Activities North Cyprus
Tandem Paragliding is one of the most spectacular ways to see North Cyprus. Fly with professional instructors, from heights of 2500ft above sea level. HighLineAir tours are the only company to offer this amazing experience. Their office is located in Kyrenia’s Touristic Harbour and opens from March until November. Off season flights are possible, depending on the weather conditions.
Deep sea fishing is offered by three official companies in Kyrenia’s Touristic Harbour. Depart very early in the morning or late evening to try your hand at catching tuna. If you are successful the captain will allow to take a fish back to your hotel or villa. Perfect on the BBQ, marinated in garlic, soy sauce and ginger. When booking make sure you ask to sea the company fishing liscence, this will guarantee you a professional trip.
DAILY BOAT TRIPS
Daily boat trips leave Kyrenia’s Touristic Harbour everyday in the summer. Leaving about 10am returning at 4pm , Turkish gullets generally sail West towards Escape beach. The boats stop two or three times allowing swimming and snorkelling. Lunch is provided and is normally a lovely Turkish meze with fresh fish and BBQ chicken. There are various types of boats. Quiet, relaxing boats with no entertainment, or lively boats with water slides, loud music and even foam parties! There is always plenty of shade on the boats.
Fun for the more adventurous. Motorized water sports are available from the larger commercial beaches such as Escape and Camelot. They are also available from hotel beaches and from the decks of the daily boat trips. Try your hand at donuts, banana boats, jet skies or parasending. For the more relaxed experience hire a kayak or pedalo.
There are 10 professional diving schools throughout North Cyprus. Diving is popular due to the clarity and warmth of the water. Experienced divers have a choice of 20 unique dive sites from the shores of Kyrenia. Take a trip to the South side to explore the ZENOBIA wreck. If you have never dived before, where better to learn with fully qualified PADI instructors.
A loud and lively day out! Cool down at one of the many Aqua parks North Cyprus has to offer. The main water parks are located within hotel complexes. The largest are found at OSCARS hotel, ACAPULCO hotel, and LAPETHOS RESORT hotel. An entrance fee is charged. Opened in the summer season , they provide hours of endless fun for all the family.
The best beaches in North Cyprus are located in the Karpas Peninsular, east of Kyrenia. Hire a car to discover countless sandy bays, with crystal clear water . These beaches are desserted, a great way to escape. Perhaps the most photographed and beautiful beach is the 12km long Golden Sands beach. To enjoy the peace and serinity why not stay over night in one of the many guest houses located throughout the region. Local authorities also open public beaches with basic facilties. Hotels have privates beaches which the general public can visit with an entrance fee. There are also larger commercial beaches closer to Kyrenia, that are more lively.
Logger head turtles – Caretta Caretta and Green turtles – Chelonia Mydas are found in the sea around North Cyprus . The Marine Turtle Conservation Project head quaters are found at Alagadi Beach, east of Kyrenia. Through out the months of June and August tourists can volunteer and help monitor nesting females. Monitoring takes place during the night. Once the eggs hatch, the nests are excavated and the babies start their long journey down to the sea. This is very popular with tourists who can call the centre and book a place to go along and watch. As these turtles are both endangered speices it really is an unique opportunity.
In the past every villager owned a donkey, but with the arrival of the tractor, the donkeys were no longer required.Many of the donkeys were abandoned, causing havoc in the countryside. They were rounded up and taken to the Karpaz Peninsular and left to roam freely.Today the donkeys are a protected speices. There are no donkey sanctuaries in North Cyprus, but you can visit the ‘Kumyali Royal Donkeys’. These are a family of donkies, including one blind donkey, which were recently abandoned in ill health. A local farmer donated some land to enable the donkies to be kept in captivity until they are well enough to be released into the Karpaz national park.
Enjoy riding along ancient crusader trails once used by Richard the LionHeart. Horse riding in North Cyprus is a wonderful way to view the stunning scenery. There are numourous stables throughout North Cyprus offering various levels of treks. Choose between challenging mountain treks or more relaxed seaside treks. A great out door activity with proffessional guides. Ask at your hotel for details.
