The gorgeous Akamas peninsula, on the north western tip of the island has a unique but fragile beauty. Unique, as it is the last coastal region on the island of Cyprus to remain largely untouched by mass tourism and development. Fragile, as the beauty of the Akamas remains under threat.
Whilst conservationists have lobbyed to protect the area for the past 20 years, the government is yet to fully declare the area a Cyprus National park as it tries to please local landowners as well as maintaining the region's tourist appeal.
Ironically, whilst the conservationists used to complain about the British army's "bombing" of the area in the 80's and 90's (the remote western tip of Cyprus was used for various military exercises), this very activity helped to preserve the region's wildness.
Unfortunately, the military activity ceased in the late 90's around the same time that the government allowed the development of a luxury 5 star spa hotel, the Anassa, in the Asprokremmos beach area near Latchi. This has inevitably opened the door for a mass of villa developments along the same stretch of coastline which is tragic and needs to be kept in check.
I sincerely hope that a compromise can be reached as there is surely a way for Cyprus locals to benefit from their land and for the region to remain unspoilt, for example by restricting any development to areas around the outlying villages and by compensating landowners for effectively donating their land to the international community.
OK, you've probably now got the picture that we don't want any more destruction of our beautiful landscape and, for now, the Akamas remains a haven for wildlife, flora and general outdoor fun. Hurrah!!
Outdoor enthusiasts have 79sq km of land to explore either on foot or by bicycle and less active tourists can always opt for a jeep safari tour or even hire their own 4x4 vehicle to marvel at the amazing scenery.
I could wax lyrically about the landscape on the Akamas peninsula all day...about the steep gorges, hair raising rocky mountain bike descents and leisurely strolls on the nature trails...all of which my husband and I enjoy immensely, but hopefully the following pictures of the Akamas will give an idea of the things YOU could be looking for when you put a date in the diary to visit our Jewel in the Southern crown of Cyprus.
NB: Please do NOT pick any of the flowers - it is prohibited (as is camping on the Akamas, but this is widely ignored in the hot summer months by many tourists).
Route finding is relatively straightforward if you stick to the main tracks, but you may want to consider a local specialist if you want to discover the secret trails only the locals know about...
Or just be lazy and head for the secret coves for a little R&R...
Don't forget to stick around long enough to watch the spectacular sunset...
I'll leave you with some tips to make the most out of your time on the Akamas peninsula:
1 The best time to see flowers is in spring, between early March and end April.
2 Outdoor activities can be enjoyed on the Akamas peninsula for most of the year - just remember to take LOTS of water with you if exploring the area in July/August - we would recommend an EARLY start and a long siesta... or a very lazy lunch in a fish taverna in Latchi!
3 For a mountain bike excursion hire a local guide or at least a quality bike. While the highest point on the Akamas is only 350m, many of the trails have a LOT of up and down!
4 There are several nature trails on the Akamas - pick up a guide to them at the local tourist information office (in Polis) - my favourite is the Aphrodite Trail.
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