The importance of tourism in Cyprus is undeniable.
Despite its modest size, the island offers a variety of interesting destinations for domestic travelers. One of them is the southeastern tip, home to Cape Greco. Geographically, its boundaries are defined by the southern coast of Famagusta Bay and the eastern coast of Ayia Napa Bay.
Within the 385-hectare area of Cape Greco lies the National Natural Park, which was granted its status in 1993. With a collection of over 400 plant species, it has become a haven for botanists. The reserve is home to various animal species, including foxes, rabbits, and hedgehogs. Moreover, it hosts more than 80 bird species. The crystal-clear sea and rugged cliffs attract divers and thrill-seekers to Cape Greco. Here are some of the most interesting attractions in this region and recommendations for visiting them.
What to See?
The sea caves stretch along the coastline from Ayia Napa to the tip of Cape Greco. They formed over many centuries due to the erosion of rock formations by water and wind. The full splendor of these caves can only be appreciated from the sea, so you'll always find numerous tour boats here. Thanks to the opportunity to explore these architectural wonders of nature and the unique underwater landscapes, this place is a magnet for divers. High qualifications are not necessary for diving here, as the depth does not exceed 12-14 meters.
Some of the caves with unusual shapes have earned their own names, such as "Shark," "Cyclops," "Pirates," and "Captains." According to local legends, these grottoes were used by pirates and smugglers to hide treasures and illegally imported goods. In the southern and northern parts of the cape, thrill-seekers perform spectacular cliff jumps into the water. It's worth noting that such an activity is only suitable for experienced swimmers.
Konnos Beach and Blue Lagoon
Konnos Beach and the Blue Lagoon are located between Cape Greco and Protaras. The lagoon gets its name from the exceptionally vibrant and captivating color of the coastal waters. The beach, 40 meters wide and over 200 meters long, is one of the most comfortable and picturesque in Cyprus. The shores of this secluded spot are covered with golden sand, and blue flags wave in the wind, emphasizing its advantages. The calm sea and safe seabed make Konnos suitable for families with children. The beach is equipped with showers, changing cabins, children's and sports playgrounds. For a small fee, you can rent sunbeds and water sports equipment. Several cafes nearby serve delicious and hearty meals.
Lover's Bridge is one of Cyprus's iconic landmarks. It consists of an arched fragment of rock, with one end submerged in the sea. The bridge is 6 meters long and 1.5 meters wide. Interestingly, the arch between the natural structure and the water's surface resembles a heart in shape. Local legend has it that if lovers kiss in the middle of the bridge and make a wish, it will undoubtedly come true. Lover's Bridge, along with Aphrodite's Bay, is considered one of the most romantic spots on the island. Couples from all over the world come here to propose or have a unique photoshoot. Additionally, it's a common sight to see daredevils performing acrobatic jumps into the water.
Chapel of Saint Anargyri
The Chapel of Saint Anargyri (also known as the Holy Unmercenaries) was built in the Greek style in the 1980s. This active, gleaming white church with a blue roof majestically perches on a rocky cliff of volcanic origin. The chapel was named after the healers and miracle-workers, the brothers Cosmas and Damian, known in Russian Orthodoxy as Kuzma and Demian. They lived in the early 6th century and became famous for never accepting payment for their medical services, adhering to Christ's commandment. According to historical accounts, beneath the church lies a cave where the Saints led an ascetic life. Daily, wedding ceremonies are held in this small church for both local residents and visiting tourists.
At the highest point of the cape, there is an observation deck offering a 360° panoramic view. While sitting on comfortable benches, you can gaze at the endless Mediterranean Sea or the colorful sunset. This place primarily attracts landscape photographers and nature-loving picnic enthusiasts.
Cape Greco offers over ten hiking trails. Let's focus on the main ones:
- The "Thalassines Spilies" (Sea Caves) Trail starts at the Chapel of Saint Anargyri and follows along the coastline of the sea caves. The trail is 4 km long, takes about 1.5 hours to complete, and is of low difficulty.
- The "Konnos" Trail passes through the reserve, which is part of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas in the European Union. Here, you can encounter protected animal and plant species. The trail is 1.4 km long, takes about 30 minutes to complete, and is of low difficulty.
- The "Cyclops Cave" Trail starts at Konnos Beach and leads to the cave through a densely vegetated area. The trail is 2.4 km long, takes about 45 minutes to complete, and is of low difficulty.
- The "Profitis Elias" Trail begins at the Chapel of Profitis Elias in Protaras and ends in the coastal area of Konnos. This longer route passes by several chapels. The trail is 8.5 km long, takes about 3 hours to complete, and is of medium difficulty.
- The "Aphrodite" Trail runs along the northeastern coast of Cape Greco. The route passes through the area where an ancient temple of Aphrodite once stood, of which only ruins remain today. The trail is 2 km long, takes about 40 minutes to complete, and is of low difficulty.
Cape Greco is not considered remote or detached from civilization. However, travelers planning to visit the nature park should adhere to some simple rules. First and foremost, pay attention to your footwear. Lightweight sneakers or closed-toe sandals are optimal for this purpose. High heels and rubber flip-flops should be left behind. Tourists' clothing should be comfortable and preferably made of natural fabrics. Protect your head with headwear, and exposed skin with sunscreen. There are enough places within the cape to satisfy your hunger, but it's better to have a supply of drinking water with you. Don't forget to pack adhesive bandages and an elastic bandage in your backpack. While the wildlife in the reserve poses no significant threat to humans, it's still advisable to watch your step. This recommendation is also relevant when entering the sea, where sea urchins might lurk on the seabed. Direct contact with them can lead to unpleasant sensations. And the most important rule for tourists: lend a helping hand to anyone in need.
How to Get There?
The travel time to Cape Greco from Ayia Napa and Protaras by car is approximately 10 minutes. If you prefer, you can rent a bicycle in the resort towns, or even better, an ATV. There is parking available for all types of vehicles near the observation deck. If you don't have personal transportation, you can take bus route No. 101 from Ayia Napa or route No. 102 from Protaras. The relevant bus stop is in the center of the park, with buses running every 20 minutes. The most picturesque time to visit Cape Greco is in March and April when the vibrant colors of blooming wildflowers contrast beautifully with the emerald sea. During other times of the year, it's best to choose a less scorching day or visit in the evening to fully experience the romantic allure of nature.
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