Water sports are available at any of the beaches. Extreme sports fans may want to try paragliding from the mountain top or a jeep safari bookable at Sardunya Beach. Excursions can be booked within Kyrenia Harbour as well as boat trips which offer full or part day excursions with food included. These leave daily from the harbour. You can also charter your own private boat. Many scuba diving schools operate along the coastline the nearest being at Escape Beach Club 10 mins drive from apartment. Many international banks are situated along the coast road the nearest of these being 5 mins drive east along the coast road. There is also a new bowling alley and arcade on the main road. The capital of Nicosia is around 35 mins drive and provides yet another opportunity to explore and soak up the culture. Further a field is the famous area of Famagustawhihc is now a ghost town frozen in time, surrounded by barbed wire, a must see.
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Cut off from the Greek south of the island since 1974, Northern Cyprus has been spared the worst effects of mass tourism and big beachside building. Now this quieter, Turkish slice of the island is finally coming into its own. One big plus is that Northern Cyprus is outside the eurozone (unlike the rest of the island) and the Turkish lira it uses offers much better value for British visitors.
On the list of things you must do and see are slow-paced villages, majestic Crusader castles, historic harbours, great mountain views and some of the Med's best turtle beaches.
Northern light: Sun-kissed Kyrenia harbour is an ideal place to relax
You could argue that the pace of life north of the border in Cyprus stems from a prolonged sense of limbo. Internationally, Turkey is still the only country that recognises the areas it occupies here as a legitimate state - the Greek and Turkish Cypriot parts of the island having been closed to each other following the Turkish army's invasion of 1974. But since the Republic of Cyprus's EU accession, the north has been considered EU territory with a disputed foreign military presence, resulting in a distinctive atmosphere. It may take a few days to adjust to the relaxed pace, but it will be well worth it. Note: they drive on the same side of the road as us
1 ... VISIT THE STAR SHIP
When Alexander the Great was conquering the world 2,300 years ago, a ship with a crew of four sank just off Kyrenia (Girne in Turkish). Rediscovered in 1967, ship and contents were brought to the surface and are now Northern Cyprus's star exhibit. The only preserved ship from Greece's Classical Age, the 47ft hull is in the Shipwreck Museum in Kyrenia Castle - including the cargo of perfectly preserved almonds in 400 amphorae.
2 ... GO TOTALLY TURTLE
Lighter tourist development may have helped the endangered green and loggerhead turtles survive. There are still empty beaches where females labour ashore on summer nights to lay their eggs in the sand. In August and September a few lucky hatchlings make it back to the sea. Some 600 turtles laid eggs on Cypriot beaches in 2008, 110 on protected Alagadi, known as 'Turtle Beach', near Kyrenia. Scientists from Exeter University study the turtles here. Go to The Goat Shed study centre at Alagadi at nightfall and, if they have time, they will lead you to the beaches to observe this awesome natural event.
Wild spot: The north of Cyprus is so unspoilt, turtles still lay their eggs on remote beaches
3 ... SEE SLEEPING BEAUTY'S CASTLE
Northern Cyprus has some of the best Crusader castles in the Med. The higher, the better. St Hilarion Castle was taken by Richard the Lionheart on his way to the Third Crusade. Some say it is the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle, a jumble of defensive walls and towers. The steep climb to Buffavento Castle - up an adventurous, narrow road that ascends to 3,084ft - is worth it for the stupendous view.
Perhaps the finest of all (and not so steep a climb) is Kantara Castle, in the neck of that distinctive narrow finger of land, the Karpas peninsula.
The Kyrenia mountain range is a sharp and jagged outcrop that dominates the north of the island and has been used as natural defensive position by Byzantines, Crusaders, Venetian and Ottomans. The highest of the surviving fortifications, the castle of Buffo Vento (Venetian Italian for 'defier of the winds'), is reached by a tortuous track that lacks such innovations as a safety fence or even tarmac. The views are utterly sensational, but take your eyes off the road to look at them there's a good chance you'll find yourself hurtling down 1,000 feet of rock face.
4 ... LAZE UNDER THE IDLE TREE
Bellapais is the perfect short trip from Kyrenia, and not too far from the north's other resorts. The village's marvel is the 13th Century Bellapais Abbey, teetering above a sheer 100ft drop. You enter one of the most beautiful Gothic buildings in the region down a promenade of palms, through a fortified gateway. British author Lawrence Durrell lived in this pretty little village of narrow streets and good boutique hotels and restaurants. He renamed the tree on the main square 'The Tree of Idleness', settling his characters in its shade in his novel Bitter Lemons Of Cyprus. Today there are two candidates to be the official Idle Tree. So you have a choice of shades in which to laze.
Few trees exert the same spell as the Tree of Idleness, the carob by the café the centre of the village of Bellapais which features in Lawrence Durrell's famous Cyprus travelogue 'Bitter Lemons'. The English novelist stayed here in the mid-1950s before the island was divided at the beginning of the Greek Cypriot revolt against British rule and renovated a farm at the top of the hill. You are more likely to be passed by a motor scooter than the heard of cattle that regular thundered through the village when Durrell was in Bellapais, but come for the near idyllic ruins of the medieval abbey and the views over the coast and out across the water to the hulking ridge of Anatolia's Taurus Mountains.
