There is certainly plenty to draw you here. North Cyprus boasts two of the island’s best-looking towns (Girne and Gazimağusa), half the capital city (Lefkosia/Lefkoşa), three of its mightiest crusader castles (St Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara), and arguably the island’s most significant archeological site at Salamis. Its wilderness areas, particularly the Kyrenia Mountains, are a hiker’s paradise and many of its beaches remain mercifully free of high-rise resorts. Furthermore, any visit to Cyprus which includes both sides of the island offers the unique experience of two very different cultures: Orthodox, Greek Cypriot and Muslim, Turkish Cypriot.
There’s also the small matter of cost – being outside the Eurozone the north can feel a lot cheaper place then home back in Europe or the adjoining neighhbour Republic of Cyprus on the South of the island which is part of the European Union. If you haven’t had a chance to obtain Turkish Lire, don’t worry: euros and dollars are widely accepted.
GIRNE (still widely known by its Greek name Kyrenia or Keryneia) is the most beautiful town in Cyprus, owing to its ravishing harbour, mighty Venetian castle, and a backdrop of sharp and craggy mountains. It even has a pleasant climate, courtesy of those mountains, which bring cooler air and a greener landscape than in the rest of Cyprus.
Apart from the harbour and the castle, there’s much else hidden away amongst Girne’s steep serpentine alleys. The Anglican Church, the Cafer Paşa Camii, the Ottoman Cemetery and the Chrysopolitissa Church attest to the spiritual life of the town, the tiny Folk Art Museum and Icon Museum to its cultural life, and the Bandabuliya together with a host of shops to its commercial side. Finally, Girne’s numerous cafés and restaurants offer the opportunity to eat, drink and socialize with friendly locals, or just enjoy the views and the chance to people-watch in comfort.
Although there’s plenty to see in Girne, its possibilities are likely to start running out after a few days. Fortunately, its sandy coastline offers some excellent beaches while inland are some heavyweight sights including St Hilarion Castle and Bellapais village. Indeed, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Lefkoşa and Güzelyurt are also within easy reach.
Undoubtedly the most picturesque port on the island, with a perfect harbour backed by the majestic Kyrenia Mountains.and the Kyrenia Castle right on the water front.
Cyprus has hundreds of beaches, though arguably the finest – such as Golden Sands – are strung along the north coast and Karpaz Peninsula.
A fantastical castle, said to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Number of beaches on the island represent some of the last Mediterranean nesting places of green and loggerhead turtles. A few of those beaches including the Alagadi Beach and the Akdeniz Beach are only half an hour drive away from the Citrus Tree Gardens Hotel.
Cyprus has some top-quality hiking trails, particularly in the Five Finger Massif – even in high summer, the altitude makes for a pleasant walking climate.
North Cyprus with its unspoiled underwater treasures is one of the Mediterranean’s premier dive sites.
Nicosia, the Capital of Cyprus, and the only divided city in the world is situated in the centre of the Mesaoria Plain, which offers a chance to explore some fascinating history all encompassed within the circular perimeter of the city walls. Because of the border that runs through the centre it is easy to use the divide in the planning of two good walks that will reveal the best and most fascinating aspects of this city. A basic outline of the history will be an added benefit and permit the first glimpse of how long Nicosia has been inhabited.
This beautifully renovated “Great Inn” at the heart of the last divided capital in the world Lefkosa’s old town is a great place to shop or simply unwind.
One of Cyprus’s great cities, where modern life takes place among ruins generated by the Ottoman siege of the city over four centuries ago.
In an idyllic setting lapped by the sea, ruined Salamis is at once one of the most impressive and most significant archeological sites anywhere on the island.