Tips on What to do in North Cyprus – suggestions and advice before your arrival.
Exclusive & Exceptional Excursions
A Different Take On The Island – For those who to do not wish to hire a car, or for those who do not want to do excess driving The Almond offers excursions all over Northern Cyprus.
1) The Walled City of Nicosia
An open air museum, a close touch to a great cultural heritage of Lusignan – Venetian – British – Ottoman periods, the only divided capital city in the world…
2) History & Mystery
The Gothic Art Masterpiece – Bellapais Abbey, Picturesque Bellapais Village home for Lawrence Durrell’s famous book Bitter Lemons, St.Hillarion Castle – Walt Disney’s Snow White Castle, ” Mavi Köşk ” – an absolute insight…
3) Traditional Village Life
Experience traditional Cypriot village life and culture – practice & sample local homemade products, visit traditional homes and sites, meet locals and enjoy the laid back atmosphere while breathing in the fresh mountain air and questioning modern life…
4) Boat Tour
Crystal clear blue waters , miles of picturesque coastlines and overwhelming shades of green from the Five Finger Mountains – the perfect way to discover the beauty of Kyrenia. Full Day & Evening Cruises available on a daily basis.
5) Famagusta Trip
Once the worlds wealthiest city and most fortified port… It was “Famagusta – a seaport in Cyprus that Shakespeare chose as his setting for Othello…A Magical Historica City and for those who enjoy a little ” Dark Tourism” the recent opening of Varosha City is a must!
6) Karpas Peninsula Trip
Its beauty is sacred amongst all Cypriots… miles of golden sandy beaches, unspoilt countryside, history, spectacular scenery and unique wildlife.
7) Jeep Safari
Can not promise you Tigers & Bears but we can promise you a really wonderful day out on the Mountains , inland and coastal front – You will see Cyprus from a completely different angle.
Trips Include Lunch ( Drinks Excluded) , Entry Fees, Local Guide, Comfortable Transport and Complimentary Surprises.
Beaches in Northern Cyprus
A history of political and economic isolation has ensured that North Cyprus has remained one of the most unspoilt and least developed parts of the Mediterranean. North Cyprus is therefore, home for the most pure, unpolluted and the least commercialized beaches in the Mediterranean…The crystal clear waters will take your breath away….
Most beaches have a charge for access but provide an umbrella and sun longer and a toilet facility. Charges vary from £ 1.50 to £5.00 per person per day. But the best beaches are the ones without facilities, free of charge and totally isolated – you may find that you are the only ones there!
Within only a 15-20 minute walk (1.5 KM) east from The Almond , Alsancak, you will find a beautiful sandy little cove called Camalot Beach. This beach has very safe bathing areas for small children and also offers water sport options, bar and restaurant. This beach will not disappoint you. 1.5 km walk to the west from The Almonds you will find Suna’s Beach – a beautiful sandy cove with excellent faclities.
Within a 5 minutes ( 2 KM) drive west from The Almonds you will find , Lapta Incirli Beach & Roses Beach, which are sandy with only a little shack which provides food & beverages.
10 minute drive west you will find Karsiyaka Beach followed by Horseshoe Bay which are a rocky beach, but is wonderful for swimming. Both settings are spectacularly beautiful. A photographer’s delight! Both beaches have No facilities available….but not needed against such a picturesque coast.
Recently completed is the first section of the coastal walkway which is about 3km in length and ends in Alsancak. So you can have a quiet stroll and get a ‘dolmus’ back to the Almond village.
Only 5-10 minutes drive east from The Almond Holiday Villas & Hotel you will find Alsancak Council Beach( 2km) ,Deniz Kizi Beach, ( 2.5 km) Golden Bay Beach ( 2.5 m), Escape Beach ( 3km)and Kervansaray Beach ( 4 km). All these beaches are sandy and provide facilities.
Kervansaray Beach has a lovely snack bar – ideal stop for watching the sun set and is also the home base for Amphora Scuba Diving.
There are many beaches to the east of Kyrenia such as Alagadi (Turtle Beach), Lara Beach, Acapulco Beach and Diana Beach. If you do mind a drive out, Famagusta & Bafra also offers a delightful selection of sandy beaches.
