On this 7-night guided tour we'll explore Northern Cyprus, considered the most beautiful and historically interesting part of the island.
North Cyprus is the lesser-known Turkish side of the Mediterranean island and remains a hidden gem, far less visited since separation in 1974 but with an abundance of archaeological remains from many civilisations that inhabited the island over the centuries.
With superb walking through unspoilt areas teeming with flowers and wildlife, and the relaxed local Turkish Cypriot culture, this is a walking and sightseeing tour not to be missed. Experience rich history and culture, along with beautiful mountain scenery.
Cypriot food includes: locally-caught fish and seafood by the Kyrenia fishing fleet, excellent local meat dishes, stuffed vegetables, fruit - particularly figs, oranges, nectarines, grapes, olives and pomegranates - and breads and cheeses. Kyrenia has a large number of quaint cafes and restaurants offering fresh authentic meals in the evening.
We'll stay at a **** hotel just a short walks to the bars and restaurants of atmospheric Kyrenia harbour.
Most days involve some driving and sightseeing in addition to the walks. Strong but lightweight 2/3 season boots with good ankle support are recommended, as there are descents each day that, although not technical, may be steep. The walking is seldom too demanding, although some of the terrain is a bit rocky underfoot. Some of the paths are quite narrow and fairly undulating, and there some sections which involve some scrambling over larger rocks and boulders.There is plenty of opportunity for exploration in and around some of the area's ruins and castles. A pair of comfortable shoes or trainers will also be very handy for the evenings and journeys to/from the start/end points.
We transfer you to your hotel in Kyrenia. In the evening your guide will hold a short meeting to discuss the plan for the following day, to give advice on the local area and to answer any questions. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast only)
After the Welcome Briefing, we will have a short 20-minute transfer to Bellapais village and the beautiful C12 Bellapais Abbey, set in the mountains to the south. There will be some free time to explore the beautiful village and the abbey before starting our short walk to Cattalkoy village where we get the transfer back to Kyrenia. The walk today is mainly along an old dirt track; it is fairly undulating, with views out towards the coast along the way.
Kyrenia is a pretty harbour town and a great base from which to explore North Cyprus. Archaeological excavations show the area was first settled as far back as the C10 B.C, and today historic buildings and winding lanes offer a glimpse of the past, sitting side by side with more modern additions. Our tour also takes in a visit to Kyrenia's Crusader Castle, which features in English history as far back as the third crusade, when it was taken by Richard the Lionheart. Since then the castle has been updated and used by civilisations as diverse as the Ottomans, the Venetians and the British. As well as glorious views and fascinating architecture, the castle also houses the Shipwreck Museum, home to a C4 Greek merchant vessel and its cargo. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast and lunch)
Today we transfer approximately 25 minutes to the Saint Hilarion Castle, a former stronghold of the Kyrenia mountains. Originally a hermitage site, the monastery and church were built in the C10 and later fortified. The site consists of three main parts, linked by steep staircases; the lower section was for the stables and men of arms, the middle section was home to the church and the upper section was for use by only royalty. The stunning views from the upper level are well worth the climb!
We will spend some time exploring the castle and enjoying the magnificent views of Kyrenia, before starting our walk through the hills to Malatya village. The first part of our walk is through the forest, following an old riverbed with some loose rocks underfoot. We then reach an old dirt track that we follow into the village, with stunning views of the coast ahead of us and the impressive Saint Hilarion Castle up on the hills behind us. We will walk through several small villages today, getting a good sense of local life along the way. We'll stop for lunch in a square in one of these villages.
We will transfer back to the hotel this afternoon, stopping en route to enjoy a drink on the seafront if time allows. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast and lunch)
We head east approximately 1.5 hours today, towards the Karpas peninsula. In the morning, we will visit Incirli cave, the largest on the island, which contains an amazing collection of stalactites and stalagmites, before heading to the crusader castle at Kantara. Kantara Castle is one of three mountain fortresses built by the Byzantines along the Kyrenia Mountains along with Saint Hilarion Castle and Buffavento Castle. It was used as a beacon station, communicating with Buffavento Castle with the use of fires. The castle boasts an incredible 360-degree view of the region. On a clear day you can see not only both coasts of the Karpaz Peninsula but also the mountains of Turkey! After a picnic lunch near the castle, we will walk down the slopes of Five Finger Mountains to the beautiful Kaplica beach. If time allows, there will be a chance to swim at Kaplica beach after our walk, before we transfer (approximately 1 hour) back to Kyrenia. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast and lunch)
Today has been left free for further exploration of the island. Of the many options available, of particular interest is a trip to the ancient city of Salamis and the historical city of Famagusta. This trip starts with a visit to St. Barnabas Monastery, followed by a tour of the ancient city of Salamis, which remains the biggest Roman site on the whole island of Cyprus. There will be a lunch break by the sea before the tour continues to the ghost town of Varosha, which has been closed to the civil life since 1974. The trip finishes with a visit to the old walled city of Famagusta, where the St. Nicholas Cathedral is located. This tour can be arranged locally (please note that you may be joining a larger group on this tour). Of course you could choose to spend the day relaxing, or exploring under your own steam. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast only)
We start our day with a 45-minute transfer to the magnificent Buffavento Castle. Standing at 970m, it is the highest Crusader castle on the island and a highlight of the week. Buffavento was built in the C11 as a part of the island's defences against the Arabs, and also controlled an important mountain pass. The dramatic location offers glorious views over Kyrenia and the Five Finger Mountains.
This afternoon we will walk from the castle taking the footpath that leads us down to Bellapais village. We will have our lunch at the top of the mountain where you will see both sides of the Five Finger Mountains. Our route takes us along a narrow path, which is a bit rocky underfoot, passing between the mountains, and offering us stunning views in both directions. The vehicle meets us in Bellapais village, and we will transfer about 10 minutes back to Kyrenia. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast and lunch)
Today we transfer approximately 30 minutes to the start of our last walk, the Five Finger Mountains. The walk takes us on a path up towards the Herbarium of Alevkaya (currently closed for renovation), where we will stop for lunch. This afternoon we will walk to Sourp Magyar, the only Armenian monastery in the mountains, and on to Kyrenia Rock, which offers excellent photo opportunities. (Staying at the Hotel Pia Bella, Breakfast and lunch)
Our adventure ends after breakfast in Kyrenia.
During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking.
NEARBY:We usually stay at the **** Hotel Pia Bella, a short walk to the bars and restaurants of atmospheric Kyrenia harbour. All rooms are en-suite with satellite TV, telephone, air-conditioning and Wi-Fi access in communal areas. The property boasts two swimming pools, a Jacuzzi and tranquil gardens.
Please call our sales team on 1-800-267-3347 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange flights and connecting transfers to your hotel.
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Minimum group sizes
A minimum of 4 people (in total) are required for each departure.
This holiday is unsuitable for children.
Guided walking Managed by our sister company, Exodus.
All breakfasts and 5 lunches
Transfers included from Larnaca airport at 18:00, and back to Larnaca airport at 16:15.
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