Our excursion of Sunday 18 February 2018 takes us to the village of Delikipos, at a low elevation, in the district of Larnaca, south of Nicosia and west of Larnaca. Our destination is a short trip of 31 km from Nicosia.
The walk will be in the valley of the Aetomoutti forest west of Delikipos. This is a wide, flat valley thinly covered with pine trees, and no houses. There are many low, rocky hills, with streams winding between them. The scenery is constantly changing. The valley is surrounded by mountains, giving it a magical feeling of enclosure and secrecy, so that it could be described as the ‘Shangri La’ of Cyprus. We will walk partly on the stream beds, and partly on the ridges beside them, depending on how much rain there has been; it is easy to move from one to the other. Those who wish to will climb a rocky “nose” called Psathas which rises 200 metres above the valley, giving excellent views; those who don’t will wait for them below.
The hike starts at 10:45 am. Ian is leading the hike, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 96852722. The hike is 9 km long, will take close to 3 hours hiking time, and is graded 3 – difficult – because of the rough ground it covers, even though there are no steep hills to climb. Hiking poles are strongly advised. Although the E4 footpath goes through the region, it is all on rather unattractive Forestry Department roads, so we will not follow it. Our walk will not be on a proper path, so it has a wildness and a beauty which the walk leader has not encountered in Cyprus before. Our leader has walked this hike several times, and it is impossible to get lost because it is never far from a road; the few cars which use it can be clearly heard, but not seen.
At the end of the hike, we offer participants two events, a taverna meal and a picnic. Please read on and decide what suits you best. Then kindly communicate your preference as requested. Note that both events will take place and all you need to do is make up your mind and let us know. For the taverna we shall drive the distance of about 7 km to the village of Lythrodontas, for a set taverna meal. To facilitate arrangements, for your better service, you are required to pre-register, if you are joining us for the taverna lunch. To do so, please sms the walk leader or e-mail Xenophon by end Thursday. Note that due to the rather small capacity of the taverna, it is imperative that every participant registers on time. Seating is secured only for those registering on time. The picnic will take place at the Delikipos picnic site, where the hike concludes and cars have parked. To register for the picnic, please also sms the walk leader or e-mail Xenophon by end Thursday and bring along your choice of bite-size food, to share.
You have the choice of meeting the group at the hike start, or meet at the designated meeting point in Nicosia. In either case, you need to carry copy of this set of instructions. Meeting in Nicosia offers two important advantages: we drive in full cars, leaving some cars behind; thus, we save in fuel and enjoy the trip in good company. The meeting point in Nicosia is the Handicrafts Centre (Kentro Heirotechnias) on Leoforos Athalassas (Athalassa Avenue), which offers ample parking space. The car trip starts at 9:45 am. Please ensure you observe start times, for the benefit of the group.
How to get to the walk start:
Get to the main junction between Leoforos Lemesou/ Limassol Avenue and Leoforos Athalassas. Zero your odometer at this junction. Drive along the Nicosia-Limassol motorway, heading towards Limassol. At the 25.4 km reading you exit the motorway on your left, at exit number 11, following signs to Kornos and Stavrovouni. At the 25.5 km reading you reach a T-junction; turn right, following signs to Kornos and Delikipos. At the 25.7 km reading you pass a left turn for Nicosia, do not turn left, go straight. At the 26.0 km reading you pass a left turn for Kornos, do not turn left, go straight. Exactly 3.6 km later, at the 29.6 km reading you pass a left turn into a dirt road; do not turn left, go straight. At the 30.1 km reading you pass a right turn for Chrysosotiros church; do not turn right, go straight. At the 30.5 km reading you reach the Delikipos picnic site on your left. Park your car on the side. We meet here. GPS coordinates 34.91286, 33.361151. Opposite the picnic site, you observe a right turn leading to the village of Lythrodontas.
How to get to the walk start coming from Limassol:
Drive along the Limassol – Nicosia motorway, heading towards Nicosia. Exit the motorway on your left, at exit number 11, following signs to Kornos and Stavrovouni. About 100 m later you reach a T-junction; turn left, following signs to Kornos and Delikipos. Drive solely along this road for about 5 km, until you reach the Delikipos picnic site on your left. Park your car on the side. We meet here. GPS coordinates 34.91286, 33.361151. Opposite the picnic site, you observe a right turn leading to the village of Lythrodontas.