But the best beaches are kept as a secret in Karpaz (Panhandle)…miles and miles of golden sandy coastline waiting to be discovered… With its heavenly beauty, it’s pure, untouched virgin nature Karpaz will take you to a world that you will never forget. Karpaz beaches are considered the best coast in both North and South Cyprus.
Walking in North Cyprus
The geography of North Cyprus allows for a variety of excellent walks in varying terrain: mountain walks, those along the coastline and the splendid walks inland. The Karpaz peninsula is often considered by locals as a real treat since it is the least developed part of the island and much of its charm lies in this fact. The scenery can be stunning and you might feel that you are the only person on this island paradise. A real sense of the past still persists in this part of the island.
Five Finger Mountains , Alevkayası, Laphetos ( lapta), Kozan, Kantara, Salamis (Famagusta) and Kalkanli (Guzelyurt) are well worth the walk through stunning countryside following quiet mountain trails leading to imposing Crusader castles. Kyrenia’s harbour front and narrow pretty back streets is another wonderful experience.
Walking and Trekking tours are available via The Almond. Visit www.kyreniamountaintrail.org – This well presented website will give you 600 different routes from Karpaz, Kyrenia and Five Finger Mountains ! You can put together your own itinerary!
Orchids Walks in North Cyprus: Because of their rarity and beauty, orchids hold a special fascination for all naturalists. At North Cyprus, the orchid flora consists of 23 confirmed species, subspecies and varieties and a further three or five which presence needs verifying. Some species will be familiar to botanists from north-western Europe, such as pyramidal orchid and autumn lady’s tresses, but there are also more exotic species including violet limodore, tongue-flowered serapias, naked man orchid and more.
No doubt more observant botanists will find these and other orchid species more frequently but we think it s true to say that they are localized and hence always a delight when stumbled upon. We can arrange Orchid walks/trips at The Almond – Please ask at reception for more details. Alternatively you can visit www.walksnorchidsnorthcyprus.com
Scuba Diving / Water Sports in North Cyprus
North Cyprus welcomes you to the fascinating and unique underwater world of the Mediterranean. You will find crystal-clear, unpolluted water where the marine life is still undisturbed. Underwater visibility can be more than 30 meters. Down in the deep and warm blue sea you will meet sting rays, amber jacks, scorpions, bream, grouper, cuckoo, wrasse, and now and then a sea turtle.
The underwater terrain is furthermore an ideal place for octopus and moray eel, colourful sponges, corals, as well as treasures from ancient times. You can choose from over twenty diving sites east and west of Kyrenia as well as diving safaris to other places along the coast. These are sites that will give the experienced diver thrills and the warm, crystal-clear water and limited depth provide perfect learning condition for beginner.
You can experience wreck diving including the site where in the 1960’s one of the worlds oldest shipwreck was found – 2 300 years old, dating from the time of Alexander the Great. The excavated hull of the ship, together with its cargo of amphora and millstones is housed in a special museum in Kyrenia Castle.
Besides scuba diving, several local beaches as well as Suna’s Beach and Escape Beach boast all types of water sports such as Jet-Skiing, Water-skiing, Wind Surfing, Parascending and banana rides. Boat Trips from the harbor of Kyrenia can be organized – private charter & daily sailings as well as the fishing trips…..Please get in touch with The Almond for more details.
Golf in North Cyprus
CMC Golf Course – Is only 30 minute drive west from The Almonds, Alsancak – North Cyprus. It is situated on the Guzelyurt to Leftke road in the village of Yesilyurt. Bordering the lovely coast and beautifull surroundings Cengiz Topel Golf Course is the first golf course in Northern Cyprus. It is open every day to the public. Clubs are available for hire at the clubhouse and the best days to meet and play with the local members are Tuesdays and Thursdays. A nominal green fee is charged.
Korineum Golf Club – The first 18 hole international green golf in Nothern Cyprus! This course is set on the hills of Esentepe overlooking the Mediterranean coastline, and only 40 minutes drive east from The Almond Resort, Alsancak – North Cyprus. This brand new course has opened in January 2007, very tastefully designed for your every need providing very high European standards. Visit -www.korineumgolf.com for more details. Trips and packages can be arranged at The Almond for Golf Lovers…please ask for more information.
