We all dream of a vacation in the sun. Picture this… Lukewarm waters of azure blue lap against your bronzed shins, while you gaze at a magnificent sunset with a Pina Colada in hand. Heaven on earth. But doesn’t the choice of destinations seem endless? How do you decide where to go? We’re going to make that decision a little easier for you. Have you thought about North Cyprus for your next break away? No? Now’s your chance and here’s five reasons you need to bring yourself there.
Ok, this is a bit obvious but if you find yourself reading this while listening to incessant rain on your window, then some guaranteed sun is probably the first item you’ll look for in a ‘sun’ holiday.
North Cyprus, and indeed the whole island, enjoys a Mediterranean climate. If you like sun but are not too fond of heat, then consider going in April to May when temperatures rise from 23C to 27C. Bring some warm clothes for the evenings as it gets cold but not too cold. If you’re a heat lover, then June (30C), July and August (36C) and September (32C) will appeal to you. Just remember your wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen!
Given that Cyprus is an island, this might seem like another obvious point… However, North Cyprus offers many types of beach experiences. If you want unspoilt beauty and no multi-storey apartment blocks to ruin either your view or your solace, then head to Karpas Golden Beach. It is Cyprus’s most beautiful beach and it’s not surprising that it’s reputed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite. Of course, if you want a vibrant holiday spot with many people looking to party, you can have that too at Acapulco Beach. Just pay a few Turkish Lira into this hotel beach and enjoy beach volleyball, scuba diving and a Pina Colada.
Some days, you may want a break from the arduous task of lounging on the beach. North Cyprus has plenty to offer the intrepid traveller. Its rugged landscape is dotted with fortresses, Crusader castles and ancient ruins. These are legacies of the many cultures and rulers that have made a huge impact on the island country. The hilltop castle of St Hilarion is a magnificent sight and is worth the half-day’s hike to reach it. The spectacular Bellapais Abbey near Kyrenia harks to a time when Christianity made its initial impact on the island. The 11th century ancient site at Salamis, Famagusta is also a must-see and is the oldest archaeological site in North Cyprus. There’s also plenty of remnants of contemporary history on view. Nicosia is divided between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots and is Europe’s last divided capital – like Berlin before 1989. Visit the Ledra crossing point in the Green Line at Nicosia, which marks no-man’s land – an area patrolled by the UN.
Among the legacies of Cyprus’s history is wonderful iconic art. The best place to see this is the Monastery of St Barnabas in Famagusta, which houses one of the most impressive collections of Byzantine and Greek Orthodox art. It’s just a little ironic that St Barnabas’s is located on the Turkish side of North Cyprus.
The Eco Experience
If peace and tranquillity are more your cup of tea, then you can experience oneness with nature at Büyükkonuk, North Cyprus’s first eco-village. You can stay in restored stone houses at this traditional working hamlet and enjoy the company of shepherds, pick wild herbs and bake bread with the local baker. You can also amble through the countryside on a donkey trek and stop off for a picnic amongst the olive groves.
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