea Cliffs and Cape Greko Loop
We’re not sure if this hiking trail has a name, but it seemed like a great way of seeing the sights of the western side of Cape Greco. The trail starts at the car park for the sea cliffs, so it makes sense to spend a little time there first to check out their rugged, wild beauty. We didn’t have time to test this, but we’ve heard there’s a path down into the caves below, accessible only at low tide. Very cool!
From the cliffs the trail crosses a lunar-like landscape, circling the military installation on the hill and across to the southernmost point you can reach on the peninsula (access to the tip of the peninsula is restricted), before looping back around to the sea cliffs.
There’s a dry desert beauty to this part of the island. Take your time, take plenty of water, and soak it up like you’ll be soaking up the hot Mediterranean sun!
Konnos Beach to Agioi Anargyroi, Stone Arch and Cape Greko
The eastern side of Cape Greko has some fantastic beaches and coastal rock formations.
Konnos Beach is one of Cyprus’ finest. It’s not as busy as some of the more well-known beaches further north, but is a great option for chilling out with a cold drink on a banana lounge.
Further south the trail will take you to the eggshell blue Agioi Anargyroi church (don’t miss the cave shrine hidden in the cliffs below!). Beyond that is the impressive Stone Arch and then at the end of the walk is Cape Greko itself – with the obligatory drinks stall so you can ‘rehydrate’ before making your way back.
Length: 5km (return)
Much of this hike is on well made dirt roads, but despite not going cross-country the surprise at the end is well worth your effort.
Starting at the car park of the Church of Panagia, all that is needed is to follow the dusty road inland, until you reach the limestone ridgeline.
The church of Agioi Saranta has to be seen to be believed. It’s bright blue door might seem simple enough, but when you step through you’ll be amazed at the cave church that lies within. That’s right, it’s a in a cave!!
A skylight has been carved into the rock above, allowing beams of light to stream down from above like the fingers of God himself. The alternating light and shadow plays across the many icons and other religious items carefully placed into tiny nooks and crannies in the cave walls.
This is a church at its most rustic – and beautiful!
Length: 5km (return)
Paphos walking, hiking and nature trails
Paphos and its surrounds is a mecca for lovers of history. You can barely take a step without stumbling over an old tomb or other tumbled down ruin.
Look a little further and you’ll also find that there are some fantastic walks and hikes to be experienced, both in and around Paphos and along the historic Aphrodite Culture Trail.
It’s a lovely 20km drive north to the Avakas Gorge carpark, past rugged sea cliffs, through the tourist town of Coral Bay, and the wonderful harbour town of Pegeia – but once you leave the bitumen you’ll need your wits about you if you’re in a 2WD. The road is passable, but there are some rocky sections where a lot of care is needed.
The Avakas Gorge walking trail is one of the biggest surprises you’ll find anywhere in Cyprus. Starting in the open, the trail follows the stream inland where the walls of the gorge quickly close in – creating an oasis from which to escape the relentless heat outside.
The rocky walls are draped in mosses, and the bubbling brook soothes your senses as you explore deeper into this wonderful cavern. There are plenty of places to take a breather or enjoy a picnic – why not choose one of the many small waterfalls that dot the watercourse?
Length: 3km (return)
Duration: 1.5hrs (you could do it quicker – but you’ll want to take your time)
Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodites Rock) Coastal Trail
Aphrodite’s Rock, a 40 minute drive south of Paphos, is a mecca for visitors to Cyprus. Jutting out of the pale blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, it is an ancient place, steeped in the history of Aphrodite – Goddess of Love.
But did you know that there’s a coastal trail starting at the main car park? Instead of taking the pedestrian tunnel under the highway, walk away from the beach to the other side of the car park where you’ll see a dirt path winding its way up the side of the hill.
From here it’s easy – simply follow the cliff-top trail north along the coast as far as you like and then return the same way. There’s a playground for the kids, there are picnic spots, and there’s also a walkway down to a great little beach if you’d like to cool off. And did we mention the views?!
Length: 6km (return)
Tomb of the Kings and Paphos Castle Coastal Trail
Many of Paphos’ best sights are perched on the edge of its pebble coast – from the Tombs of the Kings in the north, to the green grass and BBQ’d seafood of Faros Beach, to Paphos Castle and the Archaeological Park next to the harbour in the south.
In a really clever move, the local government has built a boardwalk linking all these attractions and giving you some of the best sunset views anywhere in Cyprus.
From the south the trail is easy to find – simply take the promenade to Paphos Castle and the boardwalk continues along the coastline. From the north, we recommend parking on Βασιλίσσης Βερινίκης Street here and then walking through the empty lot to the beach.
Length: 5km (return)
Vavla and Lefkara walking, hiking and nature trails
And finally, how could we leave out our favourite region of Cyprus – Vavla!
Some might call it sleepy. We prefer serene 😀
We didn’t come across many hiking trails, but the one we did complete in our first week on the island was a fantastic introduction to the foothills of the Troodos mountains.
Panagia tis Agapis Loop
We highly recommend staying in Vavla at Vavla Rustic Retreat for at least a few nights – this renovated farmhouse and courtyard is stunning.
While you’re there, ask Kelley for instructions, or simply follow one of the walking trails down into the valley below, across the stream and back up the other side to the tiny chapel of Panagia tis Agapis (Our Lady of Love).
There’s a great story behind this chapel – click here to find out more!
From there you can then loop up onto the ridgetop for excellent views south towards Larnaca and Limassol, and back to the village of Vavla.
Difficulty: Moderate (there is one short but extremely steep section behind the chapel – however the rest of the walk is classified easy-to-moderate and after reaching the chapel you could easily return the way you came)
How’s that for some great hiking and walking ideas? 🙂 If you’ve got any questions, or would like to suggest another walk that you’ve done on the island, let us know in the comments!
Are you still planning your holiday and are wondering about where to stay, or things to do in Cyprus?
If that’s the case you’ll love our ‘Ultimate Guide of Things to Do in Cyprus‘!
Or maybe you’re thinking of crossing the infamous ‘Green Line’ to visit Northern Cyprus? The walking and hiking opportunities are ridiculously amazing and our ‘Northern Cyprus Holiday Guide’ will get your planning off to a great start.
Oh, and while you’re at it Larnaca is probably going to be where you fly in in to Cyprus, so here’s a guide of things to do in Larnaca that we’re sure you’ll find useful, particularly if you’ve only got one or two days in the city:
Thanks for reading, and happy travels!!
Andrew and Karen.
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