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Museums in Cyprus

Museums

Museums in Nortn Cyprus are generally extremely inexpensive to visit and really well worth doing so. They represent a staggering array of subjects, from displays of ancient archaeological remains to modern day documentary evidence of the recent past of North Cyprus. If you want to leave Cyprus more educated about its rich history and culture than when you arrived, don't miss the chance to select from this list.

Kyrenia (Girne)

-The Kyrenia Museum Of Folk Art
This museum overlooks Kyrenia Harbour and was opened in 1974. It is a fine example of a traditional Cypriot home. Such buildings traditionally had two floors â with their main entrances opening onto the harbour. Traditional Cypriot items are on display. On the ground floor, there are items such as oil-mill, plough, agricultural instruments, large earthenware fan, and workbench. In the upper floor there are examples of specially selected hand worked items: (including crochet work, materials embroidered with coloured or silver threads, bedspreads, table covers, head scarves, pillow cases, woollen socks, bowls etc.)
-The Shipwreck Museum (inside Kyrenia Castle)
This is the oldest shipwreck on display anywhere in the world. The sunken ship exhibited in this castle museum was built in 389 BC and was 80 years old when it met its demise! About 400 Amphoras (ancient wine vessels), 29 millstones and preserved food including almonds were found in this shipwreck that was thought to be a cargo ship from the Hellenistic period following the death of Alexander The Great. Around 300 pieces of lead found inside the ship show us that the ship was also used for fishing.It was found 1.5 km from Kyrenia, at depth of 18 m and was found by sponge fisherman in 1965. Experts from Pennsylvania University were involved in the salvage operation.

The Icon Museum

The former Greek Orthodox church of Archangelos Mikhael now houses the Kyrenia icon museum, which is located on the West side of the harbour. The large collection on three levels offers an assortment of 17th to 19th century examples, rescued from unspecified churches in the district.

The church was built in 1860, and its bell tower, which can be seen from all over Kyrenia, added about 25 years later. The church was restored, and opened as an icon museum in 1990.

This ancient form of religious art used to be seen in churches all over Cyprus, and a trip to the icon museum gives a good insight into the skill and craftsmanship of their creators. Sadly, many churches were looted of their icons after 1974, and the icons sold on the international black market for religious art. It is estimated that after 1974, over 20,000 icons and dozens of frescoes were taken from North Cyprus churches by unscrupulous looters and sold on the international art market.

The Icon Museum preserves local icons that were saved, as well as those which have been reclaimed from abroad after this looting, and it is important that these works of art remain protected in their homeland of North Cyprus for future generations to enjoy.

Famagusta (Gazimaguza)

-The Canbulat Tomb & Museum
As a place of pilgrimage for Turks, this tomb ranks second in Cyprus only to the shrine of Hala Sultan Tekke at Larnaca.
Canbulat the Bey (a provincial governor in the Ottoman empire), came to Cyprus with the conquering Ottoman troops in the 16th Century. As he was extremely successful during the capture of Nicosia, he was appointed to the Ottoman force which laid siege to Famagusta, then under the control of the Venetians.

Initially, the Ottomans tried to dig under the walls, but the Venetians blasted the tunnels, causing their collapse. It is also said that the Venetians placed sharp blades on a turning wheel at the entrance to the bastion to ensure that any attack there would lead the attacker to be cut to pieces.

Legend has it, that in order to stop the wheel and allow the Ottomans through the castle entrance, Canbulat rode his horse into the wheel when allegedly his head was cut off, and he undaunted continued to fight for the next three days with his head under his arm! This apparently motivated the Ottomans to continue the fight and take the castle. In fact, historians believe that what actually went in to the rotating wheel to stop it were simply bales of wool. The date of his actual death is unknown, but there is documentary evidence that he was still alive in March 1572.

Canbulat's tomb was placed in the passageway of the bastion, the name of which was changed from Arsenal to Canbulat in his honour. Supposedly a fig tree grew up alongside his tomb, the fruits of which promoted fertility in any woman who ate them. The building was restored in 1968 and the front section was turned into an Ethnographic and Archaelogical museum.

-The Dungeon And Museum Of Namik Kemal
Known as the Shakespeare of Turkish literature, the writings of Namik Kemal are primarily famous in Cyprus as a source of inspiration for Kemal Ataturk â founder of modern Turkey. Namik Kemal spent 38 months of his life in this building, which is now a museum and located in a corner of the ruined Venetian Palace in Famagusta.
Namik Kemal was born in 1840 near Istanbul. From an aristocratic family, he was educated privately, and became a distinguished writer. However his political opinions upset the establishment of the day and in 1867 he and some colleagues fled to London, moving later to Paris and Vienna. He was allowed to return to Istanbul in 1871, but his play Vatan Yahut Silistre was the last straw for the government (as it seemed to promote nationalism and liberalism at a sensitive political period) and he was eventually exiled to Cyprus in 1873 â being housed in the dungeon in question.
Although described as a dungeon, it is not underground, although is still very bleak. In 1876, Namik Kemal was pardoned, and he returned to Istanbul. However, he continued to suffer a form of exile, being appointed to government posts in the distant islands of Lesbos, then Rhodes, and finally Chios. He continued his writings and died on the 2nd December 1888 in Chios. The two storied building was opened as a small museum in 1993

Salamis Area

-The St. Barnabas Icon & Archeology Museum
Many of those people who live in North Cyprus have no idea that this Church marks the site of the burial place of St. Barnabas, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Barnabas was actually born in Cyprus, near to the site of this Church â now an Icon and Archaeology Museum but still a very sacred site to Orthodox and other Christians.

In 45AD Barnabas returned to his birthplace of Cyprus on a missionary journey, accompanied by his cousin and follower John Mark, and by St, Paul. They managed to impress the Roman governor of the island, Sergius Paulus, to such an extent that he adopted the faith. Cyprus, therefore, became the first country in the world with a Christian ruler.
During a second visit to the island in 75AD, Barnabas was arrested and imprisoned in a Salamis synagogue. The same night, a mob of Syrians stoned him to death. His remains were wrapped in a sheet and hidden in some marshland, prior to being disposed at sea. However, John Mark and some converted slaves from the local temple retrieved Barnabas' remains. They secretly buried them in a tomb beneath a carob tree to the west of Salamis, John Mark placing a copy of Mathew's Gospel on his cousins chest.

In 477AD, Bishop Anthemios had a dream in which he saw the location of the long lost grave. After his dream, the Bishop ordered the opening of the tomb. Amazingly they found a body, which was identified as Barnabas by the Gospel of St. Mathew lying on his chest.

The building that we see today dates from the 1750s. Once the centre of the Cyprus Orthodox church, the monastery is still in good condition. Outside the church there is a courtyard, surrounded on three sides by buildings that once housed the monks and pilgrims coming to pray at the monastery.

In 1991, a restoration project was started. The church has been restored and has been turned into a more comprehensive icon museum with the addition of new icons. The garden was redone, and the rooms of the monastery have become an archaeological museum. The monastery of St Barnabas is very important to the Orthodox Church, and is considered a place of pilgrimage. The opening of the border has seen a vast increase in the numbers of visitors to the site, and there are frequent church services held there. June 11th is the saints day, and a special mass and festival was held here till the island was divided in 1974. People would come to the monastery to hear readings from the life of the saint. After a gap of 31 years, this event was reinstated in 2005.

On most days, there is a guide present who will give free guided tours of the monastery and museum.
-Dr Fazil Kucuk Museum
Dr Kucuk was a practicing medical doctor who, on independence, was elected vice president of the new Republic of Cyprus. The museum is in Dr Kucuks former home and office, and is located in Kyrenia Avenue. The museum was opened in1997 on Dr Kucuks birthdate. It is the first private museum in North Cyprus, and was created with contributions from his family.

There are two main areas in the museum. In the study, all the books and belongings used by Dr Kucuk up to his death are displayed. The clinic and pharmacy houses the original furniture used in the patients waiting and treatment room.
The museum is small, and has a dual function as a research library. Consequently the door is frequently closed. This, however, does not necessarily mean the museum is not open and it is worth trying the door.

-The Museum of Barbarism

This museum will only be of relevance to those who take a special interest in the history of the war in 1974 and the events which predated it. Be warned, the exhibits are graphic, and you will need a strong constitution to view them. There is a memorial erected in the garden of the house which is as far as some visitors go, and we hope that the time will soon come when museums such as this (on both sides of the divide) can be closed, and we can delete this entry from the web site.
This museum has been included on this site as since 1974, the south of the Island has been giving the impression that up until then everything was peaceful, and that the liberation Turkey prompted one-sided atrocities. Indeed there are many museums in the south doing precisely this.

