10 Reasons to Visit Northern and Southern Cyprus

in Country Guides, Sightseeing

Cyprus has beautiful weather, pristine beaches and wonderful waters but this island is unlike any other in the Mediterranean.

Split in half since the invasion of the Turkish army in 1974, tourists now have to make a choice between visiting North Cyprus or South Cyprus. While the South is prosperous and contains the Greek Cypriot population, the North is poorer having failed to gain international recognition since the war.

However as the island tries to reunify, various land and road crossings have been opened up in Cyprus so that now visitors can see cross at their leisure.  The country is serviced by a variety of different carriers and cheap flights to Cyprus are always easy to find. With that in mind, here are 10 reasons to visit North and South Cyprus.

Southern Cyprus

Sea caves near Cape Gkreko - Photo: Boris SV

The Akamas Peninsula

While the invading Turkish army managed to capture many beautiful parts Cyprus including the wild spit of land known as the Karpaz Peninsula, the stunning Akamas Peninsula still resides in the (southern) Republic of Cyprus. Both areas are amazing to walk around and welcome wild animals such as nesting turtles.

The Troodos Mountains

Reaching nearly 2,000 metres the Troodos are a cool refuge from the blazing summer heat. There are also wine routes and lots of wonderful little villages to walk around, all with their own unique characters.

Hala Sultan Tekke

Near to Larnaca airport is a stretch of salt lake overlooked by an important Muslim mosque and shrine. The lake is visited by pink flamingos during the spring and when the sun sets around the mosque the view is quite spectacular.

The Zenobi

When this ferry ship sunk off the coast of Larnaca it created one of the world’s best wreck dives. Scuba divers who have their advanced qualification will be absolutely enthralled.

Ayia Napa

Dazzling beaches made this the clubbers choice in the 1990’s and a whole garage music scene exploded in Ayia Napa. The resort has since declined but is still a fun place to go for a night out and its coastline in unrivalled.

Northern Cyprus

A deserted hotel in the town of Varosha - Photo: Danielzolli

A deserted hotel in the town of Varosha - Photo: Danielzolli

Kyrenia

You won’t find a prettier medieval harbour. Make sure to climb up to the ancient castle which overlooks the harbour for some spectacular views. You can also get a drink on the opulent seaside terrace of the Rocks Hotel.

Varosha

This settlement on the east coast was literally abandoned when the invaders arrived and fenced it off. Time has preserved it exactly as it was since the invasion and you can even see cars from the 1970s still in the shop windows. The Ghost Town of Varosha is a spooky place but well worth visiting. Photographs are not allowed.

Famagusta

Near to Varosha stands another decaying city. Famagusta is much older and used to be one of the richest cities in Europe at the height of its powers. Today you can see the old ruins of Salamis and the Lala Mustafa Pasa Camii cathedral which has incredible decorations.

Bellapais Abbey

Beautifully preserved, this old abbey stands on a hill. Surrounded by lush foliage and a gentle breeze, it is a truly amazing place to visit.

Nicosia

Be sure to walk into the old town of Nicosia. You can even do this from the south side, as long as you bring your passport. It is a strange experience as you walk across the divide and see the bullet-laden buildings which now stand in the demilitarised zone. You will notice the difference immediately, especially the Islamic architecture. There is an attractive mosque which was converted from an old church, and the Arabahmet district is full of restored houses and mansions.

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina

Thanks for giving coverage to both Northern and Southern Cyprus. Many write-ups only include the southern half, which doesn’t do justice to the many great places to visit in the north.

patrickdh

Travel should not be so superficial so as to disregard local, social and historic context. Yes it’s a pity, so is inability to travel to safely to Afghanistan and Iraq. And yes it’s a headache not knowing how to address making recommendations and facilitating travel but I wouldn’t want your followers to be inconsiderate with local issues just because of the need for conveniency.

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