North Cyprus, a true hidden gem, holds a plethora of thrilling experiences waiting to be explored. While the island of Cyprus is renowned worldwide, the northern part often remains untouched. This lesser-known region, acknowledged solely by Turkey, boasts an array of enchanting destinations that deserve attention. Join us on a captivating journey through North Cyprus, where we unveil its rich history, cultural treasures, and breathtaking natural beauty.
Background on North Cyprus
Understanding the unique background of North Cyprus is crucial to truly appreciate its essence. In 1960, the Republic of Cyprus gained independence from the United Kingdom, and throughout its history, the island has been home to both Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking communities coexisting harmoniously. However, tensions escalated in 1974 when there was an attempt to merge Cyprus with Greece, resulting in a Turkish invasion. This led to the migration of Turkish Cypriots to the northern part of the island, while Greek Cypriots settled in the south.
Today, the capital city of Nicosia is divided into two separate areas, making it the only divided capital in the world, with a military zone acting as a barrier between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Despite its status as an independent country, the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus is not recognised by the United Nations, except by Turkey itself.
What currency is used in North Cyprus?
As a result of its limited international recognition, North Cyprus does not have its own currency. The official currency utilized is the Turkish lira. However, due to the devaluation of the Turkish lira in recent years, many businesses and establishments have started accepting euros, US dollars, and British pounds. This flexibility in currency acceptance aims to accommodate the preferences of visitors and address the economic challenges faced by North Cyprus. In fact, there have been discussions about potentially adopting the euro or US dollar as an alternative currency in the future.
Things to Do in North Cyprus
Despite its small size, North Cyprus offers a diverse range of attractions and activities that cater to various interests. Here are some of the highlights you shouldn’t miss:
Discover the Unique Charm of Divided Nicosia
Nicosia, the captivating capital of Cyprus, offers a remarkable experience as it stands divided between two countries, reminiscent of the historic divide in Berlin during the Cold War. The southern part belongs to the Republic of Cyprus, bustling with development and modernity, while the northern part belongs to the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus, exuding its own distinct charm. Exploring Nicosia allows you to embark on a fascinating journey through time and culture, as you witness the contrasting landscapes, architectural wonders, and rich history that define each region.
Discover the Enchanting Old Quarter of Nicosia
Embark on a captivating journey into another world as you step foot in North Nicosia, a realm that resonates with the essence of Turkey. The border region, carefully watched by security forces and under the vigilant eye of the United Nations, stands as a symbolic “no man’s land” separating two nations. Venturing from the south to the north requires navigating through two border checkpoints, with occasional queues, especially during the vibrant summer season. Once in North Nicosia, wander through the enchanting old quarter, where history comes alive with magnificent landmarks like Girne Gate, a splendidly restored Ottoman-era gate, and Mevlevi Tekke, a fascinating museum housing 16 noble Mevlevi tombs. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage and allure of this unique quarter, where every step unveils the stories of the past.
Be Awed by the Magnificent Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque
Nestled in the charming city of Gazimagusa (Famagusta), the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque stands as a testament to the captivating fusion of architectural styles. Originally built as a Gothic church by the Lusignan community in the 14th century, this architectural gem underwent a remarkable transformation under Ottoman rule, becoming a splendid mosque. As you explore its grandeur, you’ll be mesmerized by the intricate details that showcase both its Christian and Islamic heritage. To add a touch of natural elegance, an African fig tree, planted back in 1298, graces the entrance, imbuing the surroundings with a serene ambiance. Marvel at this awe-inspiring monument, a true testament to the rich historical tapestry of North Cyprus.
Discover the Enchanting Beauty of Bellapais Abbey
No visit to North Cyprus is complete without immersing yourself in the captivating allure of Bellapais Abbey. Situated at the base of the majestic Besparmak mountains, this Gothic-style abbey beckons travelers with its timeless charm and rich history. Its fame has spread far and wide, thanks to the renowned British author Lawrence Durrell, who found solace and inspiration within its walls during his stay in the mid-20th century. In his book “Bitter Lemons,” Durrell painted a vivid picture of the abbey’s splendor, captivating readers with his lyrical prose. Today, you have the opportunity to step into Durrell’s world as his former residence opens its doors to curious visitors. Explore the abbey’s intricate architecture, stroll through its peaceful courtyards, and let the whispers of the past transport you to a bygone era. A journey to Bellapais Abbey is a journey to a place where history, literature, and natural beauty intertwine in perfect harmony.
