St. Hilarion Castle (Didymos - Dieu d'Amour)

  • St. Hilarion Castle (Didymos - Dieu d'Amour)
  • 732 m.
  • Primary factor 160 m.
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Location: North 35.31265, East 033.27951 (GPS at the summit)
  • Difficulty: (YDS) class 1.
  • Climbed December 14. 2012.


How to get there:
The best and nicest way to get to St. Hilarion is to cross into the northern part of Cyprus through the western side of Nicosia (called Agios Dometios/Kermia/Metehan), then continue along the motorway directly north towards Kyrenia. Note that one must bring a passport. If travelling with a rental car, one must buy insurance, minimal 3 days, this cost 20 Euro and is quickly done at the border crossing.
As the road makes a distinct bend to the right in order to follow the valley that cuts across the mountains, pay attention when passing the highest point. You shall make a left turn fairly soon. More precisely, turn left at location N35.30288, E033.29157, elevation about 365 meter. There are signs for St. Hilarion Castle. Measure from here.
At kilometer 3.5 you arrive at the turnout for St. Hilarion Castle on your right. Drive up the hill and around a bend to find parking just before of the local souvenir shop. This location is N35.31116, E033.28080, elevation about 600 meter.
Route description:
Proceed straight ahead, the ticket office is on your right just beyond the gate. The entry price is Euro 3.50 (2012) for a normal adult ticket. Proceed up the obvious way, you will pass through what is called section 1 and section 2 on your way to the summit which is located in (or above?) section 3. Not all mountains have a summit route that passes through a castle tunnel, but this one has. Ignore the steep route that forks left (almost at the top), it serves a local lookout tower. As you enter the courtyard at the very top, there are steps and a sign pointing to the summit, going left. Follow this route and arrive at a small summit with a viewing platform to your left and the very highest rock next to a pole, straight ahead. This place, has quite a good view.
Here is a Google map documenting my hikes on Cyprus.
The next day, I first visited Madari.
I was driving back from my visit at Selvili Tepe, this road along the high skyline of the mountains is quite a route to be recommended. Quite a surprise, as I spotted the ruins of this castle clinging onto a rock that surely had to be more than 100 meter from its base. I parked, bought a ticket and started out on a legal climb of a proper mountain.
St. Hilarion Castle is quite an old ruin, definitely worth a visit even if it was not also an independent mountain. It took me about 15 minutes to the top. A nice place with a good view. I had worried slightly that the highest point would be man-made, but this summit consisted of solid rock, no problem. After spending about 10 minutes in the nice afternoon sun, I descended back down, knowing that my trip back to Limassol would take the rest of the daylight. As it turned out, I made a wrong turn in Nicosia and got stuck in local traffic for at least half an hour before finding my way to the official border crossing. The sun was setting as I drove back to Limassol. A nice dinner with local specialities, then a nice display of fireworks from our neighbor hotel, concluded the day.