Our Favorite Hiking Trails and Travel Itinerary – Uncornered Market
Hiking may not be top of mind when travelers consider visiting Cyprus. Most associate the Mediterranean island nation with its beaches and resorts. However, our recent visit to Cyprus illustrates that the country not only offers sea, sun and deep history, but a variety of natural landscapes and geological diversity that makes hiking on the island a delight.
With its rocky coastlines, dramatic cliffs, impressive Troodos Mountains, and forests filled with old, gnarly juniper, cypress and pine trees, Cyprus surprises as a hiking destination. Add to that pleasant weather almost all year around thanks to its position in southern Europe, a fascinating and long history, hearty local food and increasingly good quality wines, and you have all the ingredients for a well-rounded, active Mediterranean getaway.
Our goal traveling to Cyprus for a week: a vacation filled with hiking, sunshine, good food and wine — all rounded out by walks around the capital city of Nicosia and visits to archeological sites. To do this, we chose several hiking trails in Cyprus as the anchors of our one-week travel itinerary, then planned everything else around those hikes and whatever the weather gods threw at us.
For us, exploring Cyprus through its hiking trails allowed us to see the best of the island by way of its national parks and natural beauty including endemic flora and fascinating geological formations. This approach also helped us avoid many of the touristy areas and crowds that Cyprus can be known for.
If you’re interested in the best hiking in Cyprus and assembling an active travel itinerary, then this hiking guide has all you need to know. It includes our favorite hiking trails, the best time to go hiking, what to bring with you, and where to stay — all so you can plan, organize and enjoy your hiking trip to Cyprus.
This post is long as it includes everything in one place we needed to know before we took our hiking trip to Cyprus. Feel free to click on a specific section from the table below to get to the information you need.
Favorite Hiking Trails in Cyprus
Despite Cyprus being a relatively small island, its hiking trails feature a surprising diversity of natural landscapes and styles. As you’ll see from our photos, each of the hiking trails highlighted below was unique to the others, making for a well-rounded hiking experience.
Most of the hiking trails below are located in protected areas and feature some trail markings, but we suggest downloading GPX tracks and/or using you favorite map app (we use PocketEarth for offline maps) or hiking app (we use Komoot and AllTrails). This way, you’ll have at least one digital version of the trail in case you get lost. As Cyprus’ environment and nature is quite fragile, be sure to stick to marked trails and be gentle with the natural surroundings.
Be sure to check the forecast in advance as weather can change quite dramatically, especially in winter. Bad weather can make a hike unpleasant and, especially in the case of canyon hikes, dangerous. Early starts are recommended, both to take advantage of better weather in the mornings and to end early enough to seek out a sunset drink.
Finally, be sure to seize the occasional moment to take a deep breath, look around you, and appreciate where you are.
Note: All hiking trails noted below are in Republic of Cyprus, the southern side of the island. We did not hike any trails in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Aphrodite Loop Extended – Best Hike for Coastal Views in Cyprus
Located in the northwestern part of Cyprus near the Akamas Forest, the Aphrodite Loop is deservedly one the island’s most popular hikes thanks to its dramatic cliffs and coastal views. The trail takes you past the Baths of Aphrodite and a waterfall grotto set in some botanical gardens, then up along some juniper-dotted rocky cliffs to the Moutti tis Sotiras overlook of Cape Arnoutis below.
On the descent the hiking trail makes its way past some ruins of a medieval monastery, a 500-year old oak tree and through diverse forests populated with local mountain goats.
We recommend following the Aphrodite Loop trail clockwise. This way, you begin your hike along the coast and continue climbing higher toward the cliffs, with the hills with sweeping coastline views beneath you. The trail markers indicate the opposite direction, which might make the hike easier and less steep overall. However, setting off along the coastline offers excellent light and pairs the best early morning weather with the coastline where you’ll likely appreciate it most.
While the standard Aphrodite Loop is around 7.5 km / 4.7 miles, we turned onto the Adonis trail on our inland descent (after the monastery ruins) to add more distance (4 km / 2.5 miles) and some additional landscapes. The Adonis is a pleasant trail through old pine, cypress and juniper forests and grassy areas filled with grazing sheep and goats. Keep an eye out for all the wild sage, oregano and other herbs along the trail.