Lawn Bowls in North Cyprus –
Located in Lapta The Olive Press will provides a fantastic outdoor bowling facility for both experienced bowlers and those who are new to the game. The first of its kind in North Cyprus! They welcome new guests to try this sport, and if you just want to watch they have a licensed bar and Café facilities Please ask for more information at reception.
Turtle Watching in North Cyprus –
There are two main types of sea-turtles nesting along the coasts of Northern Cyprus: these are: Caretta-Caretta (Sini Kaplumbagasi), and Chelonia-Mydas (Yesil Kaplumbaga).
They both are listed as endangered species and under strict protection. Since 1992, Marine Turtle Research group, in conjunction with the Society for the Protection of Turtles in Northern Cyprus and the Department for Environmental Protection, has been undertaking an annual survey, recording the turtle’s activity during the summer months.
In the company of the team at Alagadi Beach , only 30 minute drive east from Almond Holiday Villas & Hotel, North Cyprus, you can share this unique event. Just before sunset you can join the turtle lovers at “The Goat Shed” at Alagadi. First you are given information about the turtles and the project, and then, when darkness falls, you will be taken down to one of the two Alagadi bays. There you will wait while the students survey the beaches.
As soon as a female has begun to lay, you are, in silence, allowed to approach the nesting place. (No photoflashes are allowed at this important time). After about 50 days the small hatchlings begin to emerge from the surface of their sandy nests. This is another fantastic experience that takes place in some forty nesting beaches around Northern Cyprus.
All are welcome to participate in this event as well to witness up to a hundred of these amazing little creatures, not more than 6-7 cm long, fight their way from the nest down to the sea, is an unforgettable sight. It is sad fact that only one in thousand survive. Even less would survive if it was not for the special conversation project taking place here in North Cyprus concerning this endangered species. The best times to observe the nesting is at the end of June and beginning of July. To observe the hatching is the best during end of August and beginning of September.
Fishing in North Cyprus –
Fishing in the Lapta & Kyrenia Harbour has traditionally been a feature of this area. The eastern part of the Kyrenia harbour has remained the area for local and foreign residents to moor their boats while the west side of the harbour gathers many local and tourist fishermen with their rods…Whereas Lapta harbor is a proper working harbor for fisherman and fish suppliers – This harbor also is home to The Almonds own fishing boat.
Apart from Kyrenia, the most developed fisheries of North Cyprus are those of Güzelyurt , Korucam, Famagusta and the Karpaz Peninsula. The villages of Bogaz and Kumyali belong to the main fishing centers of the Karpaz.
The charming coastal village of Bogaz is rich in fish restaurants lining its harbour which make it a truly magnificent feature. There are no restrictions on fishing along coasts in northern Cyprus, which gives you a splendid variety of coasts/coves to explore.
Fishing in the waters of Northern Cyprus has become a fascinating experience with the help of favourable weather conditions of the Mediterranean providing the possibility of being able to go out on the sea for most days of the year. From peacock and rainbow wrasses, blennies and gobies, small parrot fish, mackerels, cods, plaices, sea basses, breams, eels, tunas, swordfish, red soldier fish and two siganids (rabbit fish) which belong to the most abundant commercial fish in Cyprus, North Cyprus coasts offer a very large variety of fish, which exceeds 80 species.
Angling in Reservoirs – According to the revised Fisheries Law Cap. 170 of 1990, the Fisheries Regulations of 1990, Regulation 12, special licenses must be obtained for those interested in angling in dams from the Head Office of Fisheries Department and Marine Research in Lefkosia or from the District Offices of Fisheries Department.
Fishing Trips –
Private charter & daily sailings and fishing trips from the harbour of Lapta and Kyrenia. The more experienced fishermen also have the chance to fish at deep sea. The sailings are available for groups and families wishing to explore the coastline or just relax on the open sea. The season lasts from mid March until the end of November although fishing trips can be arranged all year round weather permitting.
Herbarium in North Cyprus – North Cyprus has more to offer than its sun and sea, natural beauties and historic sites. One surprising attraction is the North Cyprus herbarium, which charms lovers of our wild flowers as well as providing a research center for botanists. Most people can confidently name the more showy blooms in the countryside: shepherds and foresters know dozens more. But how many of those seventeen North Cyprus “endemics”, found nowhere else in the world, would you recognize?
