Hiking in Cyprus – From the Viewpoint of Hikers

by | Oct 31, 2023

Every hike brings an overwhelming sense of happiness — and that life is good!

This, says experienced Cypriot hiker Panayiota Andreou, is the reason she goes hiking whenever she can.

She discovered the joys of hiking on Cyprus’s picturesque trails back in 2013.

“I first started going with some friends and then I joined the local hiking club which helped me discover the wide range trails we have in Cyprus,” Panayiota told Headliner Cyprus.

Now there is no stopping her, and she heads out onto the island’s trails whenever she can.

“I like trekking holidays, so I went on a few of those. They involve 9-10 days of hiking. We hike for 8-10 hours a day, rest, and then continue the next day. The experience is amazing.”

But Panayiota’s hiking heart remains in Cyprus, which is blessed with pristine hiking trails that crisscross the island and traverse stunning natural landscapes, including mountains, forests, and coastal areas.

From challenging mountain trails in the Troodos range to coastal paths along the Mediterranean Sea, Panayiota has explored the full diversity of the island’s terrain.

We asked her to list her three favourite hikes, which she admitted was a difficult task because there were so many to choose from.

Eventually, she settled on these:

1. The Kormakitis-Agios Georgios Trail.

“It starts from Kormakitis village and takes you to a little church by the seaside. It goes through some spectacular hilly areas overlooking the sea. On a clear day, one can see the mountains in Turkey.”

2. The Madari Trails

“Here there is a cluster of trails so one can combine various routes depending on the weather and one’s stamina. The area is covered in grape vines and the colours are stunning from around late October—plus you can eat leftover grapes from the vines.

3. The Alevkaya Trail

“This one starts at the Alevkaya picnic area and follows a beautiful route through the forests and along a ridge, from where you can see the sea far below. If stamina/weather permits, one can continue all the way to Buffavento castle. The highlight is climbing the stairs to the top of the castle. The view is breathtaking. Be mindful of the wind!

Theodosia Hadjiloe is another Cypriot hiker who fell in love with hiking when she began to navigate the island’s scenic trails.

“Hiking in Cyprus was the first step. Even though the mountains here are not high they are special, and you can have great time in safe conditions.”

Theodosia’s thirst for adventure – and higher mountains — took her far beyond Cyprus’s borders: first to Greece and then on numerous trekking expeditions in Nepal, including to Everest base camp.

She now has her sights set on conquering the 6,812-metre-high Ama Dablam peak in eastern Nepal, which is known for its soaring ridges and steep rock faces.

But hiking and climbing mountains is not purely to satisfy her adventurous soul, she makes fund-raising for an NGO that assists children suffering from cancer as part of her mission.

In Cyprus, Theodosia’s favourite hiking trails, not surprisingly, are the most challenging ones. They include:

  • The Papoutsa Peak trails
  • The long uphill trail from Kannavia to Madari
  • The lunar-like Kannoures trail
  • The new trail from Kykkos Monastery to Panayia.

To prepare for the challenge, Theodosia does long hikes in Troodos during the winter season, camping in the snow and testing out her equipment.

Not many hikers go to these extremes, of course.

For those with lesser ambitions, it should be noted that hiking in Cyprus has its downsides:

1. Water points are few and far between so hikers need to be self-sufficient.

2. Some trails are poorly marked.  For example, sections of the 600 km Cyprus leg of the European Long-Distance Path (E4), which starts in Gibraltar and crosses southern Europe, are notoriously difficult to find and many hikers simply give up trying.

3. Another peculiarity is that while out exploring in the wilds, one may come across a beautiful trail that winds for kilometres along a contour—and then abruptly ends. Usually, you have no option but to retrace your steps.

For those unfamiliar with the trails on the island, it is better to start out on some of the better-known trails listed in the Visit Cyprus guide.

Easier to follow is the new 135 km Sea-to-Sky, Cyprus multi-day hiking trail that starts from the sea at Alaminos, passes through farmlands, orchards, and ancient villages, and ends at Shionistra peak, also known as Mount Olympus, the highest point of the island. The route takes in three peaks and is an ideal challenge for experienced hikers. Look here for details.

Whether you are a beginner looking for gentle trails that will take you to beautiful sites you can’t reach by vehicle, or an adventurer seeking a demanding physical challenge, Cyprus has something for everyone.

Apart from the popular Kalidonia waterfalls route in the Troodos range, the trails in Cyprus are relatively under-populated, allowing you to lose yourself in the island’s natural beauty.

Go on. Take a hike! Discover why Panayiota speaks of an ‘overwhelming sense of happiness’ that comes with hiking.

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