Things to do in Latchi and Polis Chrysochous
The northwest coast of Cyprus is dotted with several quiet tourist destinations, including Latchi (or Latsi) and Polis Chrysochous. Away from the loud urban centres, the coastline brims with pristine, untouched beauty. The peaceful environment makes our region perfect for all kinds of explorers and holidaymakers in any age group.
Latchi and Polis nestle along the turquoise Chrysochous Bay that extends between the only nature reserve in Cyprus: The Akamas Peninsula in the west and Pomos to the north and east.
This remarkable natural setting is rewarded with extensive sandy beaches and Instagram vistas. Preserved in this rural landscape are several attractions that line the entire coastline. They aren’t beachy or exotic, but restful and verdant. This juxtaposition between the coastal and woodland scenery of the interior defines the northwest coast of Cyprus.
One such gem is the famous Baths of Aphrodite that is hidden in thick foliage on the edge of the Akamas.
baths of aphrodite
Surrounded by hundreds of trees and lorded by an ancient fig tree, the Baths of Aphrodite are warmed by the eternal Cyprus sun. There is a magical spirit about the baths.
The natural cave is located 6km from Latchi, and 9.5km from Polis overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, at the far end of the Chrysochous Bay. The Baths of Aphrodite is where Adonis first met the Goddess of love and fell for her completely. As you might!
It is a small pond in an intact natural setting inside a cave. Legend says; that anyone who bathes in these waters will experience its rejuvenating properties…
…albeit you are discouraged from doing that nowadays.
A little peek into the crystal-clear emerald water is a mesmerizing invitation into a bygone era.
A nature trail extends from the baths to the legendary path that the Goddess would have taken to rest under a large oak tree. From here, the trail splits into two 7.5km hiking routes, Adonis and Aphrodite. Both take you into the dense wilderness of the Akamas Nature Reserve aka Akamas National Park. The hiking difficulty measures 3, which means people of most ages should be able to walk the routes with some precautions. Extensive rock formations overlook the sea everywhere.
The outstanding beauty of the Latchi and Polis area is the true nature of Cyprus.
The Baths of Aphrodite is testimony to the peaceful natural beauty that defines the coastline. The best time to visit is in spring when you behold a wide variety of flowers all tugging at your senses.
Just off the land here is a fabulous dive site.
As legend has it, if you swim around Aphrodite’s Rock three times, the next person you meet will be the love of your life. Here the large volcanic rock continues straight down to the sand, making it an excellent choice for scuba divers as a shallow wall dive. The bay in which the rock sits is chiefly used by diving beginners because it is calm and shallow.
Almost opposite is St. George’s Island. This is the Number One dive site in the Akamas and without doubt one of the best in Cyprus.
In fact there are many great dive sites along the Akamas coastline… click HERE to visit the Latchi Dive Centre interactive dive site map.
If you’d like a little keepsake of what you have read here, download our handy PDF guide to the area.download our PDF guide
The Akamas Peninsula stretches far beyond the Baths of Aphrodite and Latchi and Polis.
Its significance is more than just a romantic place where those divine lovers once met.
The Akamas is the last coastal area in Cyprus that remains untouched by development. The environment here still chirps with the cacophony of 168 varieties of birds. There are also 20 different types of reptiles, 16 species of butterflies, and 12 kinds of mammals.
Throughout the nature reserve, you will stumble upon beautiful flowers and plants, that you have not seen before. It is safe to call the entire region it’s very own ecological sanctuary. It is one of only 22 areas of endemism in Europe.
The national park that sprawls across 230 square kilometres has many eye-popping geological formations. Valleys, gorges, fascinatingly shaped boulders, beautiful coves, and long stretches of glistening bays line the coastline.
It is undeniably a paradise!
If the more testing trails starting from the Baths of Aphrodite isn’t what you’re looking for, Agiasma, Smigies, and Pissouromoutti trails will pique your interest. Agiasma is the easiest to hike with difficulty level 1; its trailhead actually begins in Kathikas Village. The difficulty level of the others is a 2 and both start at Smigies Picnic Site in Neo Chorio.
The Blue Lagoon
Perhaps, the most striking panorama is found at the Blue Lagoon.
Easily accessible with a self-drive boat from Latchi Watersports Centre, the Blue Lagoon offers unspoiled views of land and sea.
Most people, when taking a boat for the day, stop at many of the other beautiful bays on their way to The Blue Lagoon. Manolis bay, Blaji bay and Fontana Amorosa are equally very popular. The scenery throughout the journey is such that you will want to take many photos.
The aquamarine water washing the beach here is so bright that the underlying seabed is clearly visible. This idyllic coast includes rocks and reefs that are bound to tempt you to dive and snorkel tirelessly for hours.
The Blue Lagoon bay is sandy and shallow, ideal for a relaxing swim.
