Cape Greco National Forest, Protaras

PLACES Wednesday, 06 February, 2019

Cape Greco (Cavo Greko) was designated as a National Forest Park in 1993. It is a relatively unspoilt area with great natural beauty which changes and offers something different each season. It is an oasis of tranquillity nestled midway between the busy resorts of Ayia Napa and Protaras.

Covering an area of 385 hectares, Cape Greco was originally covered by a dense juniper forest. During a short period of time, mainly between 1910 and 1920, the trees were rapidly cut down and burned to power the steam flour mills which were in abundance in the Paralimni area. Since then the slow-growing juniper has never been able to recover. Today, although juniper and varieties of pine can still be found, trees and shrubs are mostly limited to sparse low-level growth, including 14 species endemic to Cyprus. Various flowers including orchids and other rare plant species are also found here and during the springtime, there are many flowers in bloom.  

The park is also a game reserve with hunting prohibited. Foxes, hares and hedgehogs are common and over 80 species of birds, including many migratory species, have been spotted. Visitors are also likely to see Lizards and a large variety of butterflies.

A small chapel dedicated to Agioi Anargyroi is one of the few buildings in the park. This small white chapel is a popular spot for wedding photos. Below it is a hermits sea cave which is mentioned in several local legends. Agia Saranta is a tiny church cave well hidden in the rocks and another spectacular sight is Cyclops cave further East in the park.

At the headland of Cape Greco is a lighthouse and walkers can also find ruined foundations of an ancient temple devoted to Aphrodite. At the Eastern edge of the park is Konnos Bay, a breathtakingly beautiful beach with crystal clear waters fringed by pine trees.

There are several hiking trails which extend to a length of 16 kilometres. These are signposted and take in all the points of interest in the park. There is also 4 kilometres of bicycle track and a designated picnic area. The rocky seabed and underwater caves encourage a wealth of sea life making this area a hotspot for both snorkelling and scuba diving. Fishing is also a popular and peaceful way to spend time here.