Cyprus - autumn bulbs and natural history
Exploring the quiet Cypriot countryside in search of autumn bulbs and other endemic plants, while enjoying the late autumn sunshine.
16 – 23 November 2022
Single Room Supplement – £125
Return flight London Gatwick to Cyprus. Local transport as specified in itinerary. Seven nights accommodation, full board.
Refreshments. Entrance fees to archaeological sites (c. €20). Gratuities. Travel insurance. Covid tests and associated costs.
Minimum 4, maximum 14.
Cyprus is a charming island, full of exciting wild flowers and beautiful landscapes, blessed with a sunny climate where the warmth lasts long into the autumn and with delightful, friendly people. Our regular early spring trip to Cyprus has been one of our most popular and repeated trips for many years. This year we will be returning to the same area but at a different season, to catch some late autumn sun and enjoy the Cypriot countryside.
The Cypriot flora has elements from both Europe and Asia and the relative isolation of the island has allowed an endemic flora to develop – of around 1910 plant species in Cyprus, almost one in ten are endemic. In addition to autumn flowering plants, we should also start to pick up some of the earliest ‘spring’ flowers: spring starts very early in Cyprus, surprisingly, well before Christmas!
Whilst obviously focussing on the wonderful wild flowers, we won’t be missing out on any of the other wildlife this island has to offer. Birds, butterflies and reptiles may all be a feature of our days.
Our base is a pleasant family-run hotel on the coast on the Akamas Peninsula, not far from Polis, looking out over Chrysochou Bay. From here, we will explore the surrounding hillsides, fields and meadows in search of autumn bulbs, late summer butterflies and the resident birdlife of the area.
Cyprus has a rich history, and we will spend time at a variety of historical sites including the Paphos World Heritage Site on the Paphos Peninsula.
Please note that holidays change, although sometimes only slightly, from year to year and previous trip reports may not reflect the planned itinerary, or other holiday details, for the current trip. Please ask us if you would like to know of any significant differences.
Day 1 Our flight takes us to Paphos, from where we transfer to our hotel, where we will be welcomed ‘home’ by our delightful hosts. There will be time to relax before the first of our delicious home-cooked Cypriot dinners.
Day 2 After breakfast, we walk along the coast to the small botanic garden at the Baths of Aphrodite where we find endemic plants and several lizard species living side-by-side. From here we head around the coast towards Fontana Amorosa. The scenery is breath-taking, with high cliffs dropping steeply down to the sea.
Day 3 We take a short drive up into the hills of the Akamas, to the village of Kritou Terra. This picturesque village, with its old washing holes, lies amongst the terraced fields and quiet lanes. Here, among the abandoned terraces we will search for some of the special autumn bulbs of the area: we hope to find the endemic Crocus veneris and the endemic, autumn-flowering Cyclamen cylcamen, together with Scilla autumnalis and Muscari parviflorum. Sardinian and Cetti’s Warblers may both already be singing from the bushes.
Day 4 Today our attention will turn to the history of the island, visiting several sites around Paphos. We start with a visit to the monatery of Ayios Neophytes, the grotto retreat where the hermit St Neophytos made his home and famous for its Byzantine frescoes. From here we move to the Tombs of the Kings, dating back to the ptolemite Cypriot Kingdoms, where we will find interesting coast-loving plants among the archaeology. We spend the afternoon on the Paphos Peninsula, part of the Paphos World Heritage Site, with ‘houses’ of Roman mosaics. We will look for birds, butterflies and flowers amongst the ruins.
Day 5 A relaxing day after our travels yesterday. We explore the fields on the hillside behind our hotel, home to two species of Narcissus. Late season butterflies should still be on the wing, including Cyprus Grayling, Plain Tiger, African Grass Blue, Grass Jewel, Pygmy Skipper and Two-tailed Pasha.
Day 6 Today we explore the Pegeia Forest, on the west side of the Akamas. The shallow soils here support one of the best preserved forests of Calabrian Pine and Phoenician Juniper, forming a scattered, low canopy beneath which we will find an interesting variety of plants. We will look for Colchicum pusillum, Euphorbia dimorphocaulon and the lovely Autumn Lady’s Tresses.
Day 7 We start by heading over to the west side of the Akamas Peninsula, where we will look for the endemic Taraxacum aphrogenes, an autumn-flowering dandelion, and visit the Byzantine ruins nearby. We head back to Paphos, for a walk around the headland, where we will look for Greater Sand-plover, a rare winter visitor to the shore here. The rest of our day will depend on what other interesting late autumn birds are visiting the Paphos area.
Day 8 After a last lazy breakfast, we must gather our things and bid fond farewell to the Aphrodite Beach and head homewards.
Please note that the itinerary may be changed to suit the weather or other practicalities at the discretion of the leaders.
The Aphrodite Beach Hotel is a wonderfully welcoming family-run hotel, located on a beautiful coastline.
Meals, using fresh local produce, are taken in the lovely dining room overlooking the bay. Breakfasts can be taken on the terrace (weather allowing). Lunches will be mostly picnic packed lunches provided by the hotel. All meals are included in the holiday price.
Local travel will be by by small coach.
Group flights are with Easyjet from London Gatwick to Paphos.
16 November depart London Gatwick 07.10, arrive Paphos 13.40
23 November depart Paphos 14.20, arrive London Gatwick 17.20
It is also possible to fly direct from Manchester, Edinburth and Bristol.
You can reach Cyprus by train and ferry. Contact us to find out more, and to make your holiday flight-free.
Cyprus is two hours ahead of UK time.
If you hold a British passport you can travel to Cyprus for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. You must have at least six months left on your passport to travel to most countries in Europe.
The weather should be pleasant, even warm down near the coast. In general we should expect mild, sunny weather. There may be the occasional shower on some days, but continued bad weather is unlikely.
Please see the General Information leaflet for health and fitness requirements. On most days, we are walking for much of the day, albeit at a slow pace. It is necessary to walk on rougher ground and up some slopes, although none of the walking is strenuous. Walking boots are essential.