Nature Trails

At the crossroads of three continents, Cyprus encapsulates 10,000 years of tradition and culture and boasts a diverse landscape that you may find surprising on such a small island.
Explore the island’s natural beauty, especially its fauna, flora and mining heritage, by walking its nature trails, which have been created to highlight the beautiful landscape.
There is a vast choice of walking trails in Cyprus.
A short description of all the nature trails can be found on the Forestry Department and the CTO websites.

A series of unique and complex geological processes have made Cyprus a model for scientists and a key to understanding the evolution of planet Earth and its oceans. The wooded summit of Troodos is the deepest layer of a piece of oceanic crust and the upper mantle of the earth, i.e. an ophiolite formed 90 million years ago, 8000 metres below the surface of the sea.
Cyprus’ diverse landscape, with its strong Mediterranean character, is an impressive sight for visitors, especially due to the island’s small size. Many of its forest areas have been classified as National Forest Parks and protected areas for flora and fauna. The national forests cover more than 70% of the NATURA 2000 network of the island. Cyprus’ forests are mostly natural woodlands of great biodiversity and major ecological significance.
The main forest tree, from the coastal area until an altitude of up to 1200-1400 meters, is the Calabrian (Pinusbrutia) while the Black pine (Pinusnigrassppallasiana) dominates in the higher reaches of Troodos.
In large rivers and the areas surrounding them, the dominant trees are the oriental plane (Platanusorientalis) and the alder (Alnusorientalis).
On a smaller scale there are other tree species such as the Cyprus cedar (Cedrusbrevifolia) and the Mediterranean Cypress (Cupressus
sempervirens).
In middle and high elevations, a common species of bush is the golden oak (Quercusalnifolia), found on its own, in unmixed forests,
or together with the pine tree.
In the lowlands you will find maquis shrubland, with dominant species the Phoenicean juniper orArâr, (Juniperusphoenicea), the (wild) olive
tree (Oleaeuropaea), the carob tree (Ceratoniasiliqua) and the mastic tree (Pistacialentiscus) as well as the Calabrian. Cypus’ flora comprises around 1625 different kinds of plants, subspecies, varieties, types or hybrids. Of these, 139 are endemic to Cyprus, i.e. plants native only to Cyprus and found nowhere else in the world.
Walking along Cyprus’ many nature trails you will encounter some of the many endemic plants that are in danger of extinction, such as:
‘‘The skilla’, a species of plant of the Hyacinthaceae family (Scillamorrisii),
Loch’s Glory-of-the-snow (of Τroodos), (Chionodoxalochiate)
Lefkara’s ankle (Astragalusmacrocarpus ssp. Lefkarensis)
Kotschy’s orchid (Οphryskotschy), the Cyprus tulip (Tulipacypria)
as well as other varieties, most of which have been included in the Berne Convention’s list of protected plants.
Cyprus has a wonderful variety of habitats suitable for many species of animal. This is due to the variety of landscapes on the island, each with their own particular microclimate and topographical features, and the variety of terrains and geological substrates, as well as the diversity of forest and agricultural vegetation.
Worthy of note among the mammals foundo n the island are:
The mouflon (Ovisgmeliniophion) a wild sheep species, found only in Cyprus. It is also the largest wild mammal that exists on the island.
The fox (Vulpesvulpes), which is Cyprus’ only carnivorous mammal.
The hedgehog (Hemiechinusauritusdorotheae) an endemic subspecies, a shy andreclusive animal.
Bats are a remarkable feature of Cypriot fauna and one of the most peculiar and noteworthytypes of mammals. There are 19 different
species.
Cyprus’ geographical position makes it one of the most important migratory natural habitats and international bird life organizations consider it among the most important areas in the world for its biodiversity of birds. It is also a unique location in Europe for endemic birds. The butterflies of Cyprus, which belong to the order leptidoptera, are also considered of particular interest. There are 52 species, nine  of which are endemic to Cyprus.
Some of the routes have been designed to give the visitor the chance to discover Cyprus’ cultural heritage through various monuments such as:
The Byzantine Churches of the Troodos region, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The Venetian bridges that could inspire a study of the historical relations between Venice and Cyprus, during the period that the Renaissance spirit was spreading through the island.
The mosques that highlight the multicultural nature of Cyprus.

Difficulty levels
All nature trails are divided in three categories of difficulty, as follows:


Category 1:

Easy trail, with gentle gradient. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels.

Category 2:

Average degree of difficulty, suitable for adults in fair to good fitness levels. Sudden changes in gradient (uphill and/or downhill), and/or course along narrow or rough terrain.

Category 3:

High degree of difficulty. Route with difficult terrain such as sudden changes in gradient (uphill and/or downhill), course along particularly rough and/or slippery, and/or narrow, and/or steep terrain. Suitable for adults in very good to excellent fitness levels.Unsuitable for young children.

Safety tips
For your walk to be both pleasant and safe you must prepare yourself appropriately:

• Before choosing your route you need to assess your abilities and make sure that you are healthy and in good physical shape. It is preferable to walk with others and not alone so that you have help in case of an accident.

• Choose a walking pace that suits all the members of your group. At the beginning of your route it is advisable to walk slowly until you and your friends can determine what pace you prefer.

• Do not stray from the sign-posted route. By following the sign posted route you are less likely to get lost or to find yourself in a situation

that you cannot handle.

• The appropriate equipment and suitable clothing are necessary for a comfortable and enjoyable walk. In areas with a high altitude

the weather can change suddenly and it is important to be well prepared.

• Choose the appropriate clothing and shoes.

• Make sure you have plenty of drinking water with you.

• If you will be walking after sunset, make sure you are equipped with a torch.

• In case of an accident, remain calm. Make sure you pack a First Aid kit with you before your begin your walk. Ask for help from other walkers. Look for the closest forest or police station.

• The mountains and nature are for all to enjoy:

• It is illegal to light a fire at any time of the year.

• Do not smoke while walking.

• Do not litter.

• Do not pick flowers or plants. Preserving the flora is our responsibility. There are many flowers and plants that are near extinction.

• Do not bother any animals or insects you may encounter throughout your hike.

• Respect the ecosystem; you are an integral part of it.

• Make sure you have plastic bags with you to dispose of and remove your litter.

• Walkers who wish to bring their pets must have them on a leash so that they do not bother or frighten other walkers. You must also have

plastic bags with you in order to pick up after your pets.

• If you require overnight accommodation, make sure you do the appropriate research and book in advance.

• The Cyprus Tourism Organisation’s website has a lot of useful information. Camping is only allowed in official camping sites. Consult the Forestry Department’s website to find official camping sites where you may spend the night.

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