Avakas Gorge is an amazing natural masterpiece, located 16 km west of Paphos (Pafos), within Pegeia state forest. For those who appreciate outdoor activities, walking and exploring, this is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the morning or daytime, when the light is almost magical, inside the gorge. It offers magnificent nature scenes and rich local flora and fauna. It is also part of the Natura 2000 area.
Avgas River runs through the gorge, from where the gorge gets its name. The water stream has been carving the gorge thousands of years, flowing over the limestone rocks that are composed of loams, chalks, reef and bentonitic clays. The trail through the gorge is roughly 2 kilometres long with steep rock walls on both sides, reaching up to 30 m in height, and the narrowest point being around 3m wide. The trail starts with a dirt road (closed to private vehicles) through an open valley, then takes you into the gorge. The trail is in the stream in a few places. The stream usually flows throughout the year. The rock formations make this walk more challenging, as it becomes rather narrow and slippery in places. Comfortable, safe clothing and walking boots are highly recommended.
Within the gorge you will come across rare plants, reptiles, cliffs and even wild mountain goats, foxes, hares, falcons, owls, various reptiles and butterflies. The variety of wild plants in this area is impressive. Various types of trees, like junipers, pine trees, cypresses, oaks, wild fig trees as well as a number of wildflowers and endangered wild plants. Some of those are known to be endangered across the world and can be found only in Avakas Gorge.
The ideal time to visit and have a walk around Avakas Gorge is in spring or autumn. Most of the time during the journey you might be exposed to sun, therefore, always make sure you are equipped with appropriate clothing, hat, sunscreen, water and snacks.
It is strongly advised not to attempt the Avakas gorge walk in the winter months (January/February especially) after heavy rainfalls. There is a high risk of rockfall in bad weather conditions and a torrent of water in the valley streams may be cascading down the mountains from above. Always check the water level first - if the water is running very fast and/or is deep then further up the gorge it might not be easy or even possible to get right through since the gorge is very narrow in places and you often have to walk in the river, where the rocks can be very slippery.
Also note that there is a trail (7km) leading from the top of the gorge back round and can be rather challenging, especially during the summer season when the weather can get particularly hot. Make sure you have plenty of water with you at this point. If you have any doubts about your ability to finish the walk safely, return back to the starting point down the gorge rather than continue with the circular walk.
Lara Beach - the famous turtle nesting beach is a short drive away from the gorge. Take a chance to visit Lara Bay Turtle Conservation Station to learn more about these beautiful sea inhabitants.