How to get to the Aphrodite Loop trailhead:
We drove from Paphos to the Aphrodite Loop trailhead, a beautiful route of around 50 km or 1 hour. Free parking is available near the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. There’s also a public bus stop for bus 622 from Polis which you can connect to from Paphos and other locations.
Avakas Gorge Trail – Most Dramatic Hike in Cyprus
The depth of the Avakas Gorge makes this hike both stunningly beautiful and challenging. While most only hike the first kilometer or two into the gorge and turn back (this segment offers the most dramatic landscapes for the least effort), we encourage you to keep going until the end of the gorge.
For the fit and intrepid, the gorge deepens, winds and opens up in varied and striking ways. You may even run into some wild goats grazing in the hills along the way.
Unfortunately, the trail markings mostly end after the first kilometer or two, leaving you to follow the direction of the gorge and look for worn paths and footprints on either side of the stream. The trail becomes quite challenging at times, especially following rainfall (common in winter) as the water in the stream rises and the rocks become slippery. You may find yourself climbing over boulders and hugging onto cliffs, so be sure to wear good hiking shoes and carry your hiking poles.
The Avakas Gorge Trail continues through the entirety of the gorge until you reach a hilly, green pasture at the end. This is a good stop for a snack or picnic, or just to enjoy the bucolic scene of grazing sheep and goats around you.
Many Avakas Gorge hiking trails suggest you return again through the gorge, but we found a hiking trail south of the gorge up along the rim and through the Peyia State Forest. We recommend taking this trail back. This approach will offer some variety, be easier on your joints, and be faster than going back through the entire gorge again.
How to get to the Avakas Gorge trailhead:
We drove from Paphos to the Avakas Gorge, which was supposed to take around 30-45 minutes. However, beware of Google Map directions as it will suggest the shortest route, which includes going on some unpaved country roads until it reaches a road that has been washed out, forcing you to turn around (as it did us).
Instead, be sure to follow the directions which take you by the Avakas Gorge Road that approaches the gorge from the west (the coast). The last part of the road is not paved. We ended up parking around 0.5 km away from the trailhead parking lot, just to avoid taking our tiny rental car on the final stretch of the road that was full of bumps and holes. However, you can drive further to the parking lot at the trailhead. Just be advised.
It’s technically possible to get close to the Avakas Gorge by public bus, but you’ll have to switch buses times and have a bit of a walk at the end to get to the trailhead.
Atalante Trail – Best Troodos Mountains Hiking
It may surprise you, but Cyprus has mountains!
The Troodos Mountains in the center of the island of Cyprus features a peak of close to 2,000 meters / 6,400 feet at Mount Olympus. Not only does this mean skiing in the winter (yes, Cyprus has ski resorts), but it also means some terrific Troodos Mountains hiking trails.
We opted for the Atalante Trail Loop as it did a circle around Mount Olympus and was a bit longer and more difficult than the Artemis Trail (8 km / 5 miles).
When we hiked the Atalante Trail in early January most of the hiking trail was covered in snow, sometimes several inches deep. While the snow made it tricky at times to follow the trail — thankfully a few others had gone before us so we could follow their footsteps and we had our digital tracks/map — it also made our walk beautiful and somewhat magical.
We recommend following the trail clockwise from the trailhead near the parking lot, just as we did. The trail is fairly well marked and the first few kilometers of the Atalante hike take you through some beautiful old forests punctuated by gnarly juniper trees and other local endemic growth.
The vista then begins to open up so you can look west over the hills to the coast. The loop continues around past the ski resort and through more tall pine forests
Note: If you visit Cyprus in winter, be prepared for possible snow in the Troodos Mountains. We knew this in advance and came prepared with layers of jackets, hats, and gloves. We also highly recommend taking hiking poles on this route, no matter what the weather, as some sections are steep and can be slippery.
How to get to the Atalante Hiking Loop trailhead:
The Troodos Mountains are located almost halfway between Nicosia and the coast (Paphos or Limassol). The Atalante trailhead and free parking lot are located right next to Troodos village. We drove there from Nicosia, which takes around 1.5 hours on the fast route or 2 hours on the country roads. After our hike we then drove to Paphos, which took around 1.5 hours. There are also a couple of buses that will take you to the main square in Troodos village from Nicosia or Limassol.
