Outdoor Activities in Cyprus

Information on forests, flora, fauna, parks and fires in Cyprus...

Cyprus has many natural parks, forests and coastal areas open to the public which are perfect for outdoor sports activities such as walking, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, snorkelling and more.

Below is information on: Troodos Mountains, Akamas Peninsula, Kavo Greco Park and National Forests.

Troodos National Forest Park

The Troodos National Forest Park is at the centre of the island and covers an area of about 9,000 hectares. The highest point is Chionistra or Mount Olympus at 1,952 metres (also the highest point on the island) and the lowest is Moni forest at 700 metres.

The park is suitable for myriad activities ranging from picnics to hiking, skiing and mountain biking. There are 10 nature trails which cover over 50 Km.

There is one wheelchair-accessible trail at Kampos tou Leivadiou, which is a 1.5km circular trail. It starts and ends at Kampos tou Leivadiou picnic area.

The park contains 12th to 15th century frescoed churches, winemaking villages and pine forests. There are also monasteries dating from the Byzantine period. The best known and most beautifully restored of these is Kykkos, built in the 12th century.

The main resorts of the Troodos are Platres and Kakopetria, attractive villages with bakeries, shops and an alpine atmosphere. Over 750 plant species can be found in the area, making Troodos National Forest Park the richest botanical garden of Cyprus. 12 of these species can only be found in Troodos National Forest Park.

As for fauna, within the park live among other species: ravens, Bonelli's eagles, Treecreepers and Griffon vultures.

The distinctive geology of Troodos Forest area has been studied by scientists from around the world. The rock types and formations found in the Troodos area allow scientists a better understanding of how the sea bed of the Sea of Tethys was formed 90-million years ago. Along many trails in the forest, examples of plutonic rock, formed far under the bed of the Sea of Tethys, can be seen.

Summer temperatures at altitude in the Troodos can be up to 10 degrees (Celsius) cooler than at lower altitudes along the coast. The cooler temperatures can be misleading: the UV (ultra-violet) rays can be more dangerous than on the coast and sunburn is a risk. Hats, sunglasses and sunblock are essential.

  • The picnic sites have toilets and drinking water and most of them have facilities for barbecues
  • Fires should not be lit anywhere except in the areas provided for barbecues and grills

The Troodos National Park Visitor Centre  is located near Troodos Square. It has exhibitions which demonstrate the different environmental issues, recreational facilities available and the activities allowed in the Park. A small gift shop and film theatre is also located on site. A botanical and geological trail is also connected to the building. Other facilities include free parking, a restaurant, a children’s play area, tennis courts and restrooms. There is a small entrance fee

More information

Akamas Peninsula

The Akamas peninsula is situated at the westernmost point of Cyprus and is ideal for walking, cycling and bird watching. The waters are popular for swimming, diving and snorkelling, fishing and cruising on small craft.

Akamas is also the easternmost point of the three major flora zones of Europe. Nearly 600 plant species are found here and up to 35 of them are indigenous to the island. The variety of fauna is also impressive: 168 bird species, 12 mammal species, 20 reptile species and numerous butterfly species.

There are two marked nature trails in the Akamas Peninsula: the Aphrodite Trail and the Adonis Trail.

Kavo Greco National Forest Park

Kavo Greco is a National Forest Park on the south-eastern end of the island between Ayia Napa and Paralimni. It has facilities for swimming, diving, fishing and rowing as well as land sports like cycling, riding, climbing and hiking. There are nine hiking trails in the Kavo Greco/Paralimni area.

The Kava Greco vegetation is mostly coastal shrub with wild onions, anemones and poppies flowering in the spring. There are about 300 plant species in the area, 11 of which are indigenous. The area is also rich in fauna, with partridge, wood pigeon, crows, owls, foxes and hares. Many migratory birds - such as blackbird, thrush - pass through, using the island as a resting point.

National Forests in Cyprus

The Department of Forests is responsible for creating, maintaining and improving picnic and camp sites as well as for looking after the National Forest Parks in the state forest.

The forests of Cyprus (state and private) cover about 32% of the total area of the island. They are natural, and consist mainly of Brutia pine (Pinus brutia), with Black pine (Pinus nigra ssp. pallasiana) growing on the higher slopes of the Troodos mountains. Other species are Cypress, Juniper, Plane, Alder and Golden Oak and Cedar, which are indigenous.

The Athalassa National Forest Park, on the north-eastern edge of the Agios Georgios Park, is situated near Nicosia and covers an area of 840 hectares. The park's Visitor's Centre has a garden, small gift shop, exhibition gallery and theatre for films. There is a small entrance fee.

  • Athalassa National Forest Park
    Tel
    : 22 403 704

Forest fires

The Cyprus Forest Law exists to protect the forest regions of the island. Forest fires are most common from April to the end of November. Public vigilance is requested and there is a public a fire-hazard warning system in operation during this period with daily danger reports broadcast on Cyprus TV news and radio. Regular fire patrols take place during the fire season.

It is illegal to light any fire in the forests or within 1 Km of the boundaries of the forests. A person convicted of causing a forest fire can be imprisoned for up to five years or fined up to €8,500 or both.

Visitors to the forests are expected to picnic in the assigned areas to help control the possibility of accidental fire.

  • Call 1407 to report forest fires

Forest Department visitor centres

  • Athalassa National Forest Park Visitor Centre
    At:
    1 Keryneia Avenue, Aglantzia
    Tel. 22 462 943 / 22 805 527
    email
    Open: September to May: Monday to Friday 8:00-14:30, Sunday: 9:30-13:30
    June to August: Monday to Friday: 8:00-14:30, closed weekends.
  • Troodos National Forest Park Environmental Information Centre
    Troodos National Forest Park Environmental Information Centre 
    At: Troodos Square, P.C 4800 Troodos
    Tel: 25 420 144
    email
    Opening hours vary throughout the year. For exact opening hours visit the Troodos Geo Park website
  • More information is available from the Cyprus Department of Forests

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