Geography and landscapes Cyprus
Cyprus is the easternmost European country (with the exception of Russia) and, paradoxically, it geologically belongs to Asia. Its strategic position in the center of the eastern basin of the Mediterranean, close to the coasts of the Middle East, has earned it all the envy.
The island extends over 230 km in length and 80 km in width and is divided into three zones: 2 mountain ranges and a vast plain.
- The Massif Central is the Troodos whose foothills extend west and southwest almost to the coasts.
- The other massive is that of Pendadhaktylos, at an altitude of 1 m, also known as Kyrénia, in the northeast, facing Asia.
- Between the two, an alluvial and fertile plain area called Mesaea stretches from the bay of Morphou to those of Famagusta and Limassol. Nicosia, the capital, is located in the center of the lower plain of Mesorea, the agricultural heart of the island, where crops of wheat, potatoes, citrus fruits and green vegetables grow. Almost all the rivers on the island descend from the Troodos.
Le Troodos National Forest Park is located in the center of the island and covers an area of 9 ha. From a geological point of view, the place has acquired global importance. This ophiolitic zone, the best preserved in the world, composed of eruptive rocks, is studied by scientists in order to understand how the oceanic crust was born 337 million years ago at the bottom of a huge sea called the Tethys Sea by the geologists. Along the paths, you will be able to observe plutonic rocks, the result of the crystallization of the magma which took place between 90 and 2 m at the bottom of the ocean.
- The Troodos National Forest Park was declared a national park in 1992, while 4 regions within the PNF (with a total area of 220 ha) were declared nature reserves. Not only are they found there the highest number of plants compared to any other region in Cyprus, but also the highest number of endemic plants.
In addition, it has been designated as one of the 13 places to observe biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin.
- Cape Greco, in the south-eastern part of the island, is a national forest park.
- Athalassa National Forest Park, with vegetation planted by man, is located near the city of Nicosia and offers many facilities for recreational activities.
- The National Forest Park of the Pedagogical Academy, with man-made vegetation, is located near Nicosia and also offers many facilities for recreational activities.
- Polemidia National Forest Park, near the town of Limassol offers facilities for recreational activities.
- Rizoelia National Forest Park, near the city of Larnaca is being equipped for recreational activities.
- The Tripylos nature reserve including the famous Valley of the Cedars, is the first nature reserve to be declared.
- Akamas peninsula, at the north-western end of Cyprus, has so far been managed as a national forest park. In the Akamas region, Lara-Toxeftra is a marine reserve.
In the near future, many other forest regions will be declared nature reserves or national forest parks.
All beaches are public in Cyprus, even those of hotels where you are offered sunbeds and umbrellas for rent. The beaches of Cyprus are very clean. Cyprus participates in the European Blue Flag campaign, a program promoting clean beaches and management of coastal regions that respect the environment. These are mainly actively managed beaches (either by municipalities or by private consortia) that are part of or located near major seaside resorts.
In eastern cyprus, the superb sandy beaches of Nissi Bay in Ayia Napa, the more unspoiled one of Agia Trias near Famagusta, or that of Fig Tree in Protaras are gradually giving way to Cape Gréco (especially Konnos beach at the foot of from the Grecian Park hotel) whose indented shore, carved with caves and rocky coves, embraces crystalline blue waters. The small white-houses town of Paralimni contrasts with the modern seaside resort of Protaras, also known for its windmills. Ayia Napa being a very extensive seaside resort; you will find your private swimming area without too much difficulty, on condition that you make do with small rocks and stay away from the deckchairs lined up on the sand to the east of the port.
In Paphos, you will rather find small sandy beaches in front of the hotels. West of Paphos, however, are beautiful sandy and pebble beaches: Coral Bay, Agios Georgios and Lara, then beyond Lara heading north, lots of wild places in the Akamas area, an area protected where construction is prohibited. If you are in a 4x4, do not miss the sandy and deserted beaches of the north which stretch from Lakki (Latchi) to Pomos.
In Limassol, the beaches are rather narrow and mix sand and pebbles, which leads visitors to the hotel pools instead. It is outside the city and towards Paphos that you will find the most beautiful beaches such as Curium Beach (near the site of Kourion), Pissouri, Avdimou and the waters off Petra tou Romiou (the rock of Aphrodite ). East of Limassol, you will choose Zygi and Governor's Beach with its white rocks as well as Cape Kiti.
Between Larnaka airport and Cape Pyla to the east, extends a long coastal strip: the bay of Larnaka. There are still places more preserved than in Ayia Napa and also beaches run by the CTO (Cyprus tourist office) offering showers, catering, parking, etc.
Nudity on beaches is prohibited in Cyprus. It is, however, practiced around Ayia Napa.