Cape Greco, Cyprus

Photo: Ballantyne108 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Ballantyne108 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The southern coast of Cyprus is famous for its beaches. People have been flocking to Protaras and Ayia Napa for decades, attracted to the long stretches of white sand and the crystal-clear water. Not everyone enjoys the big resorts, the endless water sports, and the all-night beach parties that popped up after these beaches became well known, though. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid this beautiful area. You just have to go a little farther to find Cape Greco.

Cape Greco National Forest Park is a rocky promontory on the southern end of Famagusta Bay. Protected from development, the area is full of caves, cliffs, and empty beaches, instead of partiers. Small pine and acacia trees stand as a barrier. Foxes and hares outnumber people. Cyprus wheatears provide the only music. While sea turtles and even a supposed monster, the Ayia Napa sea monster, live in the bright blue water.

Photo: Anna Anichkova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Anna Anichkova (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The best way to explore Cape Greco is to hike along the coastal trail. Though only 1.4 kilometers long, the hike could take anywhere from an hour to a full day, depending on how frequently you stop. Start at Agioi Anargyroi. The small, whitewashed Greek Orthodox church stands over a sea cave. A picnic area is off to the side, while boats bob in the water offshore. Follow the sandy trail by sea squill, sand lilies, and juniper, which grow well in the high-salinity soil. Then take in the breathtaking view of the bay. Except for a few colorful butterflies, you have the view all to yourself.

Follow the steep, narrow slope along the edge of the cliff. Pass darting lizards along the way. Float in the shallow, tranquil Blue Lagoon. Swim through more sea caves; some are up to 30 meters long. Search for seahorses in De Costa Bay. Scuba dive in Green Bay, where you hand-feed brightly colored fish, take photos of underwater columns, and swim with moray eels in the nearby Blue Hole. Carefully cross the Crow’s Bridge, whose rocks turn shades of red, orange, and pink during sunrise and sunset. Then, if you dare, jump off one of the cliffs.

Eventually, make your way to Konnos Beach. The sheltered beach has fine golden sand and calm water. Beach chairs are available and a few wooden tables sit outside of a small café, yet most are empty. For leaving the crowds behind, you’re rewarded with a whole beach practically to yourself. Enjoy.

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