Climbing and bouldering spots you shouldn't miss if you're planning your holidays to Cyprus
If you're planning your summer holidays, Cyprus could be a perfect destination for climbing-centric vacations and leisure tourism filled with some climbing.
Posted on Wed 22 Mar 2023 · Climbing destinations
Summer in Cyprus is an idyllic paradise with stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a temperate Mediterranean climate. Depending on the type of holiday you want to get, this Island has many attractions to offer.
If you're planning a leisure vacation packed with swimming, sunbathing on the beach, ancient ruins exploration or snorkeling in the deep blue waters, there's no shortage of activities for visitors to enjoy. Cyprus has stunning natural attractions such as Aphrodite's Rock, the Troodos Mountains, Kyrenia Harbour, Akamas Peninsula, and Cape Greco.
For those looking for a more adventurous holiday, there are plenty of opportunities for windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, mountain biking, horseback riding... and climbing.
Sophia Chrysanthou fighting for that view at the crag of Larnaka of Lapithos, Kyrenia © Cyprus Outdoor / Thomas Georgiou
Whether you're a rock climber specifically traveling to Cyprus for its crags and boulders - yes, it's plenty! - or a passionate rock-lover who wants to pull up on some holds during a family holiday, there is limited information online. That's why we are working with the local community, including Cyprus Outdoors, to provide some insights into climbing in Cyprus. Our previous article, "Rock Climbing between Southern Europe and the Middle East: A Guide to Cyprus’ climbing opportunities" gives an overall introduction to this climbing destination. We recommend giving it a read before diving deep into Cyprus' best climbing sport climbing and bouldering area. The place is so unique that we decided to feature it in our 6-day road trip to Cyprus, organized in collaboration with Local and Certified IFMGA Mountain Guide Kyriakos Rossidis.
Cyprus' best sport climbing crag: Episkopi crag, Paphos
Stefanos Markulis getting some pump at the Episkopi crag, Paphos © @Stef_Pap47 / Stefanos Papadopoulos
If you are looking for something steep and powerful, the Episkopi crag in Paphos is a must-visit, and while the majority of climbs are in the 7+ range, there are a few options for beginners.
The area boasts nature trails, diverse flora and fauna, ancient ruins, hermit’s caves, rivers and streams, and a rare enormous rock that predates humanity. The Ezousa valley, where the village is located, has inspired many paintings and works of art, and the area’s serenity appeals to those seeking the vivid sounds of nature.
Episkopi village and its crag are located on the outskirts of Paphos. It is often referred to as the ‘Meteora’ of Cyprus – a term used to describe Greece’s monasteries built on natural sandstone rock pillars – and is one of the most interesting geological formations in Cyprus and arguably one of the largest, formed millions of years ago after the African tectonic plate was separated, and Cyprus emerged from the sea.
The crag gets the sun only early in the morning, and it is notably cooler than the rest of the crags, making climbing possible even during the summer months. Located close to Paphos, this makes it an excellent crag to visit for the day, but be warned, you will want to come back again and again!
Stefanos Papadopoulos kneebaring his way up at the Episkopi crag, Paphos. Steep terrain requires tricky skills! © Cyprus Outdoor / Thomas Georgiou
Best routes and suggestions
The climbing at Episkopi can be described as steep and powerful, requiring power endurance and the ability to complete boulder problems at any given point during a route. There are also a handful of vertical faces with some hard routes (Nightfly 7c+, Planet Garbage 7c+), but the main attraction is the steep imposing main wall.
Classic lines include Bat Trip (6a), Panda Koala (7a), Hakuna Matata (7b+), Status Negativus (7c+), Dragonfly (7c+), Punks out of the Gym (8a+) and the extension (8b). A handful of open projects are also waiting to be climbed, including a potential 9a line.
Status Negativus (7c+) is one of the most imposing routes at the crag, following a crack in the main wall all the way from the bottom to the top of the route. The route is steep, the crack is reasonable in places but unforgiving in others, and rests are at the bare minimum. However, the bolting is generous, and the falls are excellent, making for a great route to work on and get some fall practice in.
Bouldering in Cyprus: Drousheia area
Aphrodite Constantinou on the Drouseias’ sandstone, a prime bouldering area in Paphos © Thomas Georgiou / Cyprus Outdoor.
Bouldering in Cyprus has seen a huge surge in recent years with the development of over 300 boulder problems and ongoing efforts to clean and develop hundreds more. Boulders are situated on a gentle hill at 500m elevation and face all directions, which makes it a great location for both summer and winter bouldering, although in Summer, it’s advised to go early morning or early evening to avoid the daytime heat.
The bouldering experience in Ineia/Drousheia is second to none, with varied movement and style of problems on compact red sandstone rock. The height of boulders ranges from powerful low balls to monster highballs (many of which are yet to be climbed), but the most common height is 3-5m. The boulders are generally well clustered together, and access is mostly easy due to their close proximity to farmer's roads, except for some short bush-whacking required for a few remote boulders.
The bouldering is set in a very peaceful and wild area of the island overlooking the Akamas Peninsula and Lara bay, with great views across Cyprus's west and northwest coast, easy access to the beach, and close proximity to traditional Cypriot villages of the Paphos region.
Chantal Atalya crimping hard some of the finest holds Drouseia bouldering area has to offer © Thomas Georgiou / Cyprus Outdoor.
Best boulders, lines and tips
Vasiliki Anastasiou on some unique features of Drouseia @ Thomas Georgiou / Cyprus Outdoor
One of the most popular boulders, ‘Stoma tou drakou’ (the mouth of the dragon), is a compact boulder with a plethora of routes on it ranging from 6B to 7C depending on whether the problem goes straight through the middle of the main cave, or keeps to the side. There are also eliminates here, making for much harder or easier problems to suit all climbers and a great training boulder to gain power/power endurance.
On the other hand, "Kalimera" boulder offers fingery wall climbing that require core tension and is up there in popularity due to the ease of access and range of problems from 5 to 7B, found on the way to the "Gerakopetra" sport climbing crag. "The Overlook" is another great example of a boulder worth a visit, with a generous number of problems ranging from 4 to 7B+.
If you're as psyched as we are about the island, you should definitely consider joining our Climbing road trip to Cyprus, for an immersive 6-day holiday exploring the high-quality, unknown cliffs this beautiful island has to offer.
Thanks for reading! The article has been produced working closely with local climber and manager of the Cyprus Outdoor community, Thomas Georgiou. This collaboration is part of Mapo Tapo's column "Trust the Locals," designed in collaboration with local climbers and climbing developers worldwide. Together, we aim to inspire people to discover new climbing destinations through responsible tourism.