If you want to do several hikes in the Troodos Mountains, you could consider staying in Troodos village or in a nearby town so that you can get an early start on the trails.
Cape Greco Hiking Trail, Sea Caves to Konnos Beach
There are a several different hiking paths around Cape Greco National Forest Park and out to Cape Greco itself. Many paths are quite short and just go to the sea caves, up to the Cape Greco Viewpoint or to visit the picturesque Ayioi Anargyroi Chapel. We wanted something a bit longer and more continuous to stretch our legs and see more of the natural landscape along Cyprus’ eastern coast near Ayia Napa.
Most of the dramatic scenery is in the first 5-6 km / 3 – 4 miles along the coast. The path we took then returns to the trailhead via an inland route.
This Cape Greco hike took us first to the sea caves, a collection of sandstone rock formations that stand in dramatic contrast to the crystal clear turquoise waters below. We then continued along the coastal trail past the hilltop with a view over the entire cape.
You can opt to take one of the hiking trails up to the viewpoint, but we continued east along the coast. The landscape changed frequently, from dry, rocky desert-like conditions to fields of green and blossoming flowers.
The trail then continues along the coast past the blue lagoon and the natural rock bridge to Ayioi Anargyroi Chapel. Take the stairs to a sea cave that you can scramble into. (Be sure to time your entrance and exit so that you and your camera are not soaked by crashing waves.)
We continued to Konnos Beach where we doffed our shoes and walked across the white sand beach. If we had had our bathing suits with us, we would have gone in — it was just warm enough even in winter. We returned via the hiking trail following the road.
How to get to the Cape Greco Sea Caves trailhead:
We drove from Larnaca (around one hour) and parked near the sea caves at the marker indicated on the map above. You can also park closer to the sea caves. There’s plenty of space to park there.
As for public transportation, you can catch bus 101 from Agia Napa waterpark to the sea caves or the Cape Greco National Forest Park entrance.
Hiking in Cyprus: What to Pack
Because the hiking trails in Cyprus we recommend here are day hikes that take only a few hours, you really don’t need to bring much with you. Just be sure to carry clothing layers to protect from the elements — sun, rain or maybe snow. Always be sure to carry plenty of drinking water with you.
You can also find a full list of our favorite hiking gear and essentials.
- Hiking Daypack: We shared one hiking daypack between the two of us. This was more than enough space to carry the essentials for our day hike.
- Hiking Shoes: We saw some people hiking in sandals or sneakers. While that works for some of the easier hikes, we recommend wearing hiking shoes to provide your feet with support and traction for climbing over boulders and steep inclines and descents.
- Hiking Poles: For lighter hikes, we typically share one set of trekking poles between the two of us (i.e., we each use one pole). We were especially thankful we had these on the Avakas Gorge Hike and Atalante Loop Trails. We recommend this foldable traveler set of hiking poles as they are easy and light to carry.
- Drinking water and snacks: Many of these Cyprus hiking trails are far away from shops and services, so be sure to bring your own water and snacks with you on your hike. Temperatures can get very warm, especially in the summer, so make sure you bring LOTS of water with you to avoid dehydration. One of the unfortunate things in Cyprus is that tap water is not potable (all the locals we met advised against drinking it) so bring a water bottle that also purifies or buy large (e.g., 5-10+ liter) containers of water and refill your own reusable water bottle.
- Sun protection: Even in the winter, the sun can be strong in Cyprus. Be sure to carry plenty of sun protection with you in the form of sunscreen (the highest SPF you can find), hat, and sun glasses.
Best Time to go Hiking in Cyprus
We hiked Cyprus in winter, over the New Year’s holidays, from the end of December to the beginning of January. We thought it was a great time to go hiking as the weather along the coast was beautiful most of the time with highs in the mid to high 60s F / 18-22 C. The added bonus of this time of year: we also experienced fresh snowfall in the Troodos Mountains.
In addition, there weren’t many people on the hiking trails at this time of year. However, Cyprus winter weather can be very changeable — including rain — so be sure to stay tuned to weather forecasts and remain flexible when planning and taking your hikes.
