Hiking in Cyprus

It smells of orange blossoms and wild thyme. Cyprus is a resting place for migratory birds, a breeding ground for sea turtles, and home to orchids and tulips. The Five Finger Mountains in northern Cyprus can be hiked from cape to cape on the Beşparmak Trail. With mountains and sea in view, the trail repeatedly passes important cultural sites from the exciting history of settlement in Cyprus.

Auf dem  Beşparmak Trail Fünffingergebirge in Nordzypern. Blick auf die Höhenburg St Hilarion, 700 Meter hoch auf schroffen Felsen gebaut / © Foto: Georg Berg
On the Beşparmak Trail five-finger mountains in northern Cyprus. View of the hilltop castle of St Hilarion, built 700 meters high on craggy rocks / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Troodos Mountains in the southern part of Cyprus has less sea view, but a lot of forest. A rare treasure on Cyprus. Hikes along the coast or in the two main mountains Troodos and Beşparmak can be combined with visits to castle ruins, temples, mountain villages or wineries. The Mediterranean climate with over 300 days of sunshine a year offers ideal hiking weather from March to the end of May and from October to December. An exciting mix of mountains, sea, Mediterranean scents and worlds of the gods awaits. According to Greek mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love, was born off Cyprus from the foam of the sea. In her honor we begin the presentation of some walks with the Aphrodite Trail.

Aphrodite Trail in Akámas National Park

Türkisblaues Wasser an der blauen Lagune bei Akamas. Blick vom Aphrodite Trail / © Foto: Georg Berg
Turquoise water at the blue lagoon near Akamas. View from the Aphrodite Trail / © Photo: Georg Berg

A classic among the hikes in Cyprus is the Aphrodite Trail. The starting point of the hike is the famous Bath of Aphrodite, a rock grotto and popular and therefore highly frequented tourist attraction. North of the village of Polis, on the coastal road, begins the hiking area around the mountain Moutti tis Sotiras. For centuries it was the refuge mountain of the inhabitants of Polis. Whenever they saw ships near the coast that seemed sinister to them, they took refuge on Moutti tis Sotiras, the mountain of the Savior.

Wanderführer Franz Bauernhofer bei einer geführten Wanderung auf dem Aphrodite Trail / © Foto: Georg Berg
Hiking guide Franz Bauernhofer (center) during a guided hike on the Aphrodite Trail / © Photo: Georg Berg

Today, the summit plateau is stormed only by hikers. On the first ascent, however, you share the wide gravel road and the beautiful view of the sea with quads and jeeps. At times a dusty affair. The only thing that helps is to escape onto the narrow hiking trail that soon branches off from the track of the foot lazy. The coast up to the tip of the Akamas peninsula in the far west of Cyprus and the sea are in full view as you continue your ascent. Along the north coast, the color of the water can keep up with the Caribbean, turquoise blue shimmers here the blue lagoon.

Blick vom Aphrodite Trail bei Akamas auf die Küste. Die mittlere Bucht nutzen die Römer vor 2.000 Jahren zum Verschiffen von Holz / © Foto: Georg Berg
View from the Aphrodite Trail at Akamas to the coast. The Romans used the middle bay 2,000 years ago to ship timber / © Photo: Georg Berg

The panoramic view from the summit plateau of the 370-meter-high Moutti tis Sotiras stretches from the Troodos Mountains in the east to Cape Arnaoutis in the west. The earth up here is red, so the path down to Polis contrasts nicely with the light sand-lime stones. The hike ends after about 8 kilometers again at the bath of Aphrodite. If you want to continue hiking on divine paths, you can also combine Aphrodite with Adonis, the two hiking trails cross on the way.

Schafherde bei Akamas, Südzypern / © Foto: Georg Berg
Flock of sheep at Akamas, South Cyprus / © Photo: Georg Berg

The Akamas peninsula is a protected area, and so despite the construction boom in many regions of Cyprus, a wild, unspoiled hinterland with small villages and special stories has been preserved here. Also worth seeing is Polis, the largest city in the region, which presents its long history on the walls of the ancient city of Márion in its own museum.

Beşparmak Trail at the Hilarion Monastery

Blick auf die große Burganlage St Hilarion mit Unterburg, Mittel- und Oberburg rund 700 Meter über der Küstenstadt Girne / Kyrenia / © Foto: Georg Berg
View of the large castle complex of St. Hilarion with lower, middle and upper castle about 700 meters above the coastal town of Girne / Kyrenia / © Photo: Georg Berg

Northern Cyprus offers what many hikers dream of: hikes that combine mountains and sea. On the Beşparmak Trail, this is possible over 260 kilometers from Cape Korucam in the west to Cape Zafer on the eastern tip of the island. Lonely beaches at the capes, pine forests and massive castles on steep peaks, lush vegetation and original villages. All this can be hiked in sections or as a whole. Trained hiking guides have divided the tour into 18 stages.