5 ... CROSS THE LINE
If you're staying in the Greek south of the island, the divided city of Nicosia is the ideal entry point to the Turkish north. You can now walk over the open border along once-troubled Ledra Street, reopened in 2008, Ledra crossing point in the Green Line that, since the 1974 war, marks the UN patrolled no man's land between the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots in Europe's last divided capital. Look out for the bullet pocked Ledra Palace as you go through no man's land. But if bullet holes aren't your thing stay on the Turkish side of the line and enjoy the sensationally surreal Nicosia mosque, actually a gothic cathedral, which the Ottomans attached a minaret to when they took the city in 1570.. Try one of the great pampering pleasures of Turkey, in the Omeriye Hamam. This famous old Turkish bath was recently restored and is operating again in its 14th Century premises. Not far away is the old walled harbour town of Famagusta, close to good sandy beaches and the Roman ruins of Salamis, some of the finest on the island.
6 ...YOU TAKE THE HIGH ROAD
A coast-to-coast mountain range spans Northern Cyprus, ending in the Karpas peninsula. The Kyrenia Mountain Trail runs the 143-mile length of the range through cypress and pine-swathed hills at an average height of 2,250ft. It's a ten-day walk in spring or autumn, when it is cooler. In summer, when it's hot down on the coast, the mountains are a refreshing retreat, with short guided treks available.
Kick Ass or rather don't, as one of the few things to bring Turkish and Greek Cypriots together is the campaign to save the population of wild donkeys on Cyprus's panhandle peninsula of Karpas. Home to a national park packed with rare flora and fauna, it also features miles of lonely beach and sand dune. It's not all wild, if you want to watch the super rich at play then Karpas Gate Marina was built primarily for their super yachts. But more fun, perhaps, to spend time with donkeys.
7…SEE A DUMMY
Few Turkish towns can long resist the urge to open an ethnographic museum and fill it with waxwork dummies in traditional Anatolian peasant dress. But Turkish Cyprus offers the fan of historical display through the medium of shop mannequins something different, in particular the gruesome display at Kyrenia (Girne) Castle showing the torture and imprisonment of a 12th century nobleman. There are waxwork prisoners with beards and loincloths, reproduction torture devices, wax work torturers with amusing hats, waxwork guards and, in one of the original pits, a particularly miserable waxwork victim of solitary confinement. On top of all that you can get an ice cream in the courtyard and there is a shipwreck museum in a separate part of the museum.
8 …EAT FISH
If the wax work torture scenes give you an appetite then you are only minutes away from the fish restaurants of Kyrenia harbour, which line the quayside underneath the Venetian warehouse at the spot where the fishing boats unload their catch. Stick to the castle end of the harbour if you like very fresh fish and chilled white wine, and the opposite end if you like bars where Russians smoke and listen to bangin' techno.
There are a large number of quality cheap resturants on the apartments doorstep such as Silver Rocks, Wild Duck (children love it), Fly Inn, Silk Way, HillTop, Calamari, Hurdeniz Fish resturant, Ambience.
9 …FOLLOW ST PAUL
Not much of the eastern Med escaped the attention of Christianity's master propagandist but much of the ancient city of Salamis looks as it would have done when St Paul came here circa 45 AD. A port that silted up and then simply faded, it must be one of best-preserved ancient cities in the region. If not quite Leptis Magna, then certainly a match for Caesarea 150 miles away over the Mediterranean.
Dusk in Northern Cyprus can be spectacular and you don't get a better view of the sun sliding into the sea than from the quayside in Girne (Kyrenia). In a Cypriot passarela, families comes out to stroll and enjoy the small playgrounds doted along the shore, the best of which, if you a parent nearing the end of his or her tether is at Kordonboyu Park, on the foreshore to the east of the harbour, where small bar overlook the swings and, over an ice cold gin and tonic - this did used to be a British island after all - you can catch one of the best sunsets in the Mediterranean.
9 …SEE TRULY ICONIC ART & MUCH MORE
Ironically given its situation on the Turkish side of the line, the Monastery of St Barnabas Icon museum, near Famagusta, contains one of the island's most impressive collections of Greek Orthodox and Byzantine Art. The deconsecrated main chapel is no longer home to religious services but serves instead to illustrate the genius of the icon painter. On a hot day escape into the cool dark church disturbed only by the rustle of bats above, find a treasure trove of orthodox religious art; saints and biblical scenes, some darkened by centuries of dirt and dust, others apparently as fresh and bright as the day they were painted.
The island of Cyprus is considered to be a cradle of western civilization. The ancient towns of Famagusta, Kyrenia, Karpaz, Lefke, Guzelyurt, Nicosia or Yeni Iskele have many historical places which are worth seeing.
If you want to go deeper into the history of Cyprus, visit one of many Cypriot museums in Nicosia (The Stone Works Museum Laphitos, The Mevlevi Tekke Museum), Kyrenia (The Kyrenia Museum Of Folk Art, The Museum Of Public Arts, Shipwreck Museum), Famagusta (The Canbulat Tomb & Museum, The Dungeon And Museum Of Namik Kemal, The St. Barnabas Icon & Archeology Museum), Guzelyurt (The Guzelyurt Museum (The Archeology And Nature Museum) or Yeni Iskele (Icon Museum Of Iskele).
10 …TAKE IT EASY
No need to run around looking for boutique hotels - though they do exist – our apartment offers you this and much more.
Although a Turkish 'Dolmus' taxi system operates in the island, car hire is the best option if you really want to make the most of the occasionally astounding scenery and is relatively cheap. Everything is pretty near, it's only half an hour to drive over the mountain to Nicosia and another hour east from there to Salamis and Famagusta and you'll appreciate cold drink by the hotel pool if things get a little too hot on the road - temperatures can reach 27 Celsius in August.
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