Due to its geographic location it is easy to see why Cyprus is such an important stop over destination for millions of migratory birds. Cyprus has two endemic species; the Cyprus warbler and Cyprus Wheatear. Kuskor ,an organisation set up to protect the wildlife, organise birdwatching trips and exhibitions.
The North Cyprus Tourism Department has produced a booklet called “North Cyprus Trails – Walking in Nature” which you can find at any Tourist Information Centre in the TRNC. Please visit www.dogakoruma.eu andwww.simplynorthcyprus.com for more information. This publication is free. Guided walks can also be organized by travel agents and specialist companies. Walking is highly recommended from mid February to May, as this is when the wild orchids are in flower. An organized orchid walk takes place every Wednesday in March and April in the village of Hisarköy.
JEEP SAFARI & CYPRIOT VILLAGE DAYS
You will not see lions and tigers on this safari, but unbeatable scenery in hidden places. The CYPRUS ACTIVE jeep safari is an action packed day. It is a fun and safe way to get off road in some of the most remarkable parts of the Kyrenia mountain range. The day includes transfers from your hotel, jeep safari, typical Cypriot lunch and also a visit to the interesting Blue House. This company also organises CYPRIOT VILLAGE days, a great chance to learn about the real Turkish Cypriot villagers.
The are too many archaeological sites to list here. The first settlers have been dated to Neolithic times about 6000 BC. Many of the visible remains today are dated from the Bronze age. Enkomi, near Famagusta, was the capital of Cyprus in the Bronze age. The street plans are still visible today. The ancient rock tombs at Lambousa and Kalebrunu are worth visiting. Toumba Tou Skouru, another Bronze age settlement was excavated in the 1950s and many artefacts can now be found in the Guzelyurt archaeological museum. Also visit Soli and Vouni to the fertile west of the island. The Bradt guide book North Cyprus, Diana Dark, ISBN 1 84162 147 1 locates most these sites and is an essential companion if you want to spend your holiday visiting these fascinating places.
THREE CRUSADER CASTLES
High on the peaks of the Kyrenia Mountain range are the three most dramatic ruins in North Cyprus; Kantara castle, Buffavento castle and St. Hilarian castle. Steeped in history from the Crusader times, these impressive monuments are well worth a visit. St. Hilarian keeps an watchful eye over the resort of Kyrenia, lit up at night, like a shining becon. The other two castles are further to the east, and can be visited on a day trip. Exploring the castles can be quite strenuous due to their mountain top locations. The views are simply breath taking. The sheer height of the structures makes one marvel of how such buildings were constructed in the olden days. Be sure to visit these castles the early morning during the summer, due to the heat,; and take plenty of water.
KYRENIA CASTLE & HARBOUR
The impressive Venetian castle sits at one end of the beautiful crescent shaped harbour. Well worth a visit, inside you will find a ship wreck museum , dungeons , archaeological exhibits and more. The harbour is crammed with fishing boats and Turkish gullets, cafes and restaurants. The ancient carob warehouses have been converted to restaurants. Worthy of a visit both during the day and at evening. The Cypriots like to promenade up and down, while tourists sit and people watch. You can book boat trips, paragliding and scuba courses all down in the busy harbour. Find a restauarant with a roof terrace to fully appreciate the beauty of this idlic spot.
BELLAPAIS ABBEY & DESERTED MONASTRIES
Bellapais Abbey ‘ The Abbey of Peace’ was built in the 13th Century by the priests of the Augustinian Order. It is simply beautiful. High up above Kyrenia, the views are sensational. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere and also explore the newly renovated Olive mill and Laurance Durrell’s house, Bitter Lemons. There are many abandoned monstaries throughout Northern Cyprus. Sourp Magar monastry, Antiphonitis monastry, and Apostolos Andreas Monastry are just afew. These monastries are found deep in the Kyrenia mountain range and are perfect places for picnics and mountain walks.
SALAMIS & FAMAGUSTA
Take at least two to three hours to visit Salamis, a vast archaeological site. Perserved under sand for centuries, this ancient coastal city is a real cultural treat. Walk along marble pavements, colonnaded courtyards, visit the Byzantine baths, theatre, even Roman latrines. 9 km south of Salamis is the port of Famagusta. The old town boasts some of the most superb medieval architecture in the Middle East. Venetian city walls, palaces, cathedrals and churches. The ruins reflect the once great glory of this important harbour.
