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Northern Cyprus Guide

Northern Cyprus, otherwise name Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It’s a partially recognized state that comprises the northeastern portion of the island of Cyprus. You can find more about this in my previous article

If you’re looking for a vacation where there’s beautiful beach with fair prices, comprises lots of historical places and also experience different culture, Northern Cyprus is perfect for you.

One week is enough to explore the place and enjoy every aspect of it. 

Northern Cyprus Kuzey Kıbrıs
My diving experience.. I’ve never been able to open my eyes in the water!!

Besides the wish of explore and learn more about this little land, your purpose to enjoy Northern Cyprus can be having some sun after missing it because you live in a northern country like Ireland or  a surprise vacation for your hubby .

Here we go with the top locations to visit:

1# Kyrenia District

Northern Cyprus
Kyrenia Harbour with the view of Troodos Mountains behind

Kyrenia Harbour

Kyrenia has existed since the 10th century BC and his castle has been built in 16th century by the Venetians. Being in a perfect location for lovers of sand beaches and the presence of many hotels makes of it the most hectic and live city among three cities in Northern Cyprus. You can have a walk around the harbor and visit the Kyrenia Castle located just beside it. Finally you can enjoy a perfect sunset on the beach taking something in a variety of bars and restaurants located on the seaside.

Northern Cyprus Famagusta
700 years old fig tree In front of the main entrance to the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque

Saint Hilarion Castle

The Saint Hilarion Castle lies on the Kyrenia mountain range. It was built there in the 10th century and was originally a monastery and it formed the defense of the island against Arab pirates raiding the coast. After 300 years of rule of Lusignans, Venetians took over in 15th century and it was dismantled. If you go to visit Saint Hilarion Castle in summer, cicadas are going to accompany you singing all together and creating a magic atmosphere between history and nature. 

Northern Cyprus Saint Hilarion Castle
Saint Hilarion Castle

Bellapais (Beylerbeyi)

Bellapais is a small, cute village among the trees in the Kyrenia District. The jewel of the village is Bellapais Abbey that now serves as a venue for concerts and lectures. In early summer it is also a venue for a local music festival.. 

The main building as it can be seen today was built during the rule of King Hugh III who was the King of Cyprus and King of Jarusalem in 13th century. By 1489 the Venetians had taken control of Cyprus. They shortened the Abbey’s name to “De la Pais” (Of Peace), which in turn became Bellapais (Beautiful land). 

Northern Cyprus
View from Bellapais Town

The ruin of the Abbey is at an altitude of 220m above sea level, and commands a long view down to Kyrenia and the Mediterranean sea. The site is also beautiful a museum which hosts a restaurant and a cafe.

Kuzey Kıbrıs Bellapais
Bellapais town and Bellapais Abbey

Beaches

Most of the beaches are in Kyrenia district. However you can find beautiful ones but rarer in Famagusta and Karpass as well. 

Water is Northern Cyprus (I assume same in South) is so clear, warm and clean. It has sandy beach which I like and the most importantly very virgin. There are no bars around nor chairs you can rent. You just enjoy the nature!

Alagadi Beach, Kyrenia
Alagadi Beach, Kyrenia

2# FAMAGUSTA DISTRICT

Famagusta City

Famagusta is another important historical city on the east of Cyprus. We can even say the most historical and ancient one. 

The city was founded around 274 BC. After the serious damage to Salamis by an earthquake, folk of Salamis located to this little fishing village. Later, as a result of the gradual evacuation of Salamis due to the Arab invasion, it developed into a small port.

During the medieval period (especially under of Genoa and Venice), Famagusta was the island’s most important port city and a gateway to trade, from where the Silk Road merchants carried their goods to Western Europe. This commercial activity turned Famagusta into a place where merchants and ship owners had lives of luxury. The belief that people’s wealth could be measured by the churches they built inspired these merchants to have churches built in varying styles. These churches, which still exist, were the reason Famagusta came to be known as “the district of churches”. 

Northern Cyprus - Kuzey Kıbrıs - Lala Mustafa Paşa
Converted church- Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque- Gazimagusa

Salamis Antique City

Salamis site was built in the eleven century BC by Achaeans who come from Greece and Anatolia. Then the city ruled by Assyrian, Persians, Egyptians and Roman Empire. Most of the ruins remain from Roman period. In this period the city got important role for commerce.  The city folk moved to the Magusa city because of the continuous earthquakes.

There’s beautiful beach just near the city. So while you’re getting information during your historical visit, you can treat your body at the same time!

Kuzey Kıbrıs - Salamis
Salamis Antique City

3# NICOSIA DISTRICT

Nicosia is cultural, economic and political capital of Cyprus. You can visit Nicosia in a couple of hours by walking. There’re 2 important structure you shouldn’t miss to see while you’re in Nicosia:

Great Inn (Büyük Han)

Great Inn is considered to be one of the finest buildings on the island. It was built by Ottomans in 1572. It became the first city prison under British administration. After spending most of the 1990s being restored, the inn has been revived as a thriving arts centre, consisting of several galleries and workshops.

Northern Cyprus Kuzey Kıbrıs Great Inn (Büyük Han)
Great Inn (Büyük Han)

Selimiye Mosque

Selimiye Mosque historically known as Cathedral of Saint Sophia, is a former Roman Catholic cathedral converted into a mosque. You can shop in one thousand years old cover market (bedesten) just located beside the Selimiye Mosque.

Northern Cyprus Kuzey Kıbrıs
Nicosia city center

4# KARPASS

Karpass  is a long, finger-like peninsula that is one of the most prominent geographical features of the island of Cyprus. It’s 3 hours distant from all other cities, so a bit far. But that’s the place where you can see famous Cypriot donkeys. The best way going Karpass is to stay one night in a bungalow on the sea side. Other worth to see thing is “the Golden beach” is located at this part of the island. 

This time we had to skip Karpass for the reason of not having one extra day to sleep. We don’t like to be in rush so we left it for the next time. At the end, Northern Cyprus is the baby of the Turkey!

Kuzey Kıbrıs - Girne Limanı -turist
Our Cyprus team 🙂

These are the all places I recommend to visit in Northern Cyprus.

Did I miss any? You can write in comment box below 🙂

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