If you are looking for Cyprus holiday options, Northern Cyprus holidays is a unique choice. In many ways, it is a step back in time. Since the separation from the south in 1974 and its international isolation there has been far less investment, although this last decade has seen much more invested in the infrastructure. There are many option for the accommodation from 5 star luxury to budget hotels in North Cyprus.
If sightseeing is an important activity then a holiday in North Cyprus will give you plenty of scope. There is more than enough to keep even the keenest person active throughout a holiday.
It is hard to give any order of preference to the places to visit in North Cyprus but top of most people’s list is Bellapais Abbey in Kyrenia. The graceful Gothic arches standing tall and reaching towards the sky are one of the iconic images of North Cyprus and perhaps the most photographed feature on the island. Much of the monastery complex still survives including the huge refectory where classical concerts are held regularly.
No sightseeing holiday in Cyprus is complete without a good castle and North Cyprus is home to four. Three of these, St Hilarion, famously likened to Disney’s fairy tale castle, Buffavento and Kantara decorate the peaks of the Kyrenia mountain range. St Hilarion is the most complete and most visited but it is built on three levels on the very mountain top so expect some climbing once inside. The gracefully arched Queen’s window with stone window seats makes the climb to the top level worthwhile.
Little remains of Buffavento set 954m above seas level. Its setting is spectacular but allow thirty minutes uphill walking to reach the castle buildings. The fourth castle guards the picturesque harbour of Kyrenia. At least this one is easy to reach and inside there is the shipwreck museum with the remains of one of the oldest ships.
The old walled city of Famagusta teems with ghostly ruins of Gothic churches but the centre of attraction is the old St Nicholas cathedral, now the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque. This is another of the iconic images of North Cyprus.
Just to the north lies Salamis, the largest ancient site in the whole of the island. It covers an extensive area but most of the impressive structures lie fairly close to the entrance. There are two other much smaller ancient sites on the west side of North Cyprus, Soli and Vouni.
The main town, Lefkosa (Nicosia) also has plenty to interest visitors in historic buildings and places of interest.
Once your flights to North Cyprus are organised, consider where you might stay. If you plan to spend much time exploring the remote and beautiful Karpaz Peninsula then check out North Cyprus hotels convenient to that area.
Northern Cyprus holidays offer so many rewarding experiences to visitors. With so much demanding attention some aspects of the local culture are sometimes overlooked. Visitors can hardly fail to notice the modern supermarkets, especially in North Cyprus, selling a vast array of vegetables many of which are locally produced and available only in season.
What they may not notice is people out in the field collecting their own food from the wild. The knowledge of what to collect has been passed down through the generations.
The caper bush, a somewhat straggly, thorny plant but with beautiful flowers is used for more than just the caper buds. In spring the first few centimetres of new growth is collected and cooked as a vegetable. Sometimes this is served in restaurants as a meze, hopefully cooked well enough so the thorns have softened!
A huge favourite is wild asparagus. In the heat of summer asparagus is a hard, spiny shrub. When the new growth starts in the spring the shrub sends up new long green shoots. These new shoots are collected and used in the kitchen, mainly in making asparagus omelette. The asparagus is prepared by snapping off pieces from the very top of the shoot and progressing down the stem until pieces show resistance, that is until the more woody part is reached. The broken off pieces are then briefly boiled and drained, to get rid of any bitterness, then fried with onions and eggs added to make the omelette. Such is the demand for wild asparagus that the locals collect large quantities and sell them by the roadside.
The evergreen bush, myrtle, grows in North Cyprus, it prefers good shady places which do not suffer too much exposure from the burning sun of summertime. If the place has some dampness then the growth is more luxurious. The seed which ripens towards the end of autumn is collected as a fruit called ‘mersin’ and is often sold in the supermarkets. It is claimed to have good health giving properties. If your holiday in Cyprus is a winter holiday then you have good chance of sampling mersin for yourself.
Any North Cyprus holiday can be greatly enhanced by using a hire car. check out the North Cyprus car hire deals before you come to get a guide on car hire rates. In many ways, unless you know the hire company has good cars, it is better to wait until you arrive in North Cyprus before you decide. Remember to bring your driving licence.
Come and discover this beautiful place with a cheap package holiday provided by CyprusHolidayAdvisor.com, the market leader for Northern Cyprus package holidays. All holidays booked through Cyprus Holiday Advisor are fully ATOL protected. Cyprus Holiday Advisor also arranges airport transfer, car rental and private villa holidays.