However,most people seem to forget that for a number of years, there was effectively a civil war in Cyprus, not helped by a virtually unworkable constitution on independence in 1960. It comes as a surprise that the division of Nicosia into Greek and Turkish areas predates 1974 by many years. In the early 1960s there was effectively ethnic cleansing of the Turkish Cypriots who were encouraged to move into their own areas. Sporadic violence by one faction against another was rife, but came to a head over Christmas 1963.

On the 24th December, Greek Cypriot irregulars forcibly entered the house of Dr Ilhan, who was a Major in the Turkish army, and was on duty that night. The Doctors wife, three children and a neighbour were killed by machine gun fire, and 6 neighbours were seriously injured. The house remains almost as it was found that Christmas.

This is by far the most disturbing museum on the island. The inside of the bathroom where the murders took place was left intact, with captions explaining that the spots on the walls are the actual blood of the four victims. In the other rooms are photographs of other victims of ethnic violence over the years.

All of this was reported in The London Times on the 27th December 1963.

-The Lapidary Museum
The Lapidary Museum is a 15th Century, stone-built, two storey Venetian building, to the east of the Selimiye mosque. It was previously used as guesthouse for pilgrims and travellers â having been initially sited in its courtyard.

During British colonial rule it was known as the Jeffrey Museum. It contains many interesting works of stone and marble. These architectural pieces include insignias, tombs and columns dating from medieval times.

A unique carved stone window, in a Gothic style, with elegant tracery of a style common to cathedrals in the 15th century, now stands opposite the main entrance to the museum. This was moved from the Lusignan Palace in Sarayonu Square, when the British demolished it in 1901 to build the present Law Courts. Sadly, this is the only trace remaining of this Lusignan palace.

Other special features in the museum are a sarcophagus belonging to the Dampierre family, the tombstone of Adam of Antioch, and a marble lion of St Mark, the symbol of the Venetians.. The museum was refurbished and opened to visitors in 2003.

-National Struggle Museum
The museum, which is about 200m east of the Kyrenia Gate, was opened in 1989. Its purpose is to remember and teach about the struggles undertaken by Turkish Cypriots from 1878 to the present day.

The first area of the museum covers the period from 1878 to 1955. 1878, when the British took over the island is generally considered to be the start of the Turkish Cypriot struggle. However very little information survives from that period.

The second area covers the period from 1955 to 1974. In 1955, the Greek General Grivas, who had been sent to the island in 1953 to start preparation for Enosis, founded the terrorist organization EOKA. His stated aim was twofold. Firstly to make the British leave the island. Secondly to eliminate the Turks and annex the island to Greece.

The period from 1955 to independence in 1960 was marked by considerable violence, which escalated, coming to a head in December 1963. This prompted the British to set up a buffer zone to try and stop the fighting. This was not particularly successful, and for the next ten years the Turkish Cypriots were gradually moved out of mixed areas into their own enclaves. In this section of the museum you will see a display of hand-made weapons used by the Turkish Resistance Organization (T.M.T.) during the underground years. Also found in this section are portraits depicting those years and the original broadcasting apparatus used by Radio Bayrak to broadcast during the 1963 incidents.

A Greek supported attempted coup in 1974 prompted the intervention of Turkish forces to protect the Turkish Cypriots.
The third part of the museum covers the period from 1974. In this section are exhibited the more advanced weapons used by the Turkish Cypriots between 1964-1974, weapons used by Greeks against Turkish Cypriots and portraits vividly depicting those years.

In the display cases of the fourth section can be seen the case in which the plans for the Peace Operation were carried and some belongings retrieved from the Greek Contingent Regiment. In the middle of this section are displayed the banners and emblems of the 10 Standard Bearers.

To the east of the museum are found three domestic-made armoured personnel carriers and to the west a large artillery cannon.

The museum is open to the public, but as it is entered via a military area, entry is only allowed on production of photographic identity.

-The Mevlevi Tekke and Museum of the Whirling Dervishes
Built in the 17th Century, the Mevlevi Tekke in Lefkosa was an important cultural centre of the Ottoman era in Cyprus. It is situated within the walled city, south of the Kyrenia gate on the main street leading to Ataturk Square. It is distinguished by 6 golden domes surmounting a rectangular building.

The Mevlevi order was founded by the famous mystical poet Rumi. His mystical approach to Islam spread throughout the entire Islamic world. His teachings emphasised the individual souls separation from God during earthly existence, and the power of Divine Love to draw it back to the infinite on death. Rumi stressed music and dance as an expression of this mutual love and yearning, and the Mevlevi order became famous over the centuries for its whirling ceremony. In Cyprus, the Lefkosa Mevlevihane was the centre for such a practice.

Sadly, the Whirling Dervish ceremonies were closed by decree in Turkey in 1925 but the British rule in Cyprus allowed them to continue until 1954. since then, the building has been used initially as a hostel for Turkish children under care, then as the Cyprus Turkish Museum from 1963, exhibiting calligraphy, imperial edicts and weapons as well as costumes of Mevlevi dervishes and tombstones. What remains of the original Tekke is the semahane, where the dervishes performed their dance, and the tombs of the sheiks.

Now more latterly, after extensive repairs to the semahane and the tombs of the sheiks, the Mevlevi Museum was formally opened on the 17th December 2002, with dervishes whirling once again after an interval of over 40 years. This date was the anniversary of the death of Rumi, and as part of the Turkish Cypriot heritage, this ceremony will be performed every year around the 17th December.

Guzelyurt

-Guzelyurt Archaeology and Nature Museum
The current museum building, in the centre of the old market town of Guzelyurt, houses the important items of cultural and archaeological interest found throughout Cyprus and the area. The Nature section situated on the lower floor displays a taxidermy collection of animals, consisting of birds, snakes, foxes, lambs and tortoise etc. which are displayed for educational purposes. The upper floor of the museum, houses the fascinating Archeology Section containing many rare items. The pieces are displayed in chronological order. In the corner of the first room, there is a display of material cultural remains belonging to the Neolithic era, the people the Neolithic era being the first known inhabitants of Cyprus. In this room there are also displays from the Bronze Age (old ages, middle ages and late ages). In the second and third rooms there is an artificial display from the Tunba Tu Skuru settlement. The remaining two rooms of the museum hold findings belonging to the Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. The most interesting finding in the museum is the Efes Artemis sculpture, found near the Salamis area.

Iskele (Karpaz)

-The Icon Museum of Iskele
The museum can be found on the road out of Iskele, heading towards Gecitkale.
This is the main church of the village of Iskele. It was built in the 12th century as a single-aisled, domed church with arched recesses to its side walls. This is a common design in Cyprus for churches of that period. The church was completely restored in 1804.

Most of the 12th century wall paintings have been preserved, restoration starting in 1966. This restoration led to further discoveries in 1967. The Virgin Mary in the apse is a 15th century re-painting, but the Ascension in the vault before it is a mid 12th century composition executed in the style of the time. The paintings in the arch around the south recess are also from the 12th century.

Perhaps the most significant painting is of Christ Pandokrator, which is in the dome. Here you can see a frowning Christ avert his gaze towards a surrounding inscription identifying Him as Overseer of all while angels on bended knees worship all round him.

As well as these wall paintings, which in themselves are rare examples of this style of art, icons from this church and from other parts of North Cyprus are on display.

Nightlife

I'm happy to report that despite North Cyprus's quiet and tranquil image there are still plenty of places to go to be wined, dined, and entertained and where you can join in and sing, dance or just while away the night with a glass in hand.

Pubs and Bars

Just like there is a restaurant in North Cyprus for every night of the year, so it seems there is a bar for every conceivable occasion! From late night bars where you can sit and wallow in beautiful music, to sea front and beach or harbour side bars where you can see and be seen! In fact, the harbour in Kyrenia is an excellent place to start. In the long heady summer months anyone who's anyone and all the rest of us besides like to meander along the pretty horseshoe shaped harbour taking in the sights and sounds and the eclectic mix of eastern and western culture.

If you choose to sit at any one of the bars or restaurants youâ ll be made to feel most welcome by your congenial and honest hosts. Young girls beware, the harbour side waiters love a pretty face! Thoroughly recommended are Cafe 34 and Boaters Cafe...but that does not mean that when it comes to nightlife in North Cyprus you should avoid any of the venues on the harbour in Kyrenia - quite the contrary...each offers something different to appeal to differing tastes. You have big screen TV bars, quiet cafes, fresh young and lively venues and comfortable restaurants all happily doing business side by side.

