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Posted by Kingsley Ajuonuma on February 13, 2024
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North Cyprus, a hidden gem in the Mediterranean, offers a unique blend of captivating history, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural experiences. This ultimate guide is designed to help you navigate your journey, ensuring a memorable and seamless experience from start to finish.

Getting There

—Air Travel
North Cyprus is accessible via Ercan Airport, with all flights transiting through Turkey. Major cities around the world offer connecting flights to Ercan, usually with a brief layover in Istanbul, Ankara, or other Turkish cities. When booking your flight, consider factors like layover duration and the total travel time to ensure a comfortable journey. Some travelers prefer to land in South Cyprus (Larnaca or Paphos airports) and cross overland for a broader travel experience.

—Sea Travel
For those who prefer the sea route, ferries from Mersin and Taşucu in Turkey to Kyrenia provide a scenic and leisurely option. The ferry service varies seasonally, with night crossings being more common. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to combine their visit with a mini-cruise across the Mediterranean.


—Car Rentals
The best way to explore the island’s hidden treasures is by car. Numerous international and local car rental agencies are available at Ercan Airport and major towns. Rental agreements usually include comprehensive insurance, but it’s essential to check coverage details, especially regarding cross-border travel into South Cyprus. Given that traffic moves on the left, familiarity with this driving style is crucial.

—Public Transport
Public transport in North Cyprus consists of buses and minibuses (dolmuş), providing affordable travel options between major towns and attractions. However, services can be infrequent and less reliable for accessing remote areas. Taxis offer a convenient, though more costly, alternative. It’s advisable to negotiate the fare beforehand or ensure the meter is used.


North Cyprus caters to a wide range of tastes and budgets, from luxury beachfront resorts to charming boutique hotels and guesthouses nestled in scenic villages. The towns of Kyrenia and Famagusta are popular bases, offering easy access to cultural sites, restaurants, and nightlife. For a more tranquil or authentic experience, consider accommodations in the mountainous regions or near the serene coastlines of the Karpaz Peninsula.


Currency & Payments
The Turkish Lira (TRY) is the currency of choice, though businesses in tourist areas may also accept Euros and British Pounds. ATMs are widespread, and credit card acceptance is common in hotels, restaurants, and larger shops. However, smaller establishments, local markets, and rural areas may require cash payments, making it advisable to keep a mix of currency options on hand.


Staying connected is easy with the availability of local SIM cards, offering competitive rates for calls and data. Most cafes, restaurants, and hotels provide free Wi-Fi access to patrons. English-speaking visitors will find communication straightforward, as English is widely spoken in tourist areas, thanks to North Cyprus’s historical ties with Britain.


Sightseeing Highlights
North Cyprus is a treasure trove of historical and natural attractions:

—Kyrenia (Girne)
This coastal town is famous for its picturesque harbor, lined with restaurants and cafes, and the imposing Kyrenia Castle, home to fascinating historical exhibits.

—Bellapais Abbey
Perched in the mountains above Kyrenia, the ruins of Bellapais Abbey offer stunning views and a glimpse into the island’s Gothic past.

Explore the extensive ruins of this ancient city near Famagusta, featuring a grand Roman theatre, baths, and mosaics.

—St. Hilarion Castle
Climb to this fairy-tale castle for panoramic views and tales of crusader knights.

—Famagusta (Gazimağusa)
Wander through the walled city, rich in history and architecture, including the Gothic masterpiece of Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque.

—Karpaz Peninsula
Discover unspoiled nature, golden beaches, and the famous wild donkeys of Karpaz, offering a peaceful escape and some of the island’s best scenery.


Eating Out
In North Cyprus, dining is not just about the food; it’s an experience. Restaurants often offer outdoor seating with views of the Mediterranean or charming village squares, enhancing the meal with a picturesque backdrop. Traditional tavernas and cafes dot the landscape, inviting guests to linger over meals accompanied by local wines or raki. Seasonal fruits and vegetables feature prominently, ensuring that dishes are as fresh as they are flavorful. From the bustling streets of Kyrenia to the serene countryside, North Cyprus offers culinary delights that cater to all tastes, making every meal a memorable part of the travel experience.


Cultural Etiquette
Respect and understanding go a long way. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and always ask permission before photographing locals. Tipping is customary and appreciated in restaurants and for services, with 10% being the norm.


Safety & Health

Traveling to North Cyprus offers an enriching experience with its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, it’s crucial to consider several health and safety precautions. Firstly, for those with sensitive stomachs or when venturing into remote areas, bottled or purified water is recommended. It’s also wise to secure comprehensive travel insurance that includes medical coverage to avoid unforeseen expenses.

North Cyprus boasts a range of medical facilities, including well-equipped hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies. English-speaking pharmacists can provide advice for minor ailments, while more serious concerns may require a visit to public or private healthcare centers, particularly in larger towns like Kyrenia and Famagusta. Although the healthcare quality is commendable, foreigners should note that private care and certain treatments can be costly without insurance.

No specific vaccinations are required beyond standard travel immunizations. However, staying up-to-date with vaccinations and consulting a travel health clinic before departure is advisable. Given the Mediterranean climate, sun protection and hydration are paramount. High-SPF sunscreen, protective clothing, and staying hydrated are essential, especially when exploring outdoor sites.

The cuisine in North Cyprus is generally safe and delectable. Eating at busy, clean places, being cautious with raw foods, and choosing bottled water in rural areas can help prevent dietary issues. In emergencies, the European number 112 connects you to essential services. Road safety is important; adhere to local driving practices, and always wear a seat-belt. Personal safety practices, such as securing valuables and being cautious at night, contribute to a worry-free visit.

By adhering to these practical tips, travelers can fully enjoy the splendor of North Cyprus, making their visit both memorable and safe.

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