Quick Guide to Northern Cyprus
The Turkish half of the island, Northern Cyprus is a beautiful destination brimming with attractive mosques like the Selimiye, amazing wildlife at Turtle Beach and delicious indigenous cuisine. Characterised by a rugged coastline where miles of golden sand stretch into the distance, this country has scenic walks, watersports and a vast history to share with its visitors. Many choose to spend their time at popular resorts like Kyrenia and Famagusta, both of which boast an array of cheap Northern Cyprus hotels.
Visitors come to Northern Cyprus for its laid-back feel, and to escape the crowds of tourists that tend to inhabit the south year-round. It's easier here to find a deserted beach, and for true peace and quiet the mountainous region of the north is never far away.
The north is also home to some of the island's most important historic buildings, including several castles, and plenty of Ottoman architecture. It's got a big casino culture as well, so those who like a flutter will feel right at home!
Fab holidays for:
Beaches, castles, mountains
Did you know?
The largest flag in the world can be found painted on Northern Cyprus's Kyrenia Mountains!
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Top Things to Do in Northern Cyprus
Cyprus has a long and fascinating history, dating back to Paleolithic times. Its Crusader/Byzantine castles are three of the most popular destinations. St Hilarion and Buffavento castles are both spectacular, while Kantara Castle is the best-preserved of the three. There's also plenty of evidence of Ottoman architecture on the island's north, testament to its proximity to Turkey. Speaking of history, two of the more fascinating sites in Northern Cyprus are its rock-cut tombs in the area of Kyrenia. With one in Canbulat Sokak, dating back to around 400AD, and another to be found just past the Liman Casino, they are an intriguing sight, even despite the damage the years have wreaked upon them.
Of course, it would be silly to visit Northern Cyprus without also visiting a beach. Alagadi (or Turtle) Beach is famous for its loggerhead turtles. Acapulco Beach is great for a day out with all the mod-cons, while Horseshoe Bay is a pebbled beach popular for diving and snorkelling. Karakum and Lara beaches are great for getting away from it all, far from the madding crowds.
Other pastimes in Northern Cyprus involve everything from visiting its Turkish baths to go-karting, paintballing and scuba diving!
How to Get to Northern Cyprus
It's easy to gain entry to Northern Cyprus, and EU citizens don't need a visa beforehand. You can fly there direct from London, and indirect from other UK airports like Birmingham. The more relaxed border controls between the two halves of the island now mean that you can fly to Cyprus and cross the border to the North. While you need to ensure you have the right paperwork sorted out ahead of time (you will need Northern Cypriot car insurance if you are driving, for example), you should breeze across the border with little trouble.
Where to Stay in Northern Cyprus
Most of the hotels in Nicosia, the capital of Northern Cyprus, are either end of the price spectrum, and are either cheap B&Bs and hostels of luxurious hotels. The pick of the cheaper options is the Antalya Pansiyonu, which offers comfortable rooms at extremely competitive rates, while if you want to splash out, the Golden Tulip, Merit and Gonyeli Kent are great options. In the rural areas, there are plenty of small B&Bs and guesthouses, while the coastal resorts offer a range of hotel options, so whatever you are after, you will find it in Northern Cyprus.
When to go to Northern Cyprus
With 300 days of sunshine during an average year, there's really no bad time to visit Northern Cyprus! If you're not looking for a beach holiday, winter could be your best bet. The temperatures can get quite low (though nowhere near as low as those in the UK!), but it's the cheapest time of year to visit. The beginning of spring and end of autumn are both warm, and offer cheaper prices than the peak season of late spring, early autumn and summer!
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