Our excursion of Sunday 20 March 2016 takes us to the slopes south of Mahairas and northwest of the large village of Lefkara. This is an extraordinary outing of the Cyprus Strollers, since it involves not one, but two hikes. The two hikes take place on the mountains between Kionia summit and the small village of Vavatsinia. The two hikes are a few km away from each other, in beautiful, dense forest, mostly pine covered, and offer splendid views and a cave! We shall walk the 1st hike, get back into the cars and drive to the start of the 2nd hike.
The first hike starts at 11:00 am. Xenophon is leading the two hikes, which will go ahead even in light rain; if you need to, call 97613720. The two hikes will take close to 3 hours hiking time, involve several uphill and downhill sections and are classified 2 (medium) for difficulty. The 1st hike is linear and of 75 minutes duration. We name this the ‘Cave’ hike. The 2nd hike starts (and ends) linear, at an altitude of 1360 m, becoming circular further on (after 20 min.); it is of 90 minutes duration. We name this the ‘Two Peaks’ hike, because it gets us to two peaks, each offering panoramic views all around.
After the second walk we shall drive a distance of about 1.5 km further uphill, to the Kionia picnic area, for a picnic (weather permitting).
At the conclusion of the picnic, you have the choice of returning to Nicosia either down the south slopes as we came, past Lefkara and via the Limassol-Nicosia motorway (a total distance of approx. 69 km), or down the north slopes of Mahairas, via the villages of Kapedes, Kampia, Pera, Psimolophou, Deftera and Lakatamia. The distance for the latter option is about 42 km. For those returning as we came, zero your odometer at the picnic site and drive downhill towards Vavatsinia. Be very careful at approx. the 10 km reading to observe a sharp turning to the left, as you reach a T-junction, taking you into a main road; turn left, following the sign to Lefkara. Drive along the main road, past the villages of Lefkara and then Skarinou. At approx. the 29 km reading you join the Limassol-Nicosia motorway. After another 40 km you enter Nicosia, at the main junction between Leoforos Lemesou/ Limassol Avenue and Leoforos Athalassas.
You have the choice of meeting the group at the 1st 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 1st hike start:
The 1st hike start is approx. 62 km from Nicosia, along the Nicosia-Limassol motorway. 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 40.3 km reading you see an alpha mega supermarket on your right. At the 40.6 km reading you exit the motorway on your left, following signs to Skarinou and Lefkara (exit number 13). At the 41.0 km reading you reach a T-junction; turn left, following signs to Skarinou and Lefkara. At the 41.2 km reading you see again the alpha mega supermarket on your right. Be very careful at the 59.6 km reading to observe a sharp turning to the right and up; you leave the main road (which leads to Vavatsinia village) at this point, and turn right; the signs indicate Kionia and Mahairas as your direction. 2.3 km further up on this road (i.e. approx. at the 62 km reading) you look out for a forestry department wooden post on your right hand side; this marks the start of our 1st hike (named spilia-moutti athasias). Park your car on either side of this road. We meet here.
How to get to the 2nd hike start, from the 1st hike start:
Zero your odometer as you get back into your car and drive uphill for 5 km, until you reach a junction, with signs indicating a left turn towards the village of Agioi Vavatsinias and straight ahead to Kionia after another 3 km. There are plenty of spaces to park your car. We meet here. The 2nd walk starts on the right hand side of this junction, where you see a forestry department wooden post (named pavlias- dio mouttes).
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
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.