Mutmaßlich aus diesem Fenster stürzte die Prinzessin all ihre Handwerker nach getaner Arbeit / © Foto: Georg Berg
Queen’s Window St. Hilarion. Presumably, from this window the queen threw all her craftsmen after their work was done / © Photo: Georg Berg

The tours can be organized with luggage transport and transfers or stay on the trail with tent and guide without descending to the villages. Of course, daily stages are also possible. One of the most beautiful hikes in the region winds relatively steeply through evergreen scrubland from the village of Karmi up to the fortress of St. Hilarion. The impressive medieval fortress is perched on the highest point of the mountain and offers spectacular views of the port city of Kyrenia and the Five Finger Mountains.

Troodos Mountains – mountain villages and giant trees

Die Schwarzkiefer ist der Wappenbaum im Troodos Gebirge. Der robuste Baum ist Wind und Schnee ausgesetzt / © Foto: Georg Berg
The black pine is the heraldic tree in the Troodos Mountains. The robust tree is exposed to wind and snow / © Photo: Georg Berg

Mighty rises the Troodos as a huge mountain massif in the heart of Cyprus. Cyprus, which has lost almost its entire tree population in the course of its eventful settlement history, has one last contiguous forest area in the Troodos. The gnarled black pine is the region’s heraldic tree. The highest mountain, Mount Olympus, is almost two thousand meters high. Whether coming from the south from Limassol or from the north via the border crossing at Lefke, one drives through small mountain villages to the hiking areas.

Bergdorf Pedhoulas, Zypern, an den Ausläufern des Troodos Gebirges / © Foto: Georg Berg
Mountain village of Pedhoulas, Cyprus, at the foothills of the Troodos Mountains / © Photo: Georg Berg

The villages used to be popular places to escape the hot summers in the cities. That is why vacation homes, hotels and restaurants have survived here until today. But it is not only nature that makes the Troodos attractive as a hiking destination; like everywhere else in Cyprus, hikes can be combined with cultural sights. In the Troodos there are Unesco world cultural heritage sites. Worth seeing are the barn-roofed churches with paintings from the 15th century.

Artemis-Trail. Einer der höchstgelegenen Rundwege im Troodos Gebirge um den 1952 Meter hohen Chionistra (Olympus) mit Kiefern und Wacholder-Bäumen / © Foto: Georg Berg
Artemis Trail. One of the highest circular trails in the Troodos Mountains around the 1952 meter high Chionistra (Olympus) with pine and juniper trees / © Photo: Georg Berg

Planning hikes – travel tip

Cyprus offers attractive hiking areas on both sides of the divided island. The featured hikes in the Akamas and Troodos are in southern Cyprus. The Beşparmak Trail, with its many rewarding stages and three high-altitude castles along the way, is in northern Cyprus. The special attraction of a hiking tour in Cyprus is that it can be combined according to your own interests. Moderate day tours with a cultural program and typical local cuisine or hikes lasting several days from peak to peak in the Five Finger Mountains? Whether with transfers, with guide or on your own, whether in a tent or with pre-booked accommodation, whether as a group tour or as a tailor-made tour combining hiking destinations in the north and south of Cyprus – everything is possible.

Individuelle  Wandertour mit Franz Bauernhofer von Cyprustravel. Die Wanderungen sind verknüpft mit Abstechern zu kulturellen Sehenswürdigkeiten auf beiden Seiten der geteilten Insel Zypern / © Foto: Georg Berg
Individual hiking tour with Franz Bauernhofer from Cyprustravel. The hikes are linked with side trips to cultural sights on both sides of the divided island of Cyprus / © Photo: Georg Berg

It’s important to know that the Green Line, which has divided the island of Cyprus since 1964, places no limits on vacations. Whether you chose a hotel in the south or accommodation in the north of Cyprus, whether you arrive at Larnaca Airport in the south or Ercan Airport in the north, you can easily explore the whole island. Cyprus Travel is a Cyprus-based and also German-speaking tour operator that offers walking tours to all regions of Cyprus and encourages crossing the border between North Cyprus and South Cyprus. From rental car tours, walking tours, day trips to cultural sites, island tours of several days with hotel booking, to city tours, everything is included that makes the island of Cyprus. More information about the history of the divided island can be found in the reports about the Büyük Han Coffee Club and the ghost town Varosha.

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The research trip was supported by Cyprustravel.

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