Find the best places for cross-country mountain biking in Cyprus, what terrain to expect and the best time of year to ride. Plus where to hire a quality mountain bike.
Mountain Biking in Cyprus
The naturally fast flowing, yet bumpy surfaces offer a variety of cross-country biking trails to explore with as many technical thrills as you want. The 79 sq km Akamas peninsula area is a perfect location for off-road cyclists of all abilities to test their fitness and technical skills.
Also popular is the Troodos mountain range, although the terrain there can be more challenging owing to the steeper gradients and rockier surface. Winter rains and snow can also make riding in the cooler months nigh on impossible, whereas the Akamas peninsula and Paphos forest areas are rideable all year round.
Tip: You do need to set off early if you plan to ride on the Akamas in the summer months. There is very little shade out there which may be fine if riding downhill, but not if you plan to tackle one of the long gruelling climbs!
Often referred to as the Jewel of Southern Cyprus, the Akamas is the last remaining coastal region in southern Cyprus to have escaped the threat of tourist development. A true outdoor paradise, the area, together with the Troodos Mountains, is the best location for intrepid mountain bikers looking to explore uninhabited territory.
While the only local inhabitants you are likely to see are goats and the occasional 4x4 farm vehicle, route finding is relatively straightforward, despite the lack of any detailed maps. The majestic coastline on either side of the peninsula acts as a good compass bearing to guide the way and the only limitation to all day biking is how often you are prepared to climb up and down the 400m high hilly landscape.
Tip: If you want to find the hard-to-find single track trails on the Akamas, why not hire a Garmin GPS for the day with pre-loaded routes ridden by experienced local riders.
So what terrain can you expect to find when mountain biking in Cyprus? Most of the old donkey trails are now wide gravel tracks but you can still find some exhilarating trails including:
Gorgeous gorge ride in Cyprus
Spectacular gorges with loose rock and steep descents.
Technical rocky goat tracks to challenge any biker's technical abilities.
Short but tricky single track on sections of the many nature trails in the region.
Rough rugged gravel pistes that change according to the season - in summer expect dry, loose and dusty conditions requiring extra special bike handling skills; in winter, the compacted, rain-washed tracks are far more rideable at speed.
Tip: Looking for quality MTB hire in Cyprus? Check out Wheelie Cyprus, specialists in both MTB and road bike hire in the Polis region.
An easy linear route is the 15 km classic ridge ride from Drouseia village situated at 600m above sea level to Neo Chorio, overlooking beautiful Chrysochous Bay below. Riders should follow the E4 long distance track that begins just outside the deserted village of Pittokopos, some 3km after leaving Drouseia. Easy to navigate and ride, the route is 90% downhill and offers spectacular views of Lara Bay to the west, one of the few locations in the Mediterranean where giant turtles come to nest.
A far more challenging route for mountain biking in Cyprus can be found by following the "bomb run", fondly nicknamed by local riders as it traverses the far west of the peninsula, which the British used for bombing practice in the 80s. This 35km loop takes in the best of the single track to be found in the area and mixes fast rugged descents with gruelling hill climbs.
Single track on the Akamas
The traditional biking season in Cyprus is October to early May. With daytime temperatures varying between 18-24 degrees C, conditions are perfect for all day mountain biking and the landscape is fresh and green after the winter rains.
In spring the Akamas is awash with a myriad of wild flowers and fragrant herbs, adding vivid colour and unique aromas to any biking adventure.
The Akamas Peninsula in western Cyprus offers the cross-country mountain biker a wide variety of trails both challenging and easy. Visit in spring and discover some of the best off-road cycling on the island.
So now you know more about mountain biking in Cyprus, why not head on over to discover some of the fabulous trails?