Northern Cyprus has some of the best beaches on
the whole island. Many of them towards the Karpas Peninsular (the "Panhandle")
are virtually deserted. Here are just a few:
Esentepe Belediyesi (Council)
Beach is a large sandy beach (with some rocks) currently under
construction (2016) which hopefully will come on stream in 2017. Will have
restaurant, changing facilities, toilets, and a sports pitch. About 3 minutes
from the villa with access to new car park via road by Stone Castle Restaurant
or road immediately to the west of the Tempo supermarket.
Esentepe Alkan Beach is a small
sand and shingle beach with man-made protective arms about 1km away from the
villa opposite the Alkan Holiday Village. The beach has a small beach bar and
other facilities are located across the road at the Holiday Village.
Korineum Beach is a brand new
beach (opened in 2012) and situated about 5 minutes' drive away. This is a
stone and shingle beach with a little sand. Beach unbrellas are laid out on a
large grassed area immediately above the beach. There is also a new beach
restaurant and excellent changing and toilet facilities.
Nature Bay is geographically
the closest really good sandy beach to the villa - about 9 minutes drive away.
No facilities other than a decent car park. However, few people come to this
beach and there are spectacular views from the car park both of the beach, the
bay, and wonderful geological strata.
(photo 1) (photo 2)
Turtle Beach (Alagadi) is the
next closest sandy beach to the villa - about 9 minutes drive away. Large beach
with golden sands, safe shallow water, and an excellent beach cafe with
toilets, shower and changing facilities.
Tatlisu Belediyesi (Council) Zambak Beach is
about 25 minutes drive from the villa going east. This is a safe medium
sized sandy beach with large adjoining restaurant, pier bar, showers and
changing facilities. Take second signposted entrance to Zambak beach (not
first signposted entrance). Shaded area and sunbeds available. Swings
& slides. (photo)
is located about 40 minutes drive to the east. Lovely safe sandy beach with
good beach cafe/restaurant, and toilets, shower and changing facilities.
Malibu Beach near Yeni
Erenköy can be found further up the coast from Kaplica and few tourists
know of it. It has a safe sandy beach with good beach cafe/restaurant, and
toilets, shower and changing facilities.
Bafra Beach - on the southern
coast of the Karpas - was until a few years' ago virtually unknown to tourists.
In our opinion it was one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean with
glorious golden sands, and safe and warm shallow waters. In the last few years
there has been massive development around the beach with luxurious
hotels/apartments being built. Notwithstanding that, the public beach remains
one of the best in Northern Cyprus. A brand new beach cafe and a restaurant are
on the beach and the most modern toilets, shower and changing facilities are
Golden Beach - this is a long
drive up the Karpas peninsular beyond the town of Dipkarpas on rather
indifferent roads. However, the beach is quite spectacular and, because of its
isolated position, it's almost deserted for much of the time. It does have a
beach cafe with basic toilets and showers although these are all situated about
200 metres from the sea shore.
Glapsides Beach – a large safe sandy
beach situated on the southern coastline of about 5.5km north from Famagusta.
Beach restaurants, changing facilities, toilets and pedalos are available.
Northern Cyprus abounds with historical sites of
great interest. Here is just a small selection:
Mountain Castles - St Hilarion
(photo) , Buffavento, and
Kantara (photo) are all
spectacular mountain castles built in the Byzantine period during the 10th and
11th centuries although St Hilarion castle was completed as a fortified castle
by the Luisignans. There are taxing climbs to these castles - only for the fit
- but views are worth it! St Hilarion is said to be the inspiration for
Disney's Magic Kingdom castle.
Girne (Kyrenia) Castle - The
original 9th century Byzantine castle with later Luisignan and Venetian
additions provides wonderful views of the pretty harbour. It also houses the
Shipwreck Museum containing the remains of a 4th century BC ship and its cargo.
Well worth seeing! (photo)
Bellapais Abbey - The 14th
century abbey has most spectacular views over land and sea and is set in a most
peaceful location. What remains of the abbey consist of the almost intact
refectory, unusual pulpit, cloisters, some wonderful vaulted roofing, and
slender cypress trees (see photo right) - a delight for any
photographer. The writer of "Bitter Lemons", Laurence Durrell, lived a short
walk away in the village.
Salamis - Wander around the
vast remains of the city of Salamis founded by Teucer on his return from the
Trojan War. See the Roman amphitheatre, Gymnasium, Baths, Marketplace and
Basilica. Afterwards, cool off with a swim among further ruins on the adjoining
beach. (photo1) (photo2)
Soli - Built around the 4th
century BC, its ruins contain a theatre, temples, palace ruins, agora, basilica
and necropolis. It is well worth visiting just to see the beautiful church
St Barnabas Tomb &
Monastery - The monastery was established on the site of the saint's
tomb in the fifth century, with funds provided by the Byzantine emperor. The
present church and cloisters at the monastery date from the mid-18th century.
