If you are looking for tranquility and nature you are at the right place in Northern Cyprus. Cypriots are referring to the island as a corner of earth touched by heaven. North Cyprus is truly the hidden gem in the Mediterranean; lush unspoilt landscapes, friendly locals, lots to do and great places to stay will cater for all of your expectations. Add the crystal clear turquoise sea to it and you can rest assured that you’ll have a holiday you will never forget. Rich in History and owerflowing with culture, Northern Cyprus is a place that guarantees culture, relaxation and experience.
A combination of cosmopolitan towns and traditional villages just add to the uniqueness of the island. North Cyprus remained being a well visited holiday destination even after higher education and property investments became popular exactly for those reasons.
Let’s categorize holidays into following sections as everyone’s expectation is different
– Nature Holidays
– Hotel Holidays
– Casino Holidays
– Wedding and Honeymoon Holidays
– Investment Holidays
– Medical Tourism
Some essential information to begin with:
The locals are proud and generous people and they do contribute immensely to the charming environment of North Cyprus. The people are known for their hospitality; that kind of people who will invite you to dinner at their house and chat with you for hours after having met only a few minutes ago. They will do everything within their power to please their guests, including serving never ending plates of food!
As in the UK, you drive on the left-hand side of the road in North Cyprus. You must be over the age of 25 to hire and/or drive a rented vehicle. Whilst driving a hired vehicle you must be in possession of valid documents (driving license, insurance, rental agreement) at all times. Visitors, if stopped by the police, will be treated kindly but driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs, as well as dangerous driving is an offence and will not be tolerated. Parking restrictions are evident and should not be infringed. Plenty of car parks are available and the fee is not expensive.
The language spoken in North Cyprus is Turkish with a different regional dialect from mainland Turkey. The basic language is the same and there are rarely difficulties in communication. English is widely spoken in Northern Cyprus and English is also taught in Cypriot schools.
Business / Shop Opening Hours in North Cyprus
Due to the oppressive summer heat, most of the civil service offices will work from 08.00 to 14.00. Winter opening hours vary from department to department but usually they are operational from 09.00 to 12.30 and 14.00 to 17.30.
Retail outlets usually are open from 09.00 to 18.00 without a break and supermarkets are staying open until 21.00 or later.
Public Holidays in North Cyprus
The religious holidays of Islam are observed and like the religious holidays in the Christian Church, they are moveable feasts. Kindly check out dates of Ramadan Feast and Sacrifice Feast (Kurban Bayram) dates of the year.
Other major holidays are:
New Years Day, January 1st.
Children’s Day, April 23rd.
Labour Day, May 1st.
Youth and Sports Day, May 19th.
Peace and Freedom Day, July 20th.
Communal Resistance Day, 1st August.
Victory Day 30th August.
Turkish National Day, 29th October.
Independence Day 15th November, (proclamation of TRNC in 1983).
The currency is the Turkish Lira, with a constantly fluctuating exchange rate. For this reason, shopkeepers and restaurant owners are fully conversant with all major currencies and bills can be paid in those as well as local currency. However please be advised to check the daily exchange rate to ensure the rates offered are adequate, as many convert the amount owed using local newspaper exchange rates. There are many exchange offices in all major towns. Major Credit and Debit cards are widely accepted and can be used in cash machines with the exception of Amex which is not widely in use.
Northern Cyprus is one of the safest destinations in the Mediterranean. It has an excellent reputation for being a safe and friendly place. The North has a far lower crime rate than the South. Due to its small population, there are less crimes committed in North Cyprus compared to more populated and metropolitan countries. Crime against students and tourists is not common, but applying common sense it would be better to keep passports, money and other valuables in a safe place. A few basic precautions are more than enough to protect your belongings. Cypriots are quite warm and welcoming people to everyone regardless of their cultural, ethnic or religious background.
When calling North Cyprus from abroad, your country code and area codes are as follows.
Country Code: 0090 (same as in Turkey)
Area Code: 0392
You can purchase ‘pay-as-you-go’ mobile telephone credit (‘Kontür’ in Turkish) available to buy in all main cities in Northern Cyprus. TRNC Telsim and Turkcell are the two main GSM operators, who also provide international communication with roaming outside of North Cyprus.
Availability of Alcohol
Despite the fact that Northern Cyprus reads as 98% Muslin on paper, alcohol is popular in North Cyprus. You will find Turkish and international drinks in all varieties including Raki, Beer, Whiskey, Vodka and Wine. The local drink is Zivania which is a Cypriot pomace brandy distilled from wine mixed with the fermented pomace. There are many international brands as you would find in Europe. Generally, alcohol is good value in North Cyprus.
CHEAP HOLIDAY IN NORTHERN CYPRUS
Why is North Cyprus a cheap holiday destination?
The official currency of Cyprus is Turkish Lira. Generally Northern Cyprus is cheaper than Southern Cyprus which is in the Euro zone. The fluctuation of the Turkish Lira currency benefits tourists and inhabitants in Northern Cyprus. Due to the currency benefits, it is not only cheaper while you are spending on restaurants, beach clubs, car hire etc. but North Cyprus also often offers better value and cheaper priced quality hotels, in comparison to the South of the border.
