The thin finger of the Karpas Peninsula is all rolling meadows, craggy cliffs and wild beaches with a handful of snoozy villages thrown in. It’s a taste of old-style Cyprus that can’t be beaten. Despite new roads and development, its agrarian soul still feels untouched by modern life.
According to legend, Salamis was founded around 1180 BC by Teucer (Teukros), son of Telamon, king of Salamina, on the Greek mainland. Brother to the hero Ajax, he was unable to return home from the Trojan War after failing to avenge his brother’s death.
The best vantage point on the Karpas is from this Lusignan Gothic castle, one of three in Cyprus. Kantara Castle is the furthest east and the lowest in elevation at 690m. It has a 360-degree view of the region and on a clear day, you can see the coast of Turkey and even Syria.
The castle’s documented history dates back to 1191 when Richard the Lionheart seized it from Isaak Komninos, the Byzantine emperor of Cyprus.
A journey up the Karpas Peninsula – a Mediterranean rural idyll of rolling fields, olive groves and remote white-sand beaches licked by shallow turquoise water – is like watching the clocks wind themselves back to a time before investors and developers gobbled up much of the island’s coast. East of Boğaz’ forlorn tourism centre and Bafra’s woefully bad-taste luxury resorts, you enter one of the island’s last true wildernesses.