It was to fill this need that the collection of pressed and labelled plants originally made by the resident English botanist Deryck Viney in the course of writing his illustrated Flora of the country was adopted by The Forestry Department and formally opened to the public, in1989. Since then it has expanded to include examples of nearly all the 1250 native plants species. And for the guidance of visitors it has special displays of flower photographs, specimens of all those seventeen “endemics” photographs of the oldest and biggest trees, and separate collections of bulky fruit. The herbarium is housed in the Alevkayası Forest Station on the mountain ridge between Esentepe and Degirmenlik.
Bird Watching –
Northern Cyprus forms a resting and nesting station for birds migrating between Africa and Eastern Europe. It is possible to watch 347 different species of bird in Cyprus. However, only 46 of these are native of Cyprus, and 7 of these are the endemic sub-species (that is only found in Cyprus). 119 out of the 347 birds that can be observed on the island are of winter-migrant breeder type, and 90 of these migrate to Cyprus regularly every winter-time.
There are also birds that occasionally come to Cyprus by mistake, when they lose their groups, or their way. There have so far been 51 of this latter type recorded. Cyprus is on a north-south migration route and there are many birds in transit, some in vast flocks, some in small clusters. These migrating birds may only rest for a few days to a week. March to May is the period of north-ward migration and August to October the southward.
Butterfly Watching in North Cyprus – Being located in the north corner of the Mediterranean at the Junction of Europe, Asia and Africa makes its fauna and flora an interesting blend of familiar European and less known Asian and African species and subspecies of butterflies which have been recorded. These are: Maniola, cypricola, Glaucopsyhce, paphos and Hipparchia cypriensis.
The Five Finger Mountains will be the best area watch to see if any butterflies around there. You have chance to see especially Cyprus Meadow Brown, Cyprus Grayling, The Hermit and Eastern Rock Grayling in Alevkaya Forest between May-September. You can watch Painted Lady (vanessa cardui) throughout the year in every type of habitat.
Caving in North Cyprus –
There are several caves in Northern Cyprus that you are free to explore. Hot Cave, north of Agirdag village on the southern slopes of the Five Finger Mountains, is a partially collapsed – entering in not advised. Warm air emanates from the cave, hence the name.
Another natural cave in Girne area is the Guvercinlik Cave near Alevkayasi. Access to the cave involves some fairly difficult climbing. There are three more caves in the Gazi Magusa area. The most stunning cave is Incirli Cave, recently renovated, a hundred meter long passage which contains an amazing collection of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is opened on Sundays (or by special arrangement with the village muhtar), a small entrance fee is charged.
Gastro Cave between Kuruova and Kaleburnu villages is a man made cave containing three rooms. Finally the ominously named Execution Cave, near Kaleburnu where there is said to be a golden earthenware jar hidden somewhere in the cave.
For the more energetic –
Go-Karting in Northern Cyprus: The ZET International Karting Circuit and Cemsa Karting Circuit , both exceeding the highest European standards – having the best racing surfaces in the region. Both circuits have structure which is un-matched even in Europe and are situated on the outskirts of Nicosia , only 30 minute drive from The Almond Resort, Alsancak, North Cyprus.
Paragliding in North Cyprus: The flight of a lifetime….After an easy take off involving a few steps down a gentle slope, from 2500ft/750m, you will be treated to spectacular views of the unique scenery of Northern Cyprus.
Whether you want a gentle scenic flight or an adrenaline joy ride, your pilot can tailor your flight to suit you. St Hilarion Castle is on the way to the Paragliding take off site, and you can get wonderful views of the castle as well as treating yourself to Kyrenia under your feet. Your flight will end after a gentle and controlled landing on the Kyrenia Coast. Pickup from The Almond Hotel for free, photos and T-shirts are also available. You do not need training as your pilot will guide you throughout your 2 hour lifetime experience. Contact The Almonds for more details.
Horse Riding in North Cyprus: There are a few tables offering riding lessons in Alsancak, Lapta and Karaoglanoglu villages – which are only a few minutes local to The Almond Holiday Villas & Apartments, North Cyprus. Most stables also allow customers to hire horses to take out in to the mountains and coasts which is a highly pleasurable experience.