Ascend to the Majestic Heights of Bufavento Castle
Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Bufavento Castle, the crowning jewel of the Besparmak mountains. As you make your way up the winding path, be prepared for a moderate climb that will test your determination. But fear not, for the rewards that await you at the summit are nothing short of extraordinary. Once you reach the pinnacle, a breathtaking panorama unfolds before your eyes, painting a picture of North Cyprus that words can hardly capture. From this vantage point, you can witness the expansive beauty of the island, as rolling hills, lush valleys, and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea stretch out as far as the eye can see. Let the cool mountain breeze kiss your cheeks as you soak in the serenity and grandeur that surrounds you. Bufavento Castle offers more than just a glimpse into history; it grants you a front-row seat to nature’s awe-inspiring spectacle.
Unveil the Treasures of St. Barnabas Monastery
Delve into the rich tapestry of history and spirituality as you step foot into the enchanting realm of St. Barnabas Monastery. Nestled near the ancient city of Salamis, this magnificent Christian Orthodox monastery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Saint Barnabas, a revered figure in the annals of Cyprus.
Immerse yourself in the serene ambience as you wander through the hallowed halls of the monastery, each corner whispering tales of devotion and faith. Admire the intricate architecture that adorns the church, a masterpiece of religious artistry. Step into the tranquil courtyard, where time seems to stand still, inviting quiet contemplation amidst the gentle rustle of leaves.
The monastery’s museum awaits, offering a captivating journey through the centuries. Behold the sacred relics and precious artifacts that bear witness to the saint’s profound influence on the island. Discover the ethereal beauty of the chapel, where the sacred remains of St. Barnabas find their eternal resting place, a sanctuary of reverence and tranquility.
As you explore the nooks and crannies of St. Barnabas Monastery, allow yourself to be transported to a bygone era, where spirituality intertwines with history, and the echoes of devotion resonate through time.
Embrace Serenity at Golden Beach
Escape to the tranquil oasis of Golden Beach, a picturesque haven nestled along the shores of the captivating Karpaz Peninsula. With its unspoiled beauty and idyllic charm, this 2-kilometer stretch of powdery golden sand invites you to unwind and bask in the soothing embrace of nature.
As you step onto the soft sands, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and listen to the gentle lullaby of the rolling waves. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, relishing the breathtaking vistas that unfold before your eyes. The crystal-clear waters beckon, tempting you to take a refreshing dip or immerse yourself in a moment of blissful tranquility.
Embrace the simplicity of this hidden gem, as there are no bustling crowds or intrusive development to disturb the serenity. Let the untouched beauty of Golden Beach wash away your worries and rejuvenate your spirit. Whether you seek a peaceful respite, a romantic escape, or simply a moment of solitude, this pristine paradise offers the perfect backdrop for your well-deserved relaxation.
So, leave behind the demands of daily life and surrender yourself to the gentle rhythm of nature at Golden Beach. Allow its unspoiled allure to soothe your soul and create cherished memories that will forever hold a special place in your heart.
Uncover History at Girne Castle (Kyrenia Castle)
Step back in time as you enter the magnificent Girne Castle, a captivating fortress that has withstood the test of time and bears witness to centuries of history. Located in the charming town of Girne (Kyrenia), this iconic landmark invites you on a journey of discovery and exploration.
As you walk through the castle’s ancient walls, you’ll be immersed in a world where the past comes alive. Marvel at the architectural marvels that showcase a blend of influences from Byzantine, Lusignan, and Venetian periods. The castle’s strategic location overlooking the shimmering Mediterranean Sea adds to its allure, offering panoramic views that will take your breath away.
Delve into the castle’s rich heritage through the fascinating permanent exhibition housed within its walls. One of its most remarkable treasures is the well-preserved shipwreck dating back to the 3rd century BC, a testament to the island’s maritime history and trade routes of ancient times. Take a closer look at this extraordinary artifact, marveling at its intricate details and imagining the journeys it once undertook.
As you explore the castle’s nooks and crannies, you’ll encounter hidden chambers, secret passageways, and ancient artifacts that whisper stories of the past. From the commanding towers to the enchanting courtyard, each step unveils a new layer of history waiting to be discovered.
Girne Castle is not just a monument frozen in time; it’s a vibrant testament to the resilience and spirit of the people who shaped Cyprus’s history. It stands as a reminder of the island’s rich cultural heritage and serves as a symbol of pride for the local community.
So, venture into the depths of Girne Castle, immerse yourself in its storied past, and let its timeless beauty leave an indelible mark on your journey through Cyprus. Prepare to be captivated, inspired, and transported to a bygone era where legends and history intertwine.
Immerse Yourself in the Splendor of Salamis
Step foot into the ancient city of Salamis and embark on a remarkable journey through time. Nestled near the vibrant city of Famagusta (Gazimagusa), this archaeological site unveils the captivating remnants of a once-thriving civilization that flourished during the Bronze Age.
As you wander through the majestic ruins, let your imagination transport you back to a bygone era. Marvel at the grandeur of the Roman Empire that once called Salamis home. Picture the bustling streets, adorned with magnificent temples, splendid theaters, and opulent villas that echoed the glory of the past.