Esentepe - This is a lovely church found by driving
up the mountain on a good road from Esentepe village and through the pine
trees. The church was built in the 7th century. However the narthex to the west
and the gallery to the south were added by the Lusignans in the 14th or 15th
century. It's one of the finest of its kind in Cyprus to survive to the present
Panagia Pergaminiotissa Church, Tatlisu
- This newly renovated church dates from the 12th century. The
medieval style building is a cross in a square shape and domed with a
cylindrical apse. The church was frescoed with mural paintings, parts of which
can still be seen inside. Also in the church grounds is the Mini Cyprus Museum
containing 15 great miniatures of TRNC historical monuments (entrance 5TL)
Othello's Tower, Famagusta -
Othello's tower was originally built as a moated citadel in order to protect
Famagusta's harbour, and was originally the main entrance to the town. When the
Venetinians arrived, they greatly strengthened the town's defences,
incorporating the citadel into the main town walls.The citadel's more common
name, "Othello's Tower", originates from Shakespeare's "Othello". The play
refers to "a port in Cyprus", and "Cyprus, the Citadel".
Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque/St Nicholas
Cathedral, Famagusta - Beautiful 13th century Cathedral. One of the
best examples of the French Gothic Style in the Near East - modelled on Rheims
Cathedral. Converted into a mosque in the 16th century by the Ottomans and
still in use. If you go inside (small charge), legs will need to be covered and
ladies will need a headscarf. Ancient fig tree outside - said to have been
planted in 1250. (photo)
WALKING / TREKKING
There are numerous walking trails throughout
Northern Cyprus and particularly in the Besparmak
mountain range and around Esentepe. Walking through the pine trees near
Alevkayasi is delightful. Picnic tables are provided. In the Spring, walkers in
Northern Cyprus can see a wide range of flowers. By Summer, the citrus trees
are in bloom.
There are some 20 diving sites close or not too
far distant from Esentepe. These consist of both wrecks and reef formations.
Approved PADI scuba diving courses are also available. Karpas Peninsula dive
sites include underwater caverns, impressive walls and a wrecked cargo ship
lying at a very accessible 20 metres. You are not allowed to scuba dive on your
own in Northern Cyprus, so all levels of divers should join a safari organised
by a PADI approved school or guide company.
The Korineum Golf & Country Club is situated
just 4-5 minutes drive westwards form the villa. This beautiful lush 18-hole
championship course uses the Besparmak
mountain range as a stunning backcloth. Visitors can enjoy either the complete
18-hole course, or just 9 holes, or the driving range. A golf shop and tuition
are also available. (photo)
Northern Cyprus (and especially the Esentepe
area) is ideal for cycling enthusiasts of all abilities as the natural terrain
is plentiful and most roads east of Esentepe carry little traffic - in
particular, the old coastal road toward the Karpas peninsular. You can join the
230km waymarked Kyrenia Mountain Trail just above Esentepe village. There are
no restrictions to cycling, so you can enjoy exploring freely across varied
terrains and the region offers a superb year-round climate, especially between
October and April, when the temperature varies between 15°C and 25°C.
Bikes can be hired in Girne (Kyrenia).
Nightlife centres largely around the bars and
restaurants in Girne (Kyrenia) harbour. Within the town and along the northern
coast are also a number of nightclubs. At the Acapulco Resort you can dance
away throughout the night in the moonlight! For those who enjoy a bit of a
gamble, there are over 20 casinos in Northern Cyprus, many in the Girne
(Kyrenia) area, as well as smaller hotel casinos. The Acapulco Resort Hotel
also has its own casino. The Resort is situated about a 15 minutes drive from
our Esentepe villa.
There are so many other activities or things to enjoy in
Northern Cyprus. Here are just a few:
- Go-Karting (tracks for enthusiasts and families)
- Shopping in Girne (Kyrenia), Lefkosa (Nicosia), or the new
Ercan Airport and Famagusta City Malls
- The Wednesday market in Girne
(photo1) (photo2) (photo3)
- A midday drink or evening meal in Girne (Kyrenia) harbour
- The Intervention Memorial
- A roadside drink of freshly squeezed orange juice in the
- An exhilarating climb to the top of St Hilarion castle
- THE pastry and Turkish Delight shop (Petek) in Famagusta
(photo1) (photo2) (photo3)
- Sailing down the coast from Girne with a BBQ fish lunch
- Water sports including paragliding, Kite surfing, and sea
- Horse riding (mountain and pub trails) from
- Find the donkeys on the Karpas peninsular
- The Spring flowers and orchids
- Fishing trips from Girne (Kyrenia)
- Boat trips from Girne (Kyrenia)
- Jeep safaris
- Paintballing in Lapta
- 10-Pin Bowling (Kyrenia & Famagusta)
- Caving (Guvercinlik, Alevkayasi; Incirli, Iskele; Gastro,
Kuruova; Execution, Kaleburnu)
- Bird Watching (photo)
- Turtle Watching (Alagadi)
- Festivals and Concerts throughout the year
- Visit the new Gecitköy Dam & Reservoir
- Tour the open roads
- Spa treatments at the Korineum, Elexus, and Acapulco