I am 36 years old and originally form Sri Lanka, currently living in the UK with my wife. I am working for a specialist tour operator – Direct Traveller.
I had an opportunity to go on a free holiday thanks to my Managing Director. We arranged a free winter holiday in North Cyprus last year December with my wife.
As a leading North Cyprus tour operator, has a very high repeat client rate, with some of them travelling to North Cyprus more than 2 or 3 times per year. Intrigued about what all the fuss is about, I decided to visit and try for myself.
As an organised person I prepared an itinerary for our holiday. I combined adventure, fun, discovery, shopping, and peace and quiet all into one holiday.
Here is my North Cyprus winter itinerary:
Day 1 – 17/12/2013
9.00am – 01.00pm
Rest at Pia Bella
01.00pm – 2.00pm
Walk down to Harbour @ take lunch from somewhere
2.00pm – 4.30pm
The Girne Castle & Shipweck Museum
2.5 hrs
4.30pm- 5.30 pm
Aga Cafer Pasha Mosque
From 5.30
Harbour sight seeing
Day 2 – 18/12/2013
09.00am – 01.00 pm
St. Hilarion Castle
2.30pm – 4.00pm
Bellapais Abbey
Alagadi Turtle Beach
Day 3 – 19/12/2013
Apostolos Andreas Monastery
Ayios Trias Basilica
see wild donkeys
Edremit -small church/slovenlier/deco plates
Day 4 – 20/12/2013
9.00am – 11.30am
Buffavento Castle

1.00pm –


Kantara Castle
Day 5 – 21/12/2013
10.00am-10.30 am
Kyrenia Gate
11.00am – 2.00 pm
The Great Khan
2.30pm – 3.15pm
Selimiye Mosque
from 3.30pm
Covered Bazaar
Day 6 – 22/12/2013
09.00am – 10.30am
Salamis Ruins
11.00am – 12.00pm
Porta Del Mare (Sea Gate)
2.00pm – 3.00 pm
The Othello Tower

For the route, we chose the Pegasus airlines night flight from London Stranded airport on 16th December 2013 within six hours; we were in lovely sunshine temperature near to 15C in Cyprus.

We headed to Piabella hotel (4 Star) near to Kyrenia town centre. It is a very beautiful hotel with amazing views of Kyrenia Mountains. Afterhaving a short rest at Piabella around 2.00pm we went out to buy some local currency (Turkish lira). My advice is, it’s always exchange your money at local exchange bureaus rather than stick to the airport or Hotel.
Thereafter we had a lovely lunch assorted with grilled beef and peppers at a Mexican grill, which is very close to the hotel – great value for money! I won’t hesitate to recommend this place to anyone… You will love it.
Then we had a wander around Kyrenia town centre, it is a beautiful town, which is between Kyrenia harbour and the Kyrenia Mountains. Kyrenia town is the best place to do your shopping. There was a sweet shop called ‘SIMIT DUNYASI’ and there are lot of sweets in this shop. We never forgot to visit every day, for late afternoon tea at this shop, as we fell in love with their sweets and Turkish tea.

In Kyrenia town centre there are lots of fruit juice and soft drinks stores. You can buy freshly made orange juice for less than £1, which is squeezed from more than 14 oranges!

At the hotel we stayed on a half board basis. The hotel gives different types of dishes throughout the week and it was a buffet style dinner. It was not amazing but was always a good standard and some days was even very good. They had even served a BBQ night, Curry night, grill night and other varieties, making it interesting for guests.
We are used to fly-drive holidays and easily adapted to self driving our rental car in North Cyprus. Our local rep handed over the car to us, I asked where are the keys?, he said they are in the car…That’s an example of how safe it is in North Cyprus. I was very surprised, because that is not something we can expect in UK. Cyprus is a really honest country, which is close to a zero percent crime rate.
Compared to London the weather is amazing and during the day time its around 15C to 20C, and night time it was reduced to 8C to 12C.
Our mission was to discover the island as much as possible, we took early breakfasts and we started each day early. As it was winter time we went with a soft jacket and that was amazing. We went to the end of North side of island (Karpaz), known as the “Panhandle”. In this side of the island there are lots of wild donkeys – we even gave carrots to them. There is very old church in this area, where people make wishes and we made a wish as well.
We went to two castles, and I think winter time is the best time for castle visits as its not excessively warm.

The food was amazing and we tried different types of dishes.We love to walk through Kyrenia harbour in the evenings as the ambience and view in the harbour area was beautiful. There are lots of fish restaurants in the area and the fish is very fresh. In fact you can choose which fish you would like the chef to grill for you..

We went to the restaurant at the Bellapais area and that was the best lunch in North Cyprus. I had grilled fish with salad and a different type of humus.
Nobody really used the hotel pool except to sunbathe, as the water was chilly. One day I bucked the trend and on a warm 16C sunny day, I took a plunge. I jumped into to the pool and swam 2 lengths. As I came out the pool some guests and hotel workers Cheered me! “come on”. To be honest the water was cold, but once you stepped out I quickly defrosted in the sunshine J

Unfortunately our 7 days had gone very quickly. We came to London on the 24th December and were presented with the great British winter…

North Cyprus is very safe country with honest locals – the people are very good.

I know now why people fall in love with North Cyprus. One day I hope to purchase a retirement house in North Cyprus.. but for now I am definitely planning to visit this winter as well..Have you been to North Cyprus in the winter? what’s your favourite aspect?