Northern Cyprus - Holidays in the North - Flights - Property
Northern Cyprus Flag
North Cyprus has a historic appeal that has long been lost in the busy resorts and cities of the south. In fact, much of the quiet charm that drew Lawrence Durrell here in the fifties is still tangible today. Northern Cyprus remains endearingly ageless and if you listen carefully, you can still hear the creak of donkey carts beneath the rumble of four-wheel-drives. The air is heavy with the perfume of jasmine, hibiscus and fig and the land is a patchwork of citrus orchards, olive groves and manicured vineyards. Northern Cyprus hasn’t entirely escaped the attentions of property developers (and there are some great five-star hotels), but there has been nothing like the construction frenzy that has concreted over much of the south coast.
Bellapais - Famagusta - Lapta - Kyrenia - Kythera - Salamis
North Cyprus’ appeal lies in the Gothic castles that stud the mountain peaks, the Venetian fortifications which guard long-abandoned ports and the call to prayer which echoes out as it has done for hundreds of years. The melancholy wreckage of a thousand imperial dreams litters the landscape; Byzantine basilicas and abandoned amphitheatres crumble along the coast and the tombs of ancient kings yawn open; their treasures looted long ago. You can wander the wild courtyards of Famagusta, the sand-shrouded ruins of Salamis and the ruined abbey at Bellapais and afterwards watch the sun setting over a landscape that has altered little since the survivors of Troy washed up on its rocky shores.
For anyone wanting to escape the UK’s grizzly winters, the North offers a perfect refuge. In the summer months the glassy waters shimmer and the sun beats down unhampered by cloud, but we think North Cyprus is best visited in spring, when the bloom of wildflower coats the hills and fields and the air is still cool. After sunset tables piled high with mouth-watering meze spill out of restaurants and conversations get increasingly animated with every glass of raki.
Other attractions in the area include visiting the Kantara Castle, found at the Eastern edge of Kyrenia, the Royal Tombs where you will find over one hundred tombs from the seventh and eighth centuries BC, St Hilarion Castle where you can get some incredible views, and of course the Karpasia Peninsula for the nature-lovers among us. While there are many ruins and ancient places to spend your time in Cyprus, one you will surely not want to miss is the gothic remains of Old Famagusta that became well known after Shakespeare used it as a setting for his play Othello. So for those keen on literature, the Othello Tower is a must see while in Northern Cyprus.
The literal translation of the Cypriot word for hospitality kopiaste is ‘sit down with us and share’ - and there is certainly plenty of opportunity for doing so in the North of Cyprus. The people are friendly and welcoming and it won’t be long before you find yourself sharing a cup of coffee or a glass of apple tea with a local shop owner. A couple of weeks will give you a good flavour of the place, but (if like many visitors before you) the allure of the island proves strong; you could find yourself returning year after year after year.