Night Jar and Esatto offer something unique venue wise. Night Jar is a well decorated, well run late night cellar bar...opening at 9 in the evening you can sit and enjoy a game of pool or a dance to the sometimes live music until the early hours. Esatto is an open air venue with a river running through it. Its brilliantly located on the main street up from the Ataturk statue on the sea front in Kyrenia for views of passers by and it serves good food and drink day and night.

For good quality food (though not for those on a diet!) and a variety of entertainment thereâ s Roxanne's which is part of The Rocks Hotel and where they serve a fine mix of good strong cocktails too! Check out the music memorabilia that adorns the walls there!

If youâ re more of a pub person consider the Castle Pub in Karaoglanoglu for Sky sports and good pub grub, the Villa Swallow in Kyrenia for much the same but with some live music, Karaoke on Fridays and a quiz on Thursdays. Alternatively there are the Cactus Bar or Arc to mention but two more in Kyrenia, and every single hotel and holiday village on the island has a bar that welcomes residents and non residents alike.

Clubs

In Kyrenia there's the excellent Night Park - located incongruously or cleverly (you decide) right next to the huge main car park right in the centre of Kyrenia. Often featuring the best local DJ talent it's simply the venue where everyone ends up to dance the night away if they haven't already headed out to one of the hotel nightclubs - consider Jasmine Court for example. Or if you want night time beach side entertainment Escape Beach Club and Club Acapulco have stunning private beaches, and a fantastic summer club scene.

Music

One of the best venues for live music is La Habanera - especially on a Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night when you can seriously chill out to some of the best live jazz music on offer! The venue itself is within the Rocks Hotel - don't feel worried about walking in, residents and non-residents are most welcome. When inside you will be carried away with the pure classy surroundings, the exceptionally polite and professional service and of course, the most mellifluous music.

Many of the pubs and bars also have live music, but usually of the pop and rock or DJ variety. There are a number of good local musicians and bands around and the best place to find out all about what's happening in terms of the nightlife in North Cyprus on a day by day, week by week basis is by checking the listings in Cyprus Today newspaper, Essential Cyprus Magazine or North Cyprus Magazine.

For coverage of all one off main events like the Cyprus Film Festival, Kyrenia Jazz Festival and Bellapais Music Festival, trust About North Cyprus to keep you bang up to date! Youâ d better bookmark this site now if you' re serious about North Cypus.

Paintball

North Cyprus is a great place to experience the thrill of paintball for the first time, amongst stunning scenery and greenery. Paintball involves two teams pitted against each other, each trying to capture the others flag while defending their own. You are with a paintball gun, powered by nothing more harmful than CO2 gas, and a supply of paintballs. North Cyprus paintballs are simply round gelatine balls, filled with a non-toxic, water-soluble, bright paint, which burst on impact with a satisfying splat. The paintball gun that fires them shoots at a maximum rate of 300 fps, so they are efficient without being overpowered. North Cyprus paintball companies will also provide you with specially designed safety goggles and masks, and protective clothing. Now you're ready for action!

Playing paintball in North Cyprus

The object of the game is not only to capture the opposition's flag, but also to dodge their paintballs, and in return splat as many of their players as possible. Any player hit by a paintball is disqualified from the current game, and there is a North Cyprus paintball referee on hand to ensure the rules are adhered to, so everyone is safe and having fun.

Family paintball

On your North Cyprus family holiday, paintball can be an ideal outing with older children. Since success at paintball has nothing whatsoever to do with age or strength, kids can be as effective opponents at parents, and often better too! Paintball games in North Cyprus last between 15 and 30 minutes, so nobody gets too tired out in one game, and if you're still raring to go, you can always join in the next paintball game.
Paintball near a beach?

If you want to combine beach, food and paintball, then the Sunset Club in Lapta, Kyrenia offers the lot, including two swimming pools to cool off in afterwards!

There must be no better way than to see the glories of the North Cyprus countryside than riding the winds on a paraglider. High in the air, the magnificent Northern Cyprus scenery stretches below you like a map, the mountains giving way to fields before you float down to the landing site near a pristine sandy beach.
Tandem paragliding flights in North Cyprus

Paragliding

Highline Air Tours offer tandem paragliding flights, so even total beginners can enjoy the thrill of soaring like a bird. No experience is necessary, full insurance is included in the price of every trip, and every flight is flown with an experienced pilot, who loves to fly! Full instructions of landing and take-off techniques will ensure you enjoy your North Cyprus paragliding experience to the max. The flights take off from 2500 feet above sea level, and tour pilot will tailor your flight to whatever you wish, whether it be a scenic flight over the Northern Cyprus countryside, or an adventurous flight that shows just how exciting the sport of paragliding can be.

Highline Air Tours: www.highlineparagliding.com

Solo pilot paragliding in North Cyprus

All solo pilots flying in Northern Cyprus should team up with an established company, who will give their names to the authorities. You should always fly with a local guide, as it is all too easy to stray accidentally into a military zone. Companies such as Highline offer equipment rental, and also offer up to four flights a day, weather permitting.

Paragliding courses

Sunsoar paragliding in the UK offer a Post CP thermalling course, to teach you how to ride thermals with ease. The two day holiday in North Cyprus includes accommodation and nine days of potential flying, weather permitting. Take-off is from the St Hilarion area, and the company boast their longest cross-country flight has been a massive 35km! In addition, the landing site is only ten minutes from the hotel they offer very convenient.

North Cyprus paragliding: how and where

Your North Cyprus paragliding company will usually collect you from Kyrenia and take you to the main take-off site just to the west of St Hilarion Castle, and return you to Kyrenia from the landing point. Highline offer three flying sites, â Paradise at 2500 feet looking over the coast a Kyrenia, Baba at 2530 feet, which flies through a valley and over the village of Ilgaz, and one on the Karpaz Peninsula, which takes off from a sand dune 100 metres high and lands you on a sandy beach. Bliss!
Paragliding in Northern Cyprus with the birds!

Flights last about thirty minutes, depending on the quality of the thermals, and who knows, take off by St Hilarion Castle and you may find yourself flying alongside the Cyprus griffon vulture.

 
Restaurants

Restaurants

The amount of restaurants and cafes an individual has to choose from in Northern Cyprus is overwhelming! There are enough choices for you to pick a different restaurant every night of the week for a whole year and even then I don't think you'd have visited more than half!

The choices available are broad, you can choose from a traditional Cypriot restaurant serving local specialities to an Indian restaurant, a fast food cafe to splendid international cuisine with silver service. Whatever your palate and budget youâ re guaranteed choice and excellence.

This article is simply an examination of the types of restaurants in Northern Cyprus rather than a restaurant review...it should give you some food for thought!

Family Restaurants

Children are made to feel so very welcome everywhere you go in Cyprus but certain restaurants cater specifically for the family offering wider menu choice, clean and cheerful surroundings and no pretensions or airs and graces that will make the parent with the crying child feel uncomfortable!

Ezic Chicken is one such family friendly place. Situated on the main through road in Kyrenia it offers a wide and varied menu featuring the best in traditional Cypriot and Turkish fare with Italian pizza and pasta favourites, salads and of course a complete childrenâ s menu as well.

The restaurant is first class, brilliantly managed, the staff are highly efficient and courteous. Families with children, quiet couples, lone diners and large groups all sit comfortably and enjoy the freshly prepared and cooked meals.

Just across the road from Ezic is another family favourite, Passport. Serving a similar menu to Ezic the pace of life in Passport is little slower and sometimes quieter...but the standards and welcome are the same.

Both offer a home delivery and takeaway service as well.

Fast Food

Northern Cyprus is probably the last place on earth untouched by the fast food giants like Macdonald's, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut which means others have been free to develop their own fast food outlets offering a far wider less restricted choice.

For pizza try London Pizza in Kyrenia or the Cider Man in Karaoglanoglu, for burgers there are Burger City restaurants in a number of locations in Northern Cyprus, particularly in Karaoglanoglu, Nicosia and Famagusta. They offer a Burger King or Macdonaldâ s style menu but the food is usually freshly cooked as you wait and somehow tastes much nicer!

Traditional Turkish Cypriot

For meze's, fish and kebabs the choices are endless, the quality is usually excellent and the volume of food you will be presented with almost overwhelming! Erols in Ozankoy serve the most excellent hot and cold meze and if you follow that with a mixed kebab you will be able to sample the very best in Turkish Cypriot cuisine. A mouth-watering array of small meze dishes will allow you to pick and choose and get to know the local fare, the mixed kebab will allow you to sample a wide array of the traditional meat dishes.