Çatalköy Riding Club – Situated 45 minutes east of Kyrenia, the riding club in Çatalköy provides fully guided riding. The rides are led by professional team and taken mainly in the Kyrenia Mountain range. One can learn how to ride a horse and walk with horse. Skirting the forest tracks are supplied with picnic activities and reaching historical sites.
Tunac Riding Club – Situated in Karaoglanoglu – Kyrenia. With 42 horses it gives certificated courses to both locals and tourists. The club also arranges guided tours with picnic. To wear a helmet is obligatory during the courses.
Kozan Mountain Retreat – is situated in the village of Kozan only 20 minutes drive from The Almond Hotel. This unique spot set among pine trees in the mountains above Karsiyaka has stunning views of the sea and the mountains and provides horseback tours of the Kyrenia Mountains and the village of Karsiyaka. They only have a few horses therefore booking is recommended.
Hunting in North Cyprus: Hunting is the greatest passion of many Turkish and Greek Cypriot man. The season runs from end of October to February. Hunting areas are limited and are published to hunters. Hunting is also limited to Sundays only during this period. Hunting areas are strictly controlled by the government and hunters must be licensed. The most popular prey for hunters is partridge, wood pigeon and hare.
Camping in North Cyprus: North Cyprus offers several official camping sites in the Kyrenia area which offer basic but essential facilities such as toilets and showers. Some also have a bar area. But the best camping areas are the ones which are discovered by yourselves, especially Karpaz…of course these do not offer any facilities, and you should be careful not to trespass on fenced land as this may belong to the Army.
Kyrenia Animal Rescue (KAR): For those animal lovers, The KAR is located up in the Five Finger Mountains (Besparmak), about 10 miles outside of Girne on the mountain road to Famagusta.When you reach the distinctive Five Finger Mountains, the centre is on the left, you should see the Kyrenia Animal Rescue sign. If you reach the café on the left, you have gone too far. The Rescue Centre was re-located to the Besparmak Mountains in 1999, and is now home to over 200 dogs and puppies and 50 cats and kittens.
The centre is fully committed to providing a caring and loving environment for all the animals. Visitors are welcome to see the centre or to take a dog for a walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside. This is a very enjoyable experience for both you and the dogs. The walks take place in the beautiful, picturesque countryside of the Five Fingers Mountain range. THE CENTRE IS OPEN DAILY 9AM – 1PM
North Cyprus Night Life: For those who wish to experience night life in Northern Cyprus – Kyrenia would be your first stop….The stunning harbour front will offer you a wonderful selection of restaurants, taverns bars and cafes. These are most active in the high season. Alsancak & Kyrenia also has a few open air discos and beach clubs and a wide selection of casinos if you a feeling lucky! Kyrenia is only 15 minute drive east from Almond Villas & Apartments , Alsancak – North Cyprus.
Therefore you have the choice of keeping away from the hassle and bustle in this relaxing, family run holiday village or the chance to be a part of it.
North Cyprus Festivals –
The main Festivals are listed below by month. There may also be other festivals/events which are promoted at short notice, so when you have settled into your accommodation, ask at reception or look on their notice boards for any information.
Children’s Festival (Famagusta) – this festival continues throughout march for approximately a month and has many events for children ongoing through the festival.
The Tepebasi Village wild tulip Festival (and some orchid species) found in only a few locations in North Cyprus, the Karpaz region and the village of Tepebasi in Guzelyurt.
The traditional “Avtepe Medosan Tulip Festival is held. Combining a lot of historical and cultural values of the charming village of Karpaz Yenierenköy. The festival is held in cooperation with the Municipality
Eastern Mediterranean International Underwater Photography And Film Festival
International Spring Concerts (dates vary) – Organised by the Friends of Music Association of North Cyprus is very popular amongst the “classical music “ lovers. Taking place during April and May every year, held at the Medieval Temple Bellapais Monastery – these concerts should not be missed.
Ozankoy Flower Festival – Normally held towards the beginning of May, It incorporates a book festival, crafts, souvenirs, as well as crafts, painting, photography contests. This great festival also has music concerts, live and dried flower arrangement, flower, fruit and vegetable farming and food &beverage competitions.
