Ever been on a day out in Cyprus and come across a bridge that has left you breathless? If so, it’s more than likely that you were out on an adventure somewhere near Limassol or Paphos, deep in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains where a number of rivers weave across the wild undulating countryside.
Fact of the matter is, most of the island’s beautiful bridges are relatively hard to find and certainly off the beaten track. But for us, this simply adds to the intrigue and mystery!
1. Trozena Bridge, Limassol district
Ever driven past the abandoned village of Gerovasa (a mere dot on the map) in the foothills of the Troodos mountains? If you have, you’ll have no doubt done a double take as remnants of the past desperately call out for attention, with abandoned buildings that punctuate a lush vegetation, set against a backdrop of dramatic rugged mountains and rocks. And that’s not to mention the neighbouring abandoned village of Trozena; a place where a mere handful of cars pass by on any given day, and where you’re more than likely to hear a pin drop.
And then, the most fascinating sight of all: a great metal bridge that passes over a magnificently deep gorge that etches its way through the rising mountains that surround it. A great spectacle of engineering, it is one that was constructed by an English engineer in Cyprus during British rule of the island. And while it looks like the old bridge may crumble at any moment, cars can cross over it (albeit very carefully, one car at a time) with the total weight not exceeding 8 tons. Cross over it on foot and you’ll literally feel like you’re walking on air! Have your cameras at the ready and enjoy.
2. Elia Venetian Bridge, Paphos district
Mention the words ‘beautiful Venetian bridge’ to anyone on the island and chances are, they will sing the praises of the gorgeous Tzelefos, deep in the Paphos forest. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only bridge in the area that deserves attention. The Elia Venetian Bridge – not far from Kaminaria village and a mere 2km from Tzelefos – also crosses the gurgling Dhiarizos River and is rather picture perfect, commanding a prime spot deep in the wilderness of the area. It is said that the bridge was built in the 16th or 17th century.
Part of a sequence of Venetian bridges in the area (and part of a ‘Venetian Bridges’ nature trail), in the days of old, it was a prime spot for those wishing to cross the Dhiarizos River, along with the two other bridges crossing the river mentioned above.
And what many don’t know, is that these three bridges were part of the historical ‘Camel Road’ crossing mountainous areas which aided in the transportation of raw material, minerals and timber from inland spots to old ports. But how did ‘Elia’ get its name? From one of the only olive trees that existed in the area which became a focal point for travellers. Once you’ve taken in its beauty, be sure to also visit Roudias Bridge (pictured below) as well as the gorgeous Tzelefos if you’ve never been before.
3. Skarfos Bridge, Paphos district
A stone throw from the village of Simou, deep in the Paphos district, this medieval bridge looks like it has quite literally jumped out of a fairy-tale, especially if you visit in the spring with the whole area blanketed in wild flowers and grass.
The Skarfos Bridge lies between the villages of Evretou and Sarama and was built in 1618, passing over the ‘Stavros tis Psokas’ river (a tributary of the Chrysochou River that flows through the Paphos Forest). Yet another bridge that was built by the Venetians, this one is situated next to an old watermill used by locals years ago to grind wheat.
4. Akapnou Bridge, Limassol district
Ever been to Akapnou? Not very many people have! About 25 km from Limassol, it’s not famed for any specific historic sites or monuments, but there’s a Venetian bridge begging to be discovered nestled amidst the lush greenery of the area. A real hidden gem if ever there was one, it claims pride of place as one of the most impressive on the island with two arches calling out for attention.
But no one can blame anyone who doesn’t know that this bridge exists; it’s a little hard to find in the wilderness that surrounds the village just off the main road leading from Akapnou to Eptaginia.
How to get to it? Head to the more modern bridge in the village and follow a dirt road for about 100 metres and the great construction will soon become apparent, connecting the two sides of the Vasiliko riverbed, characterised by overgrown reeds and wild vegetation, with the river’s water flowing through the western arch of the bridge for most of the year. To really admire it, walk by the riverbed with a pair of good shoes as you work your way through dense vegetation. Look up and take in all of its majestic glory.
5. Trimiklini Double Bridge, Limassol district
This one stands out from the rest as the only ‘double’ bridge on the island. You’ll spot it in the mountain village of Trimiklini as you travel from Limassol up to the towering heights of Troodos, set in the gorgeous winegrowing district.
Initially designed as a carriage passage back in the early 1900s, it was completed in 1917 as one bridge was built over the first, to accommodate some of the first motor vehicles on the island, joining Limassol, Trimiklini and Troodos.
Built over a beautiful gorge, in close proximity to the dam of Trimiklini, the waters of the Kouris River flow under the bridge, making for a wonderful spot to take in the splendours of the natural world.