Several local people we spoke to said that spring (March-early May) offers great hiking weather since it’s precedes the hot summer season and offers the chance to see wildflowers blossoming along many of the hiking trails. A few others recommended November since temperatures have cooled off from the warm summer and early autumn, but the winter rains have not yet arrived.
Summer is the most popular time in general to visit Cyprus, especially for the beaches. However, we’ve heard that summer (June-September) is not the best time for hiking in Cyprus given the high temperatures (90+ F/30+ C) and intense sun.
If you hike Cyprus in the summer months, be careful to avoid heat exhaustion and overexposure from the sun, particularly in the wide open areas along trails. Carry LOTS of water with you.
Planning a Hiking Focused Cyprus Trip: Our One Week Travel Itinerary
When we assembled our one-week Cyprus travel itinerary, we focused mainly on finding the best hikes in Cyprus and used those as our anchors. We then figured out a general route to travel around the island, noting places we could stay and base ourselves along the way (see below).
We also watched the weather at all times as it changed frequently. Since we traveled in Cyprus during the low season and had a rental car, we were able to remain flexible and book accommodation pretty last minute.
Here is our final Cyprus travel itinerary for one week that included four day hikes, a 2-day stop in Nicosia (where it rained) and visits to archeological sites.
- Nicosia remains a divided capital city, with the southern side of the city as part of the Republic of Cyprus and the northern side of the city as part of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The United Nations Green Zone, a buffer zone, divides the two sides. There is an official border crossing which is very easy to cross at the moment.
- Wander the streets in the Nicosia’s old town (southern side of the city). We did a variation of this self-guided walking tour, but in reverse order. For more recommendations, check out this Nicosia travel guide by our friend Steve and try to get your hands on the Use It Nicosia map/guide as it’s got lots of great restaurant and cafe recommendations, as well as historical, cultural and other info presented in a fun and light way.
- We highly recommend a visit to the Cyprus Museum (free entrance at the time of writing). This small but jam-packed archeological museum is filled with well-interpreted antiquities going back almost 10,000 years. The museum does a remarkable job illustrating Cyprus’ long history and civilizational influences over the millennia.
- Cross the border to the northern side of the city (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus). As of January 2022, you need proof of a negative PCR test (less than 7 days old) and full vaccination to cross into the Turkish side.
- Follow the blue line that takes you past most of the major sites on this side (mosques, markets, caravanserai, etc.). Once in the northern side of Cyprus, you’ll notice that the currency and language both change to Turkish. Despite this, you’ll likely get along fine with your Euros and English, and even your credit cards in some restaurants and businesses.
- The Troodos Mountains are between Nicosia and Paphos on the coast. Stopping off in Troodos for a hike like the Atalante Trail is a great way to break up the drive and get a feel for Cyprus’ mountains and the geological diversity at the center of the island.
- Where to stay in Paphos: We stayed in a convenient studio apartment a short walk to the sea, archeological sites, restaurants and shops.
Note: There is also an airport in Paphos in case that offers more convenience for your Cyprus itinerary.
Renting a car in Cyprus
We really appreciated having a rental car on Cyprus. It gave us a lot of flexibility. which proved especially helpful because of the changing weather. A rental car also allowed us greater spontaneity to stop off in different places along the way. During the time of our visit, rental car prices were very reasonable (e.g., around $20 USD a day including insurance). And since the island isn’t very big, we didn’t spend a lot of money on petrol.
All of the hiking trails above featured free parking lots and most of the places we stayed in Cyprus also had free public or inexpensive private parking lots.
Driving in Cyprus is on the left-hand side of the road. If you’ve never experienced this, note that it takes some practice and getting used to.
Podcast about Hiking in Cyprus and Our Itinerary
If you prefer an audio version of all this, you can listen to our interview about our travels in Cyprus on the Amateur Traveler Podcast. We talk about all the details of our one-week itinerary and all of the Cyprus hikes we recommend in this article.
Travel to Cyprus – Amateur Traveler Episode 798
If you’ve only thought of Cyprus as a beach getaway or resort destination, we hope this Cyprus hiking guide has provided a different perspective on the island as a hiking destination. From the coastlines and cliffs to the gnarly, old juniper forests and mountain vistas, Cyprus offers a lot of hiking trails and options, making it a pleasant, worthwhile and surprising Mediterranean hiking getaway destination.