KORUÇAM MARONITE VIILAGE
Maronites are Lebanese Christians who settled in Cyprus centuries ago. This village is well worth visiting on a Sunday when the huge church of Ayios Georgios is packed with Christian worshippers. This is a unique village in muslim Northern Cyprus. Easter and Christmas are the best time to visit as the villagers prepare for these important Christian occassions.
Çinarli is a small village situated East of Kyrenia in the mountains. It has two natural tourist attractions; the Fig tree cave and a monumental pine tree. There is a small entrance fee for the cave . A generator lights the long and winding cavern. The rock formations, stalagmite and stalactites excite your imagination. Care must be taken, as the cave floor can be slippery. The monumental tree is about a five minute drive from the cave, a popular picnic area. Locals like to tie ribbons around the branches and make wishes, be sure to take a ribbon with you and make a wish too!
Turkish Cypriots are extremely proud of their national heritage. Many villages throughout the country hold annual festivals. Some of the better known ones include the Tepebaşı Tulip Festival in March and the Zeytinlik Olive Festival in October. Classical music lovers should try and visit in May for the Bellapais music festival. The festivals are great opportunities to see local folk dances, art and handicrafts, and to try the local cuiscine.
Whether you choose a golfing holiday or you just want a couple of games whislt on holdiday, the Korineum Golf and Country Club has it all. This beautiful 5 star complex offers a top class 18 hole course with magnificant views of Kyrenia mountain range and the mediterrenean sea. This golfing paradise also offers restaurants, bars, pro shop, spa and wellness centre , swimming pool and small play park for the children.
FLAT GREEN BOWLING
Olive Press bowling is a brand new family run business situated in Lapta 9km west of Kyrenia. It provides an excellent 6 lane bowling facility made from specialist artificial turf imported from GreenGauge in Scotland. The short matt version is also be available. This facility is open for locals and tourists alike.
TEN PIN BOWLING
Famagusta and Kyrenia are both home to modern Ten Pin bowling alleys.
Icebowling in Famagusta has a bowling alley and a small ice rink.
King Pin bowling in Kyrenia has a huge bowling alley, games arcade and various restaurants.
Great fun for all the family, but extremely noisey!
PAINT BALLING AND GO KARTING
Fast and fun activies for all the family. Age limits apply so it is advisable to check before planning to take children. There are a couple of paint ball centres in North Cyprus. Sunset Paint balling in Lapta, is especially fun because you can cool down afterwards in the pool. Safety equipment is provided. Lefkosa is home to two Go Karting tracks. Zet Karting and Cemsa Karting. Race against each other to see who gets to the finish first. There are bars and restaurants at the tracks too, so you can make a full evening of it!!
SPA AND WELLNESS
Holidays are all about relaxing and recharging your batteries. Many of the hotels have their own luxourious spas. Treat yourself to a rejuvenating message, Turkish bath, sauna or jucuzzi. If you are looking for something a little more traditional, the Buyuk Hammam in Nicosia has recently been reopened since a major refurbishment.
The shops in North Cyprus all have their own unique charm. You will not find the universal department stores. Ceramic tiles from Turkey are popular as are local handicrafts. Bellapais is known for its handpainted roof tiles, Lefke for its lace work. The Buyuk Han in Lefkosa is a great place to find all Cypriot handicrafts under one roof. Lefkosa also has colourful street markets open everyday, great for clothes shopping. Wednesday is market day in Kyrenia. You will find fruit and vegetables and Turkish Delight and much more to tempt you.
The choice of restuarants in North Cyprus is vast. Whether you like eating in traditional meze houses, or more modern European restaurants, there are hundreds to choose from. Mezes are a selection of small dishes served as a starter. Popular main meals are chicken or lamb kebabs and fresh fish. Restaurants in Kyrenia harbour offer a huge selection of Turkish or European food. Explore the back streets to find the best priced restaurants. Wine bars and cafes are really popular too.
Many larger hotels in North Cyprus have their own casino. Entrance to the casinos is free, but there is normally a minimum amount you have to play with. It can be a fun night out, as the casinos provide free food, drinks and cigerettes!
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