Northern Cyprus, also known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is a fascinating region located on the northern part of the island of Cyprus. With its rich history, beautiful coastline, and charming towns, it offers a unique blend of cultural experiences and natural beauty. Here are some of the best places to visit in Northern Cyprus, along with information on how to reach there and the best time to visit:
Kyrenia: Kyrenia, also known as Girne, is a picturesque harbor town renowned for its charming Old Town and stunning Venetian-era Kyrenia Castle. Explore the narrow streets lined with traditional houses, browse through local shops, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the harbor area. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Shipwreck Museum, which houses the remains of a 4th-century BC Greek merchant ship.
Famagusta: Famagusta, or Gazimağusa, is a historic city with an impressive medieval city wall that surrounds its Old Town. The highlight of Famagusta is the ghost town of Varosha, once a popular tourist destination, now frozen in time after the events of 1974. Explore the narrow streets and visit significant landmarks such as the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque, which was formerly the St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Bellapais Abbey: Located near Kyrenia, Bellapais Abbey is a peaceful and picturesque monastery dating back to the 13th century. Take a stroll through its serene gardens, admire the stunning views of the coastline, and visit the beautiful Abbey Church. The abbey also hosts classical music concerts, adding to its unique ambiance.
Karpas Peninsula: The Karpas Peninsula is a remote and unspoiled region in Northern Cyprus known for its pristine beaches and diverse wildlife. Explore the golden sandy beaches, encounter wild donkeys in their natural habitat, and visit the Apostolos Andreas Monastery, an important religious site.
The best time to visit Northern Cyprus is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) months. The weather during these seasons is pleasantly warm, allowing for comfortable exploration of the sights without the peak summer crowds. Summers can be hot and dry, with temperatures reaching their peak in July and August.
To reach Northern Cyprus, the most common way is to fly to Ercan International Airport (ECN), located near the capital city, Nicosia. However, it’s important to note that direct international flights to Ercan Airport may have limited availability due to political considerations. As an alternative, you can fly to Larnaca International Airport (LCA) in the Republic of Cyprus and then travel overland to Northern Cyprus through border crossings.
Once in Northern Cyprus, renting a car is a popular option for exploring the region. The road network is well-developed, and driving allows for flexibility and easy access to various attractions. Alternatively, there are public buses and shared taxis (called dolmuş) that operate between major towns and tourist sites.
In conclusion, Northern Cyprus offers a unique travel experience with its rich history, charming towns, and beautiful landscapes. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets of Kyrenia, discovering the ghost town of Famagusta, or relaxing on the pristine beaches of the Karpas Peninsula, Northern Cyprus has something to offer every traveler. Plan your visit during the spring or autumn for pleasant weather and consider your transportation options to reach this captivating region.