Beyti's in Kyrenia is another restaurant in Northern Cyprus serving a good range of traditional food, from kebabs and mezes to salads and some international dishes as well. The service and ambience are fantastic, the quality of the food exquisite and yet the price is highly reasonable - if not cheap.

Indian

For those of you who love Indian cuisine there's Jashan's in Karaoglanoglu, The Courtyard in Karakum and East Meets West in Kyrenia to name but three. The food available from each is top quality, the menus are varied enough without offering a bewildering selection and a favourite would be very hard to choose! All offer a takeaway service with Jashan's also offering delivery.

East Meets West is tucked away down the pretty old back streets of Kyrenia and also offers a small international menu, the setting is charming and this is my favourite! The Courtyard is an expat favourite in Karakum with the main restaurant area outside in the courtyard from which the restaurant obviously derives its name! They too offer an international menu for those looking for a wider choice. Jashan's is a little more pricey but their purpose built restaurant is first class and their takeaway service is pretty damn good too!

Italian

The best Italian selection is probably available from Luciano's in Kyrenia with other favourites including The Brasserie in Kyrenia. Both are set in beautiful surroundings in the old town area with Lucianoâ s offering intimate dining in a tiny pretty courtyard tucked away near the Icon Museum. The Brasserie restaurant is near the main mosque and is set in the most beautiful and well restored colonial mansion...well worth a visit for the surroundings if not the food!

Sophisticated and Unusual!

Stonegrill is on the road between Kyrenia and Alsancak and offers an interesting and healthy dining experience. Beware though, the portions are huge and the healthy way much of the meat is cooked will be wiped out by the amount you will eat! Steaks and meats are served sizzling on your very own hot stone so that the meat continues to cook away while you carve off small portions to eat at a time. They also serve meze, soup and desert as an all inclusive dining experience. Prices are not cheap but they are well worth it.

The Ambience is set on the edge of Mediterranean in Karaoglanoglu, it is beautifully designed and furnished, offers a fantastic menu and the setting simply makes the dining experience perfect. Dine in style at The Ambience.

Efendiâ s in Kyrenia is a firm favourite with expats and locals alike. Hidden away it can be hard to find but follow the little signs up the back streets opposite the Colony hotel and your search will be well rewarded! Recently renovated it has been refurbished in first class style and the menu and food quality reflects the stunningly stylish interior. In the summer you can sit out underneath the pretty trees in the courtyard and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.

Rafters in Ozankoy is another firm favourite with expatriates particularly on a Sunday when they serve a mean Sunday roast! The menu is broad and interesting offering a selection for all tastes, the interior and exterior dining spaces are comfortable and friendly and the staff are very welcoming.

This selection of restaurants is tiny, youâ ll soon realise this when you come to North Cyprus and see the wealth of choice. Go out there and sample as many as you can! Only then will you be able to establish your firm favourites.

Scuba Diving

Kyrenia the main centre for diving, and most of the schools are based here. There are over twenty dive sites within easy reach of Kyrenia harbouralone. Ancient wreak sites are mixed with stunning natural features, such as wonderful underwater formations at Mansinis Reef and great opportunities for underwater wildlife photography at Fred's Reef. A popular Northern Cyprus dive is Paradise, featuring caves, cuts and canyons at a minimum depth of just 27 metres, whilst the underwater mountain peak of Zeyko never fails to impress.

Scuba Diving in the Karpas, North Cyprus

You can also join dive safaris to the Karpas region run by companies such as the Amphora Diving Centre, where dive sites include underwater caverns, fabulous walls and a cargo ship lying at 20 metres.
Marine Life in Northern Cyprus

The wealth of marine life visible when diving in North Cyprus is clearly visible in the clear, unclouded waters. Visibility on a good day can be an astounding 30 metres. You may find yourself swimming alongside the famous green or loggerhead turtles, or with stingrays, wrasse and grouper, or chasing an octopus across the corals and rocks.
Try scuba diving in North Cyprus!

Don't worry if you have never tried scuba diving before, North Cyprus is the place to learn! Always look for a PADI approved diving school, and you will be assured of the highest standards of training and equipment. The excellent PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program gives you a basic introduction to scuba diving, with full safety instructions, plus a gentle dive accompanied by your instructors. Some schools will teach you the basics in sheltered sea coves (no boring swimming pools) so you can get the thrill of being under the sea right from the start. You can also take further courses, including the full four day dive course, or upgrade to your Open Water accreditation, in North Cyprus pleasant and clear waters. Most North Cyprus dive centers also off the PADI Bubblemaker course for children aged over eight, and regular courses for those over ten years of age.

Your Northern Cyprus dive centre will give you full details of what courses involve, but here's a little hint. Take a bottle of water with you on the boat, and drink some before you dive. Compressed air is also dried to prevent the tanks rusting, so you end up very thirsty after a dive! If you prefer to snorkel than dive, many centres are happy to take you on snorkelling trips too.
Winter Scuba Diving in North Cyprus

If you are diving late in the season, some centres, such as the Turtle Bay Dive Centre, offer dry suits for a warmer, more comfortable dive experience.
North Cyprus Scuba Diving Rules

You are not allowed to scuba dive on your own in North Cyprus, and it is strictly illegal to either touch or move any historic artifacts seen on your dive. In case of emergency, it is reassuring to know that there is a decompression chamber at the Dr. Burhan Nalbantoglu Hospital in Nicosia..

Shopping

Shopping for pleasure in North Cyprus.

If you're on holiday and what to treat yourself or your family and friends back home there are plenty of gift items to choose from, especially in Kyrenia and some of the tourist hotspots like Bellapais.

You can choose from very attractively priced gold and jewellery items for sale in Kyrenia and where you can actually get your own designs for jewellery made up or buy excellent copies of some designer items for way beneath the normal designer prices. You can also get a lot of what I call genuine fake items of jewellery, clothing and accessories. From Louis Vuitton bags to Rolex watches, it's all available at the right prices in North Cyprus.

You get what you pay for, the cheaper end tend to be fakes the more expensive are either amazing copies or actually the real thing...you decide!

For smaller gift items there are an abundance of shops selling all sorts of North Cyprus branded things from Turkish Delight to donkeys from pottery to t-shirts. There's also a souvenir shop on the road out of Kyrenia towards Bellapais and it sells an abundance of traditional items as keepsakes. Heading out of town the other way there' a large pottery shop where you can buy every conceivable and beautifully hand made and decorated pottery item...from a small olive oil jug right up to a giant planter...though how you'd get that on the plane to take home with you I don' know!

Lefkosa (Nicosia) has a large outdoor market area where you can pick up fashionable clothing, lace and beautiful textiles for next to nothing. And in some areas of the town and again in Kyrenia you can have clothing made to measure for a fair price.

If you're living in North Cyprus you'll soon find you can get most things, though you may have to hunt around a little harder than you would've back home where all the main shops are to be found on every high street in every major town! And on the odd occasion where you can't find that must have CD, book or pair of shoes it's simple enough to cross the green line and enjoy shopping on the south side.

There's a customs allowance of how much you can bring back across without the payment of duty, but as this allowance fluctuates and isnâ t harshly enforced if you just go over to purchase salt and vinegar crisps and some new shoes it isnt worth worrying about.

Fair enough though, the Turkish Cypriots will ask for duty to be paid on any significant purchases you make in the south and import to the north...like a car!

Practical shopping in North Cyprus

For your weekly supermarket shop there are three main supermarket chains to choose from - Lemar, Tempo and Astro. As all sell similar products for similar prices there's not a lot to differentiate apart from personal preference, though sometimes one supermarket will be right out of a series of items you need while another one will still have plenty of stock! It seems deliveries get stuck somewhere on the mainland meaning you will sometimes have a month without your favourite toothpaste for no known reason! It's just one of the small idiosyncrasies that makes North Cyprus cool!

There are a million mini-markets selling just about every item you might need from toilet paper to cigarettes, from fresh fruit and veg to Efes beer and these shops are often open all day and half the night seven days a week.

Imported goods tend to be quite steeply priced - bottles of wine, non-local spirits, branded cosmetics...all the things you dont really need! Whereas local produce and items sourced from Turkey are often unbelievably cheap. During the citrus season you can buy a bag of oranges, lemons and clementines for pennies for example. There's a shortage of fresh milk on the island and for this reason Coffee Mate and long life milk are the order of the day when it comes to tea and coffee.

Despite the fact the island has had embargoes against it for some thirty years you can get almost everything you could possibly want and far more besides. Electrical items, designer kitchens, hand built kitchens, furniture built to your design, the latest fashion in tiles and bathroom suites, every make of car (including Ferraris and Chevrolet Corvettes...yes, itâ s true I've seen both with Turkish Cypriot number plates), hand tools, power tools, teeth whitening gel, marmite, the latest films on DVD before they even come out in the cinema in the UK...every single item you could possibly want is available for sale in North Cyprus. You just have to know where to go to get what it is you want!

