The Akamas Peninsula is located in the western angle of Cyprus in Paphos and it is considered as one of the most popular places to visit. The name Akamas originates from an Athenian warrior, the son of Theseus who came to the peninsula after the Trojan war.
The villages that are included in the area from the south towards the north are Peyia, Kathikas, Pano Arodes, Kato Arodes, Ineia, Droushia, Fasli, Androlikou and Neo Chorio. The topography of the area covers about 230 square km and includes a plateau of about 500 metres, smaller plains, small rivers, deep narrow valleys, caves, gorges sandy beaches, rocky shores and small islands.
It is a unique area, both geologically as well as geographically with regards to flora and fauna that is found in the area. It is also worth mentioning that it is considered to be one of the greatest areas of Cyprus, an area of great natural beauty as it is unaffected by development.
- The Forests of Akamas have a total extend of 700 hectares and are under the jurisdiction of the Paphos Forest district. The area includes three main forests:
- The Akamas Forest with an extent of 5.700 hectares and extends from Lara until N.Chorio, and from the Baths of Aphrodite until the Cape of Arnaouti.
- The Peyia Forest which has an extent of about 1300 hectares and extends from the Peyia village until Lara.
- The Meleti Forest is a small forest with an extent of 19 hectares, near Agio Georgios in Peyia.
As far as the climate conditions are concerned, the Akamas Peninsula is included in the west coastal zone, but there are many different microclimates. Rainfall occurs mainly in autumn and winter and the annual rainfall ranges between 450-600mm. The average annual climate for January and July is 10 °C and 30 ° accordingly. The Akamas Peninsula is characterised by the typical vegetation of the Mediterranean type, affected by the sea climate. Biographically it is ranked as a Mediterranean Sea zone of low altitude. The location alternates with a variety of habitats which include forests, low bushes, cliffs and sandy shores. Most of the peninsula has remained untouched, however human activity has affected the physiognomy and the composition of the flora in the area. The coastline is mainly rocky, with small steep cliffs.
Akamas Biology and ecology
The variety of flora and fauna living in this relatively small area is amazing. Foxes, snakes and other reptiles as well as many types of migratory birds can be found as well as rare endemic plants grow at Akamas.
The following Wild flowers can be found in the Akamas area: cyclamen, turban buttercups, alyssum (alyssum akamasicum, endemic to Akamas) Cyprus tulip, and many species of orchid, yellow gorse and white rock rose. In Cyprus, there are 128 endemic plant species. 39 of them are found in Akamas peninsula: Alyssum akamasicum, Anthemis tricolor, Arenaria rhodia ssp. cypria, Asperula cypria, Astragalus cyprius, Ballota integrefolia, Bosea cypria, Carlina involucrata spp. cyprica, Carlina pygmea, Centaurea akamantis, Centaurea calcitrapa ssp. angusticeps, Centaurea veneris, Crocus veneris, Cyclamen cyprium, Euphorbia cypria, Gagea juliae, Gladiolus triphyllus, Helianthemum obtusefolium, Odontides cypria, Onobrychis venosa, Onopordum cyprium, Onosma fruticosum, Ophrys kotschyi, Ophrys lepethica, Origanum majorana, Ornithogalum pedicellare, Phlomis cypria var. occidentalis, Pterocephalus multiflorus ssp. multiflorus, Ptilostemon chamaepeuce var. cyprius, Rubia laurea, Scutellaria cypria var. elatior, Sedum cyprium, Sedum porphyreum, Senecio glaucous ssp. Cyprius, Taraxacum aphrogenes, Teucrium divaricatum ssp. Canescens, Teucrium micropodioides, Thymus integer, Tulipa cypria.
The animals that can found in Akamas include fruit bats, shrews, hedgehogs, foxes, snakes, lizards, Griffon vultures, Cyprus Warblers, and Cyprus Scops owls. Vulnerable species include bats, magreonk seals and sea turtles. You can find more about some of them by visiting our cyprus fauna section.
A turtle hatchery can be found at Lara Bay , where the eggs are protected. Europe has identified the Akamas area as one of the 22 areas of endemism in Europe, and is also one of only three European areas holding two or more restricted-range species of birds.
The Akamas beaches are very important as being the last large unspoiled coastal area, and one of the very few important sea turtle nesting areas in the Mediterranean. The Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta-caretta) and the rarer Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) nest at Akamas with the Green Turtle depending on the Akamas beaches for its very survival in this region. According to IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) the Loggerheads are considered "vulnerable" species and the Green Turtles are considered as "endangered species". Nevertheless, IUCN specifies the the annual nunmber of Green Turtle nesting females in the entire Mediterranean could be as low as 325-375.
There are two picnic sites within the Akamas Peninsula Forest , the picnic area of “Smigies” , that is located in the Akamas Forest and the picnic site “Pykni” which is located in the Peyeia Forest. They have a capacity of 500 people each and have all the facilities for resting and cooking food.
In total there are 6 Nature Trails, 4 in the Akamas Forest (Adonis, Aphrodite, Pissouromitti and Smigies), 1 in the Peyeia Forest (Avakas Gorge) and one in the community of Kathikas, part of which goes through the Kathikas Forest (Ayiasma).
In 2003 the Botanical Gardens of Akamas were created. The main aim of the creation of the garden was to exhibit the botanical heritage of the Peninsula. Today it accommodated about 120 types of the local fauna, aiming to become 250 in the future.
Points of interest:
There are many elements in the area that present an increased interest from a scientific, archaeological, cultural or tourist point of view. These are:
- Baths of Aphrodite
- Halavron Cave
- Lara, Toxeftra and Fontana Amoroza
- Avakas Gorge
- Regina’s Tower
- The islets
- Archaeological sites and many cultural elements