In between losing your stresses to the seductive landscapes of sandy coves and crystal waters there’s a whole palette of colourful culture for visitors of Northern Cyprus to experience. North Cyprus holidays are loved for the traditionally slow pace and friendly locals, it offers amazing beaches, gorgeous views, and plenty of sunshine all year.
Mingling with locals is one of the most amazing parts of a North Cyprus holiday, as you are not in a holiday town designed just for tourists. You are able to enjoy the best destinations while visiting the same places the locals do and relax into the slower pace of the Mediterranean life.
The west of Northern Cyprus provides for traditional Cypriot life with its many citrus groves and olive groves near the Guzelyurt region whereas the East leads through a popular destination for spectacular History aficionados enjoying Famagusta holidays.
Don’t miss out the quiet Karpaz peninsula with much history, and even more empty almond sandy beaches with amazing views of virgin coastline where the turquoise sea embraces the island.
If you look at the map of Northern Cyprus, there is an obvious mountain range going from the West to the East, the Kyrenia Mountains. The Kyrenia Mountain Trail (or Besparmak Trail) stretches over 200 kilometers from one side to the other. It is indeed a hidden gem of Cyprus.
If you’re a day hiker, there are good day hikes around Kyrenia. The most frequented is the hike going up to St. Hilarion castle and you can go there from the city centre easily. It’s well marked on a map you can obtain at the local tourist information office.
Another wonderful hiking destination in Northern Cyprus is the Karpaz Peninsula. The least developed part of Northern Cyprus is famous for its beaches and a donkey reservation, a very special place with a lot of fields and forests. In the Karpaz area AirBnB is the best way to go. Should you prefer camping, there is an excellent campsite by Golden Beach, Karpaz Peninsula, called Big Sand Beach Camping. From there it is quite easy to reach most of the peninsula including the donkey reservation with many day hikes around.
Wild camping is possible in Northern Cyprus. But remember to keep to standard wild camping etiquette.
The most popular months for walking holidays in North Cyprus are autumn through to springtime, when the temperatures are easing after long hot summers. Rainfall from the end of October through to the end of April can be expected but most days are pleasant enough for a hike through the woods or across the mountain range. In March and April, Orchid walks are organised when these pretty little flowers are in full bloom.
One of the reasons why walking in North Cyprus has become so popular is the superb panoramic views from the many walking trails. Some walks include the opportunity to visit Crusader Castles, dramatically settled on impossible summits along with the range. Enjoy walking through 9,000 years of history, running into old ruined monasteries and churches snugged away in secluded valleys, as well as many other hidden places.
Many of the main crops of Northern Cyprus are ready to be harvested in Autumn, including olives and carob. As the trees start to lose their leaves and the landscape changes, many birds start to immigrate north for the winter. This is certainly a popular time for bird watching where you might even spot a glimpse of the magnificent scops owl.
The Coastal plain offers walks through olive groves; some with ancient trees under preservation, serving as living monuments to time. There are reservoir walks which provide interest for bird-watching and walks bordering cultivated fields. At coastal trails you can walk along cliffs and through undeveloped areas with just empty, unspoilt beaches, rocky reefs and ocean blue skies.
are simply spoiled for choice with plenty of options, all delivering a different type of experience.
North Cyprus features many small and sandy coves, which are perfect for some peace and quiet while absorbing the sun and enjoying the sea. Some of these are easily found, while others are hidden behind rocks. Just outside of Kyrenia along the road to Guzelyurt or Esentepe there are countless spots that provide the perfect setting for this. The sandy beaches of Famagusta and Bafra, are the most recommended though with not only many small private beaches but also the renowned Golden Beach that stretches for miles allowing to enjoy the wonders of the Mediterranean in absolute privacy.
North Cyprus is a prime nesting ground for both the Loggerhead and Green Turtle. SPOT, the Society for the Protection of Turtles has keen followers. Marine biology students from universities from all over the world come to do their residencies at Alagadi beach in Esentepe/ Kyrenia. Students and volunteers keep monitoring the turtle eggs throughout the summer season to protect the eggs from predators. Therefore, Alagadi beach is closed at night to the general public and you can only watch the turtles by prior arrangement with SPOT. If you would like to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the mother turtles nesting or the baby turtles hatching; egg-laying, release and hatching nights are arranged during the season at Alagadi Beach and sometimes at other beaches in North Cyprus such as Karşıyaka or Karpaz.
The Korineum Golf and Beach Resort has been Awarded 36th place in Top 100 European Golf Resorts.
Everything you would expect from a top class resort complex like high standards of accommodation, beautifully decorated and furnished rooms, an attractive outdoor pool and sumptuous spa facilities are to be found there. Golfers will be delighted at the immaculately kept 18-hole course and excellent practice facilities.
Situated in the in the midst of beautiful countryside, surrounded by umbrella pines and olive trees, between the impressive Five Finger Mountains and the crystal waters of the Mediterranean the resort is set apart by its breath-taking location.
