(last updated September 2021)
If you’re visiting Cyprus and are in the mood for a bit of a hike, Avakas Gorge is a great option to enjoy the great outdoors.
Avakas Gorge has been on my mind for a while, but not knowing what to expect, how difficult is the terrain, and how much wildlife will I encounter, I put it off all the time.
When I wanted to venture there last summer, my Greek teacher warned me that that’s the snake breeding season. I don’t mind snakes, but I certainly don’t want to witness them in the heat of their passion as an unwanted spectator.
The middle of the summer is probably not a good option to do any kind of hiking, especially with the heat that Cyprus experiences.
Armed with enough information, and a buddy for a companion, we set off to explore Avakas Gorge on one of the cooler days.
I’m happy to report I survived, and no snakes were spotted.
Length: Avakas Gorge is under 2km long and there are no major climbs. There is an access road before you reach the gorge which I would say is another 2km.
Terrain: You will have to cross a shallow stream few times, so prepare for the chance you might get wet and that it will be slippery. In the winter months, the stream is much more robust so crossing it might be a bit of a hazard. It is not recommended to visit after a heavy rainy season.
Where is it: The gorge is 16 km out of Paphos, in the Akamas Peninsula.
Access, as seen on the map, is through the Avakas Gorge Road, and you turn to the right where the road splits ahead of Viklari Last Castle Restaurant.
It’s best to leave your car by the coastline, at the bottom of the steep hill – the road call Avakas Gorge road.
The steep road that leads both to Viklari Restaurant and Avakas Gorge is not really great for car access, even though I’ve seen plenty of cars drive there.
You need a 4×4 or a quad bike to get through it comfortably. I would not risk the trip if you have a rental car, as there is a serious chance of damage.
I’ve seen some cars drive all the way to a small clearing with a BBQ area and continuing from there on foot, but that sort of beats the purpose of a hike, doesn’t it?
The trickling sound of the water will be your company for the whole hike, as the water runs all the way from the gorge itself.
It’s a nice place to stop, dip your feet and take a little break before you reach the gorge.
After a bit of walking, the route will become more and more narrow.
The path goes through a valley with high-hanging rock formations towering over your head.
At that moment, you start thinking that this would be probably a really bad time to experience your first earthquake.
Same time you start looking for an escape route in case of rocks falling on your head (as it says on the sign along the road). Or that’s just me, not you!
We finally reached our destination and only got lost once.
The pictures barely do justice.
The gorge was created by the raging stream of water which was washing against the limestone for thousands of years, which created up to 30 meter high walls.
The gorge actually continues further down and gets much more narrow (therefore in many guides marked as difficult trek). We didn’t go all the way there and were happy with what we saw.
If you’re in a mood for a bit of plant spotting, the gorge is home to the critically endangered Centaurea Akamantis plant.
I have not seen many animals here, but it’s not unusual to encounter lots of lizards, geckos, snakes, butterflies, falcons, or foxes.
I was visiting in spring, so the whole peninsula was starting the bloom and the landscape looks almost like a fairy-tale. Everything is green, blooming, and best of all, there’s almost no one in sight.
Akamas Peninsula is a great place to visit for a sunset picnic, I guarantee you won’t see sunsets like these anywhere else.
If you venture to Avakas Gorge in the morning, you might make it to Viklari Restaurant in time for some BBQ lunch and refreshment.
Alternatively, there are a few restaurants just by the entrance to Akamas Peninsula (mentioned below in the post)
As with every new adventure, we toasted to our sport spirits and conquering another natural wonder of Cyprus in a nearby restaurant.
Janna, my partner in crime, was another wonder for the fellow tourists. Have you ever seen someone hiking in a mini skirt? She can do it and make it look cool!
As I mentioned above, your best bet to get really good food with spectacular views is to book your table at Viklari Restaurant. You will have to time your hike right, so you arrive there on time and don’t lose your table (it’s very popular, but much easier to get a table in off-season months).
The other option is to drive further out of the peninsula, towards the entrance to Akamas from the main coastal road.
In there you will find the Searays restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor terrace with stunning views of the Akamas Peninsula.
We’ve had food there on a number of occasions before and were not disappointed.
We sat, chatted, and roasted ourselves in the winter sun.
The restaurant has a beautifully landscaped garden even my mum would be jealous of. The resident lizards seem to be doing a good job keeping the weeds away.
We hitched a ride home, a BBQ was about to start and we couldn’t miss it.
A beautiful spring day with a promise of an even more awesome summer. Can’t wait to see what it brings!
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