A Week Holiday in North Cyprus

By: Izzet Zorlu

You notice the difference the moment you cross from south to north at the border crossing at Nicosia, or fly into Ercan airport in North Cyprus. A holiday in the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus (or TRNC) is about taking things slowly, relaxing into the pace of life in a country where eating lunch in an hour is definitely rushing things!

Nowhere is this more evident than in the elegant town of Kyrenia, known as Girne to the locals. This historic town boasts an impressive castle that overlooks one of the prettiest harbours in the Mediterranean, a legacy from the Venetians who invaded the island. Today, the harbour seems to know how wonderful it looks, with boats bobbing in picture-postcard perfection on the water. In south Cyprus, you’d be battling the crowds to even get near a table at the waterside. Here, just take your pick from the cafes and restaurants lining the harbour, confident that your lunch will be good, reasonably priced and served with a Turkish Cypriot smile. Or simply take in the view with a Turkish coffee and an energy-restoring sticky-sweet pastry such as baklava. 

Venture to the west of Kyrenia, and you’ll find golden beaches topped with resort hotels, offering everything from scuba diving to simply lying under a parasol, a local Ephes lager at your elbow! Kids will love the range of activities on offer, and you’ll love the clean sand and relaxed atmosphere.

For the adrenelin junkie, thrills are not far away. The scuba diving in North Cyprus is stunning, and an ideal place to learn if you’ve never ventured beneath the waves before, as you learn in shallow warm seas safe from any tides.

If that all sounds too wet, get a North Cyprus car hire and head for the Kyrenia Mountains, where the views are stunning and the air clean. (A 4x4 car is best for driving the winding roads and tracks.) Legend says how a great hero leapt from the mainland to North Cyprus, and where his fingers grasped the earth, these Five Finger Mountains were made. The adventure-seeker can even paraglide from the ruins of Crusader castles on the craggy cliffs, right down to the coast, a stunning experience.

Let’s face it, you’re probably going to need another week in your North Cyprus holiday to even start exploring the rest of this country! You can watch baby sea turtles struggle to the sea on the beaches of the wild and rugged Karpas Peninsula, green even when the summer sun has turned the rest of North Cyprus golden brown. You could walk in the footsteps of Greeks and Romans at the ancient ruins of Salamis, and then cool off with a refreshing dip in the sea from the ruin’s own beach. Or walk the impressive walls of Famagusta, which withstood Ottoman invaders for eight months.

Or you could simply sit back and enjoy the sun on your North Cyprus hotel terrace, or flop in the pool before making the most important decision of all; another beer or a snooze? The choice is yours in sunny North Cyprus; after all, there’s no rushFeature Articles, is there?

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