If you go into a shop and they donâ t have what you're after, chances are they will point you to another shop that sells what it is you need or who can order it from the mainland for delivery in a matter of days. Also, check out Cyprus Today newspaper and Essential Cyprus and North Cyprus magazines for many shops and businesses who advertise their wares.

When it comes to getting things made, from furniture to curtains, from kitchens to wrought iron, again there is always a man (or woman) who can and who will for a fair price. In fact the only two things my husband and I have struggled to buy are printer ink cartridges for a Lexmark printer and Bombay Mix.

Shopping in North Cyprus may not be quite what you'e used to but it is rewarding when you finally find exactly the one elusive item you've been after, and when you discover you can purchase it for about 30% of what it would cost you are b

Sports

North Cyprus provides a lot of opportunities for sport keeners. There are five big stadiums in TRNC, holding from 7 to 30 thousand people. Locals prefer not only to watch a game but also practice different kinds of sport.

The biggest pasion of Turkish Cypriots is football, or soccer. The Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (Turkish: Kibris Turk Futbol Federasyonu, KTFF) is the main football body in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It organises the TRNC football leagues, and the national team. It is not a member of either FIFA or UEFA, but is affiliated to the New Federations Board.

The Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation (TCBF) founded in 1981, promotes basketball in North Cyprus. The organisation has over 1000 registered players, around 50 basketball coaches, and 40 referees taking part in its leagues. The federation has leagues for over 18s, under 18s, under 16, under 14, and under 12. This year it has opened a league for 10 year-old children. TCBF also runs basketball schools in parallel with Turkish Federation for children aged from 4 to 12 in all 5 regions of North Cyprus. It holds seminars and training exercises for the coaches and referees.

Turtle Watching

The sight of newly-hatched sea turtles scrabbling out of their sandy nest chambers on North Cyprus beaches and scuttling towards to the open sea is a joy to watch. Their mothers have swum in the warm Mediterranean sea for twenty years before mating. One moonlit might, they will come ashore to lay their eggs. The females come ashore in May and dig deep pits into which they lay their eggs, about 40 cm down, before carefully covering them with literally tonnes of sand. Then they swim away, leaving the eggs safe and cool in their sandy nest, the sand around the eggs trapping air, which is vital to their development. Female green turtles can make several nests during a season, each containing a batch of eggs laid two weeks apart.

Walking, Trekking and Hiking

There are a myriad of wonderful walking trails in North Cyprus and its mountains, which are best explored in the cooler spring and autumn seasons when the countryside and wild flowers are blooming - in spring, the mountains are rich with a rhapsody of woodland flowers, and some 220 species of birds touch down on the island every year on their migratory passage.

Hiking tours for people of all ages and physical disposition are organized by a number of centers in the Girne area generally conducted in the Girne mountain range. One particular tour party, organized by "Mountain Climbing Sport Association, meets every Sunday between October and the end of April, and twice a month (again on Sundays) between the summer months from May to the end of September. During the winter, the tour program is published at the beginning of every month explaining the route and where to meet etc. All walks, as well as being good exercise, endeavour to show walkers interesting natural and historical features. The tours generally start at 7.30 am and finish between 10 and 11 am. It is essential that you wear proper grooved walking shoes. You must also take your own water, and a hiking stick is advisable.
Join local walking tours with a knowledgeable guide to best experience the abundance of local wildlife. Most hotels and tour operators can arrange a walking tour from your hotel, or can advise you about other organized tours.

Water Sports

The lure of the clear blue waters of the warm Mediterranean sea is almost irresistible in North Cyprus. There are plenty of water sports on offer too, to make the most of this fantastic aquatic playground. Most seaside hotels offer some of the following water sports, or seek out a specialist firm at Kyrenia> or other ports.>

Windsurfing in North Cyprus

The north coast of North Cyprus is ideal for windsurfing, with enough wind to windsurf properly without being blown to Turkey! Beginners can learn windsurfing in North Cyprus in calm coves, and any errors only mean a refreshing dip in the warm sea. The main North Cyprus windsurfing hire companies and training schools are based west of Kyrenia, and also at the resort hotels near the ancient city of Salamis . For stronger winds, expert windsurfers should head of the capes, and ride the waves in style!
Water skiing and Mono-skiing Beginners are well catered for, since the sea is usually calm and warm, for those inevitable spills! Dolphin Cyprus offer beach tuition and then a water session of no more than 45 minutes, about as much as a beginner's legs can stand! Experienced skiers are also welcome, and you can also mono-ski, although there are no jumps or slaloms available.

Banana Boats rides The only skill needed for these fun rides is the ability to hang on tight â and scream a lot! Fun for all the family, these rides are very popular on the major North Cyprus beaches>. Just pop on a life jacket (if you are not offered one, simply dont get on), and join in the fun! WhatNorth Cyprus holiday video would be complete without footage of a banana ride?

Jet skiing You may have to hunt to find a jet ski to rent in North Cyprus, and you will need a driving licence when you do. However, these mean machines are great fun to zip around the coastline; just make sure you avoid any nesting turtle beaches or military zones.Acapulco Beach Club & Resort Hotel at Kyrenia< has jet skies available for hire for use off its 1km long sandy beach, and the public beach at Glapsides north of Famagusta also have jet skis to hire.

Power boating

North Cyprus powerboat trips come complete with an experienced driver, as inexperienced pilots can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of a military exclusion zone. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, as the magnificent coastline of Northern Cyprus flies past in a flurry of spray.
Canoeing

Canoes are available for hire from most major North Cyprus report hotels, and for a peaceful paddle around the coast, these robust and stable little boats cannot be beaten. Ideal for spotting fish or swimming turtles, without even getting wet!
North Cyprus Sailing and Scuba Diving Both sailing and scuba diving are so good in Northern Cyprus, we've written special articles about them!

Other Water Sports

Yes, there's more! You can also hire a water bicycle, go tubing, knee boarding, wake boarding and almost any other kind of boarding you can imagine! Just ask your North Cyprus hotel reception for details, or see what everyone else is doing on the beach.

Water Parks

For those who love excitement and enjoyment of cool fun and splash of water, there is, however, a number of water parks in Northern Cyprus mostly included in hotel complexes.

Slides of different shapes, sizes and colors are becoming more and more attractive for kids and adults and are often included in the swimming pool areas. These are supervised by the lifeguards who are present to ensure the proper and sensible usage of the slides.

The prices of the facilities vary depending on a chosen hotel and often include the usage of the complex facilities like changing services, catering, or sport facilities.

Although the water parks of North Cyprus are not found in large numbers, there lies the Octopus aqua park in the village

Yachting

North Cyprus Yachts

Alternatively, let someone else take the helm, and just enjoy the sheer thrill of sailing around North Cyprus. Circum Cyprus offer skippered traditional boats; all you need to decide is where you want to go! See a nice cove? Stop and snorkel, or fish for your dinner in the clear waters of the Mediterranean. Aboard your yacht in the waters off North Cyprus you might spot swimming turtles or diving dolphins, before heading back into port for a sun-downer at the harbour side. You can charter a boat by the hour, day or week, include full board, and theyâ ll even come and collect you from the airport! Other companies offer day trips from Kyrenia harbour that include swim stops and beach barbeques, and trips from Gazi Magusa offer trips along the Karpas Peninsula National Park.

Sailing to North Cyprus

If you wish to sail your own yacht to North Cyprus, the main harbour available is Kyrenia, but what a harbour! Since the ferries were moved to the new harbour in 1990, the old harbour has undergone major improvements. The old customs house is now a yachting centre, and all moorings have water and electricity available. The harbour is so picturesque, it makes an ideal base for exploring North Cyprus both on land and by water. You should contact the harbour at Kyrenia before entering, and once anchored, proceed immediately to customs and immigration. Facilities at Kyrenia also include a laundry, left luggage office, ship washing service and technical workshop.
Other Yacht Harbours in North Cyprus You can also moor at the harbour at Famagusta, in a part of the main commercial harbour reserved for yachts and fishing boats. This harbour lacks the charm and grace of Kyrenia, and with all the commercial shipping activity, Famagusta harbour is considerably more noisy, too. There are plans to turn the lagoon between this harbour and the Palm reach Hotel into a yacht harbour. There are moorings at the fishing harbour of Yeni Erenkroy, so long as your boats draught does not exceed two metres.

The Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally

If you like your yachting fast and furious, then don't miss the annual Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally. Over 100 yachts race from Istanbul to Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus via Kemer, and Alanya in Turkey. After a brief rest stop in North Cyprus, they head out again to Mersin in Turkey, then on to ports in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt before finally finishing at the ancient port of Ashkelon in Israel. The international crews arrive in Kyrenia in mid May, carefully steering their million dollar boats into Kyrenia past the imposing castle before tying up next to the fishing boats. There is always a great big party to celebrate their arrival, and Kyrenia harbour side is packed with yachting enthusiasts admiring the boats before they head out to sea again. Why not join in the fun next year!

 
A to Z

Cyprus is a paradise island of incomparable natural beauty, full of unique historical treasures.

North Cyprus provides a most hospitable welcome, with its friendly people, and its beautiful natural attractions, unspoilt, unpolluted and uncrowded with miles of coastline and golden sands bathed in sunshine almost every day of the year. There is much of historical interest to reflect nine thousand years of history. Gothic churches rub shoulders with crusader castles, and ruined temples with British Colonial architecture in a fascinating blend of styles. The all-pervading sense of the past adds to the enchantment of the present to make an unforgettable holiday.
Touched by myriad cultures, Cyprus is passionately aware of its identity.

 
Climate

The Weather in Kyrenia, Cyprus

The Mediterranean climate, warm and rather dry, with rainfall mainly between November and March, favors agriculture. In general, the island experiences mild wet winters and dry hot summers. Variations in temperature and rainfall are governed by altitude and, to a lesser extent, distance from the coast. Hot, dry summers from mid-May to mid-September and rainy, rather changeable winters from November to mid-March are separated by short autumn and spring seasons.

 
Flora and Fauna
Due to its climate and geographic position, as well as relatively unpolluted environment, the island has a varied wildlife. It hosts up to 1,600 kinds of plants, 350 species of birds, and 26 different reptile and amphibian species. From February to June Northern Cyprus is covered by different kinds of flowers with orchids to be the most extravagant species from all. In spring and summer the island is 'invaded' by about 300 species of birds. From July till August the Green Sea Turtle and the Loggerhead Sea Turtle visit the beaches of Cyprus to lay their eggs.
 
History of Cyprus
It is not possible to say when first inhabitants of Cyprus lived, but it is believed possible that as long ago as 8.500 B.C. there were settlements on Cyprus.

Cyprus has had many names, but the name we use now is believed to have come from the word copper of which there was, and possibly still is, an abundance of on the island. An alternative theory is that its name comes from the word Kypros (the Greek for henna) of which there was also abundance. No one knows for sure.

 
Beaches in Cyprus

Beaches in North Cyprus

Heading out west from the town, drive through Karaoglanoglu and on towards Lapta; near to a small town called Alsancak you will come to Escape Beach which was previously known as five mile beach...it's located just after the large road side monument to the Turkish army which you can not miss. This beach has recently seen some sophisticated re-development and has changed from just a pretty cove to a beautiful beach resort for all the family with a restaurant, bar, changing facilities, showers, sun loungers...and at night the Escape Beach Disco.

Further along the same road you will come to the Deniz Kizi beach which is attached to the Deniz Kizi hotel but open to non-residents of course. Some beaches like this one and Escape Beach charge a small fee for people wanting to use the facilities, the fee is usually minimal and well worth it if you want decent and clean facilities and toilets etc.

Further along the coast you will come to Camelot which is also known as Alsancak beach and which has also been developed in recent years into something of a beach resort rather than just a simple and clean beach for sunbathing!

If you drive all the way along the coast until the road bends left up into the hills towards Guzelyurt with a right hand turn towards Kayalar, take the right turning to Kayalar and drive out along a slightly rough road and youâ ll be rewarded by more private views and access to the Mediterranean. Keep heading towards the far end of the island for perfect sunsets and totally deserted beaches.

Heading out east from Kyrenia in search of the beaches of Northern Cyprus you will again not be disappointed. Firstly you will come to Catalkoy Beach. This beach has recently been cleaned up and is now home to lots of organized water sports. It's a very popular weekend family destination.

A bit further along the coast you'll come to Club Acapulco which is a large holiday resort and casino but which is situated on a very pretty and accessible family beach. Non-residents are free to use the beach facilities for a small fee and it is an incredibly popular choice for families with children...the children can play all day while the parents can enjoy the bars and restaurants and child friendly atmosphere.

After Club Acapulco comes Lara Beach which is seemingly signposted down into the power plant! Trust the sign and you will actually drive past the power plant and round to a pretty little beach which is very popular among expats. The beach has a small cafe and very basic facilities but it's friendly and sheltered and a great place for swimming.

Another excellent swimming location is Alagadi or Turtle Beach. This is the next one along the eastern coast road and is actually two bays separated by a big sand dune! The bays are home to nesting turtles and as a result they are protected. You cannot take your dog onto the beach, light barbeques, leave litter or dig your sand castles too deep for fear of disturbing the turtles and their eggs. Furthermore the beach is closed between 8pm and 8am and watched over by the Society for the Protection of Turtles.

During the autumn, winter and spring these two beaches are almost deserted and make for excellent shell hunting and healthy walking! And on Christmas Day in Northern Cyprus there is nothing better than a bracing stroll along these beaches with fresh lungfuls of clean sea air and beautiful views of the Mediterranean to make you feel truly happy!

If you want the most memorable beach day out though you should head up the Karpas peninsular - or panhandle and experience miles of breathtaking, untouched and wild coastline. Here you will see donkeys and goats wandering freely, beautiful little bays all along your route and then one of the most beautiful sandy beaches in the world right at the very end of the peninsula - right at the very tip of Cyprus in fact! Truly incredible!

The beaches of northern Cyprus offer some of the very best beaches on the Mediterranean if not some of the best beaches in the world. Come and judge for yourself!

2jtab:Bird Watching

North Cyprus is home to an impressive 347 different species of birds, seven of which are unique to Cyprus. The twice-yearly arrival of migrating birds adds to the unique pleasure of a North Cyprus bird watching holiday, with visiting birds heading northwards during March to May, and hading south between August and October. Visiting birds include swallows, swifts, hoopoe, masked shrike and little ringed plovers.

North Cyprus mountain bird watching

One of the best places to watch birds in North Cyprus is in the Kyrenia Mountains where the pines and funeral cypress trees positively teem with birds. Kantara Castle offers a picturesque spot to observe both resident and migrant birds, including the blue rock thrush, spectacled warbler, the resident Cyprus warbler and wheatear, and black-headed bunting. Alpine swifts can be seen darting around their nests, perched on the cliffs around the castle.

Bird watching on the Karpas peninsula

This pan handle peninsula in North Cyprus juts out eastwards from the north coast, pointing towards the Turkish mainland. It is a major stopping point for many migratory birds, and the dedicated bird watcher can spot golden orioles and bee-eaters. The rollers always provide a great display, as they bounce across the countryside in their trademark jerky flight pattern. At the far end of the Karpas peninsula, the Klidhes Islands provide refuge for sea birds such as Audouin's Gulls, cormorants and shags. During March and April, the islands are also home to breeding peregrine falcons, audaciously fast hunters who take snatch birds from the sky with ease as food for their nest full of hungry offspring. The peninsula is also home to two game birds, the francolin and chikor, both types of partridge.

The North Cyprus griffon vulture and other birds of prey

Despite rumours of its demise in 1995, the griffon vulture still soars above Kantara and St Hilarion in the Kyrenia Mountains, riding the winds on its 2m wingspan. Birds of prey numbers have been affected by the Cypriot love of hunting, but it is still perfectly possible to see buzzards and falcons, and nesting pairs of red kite can be spotted around the Lapta area. Other hunters include scops owl and little owls. The reservoirs at Karpas and Gonyeli attract overwintering duck, herons and grebes, which in turn attract the brids of prey to feast on them.

Bird Societies in North Cyprus

The North Cyprus Society for the Protection of Birds (Kuskor) works hard for the welfare of all birds, in the face of both hunting and liming traditions. It holds regular education programmes for adults and children alike, and is gradually changing attitudes. You may reach bird protection society on 00 90 392 815 7337.

Boat Trips

If there is one thing more enjoyable than looking at the sparkling Mediterranean Sea from your North Cyprus holiday villa, it must be sailing on it! A variety of companies offer boat tours from Kyrenia harbour, from short hops along the coast to full day excursions.

