Colours of Cyprus
Organizer: Silvio Rusmigo
With the island’s (and Europe’s) southeastern edge as the starting point, visitors make their way west, camera in hand. The landscape generously provides the photographic material which includes sandy and rocky beaches, caves, oak forests, almond groves, streams, picturesque rural villages, medieval chapels, monasteries and hermitages, streams and bridges. The colour palette ranges from the sea blue of the fishing harbors to the golden of cobblestone village paths to the green and gold of the Pitsilia Valley to the deep green of the Paphos Forest. Along the way visitors also get to relish the local cuisine, an essential part of the Cyprus experience.
Gold and Blue
The tour kicks off with an early morning visit to the Liopetri River, an inlet where the river meets the sea. A quaint fishing harbor makes this sun-drenched spot particularly photogenic.
Next up, the white and blue hues of the rocky beach at Agia Thekla. This is a protected portion of the island’s coastline due to the presence of an important species of bird, the Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii). Also photo-worthy, the Agia Thekla Chapel right by the water and the remains of an ancient settlement nearby.
The next stop is the Thalassa Museum in Agia Napa, an institution dedicated to documenting the significance of the sea in the lives of Cyprus’ native inhabitants since the beginning of recorded history.
The Agia Napa Medieval Monastery is up next, a Venetian stone-built structure from the fifteenth century where golden is the dominant hue.
The tour then takes the group to Konnos Beach, a gorgeous portion of the southeastern coast covered with golden sand. Its calm waters are ideal for swimming and water-sports and the cafe is well stocked with refreshments. The more energetic members of the group can take a walk along a 2.5 km path that leads to the “Cyclops Cave”, a route with plenty of visual rewards.
In the afternoon visitors will click to their hearts’ content along the Cavos Path, an area of rich fauna and imposing rock formations. The path is approximately 2.5 km and leads to the the resplendent Caves of Cavo Greco, a spot where the sunset views are sure to provide a memorable photographic canvas.
Towards the Green
Lefkara, one of the island’s most idyllic spots is the first destination for the day. Cobblestone paths, decorated house facades, and hand-crafted embroidery combine to make Lefkara a visual smorgasbord. Embroidery is an age-old tradition in the village of which the locals are justifiably proud.
Agros is next on the itinenary, another photogenic slice of rural Cyprus filled with traditional coffee shops and picture-perfect houses
Gold and Green
The day starts with a trek along the Teisia tis Madaris circular nature trail. The Teisia (walls) part of the name refers to the imposing rocks that dominate the trail, a remnant of the geological process that formed the Troodos Mountain Range. As one of the few spots on the island where the difference in altitude can be easily registered, it is of particular interest to photographers. Its diverse flora and fauna and stunning oak forest–a rarity for Cyprus–are sure to please nature lovers.
At Androulla’s coffee shop, an establishment known to a select few, visitors will be treated to a sumptuous breakfast.
Next on the agenda, the Agros Rose Plantations and Rosewater Factory, followed by a visit to an operation that produces sweets using local produce.
In the afternoon the group will be taken to Panagia tou Araka in the village of Lagoudera, a medieval chapel from the twelfth century listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
At Saranti, a rural community of 57, the group will enjoy dinner at a little-known hideaway.
Towards the Deep Green
On the way to the Paphos Forest, the island’s largest, visitors will be taken through the Pitsilia Valley, a fertile patch of countryside covered with almond and cherry trees.
At Platres, a popular mountain resort during the days of British rule, visitors will enjoy a coffee at the Forest Park Hotel, an establishment frequented by King Farouk of Egypt in the 1950s. A nearby chocolate factory specializes in making treats filled with local flavors, such as zivania and commandaria.
Up next, the Chantara Waterfall in the village of Phini, whose clear waters and deep green scenery are sure to inspire photographers.
In the afternoon visitors will be taken to the Tzielefou Bridge, a Venetian-built structure connecting the banks of the Diarizos River at an enchanting spot in the Paphos Forest. After that, the group heads to Stavros tis Psokas, an area noted for its biodiversity. It is the home of the moufflon, a wild goat species found only in Cyprus. Moufflons are quite habituated to the presence of humans and likely to strike a pose when being photographed.
After dinner at Xenis’ Tavern, a place nestled in the green forest, the group will head to Polis Chrysochous to check in at the hotel and unwind.
Blue and Sunset
First destination, the Marion-Arsinoe Museum to see a remarkable collection of exhibits originating from the ancient settlement of Marion (later renamed Arsinoe in honor of the wife and sister of Ptolemy II Philadelphus).
Later, a glass-bottom boat will take visitors beach-hopping along the Akamas coastline–the Blue Lagoon beach is an especially fine example that more than lives up to its name.
In the afternoon the recently renovated Polis Town Square is the ideal setting for an energizing coffee break.
After a visit to the eighteenth century Church of Saint Kyriaki, visitors will be able to enjoy the sunset strolling along the Polis Promenade, which connects two municipality-managed blue-flag beaches.
Unspoiled Nature and Sun-Drenched Beaches
The day starts with a visit to the Baths of Aphrodite, on the edge of the Akamas National Park, one of the goddesses of greek mythology with a special connection to Paphos.
Later, a hike to the Arakas Gorge in the heart of the Akamas Reserve will provide abundant photo-worthy scenery in the form of unique flora and fauna and geological formations.