Since the water is protected from the wind by its towering cliffs, the sea temperature remains tepid and is perfect for splashing fun.
Translated as “the fountain of love”, Fontana Amorosa right next door to the Blue Lagoon used to be an old Roman port with a freshwater spring nearby.
The Romans would come and get fresh water and then throw their amphora over the side of the boat as a gift to the gods. This dive site is really rather magical.
Turtles in Latchi and Polis
Both Latchi and Polis have almost-deserted beaches where the green and loggerhead turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
Although Lara Bay on the other side of the Akamas is the most famous of the nesting sites in Cyprus, large numbers of turtles also arrive on the beaches of Latchi and Polis in Chrysochous Bay every year. These beautiful creatures swim ashore between May and June every year and their offspring hatch to return to the sea in August and September.
Leatherback turtles are also seen off the beaches of northwest Cyprus. The huge leatherback turtles are indeed a sight to behold. They can grow to 2 meters in length, looking majestic and full of worldly wisdom. Just outside Latchi harbour, after La Plage restaurant and beach you may see cages that protect the turtle nests.
Latchi is also known as Lakki or Latsi. It is another littoral town that defines the impeccable beauty of the northwest coast of Cyprus. Latchi is a blend of a traditional little fishing harbour and a delightful marina.
Though small, the town thrives. Fresh fish is landed daily, and there is plenty of things to do. Through the years it has grown, but unlike more developed parts of Cyprus, it has not lost its quaint charm in the process. The town was named Latchi after the Greek word Lakki which means “well” or “water hole” which were found in the area years ago. The local farmers would come here for coffee, and their livestock would quench their thirst in the Lakki water.
Beyond its natural beauty and simple charm, there are many things to do in Latchi. When it comes to watersports, the town has the most exhilarating activities in store for residents and tourists alike.
Latchi Watersports is the largest watersports and boat hire company in Cyprus. Probably even in the whole of the Mediterranean.
Celebrating more than 40 years (1978-2018) of providing outstanding customer service for self-drive boat hire, diving, yacht charters, and all types of watersports including sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing, parasailing, fishing, and much more…
At La Plage Beach (just outside the harbour) people with disabilities can easily access the sea safely using a specially designed ramp.
Did you know? You can walk right beside the beach on the boardwalk that connects Latchi to Polis Campsite and from there onto Polis Chrysochous. It’s an easy walk, and it is wheelchair accessible.
If you’d like a little keepsake of what you have read here, download our handy PDF guide to the area.
Situated 9.5km from the Baths of Aphrodite, 35km from Paphos, and fringed by the Akamas National Park to the west is Polis Chrysochous. Its pictorial beauty serves as a haven for those seeking peace away from the boisterous everyday life of larger cities & tourist areas.
That’s not to say Polis isn’t a worthy tourist destination. In fact, it is hugely popular with adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. There are great places to stay too. Including luxury hotels, tourist villages, private villas, and even a campsite.
Polis Old Town
Located where the sea meets the foothills of the mountains, Polis is a fertile town with vegetation galore. Its name is derived from the Greek word meaning city. But the official name of the town is Polis Chrysochous, which means “town of gold”, referring to the copper and gold mines that many years ago operated in the surrounding area.
Once the ancient capital of Cyprus, Polis was formerly known as ‘Marion’.
Polis is home to a beautiful museum that invites you to explore the fascinating ancient history of the town and the neighbouring area.
The Archaeological Museum of Marion-Arsinoe has an extensive collection of ancient artefacts unearthed in the surrounding area. On display are excellent examples of pottery, statues, and other discoveries dating from the Neolithic to the Medieval period.
The town boasts charming sandstone buildings. The ancient churches, like the Church of Agios Andronikos, contain 16th-century wall paintings. Polis has many modern restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops too!
While Latchi and Polis are the hotspots, the stunning vistas are not limited to just these villages. The neighbouring communities indeed have their own unique charm.
The first village is Miliou. Perched on the Laona plateau, it is located 13km due-south of Polis. It is the greenest and smallest village in Cyprus with a population of less than 100. The landscape has an abundance of spring water, citrus groves, vineyards, and almond trees. Sheltered near the springs is a 17th-century old, restored monastery which has been transformed into a spa hotel.
Pomos is another gorgeous rural coastal setting and around 20km east of Polis. It is a charming village with inviting restaurants serving delicious local dishes.
Perhaps, the most popular neighbouring village is Neo Chorio. A short drive from Latchi, this village is the gateway to Akamas. Neo Chorio is lined with several restaurants and a variety of places to stay. Scenic views of Akamas and the coast abound.
Droushia is another village with the natural charm of Neo Chorio. It boasts a cultural vibe that comes from traditional architecture, small coffee shops, narrow streets, and museums. Several preserved Byzantine churches reassert this traditional community.
If you’d like a little keepsake of what you have read here, download our handy PDF guide to the area.