Last Updated on June 18, 2023
A popular day trip from Paphos, Cyprus is to the Akamas Peninsula National Park area. It is best to visit either as part of a jeep safari or with a 4×4 or quad bike. Many places on the peninsula are accessed via dirt tracks rather than proper roads and they are pretty rough! I visited as part of a jeep safari which lasted around 7 hours. Here are some of the things to see and do in the Akamas Peninsula National Park.
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Akamas Peninsula National Park
- Akamas Peninsula National Park
Edro III Shipwreck
Our first stop was to the Edro III Shipwreck, just off the coast of the Peyia area. This cargo ship was built in 1966 but shipwrecked in 2011 during bad storms. The ship was travelling from Limassol to Greece and ran aground. All the crew were rescued and the ship has remained in the same location since. The coast in this area has several sea caves which are cool to see.
While at the shipwreck, we stopped by a banana plantation. There are several banana plantations around Paphos. The plantations were covered with blue plastic to help protect the bananas during the winter rains.
Avakas Gorge Nature Trail
The Avakas Gorge Natural Trail was one of the main reasons for me wanting to do a jeep safari of the Akamas Peninsula National Park. The gorge is approximately 8km long, carved out by the Avgas River. In places it becomes very narrow with the path scrambling over rocks and boulders between the towering canyon.
Unfortunately due to the rains, our guide only let us go 1km along the trail and said we had to stop before the main section of the gorge. He said that parts of the gorge had flooded, the water levels were high and there had been a rock slide in one area. I was slightly disappointed, as we didn’t really get to see even a peak of the main gorge as it was hidden by the trees.
The part of the trail we went along was very flat, wide and easy, running alongside the river. After 1km it traverses THROUGH the river and rocks can become slippery. It’s a catch 22 because the guide said during the summer months there are 3000 hikers daily travelling through the narrow gorge. However in the winter, the crowds are gone but then it is wetter and harder to complete.
Spring may be a good time to visit as this is when the wild flowers come out. We did see a couple of wild goats half way up one of the canyon walls.
At the trailhead there is a large parking area with a toilet (flushing and running water), but the road leading to it is very rough, so 4x4s are recommended.
A short drive away from the Avakas Gorge Nature Trail is Lara Beach, also known as ‘Turtle Beach’. Between June until the end of September, this is the nesting site for Green and Loggerhead sea turtles. There is a small parking area with an information station and then a long staircases leads down to the beach.
Visitors are allowed on the beach during nesting season (for sunbathing and swimming), but there are strict rules/laws in place. Umbrellas and sun loungers are not allowed, no motorised vehicles, no dropping anchor in the water, anything that may disturb a nest on the beach or turtles in the water.
The beach is patrolled and known nests are covered with a little cage in effort to try and protect any eggs. Even though monitoring the beaches helps with the survival of the turtle species, it is important not to interfere too much. Turtles are born with a natural sense of the beach’s magnetic field and will return to the beach where they hatched when they are ready to lay their own eggs.
There are no facilities at ‘turtle beach’, although you can find a couple of cafes at next bay along.
Ultimately if sunbathing and swimming is what you want to do, there are plenty of other beaches in Paphos district, including the Coral Bay beaches approximately 35 minutes away.
Baths of Aphrodite
Crossing up and over the hills for a quick stop at a view point in Pittokopos (just outside of Fasil), the next stop on the Akamas Peninsula National Park tour, was the Baths of Aphrodite. It sits on the edge of the Akamos National Forest Park.
This natural grotto sits in the Botanical Gardens Bath of Aphrodite. In Greek mythology is is believed that the Goddess, Aphrodite, would go to bathe in the pool and that she met her love, Adonis, in the area.
The baths aren’t that impressive, it is literally just has some water trickling over the rocks into a shallow pool. Next to the pool is a small pipe and it is said that if you splash the water onto your face it has properties to make you look more youthful. It’s fun to join in with the tradition, but I can’t say I look 10 years younger!
We walked the short trail to the baths, but there are a couple more hiking trails around the area. The Baths of Aphrodite are free to visit.
Baths of Aphrodite Restaurant
A short distance from the baths is the Baths of Aphrodite restaurant, which is where we stopped for lunch. It sits high up on the cliff and overlooks Aphrodite’s Beach which has really clear, blue water!
The restaurant is mostly known for its seafood dishes. I had a ham omelette with chips for just under €10. They also serve complimentary bread with the meals. There is both inside and outside seating but during the winter months they pull down plastic windows to protect diners from the elements (it can get a little cold, wet and windy during the winter months!).
Sterna Winery & Wine Museum
In the winter, the Akamas Peninsula National Park day trip visits Sterna Winery & Wine Museum. I’m not a wine drinker, but I really enjoyed my visit. I liked learning about how they produce the different wines from the vineyards in the local village of Kathikas. They have been producing wine since 1995.
There is a small museum which shows how how wine has been produced over the years in the form of large models. Our tour guide explained the different methods to us.
For €5 each you could do a wine tasting. It included: 3 wines (white, rose and red in a choice of sweet/medium or dry), a dessert wine (very sweet!), a wine spirit and their special vintage red, which is aged in a cave which naturally maintains a year-round temperature for 15c. You only had a small mouthful of each wine but I thought it was quite good value for money.
Bread, olives and olive oil are given between each wine as a palate cleanser. The dessert wine was also accompanied with ‘loukoumi’, also known as Cypriot Delight (sugar and cornstarch sweets covered in icing sugar, similar to Turkish Delight) and sesame seed caramel hazelnuts.
The Sterna wines can be found around the island and they are also for sale in duty free at the airport.
In the summer months when the weather is much more appropriate for swimming, the day trip visits the Blue Lagoon instead of the winery. The Blue Lagoon is a bay area with very clear, blue water, great for snorkelling. The tour includes a boat trip from the village of Latchi, and an opportunity to swim in the lagoon area.
After the winery, we returned back to Paphos.
Book an Akamas Peninsula National Park Jeep Tour
I booked my tour through Jet2 Holidays, however you can find a very similar Akamas Peninsula National Park jeep tour here. Scheduled routes and stops may differ.
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