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Since separating from the southern, Greek-identifying division of Cyprus, North Cyprus has managed to keep its beauty and heritage intact. Its empty beaches, sleepy villages and archaeological ruins make it a perfect place for escaping the crowds. The time to visit is right now; but don't miss out on the best bits!

1) Visit the harbour town of Kyrenia

Life in Kyrenia has always centred around the harbour. Dominated by the castle perched on its northern cliff, the picturesque harbour has a history that can be traced back over 6,000 years.

Climb the castle and take a stroll along the waterfront, stopping for a drink in one of the many inviting cafes, restaurants and bars. Local markets and colourful, bobbing boats also fight for your attention, offering a snapshot of a life that continues to thrive by the harbour.

Away from the harbour and historic castle, the Old Town's twisted streets and winding alleyways beg to be explored. Take a trip through time as you wander past abandoned stone buildings, and stop by the Ottoman-era Ağa Cafer Pașa Mosque and the remains of 16th-century Chysopolitissa Church.

Join us on a holiday to Kyrenia

 

 

2) Cross the border in Nicosia

The only capital in the world to be divided between two countries, Nicosia is a fascinating collision of Greek and Turkish-Cypriot cultures. Since the Turkish invasion in 1974, the city is split in half between Northern and Southern Cyprus - but this doesn't mean you can't drift between the two.

Spend a day there and get lost in the history: what this city lacks in size it certainly makes up for in attractions! Wander past Colonial-era buildings, Gothic churches, beautiful mosques and bundles of museums, and cross the Green Line with its lookout, guards and competing flags to see the city's separation for yourself.

 

 

3) Climb Sleeping Beauty's castle

North Cyprus is famous for having some of the best Crusader castles in the Mediterranean.

Perched high in the Five Fingers mountain range, St Hilarion castle is one of the best preserved, making it well worth a visit for history-fanatics and scenery-seekers alike. You can easily see why it's rumoured to be the inspiration for Disney's Sleeping Beauty castle; its standpoint and jumble of turrets and walls make it a scene straight from a fairy-tale.

Climb to the top for magnificent views over the Mediterranean, nearby Kyrenia and - on a clear day - mainland Turkey!

 

 

4) Try your luck at spotting turtles

There are two types of turtles that nest on the beaches of North Cyprus: the Loggerhead and Green Turtle. 

For the best chance of spotting the nesting, which normally happens between late March and early June, visit the soft sands of Alagadi, known as 'Turtle Beach', which lies just east of Kyrenia.

Huge efforts have been made to protect the turtles and their eggs during nesting season and the baby turtles' race to the sea. To offer visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of witnessing these phenomenons, egg-laying, releases and hatching nights are arranged at Alagadi Beach, and sometimes at other beaches in North Cyprus such as Karşıyaka or Dipkarpaz. 

 

 

5) Get your walking shoes on

North Cyprus' rich flora and fauna, rugged coastline and spectacular views make it the perfect place to explore on foot. Forged along the country's famous mountain range, the 143-mile-long Kyrenia Mountain Trail presents a challenge to any keen hiker, but there's plenty of easier walks to be enjoyed towards the north-west side of the island too!

Ramble through rural villages, reservoirs, archaeological sites and forests teeming with wildlife, passing centuries-old olive trees, churches and walled towns as you go.

Join us on a walking holiday to North Cyprus

 

 

6) Kick back on the Karpaz Peninsular

Arguably one of the most unspoilt places in the whole of the Mediterranean, the Karpaz peninsular in the north-east of the island isn't just home to wild donkeys - although that's what many people will know it for. A huge number of reptiles, insects and butterflies endemic to North Cyprus live here, and each year approximately 300 species of bird stop here on their migration between Eastern Europe and Africa.

A visit is like stepping back in time. Fruit, olives and tobacco grow in abundance and for many of the small villages dotted around the region, jobs still rely on traditional horse-drawn tools. 

Come here to escape the crowds; its northern and eastern shores have some of the most beautiful and deserted beaches in the whole of the island. Bring a beach-towel and a book and spend the day horizontal on the sand. 

At Solos, we've launched a new series of holidays to North Cyprus that range from sun-kissed Kyrenia breaks to walking and golf holidays along the coast. See the unspoilt beauty of the country for yourself and browse our full selection of North Cyprus holidays.

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