How to drive from the walk finish to the village of Lythrodontas (for the taverna meal):
Zero your odometer. Opposite the picnic site you observe a sign indicating a side road leading to the village of Lythrodontas. Take this road. At the 0.5 km reading, you reach a junction where you turn left. At the 2.9 km reading you ignore a right turn, continue straight. At the 4.2 km reading the road becomes unpaved, but it is wide and solid. At the 5.8 km reading the road becomes again paved, as you reach the first houses of Lythrodontas. Soon after the road exits into the main road crossing the village, at a T-junction; at this point zero your odometer and turn left, to drive to the village centre. At the 0.8 km reading you pass a large supermarket on your right and the road bends left. The road then narrows as it winds through the village centre. At the 1.1 km reading you see a large church on your left and the village coffee shops. The taverna is on a road to the right, opposite the church. It is the second building on your left on this side road. Search for parking in the side streets.
How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Hilton hotel area:
Get yourself on Makarios Avenue, heading out of town and set your odometer to zero as you drive past the Nicosia Hilton hotel. At the 0.1 km reading you reach traffic lights (with the Apoel club building on your right), go straight. At the 0.5 km reading you reach another set of traffic lights, go straight. Driving along, you pass a few more traffic lights, staying on this main road (named Leoforos Lemesou/ Limassol Avenue). At the 2.1 km reading, you reach a principal set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn right here. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue. At the 0.2 km reading you see a large empty space on your right and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your left. Park in the parking area. We meet here. The Handicrafts Centre is next to the church of St. Barnabas.
How to get to the meeting point for the car trip, coming from the Presidential Palace area:
Get to the round-about next to the Presidential Palace. From downtown Nicosia you reach this along the Kyriakou Matsi avenue or along the D. Severi avenue. Set your odometer to zero on the round-about and drive along the principal road towards Strovolos. At the 0.3 km reading you reach traffic lights. Go straight. At the 0.6 km reading you reach a 2nd set of traffic lights. Set your odometer to zero again and turn left. You are now in Leoforos Athalassas, a very busy avenue full of shops. At the 2.6 km reading you see a large empty space on your left and the Handicrafts Centre (a single-storey building) on your right. Park here.
Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Hilton area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/phjc6s7
Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the Presidential Palace area to the meeting place for the car trip http://tinyurl.com/neo9duy
Note: The walk leader acknowledges the contribution of Debra and Jackie in finding, researching, confirming and writing up the hikes he leads.
Here is a write-up by the walk leader, to assist anybody wishing to return and retrace: The valley of the Aetomoutti forest near the village of Delikipos is fascinating, beautiful and unspoilt (except for some litter from hunters). The route the Cyprus Strollers took on 18 February 2018 was not an actual path or trail, except for goats, so perhaps many of us felt like the first Stone Age settlers in Cyprus, as I did when I first discovered it nearly a year ago. You can roam anywhere in the Valley of course, but from my many wanderings in this “Shangri La of Cyprus” since then, this was the best. From the Delikipos picnic site, turn left then right after 100m then immediately left down a dirt road towards a small reservoir. Follow the river that feeds it, going north upstream for 1.5 km, passing a wire fence. It is dry for most of the year, so you can choose between the shaded riverbed and the east-facing (right) bank, but don’t walk on the farmer’s fields. When you reach a dirt road, follow it to the right for only a few metres, then turn off to cross a small stream, continuing north then go up to the top of the ridge. From the top you will see a farm on the other side of the valley. Walk along the ridge for 1 km, under the electricity wires, towards a distant hill with rocky cliffs on the far horizon. That is one possible destination, but we turned sharply right where the ridge ended, to go towards a lower, nearer, easier, cone-shaped hill. We crossed two riverbeds to reach the asphalt road. Turning right here will take you back to Delikipos village (turn right again in the village to get back to the picnic site), but we crossed the road and headed into the wilderness again, to climb the conical hill just for the view. (The west-facing slopes are less steep.) We then retraced our steps back to the picnic site.
Disclaimer: If you attend a Cyprus Strollers walk you do so entirely at your own risk. The Cyprus Strollers is a social club and neither the organizers nor the leader of the walk are responsible for the health and safety of those taking part.