Why Choose Kyrenia North Cyprus for your Summer Holiday?

by : Izzet Zorlu

North Cyprus is the unspoilt face of the Mediterranean, a country where the sun shines for 300 days a year and the local people are genuinely pleased to welcome you to their homeland. In North Cyprus you can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of stunning beaches or lofty mountains, ancient ruins or medieval cites, or enjoy the thrill of watersports, scuba diving or even paragliding. Choose the town of Kyrenia as your base, and you’ll be staying in the prettiest town in North Cyprus, and it’s an ideal base for exploring this fascinating and beautiful country.

Kyrenia, or Girne as the locals call it, is centred around its almost impossibly perfect Venetian harbour. During the day, café and restaurant waiters invite you to sit and relax over a coffee and baklava, or a leisurely lunch of fish, fresh from the sea that laps the harbour walls. After an afternoon of browsing the shops in the medieval streets that lead away from the harbour into the old town, you’ll probably want to return here for a well-earned dinner too. Try the Carob Restaurant, an old 19th century carob bean warehouses now converted into an elegant restaurant. Dining on their rooftop terrace is an absolute must for romantics and lovers of great sunsets!

Explore the streets and you’ll discover the local restaurants that offer excellent Turkish Cypriot menus at lower prices than you’ll find around the harbour. The owners of the famous Niazi’s Restaurant in Kyrenia claim to have created the ‘full kebeb’, a belly-busting meal of various charcoal grilled kebabs with accompanying meze dishes. Turkish Cypriots reckon it takes a really hungry person to actually finish a kebab meal at Niazi's!

Luckily, Kyrenia is such an interesting town, you’ll soon work up an appetite for all this good food! Kyrenia Castle stands guard over the harbour, and the views from its battlements are well worth the climb through its fortified gates and ramps. The castle also houses the fascinating Shipwreck Museum, containing one of the oldest shipwrecks ever recovered. Climb up the hill and away from the sea, and you may here the calls to prayer from the Djafer Pasa mosque, built in 1570. Here you are literally walking on history; under your feet the ground is honeycombed with miles of catacombs, cut from the limestone rock

Shopping in the maze of streets behind the harbour is rewarding, simply because you never know quite what you might find! North Cyprus is known for its unique and historic lacework, basketware – and excellent brandy. It’s worth seeking out the Lusignan Art and Cafe Bar, where you can buy delicate Cypriot wood carvings in the art gallery, or quench your thirst with a refreshing lemonade made by the owner's mother on the premises.

Kyrenia is surrounded by some of the best beaches in North Cyprus, where golden sands dip into shallow waters, ideal for sunworshippers and watersport fans alike. From Kyrenia, you can easily visit some of North Cyprus’ most famous sights. Just a short drive away is the beautiful village of Bellapais and its famous ruined Augustinian abbey, immortalized in the author Lawrence Durrell’s book "Bitter Lemons". The village square is a lovely place to stop and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, but don’t sit for too long under the Tree of Idleness or you may never get up again!

Choose Kyrenia in North Cyprus for your summer holiday and you’ll enjoy the best the Mediterranean has to offer, without the hassle, high costs or high-rise buildings of other summer sunshine resorts!