North Cyprus shares with you its God-given gifts of beauty
Nature begins to stir during winter in North Cyprus, donning its most beautiful colours in spring to present a scene of unparalleled beauty. In high summer, we say farewell to the feast of colours as the Mediterranean sun begins its long reign. In autumn the island enters a period of calm and repose. The spiritual tranquility and the real taste of life that we are all seeking is here in North Cyprus.
The dazzling natural fabric awaits you from Güzelyurt on the far west to Zafer Burnu at the easternmost tips of the Karpas Peninsula. The fertile soils, covered in the Mediterranean flora, are as unspoiled as they were on the day they were created.
Karpas Peninsula – Golden Beach & the Apostolos Andreas Monastery
Unmistakable on a map of North Cyprus, the Karpas, or Panhandle as it’s commonly known by, is the long finger of land pointing north-east towards the Turkish eastern mainland, located at the Eastern most tip of Cyprus, near Famagusta.
The peninsula thrusts out from just beyond wherever watchful Kantara castle sits at the end of the Kyrenia range of mountains; a windswept undulating land strip of around 75 km in length. Harboring some of the best beaches on the island, this remote terrain is a mecca for bird watchers. It’s also the territory of the ubiquitous Cyprus donkeys, abandoned when the Greek’s left in 1974 and now roaming freely. Wild and almost derelict during the winter months, it becomes wild, in the human sense, when hordes of locals and holidaymakers arrive during the heat of summer to enjoy the beaches. Otherwise, this area attracts nature lovers and walkers who enjoy off season solitude. A scattering of small archaeological sites and early Christian churches lie in wait.
Here you will witness a tranquil and picturesque village where Turkish and Greek Cypriots live together harmoniously. This peninsula is undoubtedly the most beautiful and the least spoilt part of North Cyprus.
Güzelyurt – The beautiful land
Situated in the north-west of Cyprus Island, on the northern skirts of Troodos Mountains, to the east of the blue Mediterranean, on the greenest plateau in Cyprus, is the charming town of Güzelyurt (in Greek: Morphou). You can see the scenic harmony of all tones of green in Güzelyurt and its environment rich with citrus groves and subterranean sources.
Güzelyurt (meaning beautiful land in Turkish) is one of the richest agricultural areas in North Cyprus. Rich in underground water reserves, consequently the leading part of the TRNC in citrus farming, delicious oranges, lemons, and limes of Cyprus. Among all the local festivities, Güzelyurt Orange Festival which is organized every year during May and June is the most sought after and mostly renowned one.
Güzelyurt, like other towns in North Cyprus, has been home to many great civilizations throughout history; visit the Soli Ruins (600 BC), ancient theatre, Vouni Palace (5th Century BC), Tumba Tou Skuru residential areas (dates to the early Bronze Period), St. Mamas Monastery and Icon Museum (a Byzantine building), and you will see.
North Cyprus Castles
Explore the ancient and picturesque castles of Northern Cyprus
St Hilarion Castle – Spectacularly located on a mountain peak at 732m
The best view of the castle is at the bottom of the hill on the final approach to the castle. From here the thick, castellate walls punctuated with solid square towers appear to cling to and wind the steep hillside right to the very peak. It is often likened to Walk Disney’s fairy tale castle in Snow White and believed it might even be the inspiration.
The accommodation within the castle is built on three distinct and self-contained levels. The lower level housed the horses, the soldiers, and the weapons. Steps lead more steeply upwards to the third and final level for the Royal apartments and St John’s tower.
Kyrenia Castle – Built during Roman and Venetians time in Cyprus
Kyrenia Castle started life under the Romans and was further improved through the ages especially by the Lusignan’s, but there remains much to see in the castle, and finally by the Venetians. It was the Venetians who built the heavy defensive walls and the strong towers.
Entering the castle, you cross the moat, dry now but it was not always so. Inside there is much to admire including the cruciform church of St George. One of the rooms off the courtyard houses the Shipwreck Museum which displays a 4th century BC wreck of a Greek merchant ship with its cargo. Kyrenia castle is a must visit landmark in Cyprus.
Buffavento Castle – Located on the top of the Buffavento Pass
Kantara Castle – This heavily walled castle stands at around 600m
Kantara castle, further east still, is easily the most accessible. Again, a paved road leads to the entrance from Kantara village.
This heavily walled castle stands at around 600m. Here the buildings, including a large barracks, storerooms, and water cisterns, are more complete and can be explored with barely any climbing.