Cyprus is steeped in history and due to
its geographical location, the island has been conquered and
settled by many civilisations in the past. As a result of the
islandís rich and chequered history, there are numerous
historical sites, legacy of various civilisations; Persians,
Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Lusignans and the Crusaders,
Venetians and the Ottomans.
The picturesque countryside is covered in flowers in season. The
forest clad mountains with their historic castles are ideal for
the hiker. There are miles of undisturbed sandy beaches, with
crystal clear waters.
It is so easy to explore the countryside and the historic sites
by car. North Cyprus has a good network of well surfaced roads.
Just as it is in the UK, the driving is on the left.
Car hire in North Cyprus is very cheap and easy to arrange. We
have our own fleet of new hire cars (all RHD), and if you make
your hotel reservation with us, we will give you a further 5%
discount off the published car hire rates. Please refer to our
Car Hire page and visit our car hire website www.tamcarhire.com
Nostalgia Hotel in Kyrenia is an ideal base for exploring the
island by car, since the distances from Kyrenia to the various
parts of the island can be covered in approx one hour.
Kyrenia Harbour and the Venetian Castle
The picturesque harbour of Kyrenia is reputedly the prettiest in
the eastern Mediterranean. Many cafes and restaurants line the
historic horse shoe shaped harbour, where you can pass many
hours sipping your favourite drink, watching the yachts sail in
and out of the harbour.
Kyreniaís famous ancient castle guards and dominates the harbour.
The world famous Shipwreck Museum is housed in the castle, where
the oldest shipwreck raised from the sea bed is displayed.
St Hilarion Castle
Famous Crusader Castle dating back to the 12th century, perched
high up on the rocky mountain top overlooking
medieval castle was used as a royal residence by the Lusignans,
the crusaders, and in recent times St Hilarion was the
inspiration behind the castle in Walt Disneyís Sleeping.
Bellapais Village and the Bellapais Abbey
The picturesque village of Bellapais nestles into the hillside
behind Kyrenia. Made famous by Laurence Durrell in his Bitter
Lemons. This historic village is dominated by its beautiful
Gothic Abbey. During certain months in the summer classical
concerts are held in its impressive refectory.
Famagusta & Salamis
Historic Famagusta's impressive walls were built by the
Venetians and they are the best preserved walls in the Eastern
Mediterranean. Its gothic cathedral of St Nicolas sits in the
centre of the ancient town. The Citadel, Othelloís Tower, guards
the entry to its harbour.
Salamis is only few miles to the north of Famagusta, along the
coastline. Salamis was the most important city kingdom in Cyprus
during ancient times and its Roman ruins are extensive and
impressive. The Roman Theatre, the largest in the Eastern
Mediterranean, could, at one time, accommodate 15,000
spectators. The gymnasium and the Roman baths cover an extensive
area. The sandy beaches extend the full length of the ancient
city and in the spring the wild flowers and the giant fennel
provide riots of colours.
St Barnabas Church and Monastery
The Monastery is the resting place for St Barnabas, the apostle
who spread Christianity to the island together with St Paul. The
walls of the church are covered with icons and the cloisters are
set out as an archaeological museum.
The westerly drive along the coastline from Kyrenia is very
picturesque, passing through the green forests. Guzelyurt,
Morphou Bay, is the islandís citrus growing area and in winter
and spring it is particularly beautiful with trees covered in
oranges and other citrus fruit.
Soli, the ancient Greek city with its basilica with extensive
mosaics, and a Roman theatre.
5th century BC ancient Persian Palace, perched on a
hilltop with spectacular all round views.
St Mamas Church
at Guzelyurt, a historic charming church with
beautiful carvings and icons.
As well as St Hilarion, there are two more hilltop
castles dating back to the crusader times.
Highest of the crusader castles and the most challenging to the
visitor. It was used as an imprisonment castle for the political
prisoners during medieval times.
Furthest east of the crusader castles, spectacularly located,
commanding views all round and towards the Karpaz peninsular. In
spring the whole hillside leading up to the castle is covered in
a variety of wild flowers, most common being the wild cyclamen.
Nicosia the Capital
The ancient walled city of Nicosia is the only capital in the
world that remains divided. The green line runs through its
ancient heart. There are interesting narrow streets, museums,
the historic gothic cathedral of St Sophia, a beautiful 16th
century Ottoman Inn. The covered bazaar is colourful and fun to
explore with Turkish delight, nuts and spices and many souvenirs
The Karpaz Peninsular, called the Pan Handle, is a ragged and
unspoiled part of Cyprus with many traditional villages, and
sandy beaches where the turtles nest. The peninsular is dotted
with ancient basilicas and ruined Byzantine churches. St Andrew
Monastery, a pilgrimage destination, is located at the tip of
the pan handle. The famous wild donkeys of Karpaz have their
special reserve on the peninsular.
Some Useful Facts
North Cyprus enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate. Long hot
Summers, and mild Winters. The rainy season is in winter. The
temperatures rarely drop to single figures. From February
onwards the many varieties of wild flowers start blooming in
succession and this colourful show continues well into April.
Driving is on the left on the island. There is a good network of
well surfaced roads. Exploring the picturesque countryside is an
enjoyable and relaxing experience, with little traffic on the
The power is at 240 volts and 50 hertz, therefore you can safely
use your appliances and the sockets will take tree pin plugs.
However, some of the appliances in North Cyprus are of the two
pin type, therefore an adapter may be needed.
Although the water is safe to drink, it is advisable to keep to
bottled water. When you are out and about you should always
carry some water with you to avoid dehydration.
The local currency is Turkish Lira. Sterling is accepted almost
everywhere, but it is advisable that you have some local
currency with you. All types of credit cards, Euro and dollars
are widely accepted. There are cash dispensers along most high
Shopping is comprehensive and can be fun. Donít expect to barter
but you can ask for discounts. Clothing, made to measure
tailoring, foot wear, sports wear, jewellery, opticians, leather
handbags, Turkish delight and souvenirs are some of the goods on
offer in the local shops. Most shops are open through out the
day including lunch time and Saturdays.
It is essential that you have a comprehensive Travel Insurance
to cover your stay away from home. For Accidents and Emergency
the hospitals may make a small nominal charge, depending on
medication used. A fee is charged when a doctor is called or for
visits made to the doctor. Medication is dispensed and paid for
at the pharmacies. Visit to the dentist have to be paid for.