A few weeks ago I had a week away in North Cyprus, a completely new experience for me. For starters it was the warmest I’d ever felt in February and I was amazed at how much there was to see and do. North Cyprus has mountains, beaches and pretty towns and villages to explore, so it really is perfect for any type of holiday. Visiting in February meant that it was off season and quieter than usual, but the temperature was still lovely. I wanted to share 5 things that I enjoyed doing on my trip to North Cyprus and I’d recommend all of these if you’re planning a trip!
1 – Kyrenia Mountains
The most stunning part of North Cyprus has to be the mountains. The Kyrenia mountains were within walking distance of where we were staying and going for a walk felt very peaceful. Even without going too high up, the views of the towns and villages below were amazing and definitely worth the steep walks. With it being February, the weather wasn’t too hot, so walking up the mountains didn’t feel like a strain. Being surrounded by such a beautiful landscape is something really memorable.
2 – Kyrenia/Girne
Kyrenia (or Girne) is home to a pretty harbour and ancient castle, as well as being a good place to eat and shop. We first visited Kyrenia castle which had lots of different rooms to explore, as well as beautiful views over the sea. The town itself has some good lunch spots and good deals can be found in the shops too. A walk around the harbour is a must if you visit Kyrenia, as well as a walk along some of the old cobblestone streets. Kyrenia has something for everyone, whether you’re looking for history, shopping or walks along the seafront.
3 – Salamis Ruins
One of my favourite day trips was to the Salamis Ruins, just north of the city of Famagusta. These ancient Greek ruins were so interesting to see and it was amazing how much had survived. The columns around the ancient courtyard were a memorable feature and perfect for a photo opportunity. I was also amazed by how much of the amphitheatre still stands today and being able to climb to the top was a brilliant experience. The Salamis Ruins are a must visit in Northern Cyprus, even if ancient history isn’t your thing!
4 – St Hilarion Castle
Driving high into the mountains to St Hilarion Castle was an amazing experience in itself. The castle is spread over different parts of the mountain not far from Kyrenia and it really was a climb to reach the highest point. We were lucky enough to have a really sunny day when we visited, and again the views from the castle were incredible. It seems like quite a trek at first to reach the top, but the views at the end are worth it. Even if, like me, you don’t like heights, the castle is not to be missed and I’m glad I faced my fear and made it to the top.
5 – Bellapais
A pretty village in the Kyrenia District, Bellapais is a real gem. The village is small and beautiful, with lovely independent shops and cafés that we loved browsing. A trip to Bellapais wouldn’t be complete without taking a look around Bellapais Abbey, the ruins of an old monastery with amazing details still in tact. The sea views from Bellapais are stunning too and the Abbey makes the perfect backdrop for photos. There are stairs all the way to the top of the Abbey, so it’s worth taking the time to really explore it all.
If you’re planning on taking a trip to Northern Cyprus, I would say that all these places are definitely worth visiting, wherever you’re staying. Day trips to different parts of North Cyprus are worth doing and will really give you a sense of the amazing history and landscape on the Northern side of the island.