If you come to Cyprus then you definitely have to hike the Avakas Gorge.” That’s what my friends Jacky and Zsolt in Paphos tell me. They don’t need to tell me twice. I get back on the motorbike and head north. The entrance to the gorge is not far from the coast and I enjoy being able to ride the machine off-road a bit.
There is a parking lot where hikers can leave their cars at the edge of the asphalt road, but then you have to walk another kilometer. There is also an option to park right at the entrance if you don’t mind driving your car through the dirt. It’s very dusty.
I enjoy hiking
There is a lot going on. The rental cars are parked in rows in the hiking parking lot and a caravan of people marches down the dusty road to the entrance of the gorge. Tour groups stop here with their quads. People look at me like an alien on a motorcycle.
That doesn’t bode well. And indeed, after a short walk, groups of retirees, families and couples are already in front of me, blocking the path. I rarely get a chance to take pictures without people.
A path through the blooming rhododendron
The small stream Avakas, after which the gorge was named, is partially overgrown with algae. The frogs croak loudly and their tadpoles wriggle in the water.
I follow the river to the narrow gorge. There are piles of tourists who want to climb over the rocks with their flip flops and clothes.
The bitter reality is: the beautiful route is a dense crowd
However, even in May it is 2 p.m. on a Sunday. Probably the worst time in the world.
After the narrow gorge, the path turns into an open gorge that rises steeply. From this point on, the number of people decreases significantly and at least I leave the elderly and families with children behind me.
In return, a rescue team comes towards me, carrying a groaning man with what appears to be a broken leg out of the gorge on a stretcher. Even if the path looks easy, you can easily twist your ankle on the scree.
Limestone, rhododendron, frogs and goats
It takes me about an hour and a half to get to the end of the trail at a viewpoint, and I also take numerous breaks for my photos and have to wait until the view is clear.
The way back is much faster. At 4 p.m. there are still hardly any people on the path. For me it’s back to Paphos before continuing to Nicosia.