HisarKoy Orchid Festival – Held in April by Lapta Council at Hisarkoy – magical for flower lovers.
Silk Festival of Cyprus – held in in early May each year, the festival has Seminars, workshops, crafts and painting exhibitions, slide shows, music concerts, folklore shows and nature tours, the festival continues for 3 days.
Northern Cyprus Bellapais International Music Festival – An International music festival held every year, bringing together many composers and artists from around the world. It is sited in the historic Bellapais Abbey.
Pekmez (molasses) Festival in Ozankoy takes place every year in May, do not be put off by the title, it actually deals with the ‘Carob’ fruit.
Büyükkonuk Eco – Tourism Festival – held in the village of Büyükkonuk (on route to the Karpaz) This festival deals with local village life and takes into consideration ecology issues. Weather permitting a festival is held in the village every third sunday from May through to October.
Iskele International Folk Dance Festival (lasts about two weeks around mid june)
Gazi Mağusa (Famagusta) International Art & Culture Festival. The festival is located near Salamis Antique Theatre has an international quality with many cultural arts activities. Apart from local artist , Cesaria Evora, Boney M, Monica Molina, Goran Bregovic, Vicente Amigo, Weather Girls, Amelita Baltar Tango Diva, Roby Lakatos, Los Paraguayos, Aswad, Paco Pena and his group, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Compania Aida Gomez , Giora Feidman, Viktorio Tolstoy have appeared here.
Lapta Tourism Festival – Normally held in early june and lasting over 3-4 days, this festival has something for everyone, from visiting dance groups from different countries as well as local talent and products to see & buy. If you are hungry there is a variety of local foods & drinks on sale. It usually starts at about 8:30pm in the cooler part of the day.
Güzelyurt Orange Festival – This festival has been organized every year since 1977 by the Guzelyurt Municipality during June and July. During the festival you have the chance to taste the world famous North Cyprus Oranges as well as listening to concerts and watching art events and competitions being performed.
Iskele Festival – Normally takes place in the first week of June and can run for about 10-12 days The festival features dance shows, competitions as well as cultural and sports activities. There is normally a fair and a colourful opening ceremony.
International Bellapais Music Festival – continues
Famagusta International Festival – This festival has previously hosted groups like Aswad, Los Paraguayos and the Berlin Art Ensemble. It deservedly claims to be the best festival in the Mediterranean . The festival is held between June and July in Famagusta.
Esentepe Apricot Festival
Gönyeli Folk Dance Festival
Alsancak Folk Dance Festival
Mehmetçik Grape & Wine Festival
Yeniboğaziçi Pulya Festival
Golden Grapes Film Festival
The International Cyprus Theatre Festival – A celebration of theatre running from mid August to the beginning of September, and stages performances in Nicosia, Famagusta and Kyrenia venues, including the theatre at Salamis and the Ataturk Cultural Centre.
Miss Pearl of Europe competition – held at various venues in Nicosia
North Cyprus International Music & Theatre Festival – featuring a varied selection of music including: chamber music, symphonic rock, choir, flamenco, tango and recitals, being performed in historic settings such as Bellapais Monastery, Salamis Amphitheatre and Kyrenia Castle.
Kyrenia International Olive Festival – The Municipality of Kyrenia organizes the Olive Festival in the village of Zeytinlik, in order to promote and encourage olive production and also increase tourism potential of Girne. This annual festival normally held at the beginning of October and lasting for abt 10-12 days, features Cypriot and Turkish dancing, costumed parades, flags from around the world and plenty to eat and drink.
International Carob Festival
International “Salsa Jam In Cyprus” Festival – As it’s title suggests this festival invites artists & DJ’s from about 30 countries, and it incorporates stage shows over about 3 days. The last festival culminated in a spectacular feast of music.
Büyükkonuk Eco-Tourism Festival – held in the village of Büyükkonuk (on route to the Karpaz) This festival deals with local village life and takes into consideration ecology issues. Weather permitting a festival is held in the village every third sunday from May through to October.
Kyrenia Jazz Festival – Every December, the Rocks Hotels plays host to the Kyrenia Jazz festival. This festival is growing year by year and now attracts international players to entertain the many jazz fans in Northern Cyprus.