Sail, Swim, Snorkel, Snack: Daily Boat Tours in Kyrenia

A boat trip around the North Cyprus coast is a great day out for all the family. Sail out from Kyrenia harbour past the impressive Kyrenia Castle, and out around the coast. Your English-speaking guide will point out places of interest, such as St Hilarion Castle, before dropping anchor so you can snorkel in the warm Mediterranean waters. Enjoy a drink before lunch is served, either on board or at a secluded cove or beach. Check what is on offer when you book your boat tour at Kyrenia harbour, so you can bring a packed lunch and bottled water from your rented holiday villa if it is not included in the price.

Turkish Gullet Boat Tours in Northern Cyprus

If you have taken a coastal villa holiday in Turkey before, you will have seen these pretty wooden boats all along the Turkish coast. Some boat tour companies in North Cyprus offer trips on a gullet that offer wonderful views of the mountains from the water, with swimming, water sports and a generous buffet lunch included. An average boat tour will depart at around 10.30am and return you back to the harbour by 4.30pm.

Evening Boat Cruises in North Cyprus

Sailing into a North Cyprus sunset is perhaps the most romantic moment of your North Cyprus villa holiday, and several companies offer a sunset cruise with dinner. For those who cannot live without a spice in their life, Sail Cyprus even offer a Sunset Curry Cruise!

What to bring on a Cyprus Boat Tour

All you need to bring from your North Cyprus holiday villa is your swimwear, a towel and some high factor sunscreen, waterproof type if you want to swim. You should also bring a hat and sunglasses as the midday sun can be very strong. Also, bring a camera for those amazing views of the mountains, and a pair of binoculars if you want a closer look!

Most companies provide mask, fins and snorkels, but you are always welcome to bring you own from your holiday villa. Northern Cyprus snorkeling is great fun and you may see sea urchins, flatfish, jellyfish, shrimp, octopus and maybe even a turtle swimming with you in a secluded bay. If you are prone to sunburn, always wear an old t shirt when you snorkel, to prevent your back being burnt, and apply plenty of waterproof sunscreen to the backs of your legs which are exposed to the sun when you float!

Bowling

King's Leisure Centre is the first entertainment center in Northern Cyprus boasting different and vast concepts of entertainment for all age groups with its 12 lane Bowling alley, a pool table hall, an arcade area with machines that even compete with european standards, a café, restaurant and bar that will bring a new social and cultural aspect to Northern Cyprus and it is situated on the new main road from Alsancak to Girne on the right-hand side of the road.

Camping

 

Camping on the Karpas Peninsula

The Karpas Peninsula in North Cyprus is a wonderful place to camp, being both rugged and unspoilt, yet easily reached by car.

Camp with the Turtles

Well, not literally, but close enough! The Karpas Pensinula has clean, unspoilt beaches, and this is what nesting turtles love. The Turtle Beach Restaurant offers camping facilities right next to the dunes behind the mile-long Golden Sands beach, home to nesting turtles. The two speices of turtle who nest on North Cyprus are heavily protected, but you can still watch the turtles lay their eggs, or hatch. Just keep your distance and make sure you do not disturb them. The Turtle Bay campsite is remote, so it is a good 30 minute drive to the nearest village, and there is no electricity supply at the site at present, but thatâ s part of its charm!

Camping near the Karpas Peninsula

Campsites spread out from the town of Gazimagusa (Famagusta) towards the Karpas Peninsula, so you can get the views without the remoteness! Onur Camping at Iskele are conveniently located near Salamis Bay and the fascinating ruins of the ancient town, so you can combine culture and beach in one easy location. Other North Cyprus campsites include Salamis Camping in Salamis, Incirli Camping in Lapta, Yeni Erenkoy camping, Pelikan Camping in Kumyali, and Kaplica Camping in Kaplica. Most of these sites offer washrooms, toilets and bars.

Camping on non-recognised sites

In theory there are no restrictions on camping in North Cyprus, but be advised that, as in most countries, in practice you just canâ t set up camp absolutely anywhere. For example, the military will probably want to know who you are, and why your tent is pitched just outside their military area, especially in the mountains. Remember, military areas also include some lovely North Cyprus beaches. If you manage to avoid these areas, the only other restriction is that you are not allowed to light fires in the forest, for obvious reasons. You might prefer to join an organised camping holiday in North Cyprus to make sure you get the best pitches in the best camps!

Cycling

Not everyone wants to explore North Cyprus from behind the wheel of a car. The fit and strong will find that the TRNC offers several mountain and countryside routes and tracks to be explored from the saddle of a bicycle. Have you ever wanted to live in a place where you can cycle all year round? Mix challenging hill climbs and deserted tracks with stunning scenery and a friendly local welcome?

Cyprus offers a superb all year round climate, especially between the months of October and April for cycling where the temperature ranges between 15C and 25C. Annual winter rainfall is extremely low in comparison to general Europe an levels. The cycling terrain available will meet the needs of cycling enthusiasts of all abilities, offering pine clad hill tracks and lanes, sparse traffic outside of the main towns, peaceful white-washed villages to pass through and an awe inspiring Mediterranean coast-line to view. The Kyrenia mountain range sits proudly above the Northern coastline (peak Mount Selvili, 1023m elevation), and presents the chance to sample a spectrum of terrain from a single coastal base.

Tours

If you're travelling independently you might like to join some of the organised tours in Northern Cyprus and get shown some of the sights and sounds of this beautiful Mediterranean island.

There are many companies all offering day, half day and even night time boat trips on the Med for example. You can sail out to Turtle Beach or Escape Beach, sunbathe on deck and snorkel before enjoying a hearty lunch on deck. Alternatively you can have a sunset cruise with dinner included. If you want to get closer to the Mediterranean consider a diving tour...it doesnt matter if you havent ever been diving before as there are a number of very good and fully licensed companies offering tuition here in North Cyprus. And if a day is not enough, consider staying and doing a full weekâ s diving course and getting your own PADI qualifications.

If you would like to be shown around the castles of Northern Cyprus you can join day trips out to Buffavento and Kantara or walking tours of St. Hilarion and Girne (Kyrenia) Castle together with the world famous Shipwreck Museum. You will be able to learn all about the history of these fascinating buildings, have plenty of time to wander around at your leisure and take photos before enjoying a refreshment stop. You might like to consider a half day trip to Bellapais Abbey and the former home of Lawrence Durrell or a full day to Nicosia (Lefkosa) where you can visit the ancient Mosque, the old town, the city walls and then indulge in a spot of retail therapy.

Famagusta is another day-trip-favourite for visitors to Northern Cyprus, you can spend time exploring this fascinating town, learning about its history, visiting Othelloâ s tower and looking down on the Venetian walls before heading off to explore the stunning and impressive remains of Ancient Salamis.

Many of the hotels and holiday villages in Northern Cyprus can help you find out about and arrange your preferred organised tours and day trips, alternatively, take a trip into Kyrenia and visit one of the many local travel agencies for more information. Another alternative is to head for the harbour in Kyrenia and speak to the helpful people in the tourist information office there. They are up to date with events and have many brochures and leaflets about whatâ s new in North Cyprus and what there is to do and see for all the family.

Also on the harbour youâ ll find details of the many boat trips available and also the highline tandem paragliding company who will take you on the flight of a lifetime from high up on the Girne mountain range down to the sea shore.

Depending on the time of year when you visit Cyprus you can take part in organised walking and hiking tours, exploring the mountains, plains and beaches on the island, there are also the occasional bird watching tour, shooting and hunting trips, or you can take part in paintballing trips, karting trips, you can try a quad bike tour or go horse riding in the mountains for a day.

Whatever your own cultural interests or entertainment favourites youâ ll find plenty to keep you and your entire family occupied and happy in Northern Cyprus. And remember, if organised tours and optional day trips are not your thing you can happily and easily spend all day relaxing and soaking up the sun and beauty of Cyprus from your favourite spot on the beach or your preferred bar

Festivals are an exciting feature of life in North Cyprus, including international music festivals such as the annual Bellapais Music Festival in May-June, which brings together classical musicians from around the world. Festivals also play a big part of Turkish Cypriot cultural life: from the Peace and Freedom festival on July 20 to the harvest celebrations of the orange, grape and olive, the people of North Cyprus love to enjoy themselves at these special events with families, friends and visitors to the island.

Events and Festivals

  •  A whole host of folklore festivals are also held throughout the year in the castle at Girne and the Othello Tower in Gazimagusa. All are accompanied by the vibrant sound of traditional musicians, colourful folk dancing and plenty of delicious home-style cooking.

