Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hike around Cape Gkreko, Agia Napa...with your dog

As usual, we didn’t do the full walk as described on most hiking websites, such as WalkCyprus (, which suggest starting out from the Sea Caves at  Cape Gkreko, around the coast to Konnos Bay (10.8km, moderate walk).  Instead, we left the car in the parking area by the church of Agioi Anargyroi, and walked back around the coastal paths, towards the Sea Caves.

This was a pleasant walk which took us around the peninsular. We stopped following the directed paths at some point, as the weather was just too hot for serious walking, and we were trying to find a way down to the sea. We did find a place where we could all cool off, although Sage didn’t brave a full jump from the rocks. 

I would definitely recommend this walk either during winter/early spring, or early in the morning/evening (as with most hikes around Cyprus in fact), as there was very little shade, and few places to access the sea. In addition, we seemed to time our visit with the lunchtime stop over of about 5 different day tripping boats, competing with each other to see who could play the loudest, most irritating music. These boats stopped, unloaded their passengers into the sea for a few minutes, then carried on around the coast, so I think we were just unlucky with our timing. 

Sage watching a boat full of tourists cruising around the peninsular
I didn't see any signs forbidding dogs, which you do see fairly frequently in woodland areas and parks in Cyprus, so we could relax a bit. On the other hand, there were only a few bins along the paths, so we ended up carrying steaming bags of poo around with us for half of the route.

I don’t think this was one of Sage’s favourite walks; the lack of shade or water to play in definitely count against it. From my side, I really enjoyed seeing all the coastal plants, many of which had been marked with information panels, including sea fennel (kritamos) and thyme. For information about the flora and fauna of the area: (click on Experience > Rural & Nature > Cape Gkreko National Forest Park). Also, the caves around this part of the coast are quite spectacular, and definitely worth seeing. The sea was looking beautiful, glistening in the sun, almost impossible to resist. I am sure that a well-timed visit, possibly early evening, would be a lovely experience. 

I've been back to this area, since I wrote this post, so just thought I'd add a few details...
We brought some visitors to Cape Gkreko, one evening in late June. We stopped off at the sea caves, just before you reach Cape Gkreko (there is a sign post, they are easy to find), and it was well worth the visit. 
Sea Caves, Cape Gkreko
This area is really unique in Cyprus, and incredibly beautiful. We didn't walk much, just stood around admiring the view and taking photos, but this would make a really dramatic finish to the walk described above (from Konnos Bay or the parking area at the church of Agioi Anargyroi.

After that, we drove round to the church, and again left the car there, close to the picnic and bbq area, which also looked a lovely place to spend an evening in summer, or lunchtime in the autumn.

At the sea caves 
Then we walked the 1-2km down to Konnos Bay, along a nice, easy path that runs next to the sea. I will admit, there were more day-trip boats with loud music and megaphones, which did slightly ruin the sense of tranquility. But again, they left after a while, and we could enjoy the walk.

I can not really recommend Konnos Bay with your dog. There are signs forbidding animals on the beach, and it is a small, sandy cove, with sun-chairs and umbrellas...not ideal for dogs. We took it in turns to swim, while the others waited in the small cantina. Again, I'm not sure how dog-friendly this place would be in the middle of summer - the bay is overlooked by a very large hotel, and it is a popular beach destination. I imagine it would get pretty crowded here in August. We were lucky, we got there as the cantina was closing - in time to buy a beer, and sit quietly looking at the view. They closed up and allowed us to stay.  

And finally, I really enjoyed the hike back. In the dark. We had an amazing view of the stars, and the path and surrounding coastline all to ourselves. However, tripping over rocks and tree roots, and loosing your way along the edge of a steep cliff may not be everyone's cup of tea...
In which case, I'd recommend that you head for the picnic area, which is organised with tables, areas for bbqs, bins for rubbish and dog mess etc, and less chance of falling off a cliff.

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