The archaeological excavations carried out between 1952 and 1974 unveiled a treasure trove of historical artifacts and architectural marvels. Admire the intricate mosaics that grace the floors of ancient Roman villas, capturing scenes of mythology and everyday life. Stand in awe before the majestic theater, where audiences once gathered to witness captivating performances that brought stories to life.
Venture further into the site, and you’ll encounter the awe-inspiring gymnasium, the graceful columns of the gymnasium baths, and the impressive amphitheater that once resonated with the echoes of cheering crowds. Each step reveals a new facet of Salamis’s rich past, inviting you to explore and unravel its mysteries.
As you wander amidst the ancient ruins, take a moment to appreciate the serenity of the surroundings. Let the gentle breeze carry whispers of tales from the past, and feel a profound connection to the lives of those who walked these very streets centuries ago.
The ancient city of Salamis is not merely a collection of ruins; it’s a testament to human ingenuity, creativity, and resilience. It’s a place where history comes alive, offering a window into the cultural tapestry that shaped the island of Cyprus.
So, step back in time at Salamis, let the ancient stones speak to you, and allow yourself to be transported to a world steeped in history and wonder. Prepare to be enchanted, inspired, and humbled by the extraordinary legacy left behind by those who came before us.
Flights to North Cyprus
When embarking on your journey to North Cyprus, you have several options for reaching this captivating island. The most common route is through the Nicosia border control, where tourists typically fly into either Larnaca airport or Paphos airport, both located in the southern part of the island.
Larnaca airport, situated 51 kilometers (31.6 miles) away, offers a convenient entry point for travelers. It serves as a major hub, connecting North Cyprus to various international destinations. Paphos airport, located in the southwestern part of Cyprus, is another popular choice for visitors looking to explore North Cyprus.
For a more direct route, you can opt to fly directly to Ercan airport, which is the sole airport in North Cyprus. Located just 31 kilometers (19 miles) from Nicosia and 49 kilometers (31 miles) from Gazimagusa, Ercan airport provides easy access to these prominent cities. It’s important to note that flights to Ercan airport often involve a layover in Turkey, with Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, and Atlas Global offering connecting routes from Istanbul.
However, it’s essential to be aware of the unique circumstances surrounding Ercan airport. Due to the non-recognition of North Cyprus by some countries, entering through Ercan airport may be viewed as an illegal entry by certain authorities. It’s advisable to check the specific regulations and requirements of your home country before choosing this option.
Whether you decide to fly into Larnaca or Paphos airport or directly to Ercan airport, each entry point provides an opportunity to begin your North Cyprus adventure. From there, you can explore the hidden treasures, immerse yourself in the rich history, and indulge in the natural beauty that awaits you on this captivating island. Choose your preferred flight route, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey to North Cyprus.
Finding the Perfect Stay in North Cyprus: Hotels & Apartments
Choosing the right accommodation in North Cyprus is an important part of planning your trip, especially when it comes to staying along the stunning coastline. To help you find the best options that suit your budget, here’s a breakdown of lodging prices to guide you. For unbeatable deals and a wide range of accommodations, look no further than Holidayzer, your trusted travel partner.
Budget-Friendly: If you’re looking for affordable options, platforms like Airbnb offer a variety of choices, from private rooms to entire apartments, with prices averaging around €40-60 per night. This is a great way to save while enjoying the comforts of a home away from home.
Guesthouses and B&Bs: For a more personalized experience, consider staying at guesthouses or bed and breakfast establishments. With prices ranging from €40-60 per night, you can enjoy cozy accommodations and warm hospitality, often in charming locations.
Mid-Range Hotels: If you value comfort and convenience, mid-range hotels are an excellent choice. With prices typically ranging from €60-80 per night, you can expect a comfortable stay, well-appointed rooms, and a range of amenities to enhance your experience.
Upscale Hotels and Resorts: For those seeking a touch of luxury, North Cyprus offers upscale hotels and resorts that cater to discerning travelers. Prices for these accommodations start at around €150 per night and can go beyond, ensuring a lavish and indulgent stay.
While accommodation costs in Cyprus can vary, remember that you can balance your expenses by exploring other value-for-money aspects of your trip. Immerse yourself in the local attractions, sample delicious cuisine, and engage in unique cultural experiences that will create lasting memories.
Ready to plan your trip to North Cyprus? Look no further than Holidayzer.com, where you can discover the best accommodations for your needs. Our curated selection includes hotels, apartments, and vacation rentals, ensuring a tailored and unforgettable holiday experience. Our team of experts is dedicated to helping you find the perfect place to stay, ensuring your comfort and satisfaction. From budget-friendly options to luxurious resorts, we have a wide range of choices to cater to every traveler. Book your ideal accommodation in North Cyprus today through Holidayzer.com and make your holiday truly exceptional!