Festivals in North Cyprus

  • March: European Film Festival, Lefkosa, Girne and Gazimagusa Photography & Film Festival, East Mediterranean University, Gazimagusa: http://www.emu.edu.tr/underwaterfestival/eng/index.htm

  • April: 23rd April: National Childrenâ s and Sovereignty Day

  • May:

  • 19 May: National Youth & Sports Festival May-June: International Bellapais Music Festival, Girne, Bellapais - chamber music, chorus music & recitals: http://www.bellapaisfestival.com/ 22 May-1 June: Gazimagusa Childrenâ s Festival, Gazimagusa

  • June: June-July: International Gazimagusa Culture & Arts Festival, Gazimagusa: http://www.magusa.org/ Guzelyurt Orange Festival, Guzelyurt

  • July: 5-12 July: International Iskele Folk Dancing Festival, Iskele 5-16 July: Iskele Festival, Iskele Lefke Walnut Festival, Lefke International Lefkosa Folk Dancing Festival, Lefkosa International Folk Dances Festival of Gonyeli

  • August: International Cyprus Theatre Festival, Lefkosa, Girne and Gazimagusa Grape Festival, Mehmetçik

  • September: International North Cyprus Music Festival, Girne Bellapais and Gazimagusa Salamis

  • October: Olive Festival, Girne

Fishing

If you happen to walk along the Old Harbor in Kyrenia, you will be amazed by a panorama of fishing boats making a long wavy line all along. Fishing has traditionally been a feature of this area and the eastern part of the harbor has remained the area for local and foreign residents to moor their boats there.

Although the local way of fishing in Kyrenia region is by using nets or by using a long batted line with hundreds of hooks, in Northern Cyprus dwell lots of expatriates from the UK or elsewhere who fish by rod, multiplier reel and trolling. Trolling presents a plastic lure on the end of the trace and line, being pulled behind the boat at a speed of between six to ten knots. This is dragged just under the surface of the water, the level where the fish tend to go to feed.

Favorable weather conditions of the Mediterranean provide the possibility of being able to go out on the sea for most days of the year. The haul ranges from peacock and rainbow wrasses, blennies and gobies, small parrot fish, mackerels, cods, plaices, sea basses, breams, eels but the experienced fishermen enjoy going for the larger ones like tunas, swordfish and mineri. Picarel of Marida (maena smaris), red soldier fish and two siganids (rabbit fish) belong to the most abundant commercial fish in Cyprus.

Apart from Kyrenia, the most developed fisheries of North Cyprus are those of Guzelyurt and Famagusta region, particularly the Karpaz peninsula.

Fishing in the waters off Cyprus has become a traditional element of the islandâ s face. Although the aquaculture industry of Cyprus is fast-growing, the fish harvested every year from traditional trawling and inshore boats, is still small as well as the fish industry generally, and most of the fish is imported. However, there is a very large variety of fish, which exceeds 80 species.

Golfing

Korineum Golf and Country Club has been a long time in the planning and development stages but when you see the amount of effort that has gone into literally transforming the entire massive site, you realize just why it took so long! The visionary behind the creation of this fantastic Golf Course and Country Club has positively and significantly shaped the future of North Cyprus.

Based out to the east of Kyrenia on the way to Esentepe and past Alagadi Beach, tucked away in the foothills of the Five Finger Mountain Range, Korineum is a lush and verdant green oasis. The entire natural landscape has been molded, honed, prettified and perfected so that anyone setting a foot through the impressive entrance gates of the Golf and Country Club feels as though they have been teleported into another world!

The perfection and pristine nature of the grounds, the gardens and the Club House is testament to the dedication of the entire team behind the creation of the Golf Course and is a complete credit to all those involved with the smooth management and ongoing running of Korineum.

In terms of what's on offer well there are 18 challenging international standard holes, the Course is Par 72, there are 3 academy holes and a driving range, there is the Korenium Golf Academy, a Pro Shop where you can hire or buy equipment, purchase clothing and memorabilia and then there's the Club House. The Club House is an impressive and beautiful building; it houses everything from a full fitness centre, spa, hairdresser, massage parlour and sauna to conference facilities, meeting rooms, bars and restaurants.

The membership options are quite comprehensive you can have diamond or full membership, family, junior, corporate, academy or leisure membership and packages are also available for those coming to North Cyprus on holiday who just want a few rounds of golf. The website is quite hard to find though, so hereâ s a link to it: - http://www.korineumgolf.com/home.asp it has all the contact information you need as well as membership forms and details of the different dining and leisure facilities that you can have access to in addition to the Golf Course itself.

Go Karting

Go-karting companies in North Cyprus: Zet Karting

There can be few go-karting tracks that are set in a botanical garden, but the Zet Karting track is one such facility! The Zet Karting circuit in North Cyprus was built to meet international standards as laid down by the go-karting governing bodies, the CIK and FIA. This family-run North Cyprus go-karting centre is suitable for both first-time drivers and experienced go-karters, thanks to its excellent design and range of facilities. Itâ s no surprise to discover that the family who built the centre really love their karting; their father raced saloon cars in Britain before the family moved to North Cyprus. It soon became apparent that the familyâ s love of karting was outgrowing the streets and bus garages where they raced, so they clubbed together to set up the islandâ s proper karting circuit. The circuit is full equipped with safety barriers and meets all international safety regulations.

Tazkarts Go-Karting Track in North Cyprus

Tazkarts offer a 350 metre track, with enough twists and turns to keep karting fans and novices alike happy for a race or six! Tazkarts will record your lap speed and times, and you can celebrate your amazing go-karting skills in the bar or restaurant afterwards. All karts are fully automatic, so you can just hop in and race away.

Hunting

Hunting Law in North Cyprus

The Interior Ministry are responsible for Game and Wild Bird Law, which cover the following;

Hunting Animals

Game Birds (black partridge, pheasant, chukar partridge, snipe, quail, turtle dove, and greylag goose.)

  • Hunting season

  • The rules of hunting

  • Hunting Licences

  • Hunting protected areas

  • Some rules and restrictions during hunting seasons

Bird Hunting

The hunting of small birds using lime is not permitted in south Cyprus, but the tradition may continue in North Cyprus. Many conservation groups are concerned over the loss of small migratory birds, and are putting pressure on the government to outlaw the practice.

North Cyprus shooting

If you prefer shooting at targets than animals, you can always visit a target range. The Turkish Republic of North Cyprus Shooting Federation has ranges at Gonyeli and Famagusta , both of which feature trap and skeet ranges.

Shooting Outdoors in North Cyprus

The Girne Gun Club is a new facility completed in 2001, and offers the fun of outdoor shooting in the rugged valley within the club grounds. Keen shooters will enjoy the challenge of shooting at targets of varying skill levels contained within the scenery, and having to adapt to changing weather and light conditions, especially the bright sunlight!

North Cyprus Shotgun Rules

You can bring a shotgun into Cyprus, but not a semi automatic weapon. Any guns must be accompanied by the full raft of customs paperwork, which can be secured in advance via an agent. All guns must be locked securely at the gun club when not in use.

Horse Riding

Tunac Riding Club

Situated in Karaoolanoglu, Girne, this riding club is home to 42 horses. The club is ideal for lessons and certified courses, with its well-sized paddock. The club also can arrange guided tours with picnics.

T: + 90 392 822 23 93 - 90 392 822 28 68

Cyprus Gardens Holiday Village Horse riding is one of this village's many attractions; home to 17 horses, visitors can participate in guided tours around the village or take lessons in the holiday village.

T: + 90 392 371 25 52 - 90 392 371 27 22

 

Read more...

 
Directions

  • Drive out of Ercan airport, go straight over the small round about.

  • After 4 minutes drive turn left at the junction and follow the sign to Lefkosa (Nicosia).

  • Carry on straight (west) for about 2 miles, you will come to a round about with a sign pointing right towards Kyrenia (Girne in Turkish). DO NOT turn to right there, go straight accross towards Nicosia (Lefkosa in Turkish).

  • Drive approximately 15 minutes, passing through 1 roundabout and 3 sets of traffic lights, you will come to very large round about. Turn right at this roundabout and go towards Girne (Kyrenia)

  • Drive about 15 minutes- about 12 miles. You will climb up and down 'five finger mountains' When you start decending from the mountains drive couple of miles and go straight through the underpass (If you want to go to the center of Kyrenia-Girne DO NOT go though the underpass, just filter off to the left before the underpass)

  • Drive straight through the underpass, you will pass 2 sets of trafic lights. You will go through 3 roundabouts. After the third roundabout you will come off the dual carriageway into a sigle lane road, go about 2 miles and turn left just by Yesiltepe petrol station. It is sign posted from there. After about 200 meters from the petrol station turn right, go to the end of the drive and we are there. You can park at the Villa Club car park

 


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