The southern part of the wonderful Akamas Peninsula located west of Cyprus offers stunning views on dry cliffs, wild empty brown beaches and the deep Avakas gorge at the bottom of which you can find a beautiful hiking trail. We choose to hike a 10km long loop inside and on top of the Avakas gorge, within the few trail possibilities. And we take advantage of beeing in that area to have a look on another curiosity : the Edros III shipwreck that sank a few meters away from the shore in 2011 and now let to decay and rust…
Hiking in the Avakas Gorge
To get to the car park at the entrance of Avakas Gorge, you’ll need to drive up a dusty dirt road. Its condition was quite good at the time we visited and we dared driving our tiny rental car there, knowing nonetheless that we were uncovered in case of an accident or breakdown. We didn’t find much informations about the gorge on the net so we had no idea how high its popularity would be. We were quite surprised to find the place a bit crowded in this mid-October time! Best to come early if you wish to enjoy the gorge alone.
To get to the narrowest part of Avakas Gorge, you need to walk from the car park either taking a small track at the bottom of the gorge or taking the 4WD track up the gorge. If you choose the 4WD track, you can then stop on the way at Viklari Peyia, a restaurant standing on top of a hill and offering amazing views on Toxeftra beach and the rough landscape around. It’s only a slight detour from the track. You won’t be able to access the Avakas Gorge all year round because the river at the bottom gets quite dangerous in winter time. You should find it open during the rest of the year but a sign at the entrance still points out the risks. The rocks can be very slippery at the bottom of the gorge and there are really frequent rockfalls from the top. However, despite these informations, a lot of people are still entering the gorge with small kids and wearing flip-flops…
The atmosphere at the bottom of the Avakas Gorge is really nice. We truly enjoyed jumping from rocks to rocks in this narrow natural alleyway. Moss and ferns grow on the cool walls and the sound of running fresh water echoes pleasantly around. Halfway up the gorge (around half an hour for 2 kms walked) a large boulder blocks the way. Most people turn around at this point but we and a few other hikers climbed over the rock to keep going on the hiking trail. We’d planned a 10 kms loop around the area that we found the track on wikiloc.
After the boulder, it is necessary to be very observative because the track is not well marked. The Avakas Gorge gets larger and there is more vegetation to be found, like bushes and trees. Which is very good for us as we had heavy showers on our way and at least found easy shelters! Then it’s quite a steep climb out of the gorge but nothing crazy. The view from the top is well worth the effort anyway!
From there, we had to look at our offline GPS app Maps.me to find the connection with the good way back. When you reach the top of the gorge, you actually have to walk strait on the right then you’ll stumble upon the track, looking like a quad trail, and take on the left. That shall bring you back to the carpark! Up the Avakas Gorge, the landscape is quite different from what we’d seen below. Scattered olive trees and thorn bushes harshly grow on the red dry land. Hard place to live, but we still found it very beautiful!
We were also very happy about the grey weather we had. There is nearly no shade on the track back and we would have cooked like eggs and bacon if we had a beautiful Cyprus day. Please note that sunscreen, water and hat are mandatory on that part on the track!! The particularly bad weather offered more than fresh air. It also gave us the opportunity of beautiful contrasted shots of the menacing blue-grey sky looming over the stark red ground. The last part of this track gave us a wonderful view over the tormented sea, lashed with tremendous lightnings!
Back to the carpark, Mariette took a quick seabath on Toxeftra beach while Quentin stayed on the brown sand and took more pictures of this desolated coast, so different from the golden and turquoise bays of the North part of Akamas Peninsula! Yet, it is not as desolated as it looks. Turtles a notoriously laying eggs on the beaches when the right season comes. Try not going on the beaches there at this time!
Shipwreck of the Edro III
When you leave the Akamas Peninsula towards Peyia, the closest town around, you can stop on the coast to see the Edro III shipwreck. This huge freighter is standing only 80m from the coast and is quite a sight! It run aground in 2011 during a particularly violent storm and is since quietly rusting away under the sun of Cyprus.
Despite its tempting proximity with the coastline, it is of course forbidden to climb onboard… That would be quite dangerous! However nothing forbids to draw it and that’s what we tried to do, just before sunset. The perspectives were not easy to catch but we reckon we got honourable results… What do you think?
It’s now time to get back to our « base » in Larnaca, then we will be exploring North Cyprus for a couple of days!
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