Northern Cyprus is an accomplished entertainment location featuring many 5-star luxury hotels. In particular, Turkey’s strong hotel brands operate most of the luxury hotels in the TRNC.
Hotels are generally located by the sea and have a private beach with few exemptions of downtown luxury hotels. The all-inclusive or ultra-all-inclusive concepts do not fail to please the holidaymaker with their sumptuous rooms and high quality of service. All 5-star hotels feature a casino.
Hotels in Kyrenia from 3* family run hotels to 5* luxury resorts holidays are the best of both worlds, quiet enough to relax, lively enough to go out and enjoy yourself. Kyrenia offers plenty to do for families and couples, with lots of interesting places to go.
Famagusta is ideal if you long for a relaxing beach holiday, or are interested in a lot of historical sightseeing. It is a lot quieter than Kyrenia, however you will still find plenty of small restaurants and bars to keep you entertained in the evenings downtown.
The Bafra region has been designated as a holiday resort with luxury hotels for tourist expansion. Therefore, as a designated area it features only 5-star hotels with lavish outdoors facilities and casinos. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the luscious sandy bays, whilst being close to the Karpaz Peninsula and Famagusta.
Nicosia is currently the biggest and most densely populated city in Northern Cyprus. The developing, urban, yet historic and charming city of Nicosia is the major center for arts, culture, diplomacy and business. Nicosia hotels are predominantly available for business stays or are accommodating gambling enthusiasts from the South.
Nevertheless, there are some recently opened fine boutique hotels in the old town, which are converted traditional houses, offering plenty of charm.
Casino holidays are an invention specifically for gamblers. The goal here is to arrive at the hotel as soon as possible, check in at the casino and start gambling.
Cyprus casinos, which serve in luxury hotels, usually pick up their guests with luxury vehicles from the airport and offer outstanding services. Casinos offering V.I.P services for their private customers often do not charge accommodation fees.
Kyrenia is the region with the most of the casinos in Cyprus. Casinos in Kyrenia serve their fixed customers as well as visiting gamblers.
Nicosia casinos attract customers from Southern Cyprus. Those coming from Southern Cyprus prefer to play in Nicosia casinos as they are close to the border.
Similar the all-inclusive hotel guests leaving the island without setting foot on the streets of Cyprus, casino guests do not even see the hotel they’re staying in a lot of times. Sometimes they just gamble and return to their countries via Ercan Airport, without taking time to sleep.
Wedding, Blessing and Honeymoon Holidays
The Island has always held a romantic attraction for betrothed couples since Richard the Lionheart married his Queen, Berengaria in Cyprus. Convenient marriage laws and spectacular wedding locations make Cyprus a truly great destination for weddings.
Northern Cyprus is again very popular for weddings and honeymoon holidays. There is a serious demand from the UK as well as from India. Globally famous Indian weddings now take place in Cyprus hotels as destination weddings. Rich Indian families, who make reservations months in advance, come to Northern Cyprus for weddings and holidays with hundreds of guests.
Combining a Wedding or a Blessing with a holiday for guests has become quite on fashion in North Cyprus as it’s relatively inexpensive and makes a wonderful destination for all members of the family and friends to enjoy all together.
Exclusive venues in hotels are set apart from the main hotel grounds to ensure that the occasion remains private and intimate. When envisaging a stunning historical backdrop for the ceremony, the Bellapais Abbey with its outstanding 13th Century architecture and grounds overlooking Kyrenia is the most popular choice.
No other island in the world is dedicated to couples in love to such extend. The amenities and activities of distinguished resorts, combined with stylish & romantic suites, honeymoon breakfasts and health and beauty treatment concessions leave nothing else to wish for honeymooners…
This type of holiday is shortly referred to as the inspection trip… These trips, which are usually organized by real estate agencies and construction companies, are in fact a pleasant holiday for the investor.
The tours, whereby the investor candidate only chips in by purchasing a flight ticket, generally is planned for 3 days. The chosen company covers everything from airport transfer to accommodation, from sightseeing to meals for those 3 days.
Please find more details about the investment tour in our article titled Inspection Trip, in the Invest in Cyprus category.
Apart from education, luxury hotels and casinos, Northern Cyprus holds an assertive position in terms of health with a special focus on IVF treatment…
Infertility is perceived as traumatizing and a cause of psychic distress and social isolation. Couples prefer IVF treatment when they are ready to start a family and require assistance from a full service egg donation and surrogacy agency. Clinics in North Cyprus offer most advanced reproductive technologies. The treatment success rates are significantly higher than the world average and gender selection as well as surrogacy is permitted in North Cyprus. Successful methods applied in treatment made Northern Cyprus very popular in this field and attracting global visitors.
Cyprus IVF hospitals are preparing holiday packages in coordination with hotels for their patients. For the patient staying 1-6 weeks in average this time is very well utilized as holidays in Cyprus. Short term rentals are also often used.
Cyprus health tourism has started to become increasingly active in aesthetics and elderly care in recent years.
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