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DISCOVER CYPRUS NATURE TRAILS – AVAKAS GORGE (LINEAR) – AKAMAS FOREST

According to tradition, the best way to really know a place is to walk it. And despite its petite size, the island of Cyprus encapsulates an impressive 10,000 years in its natural environs and diverse landscape that are ripe for exploring and discovering.

With a favourable climate all year round, the great outdoors of the island is easily accessible, and offers a myriad of opportunities to take a journey through nature, history and culture, thanks to the numerous sign­ posted paths and nature trails. A total of 52 designated walking trails have been created to highlight the beautiful landscapes and strong Mediterranean character of the island. By walking them, you can see a treasure trove of varied fauna and flora, as well as the remnants of the island’s mining heritage and other interesting monuments.

Whilst some trails are more challenging than others, they are all a delight for the senses ­ especially in the springtime months, when you can experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature in full bloom, and in all its vibrant glory.

AVAKAS GORGE (LINEAR) – AKAMAS FOREST

GPS coordinates of the starting point: Lat: 34.920499 Lon: 32.337698
Altitude of the starting point: 47m
Altitude of the highest peak: 45m
Altitude of the end peak: 45m
Starting point: Avakas Gorge, following the Agios Georgios Pegeias – Toxeftra road for 2.5km and heading east from where Toxeftra Bay begins.
Length: 1.2km
Estimated duration: 45 minutes
Difficulty rate: 1 – 2
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Points of interest: The Avakas Gorge Trail is located in the homonymous gorge, within Pegeia state forest with the end of the trail located inside the gorge. It follows the course of the Avgas River, from where the gorge gets its name and resulted from constant erosive activity on the erodible, sloping limestone rocks composed of loams, chalks, reef and grain limestone and bentonitic clays. The gorge is also a Natura 2000 area. The trail firstly follows a dirt road (closed to private vehicles) through an open valley, then takes you into the gorge. In its last section, the trail is in the stream, in which water usually flows throughout the year. The route through the gorge is characterised by thick vegetation and a particularly attractive, shady and moist environment.

Flora: While hiking you can study the indigenous plants: lentisk (Pistacia lentiscus), Phoenician juniper (Juniperus phoenicea), terebinth (Pistacia terebinthus), thorny broom (Calycotome villosa), common smilax (Smilax aspera), oleander (Nerium oleander), storax (Styrax officinalis), and the endemic endangered Akamas centaury (Centaurea akamantis).

Fauna: The main species of fauna found in the area are:

Mammals: Fox, hare, hedgehog. Birds: Cyprus wheatear (endemic), Cyprus warbler (endemic), scops owl (endemic), partridge, little owl, kestrel, wild pigeon.

Reptiles: Stellion lizard. Amphibians: Marsh frog, iridescent frog, tree frog.

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