North Cyprus Travel Guide

North Cyprus Travel Guide

Northern Cyprus is one of those holiday destinations that is something of a best-kept secret.  The island was formerly a British colony but over the years has seen political wrangling that has resulted in this beautiful, unspoilt area of the Mediterranean now being effectively Turkish.  The Turkish connection has a distinct advantage in that the currency of Northern Cyprus is Turkish Lira so there’s no Euro to contend with, making it a cheaper option when it comes to planning holiday budgets.  It has also meant that for many years North Cyprus wasn’t considered a traditional holiday destination so it is still largely untouched by mass tourism.  Although get in there quickly, the area has so much to offer with its warm, clear seas and deserted beaches, that this is not likely to last long!

Getting to North Cyprus is really very simple.  Although most flights going directly to the northern half of the island go via Turkey, this tends to be just an hour stopover and very little hassle for the thousands of holidaymakers who do it every year.  Alternatively, you can reach the island by boat by taking a ferry or a sea bus from Tasucu or Mersin on Turkey’s south east coast.  Once you get to the island you will find yourself in an area of beautiful, dramatic coastlines, sandy beaches and crystal clear seas that are perfect for sunbathing.  Weather-wise, North Cyprus is hot in summer with July and August seeing temperatures that can reach 35 – 40 degrees C.  There are cloudless skies most of the way through the summer, but there’s also a cooling sea breeze to stop the temperature becoming stifling.  During the coldest months of the year, temperatures can drop as low as 7 degrees C but the whole island enjoys a large number of sunshine hours and even in January North Cyprus gets six hours of bright sunshine per day.

Kyrenia is one of the most popular North Cyprus destinations and with its spectacular views of the Five Finger Mountain range, cobbled winding streets and beautiful old harbour, it’s not hard to see why.  To the east of Kyrenia you will find long, sandy beaches and an area that is much less developed.  There’s a large, international standard golf course, Buffavento Castle, as well as the opportunity to see the amazing Carretta turtles that come to lay their eggs in June and hatch them during August.  To the west of Kyrenia lies the more developed side of the town, with some of the best beaches on the island offering a range of watersports and an excellent selection of restaurants and nightlife.

Famagusta is another popular spot in North Cyprus, best known for its long white sandy beaches and the glimpse at times gone by that the town has to offer.  The city was established in the 14th century so if you’re looking for a taste of history on your summer holiday, you will find it here in spades.  Famagusta’s old town is now host to a range of patisserie’s shops and restaurants, alongside the historic city walls and monuments, or you can make your way to the nearby fishing village of Bogaz, which has some of the best fish on the island.

Accommodation in North Cyprus is plentiful and there is a wide range of options for every kind of holidaymaker.  From the family-run Long Beach Hotel in Famagusta, to the luxurious Kantara Palace Hotel & Spa just outside Kyrenia, the area has a range of accommodation to suit most budgets.

Food is another reason North Cyprus has become such a popular holiday destination.  Fresh fish and kebabs are served up alongside international cuisine and locally grown vegetables, figs, oranges, watermelons and lemons fill many of the dishes.  Whilst North Cyprus hasn’t been on the tourist track for as long as some other destinations in the Mediterranean, there’s certainly no shortage of things to do.  If you get bored of the beautiful beaches, there are watersports, fishing, go carting, trekking, paragliding and golf – more than enough to ensure a fun filled summer holiday!