What to Do in Northern Cyprus
If you like walking, trails wind upwards literally from the bottom of the garden and you can spend days exploring the beautiful Besparmak Mountains right from your own back door. There are many quiet forest tracks which are maintained by the local Forestry Department. Two of our favourites are a 1.5km walk between Ilgaz and Malatya which passes a waterfall along the way, and also a 4km walk from Ilgaz to Karaman which passes along the ridge from the Five Finger Mountain to the Armenian monastery.
The nearest beach, Escape Beach, is a mere 10 minute drive away and there are countless others stretching west and east along the coast. Escape Beach which has a full range of facilities such as lockers, showers, loungers, umbrellas and cafes is sandy, gently sloping and is absolutely ideal for families.
Other local beaches— there are many more than we list here:
Riviera Mocamp—near Karaoglanoglu. Signposted from the main road. Small sandy bay with rocks. Restaurant and showers.
Denizkizi: Owned by a hotel but open to the public. Sandy bay with all the facilities.
Mare Monte: Belongs to hotel of same name but open. Nice beach with all the facilities. You can walk along the beach to the ancient ruins of Lambousa
Many of the beaches offer a variety of watersports.
The warm clear water is ideal for scuba diving and there are two diving schools within 10 minutes of the villa. Cyprus Scuba Shack on Escape Beach offers both instruction as well as daily diving expeditions and is particularly recommended. Turtle Bay Diving Centre at the Hotel Sempati in Lapta also offers daily expeditions.
There are some lovely reefs just off the northern shore plus the ancient shipwreck at Girne. In excess of 20 dive sites can be visited locally and there are longer trips to the Karpas and to the wreck of the Zenobia. Fishlife is excellent including stingray, amberjack, wrasse and grouper. Dive prices start at about £15 per dive.
There are two 18 hole courses near the villa.
Cengiz Topel Golf Course
Wonderfully positioned to pick up cooling sea breezes from the nearby coast. It is near Guzelyurt. The course features two loops of nine holes, with a total par of 70 and a total distance of 5,233 yards. There are enough features to challenge the experienced golfer as well as the novice, especially on the seaside holes. In places, greens are replaced with browns, a mixture of sand and oil that provides a good surface for putting. The course is open every day, a nominal green fee is payable, and you can hire clubs. On Tuesdays or Thursdays you can play the local members. Golfing shoes are required on the course, and no jeans or t-shirts are permitted. Cengiz Topel golf course is watered from a nearby dam, so again it does not affect the drinking water stocks in Northern Cyprus.
Korinium Esentepe Golf and Country Club
The new Korinium Esentepe Golf and Country Club is the first 18 hole international standard golf course in Northern Cyprus, and boasts the usual range of features, including greens, sand bunkers and water hazards. The 6,600 yards-long course is set amongst natural greenery and scenery, including mature trees and shrubs, so it feels like it has been established for a long time. There are also 3 training holes.
The greens are watered from two man-made reservoirs, to reduce the environmental impact on the North Cyprus water reserves. You can practice your swing at the 30 bay driving range, which is a spacious 295m x 100m, or take a lesson from the golf academy (with three holes of its own). After all that exercise, you can relax at the 19th hole in the clubhouse with a cooling drink or enjoy a meal at the 200-seat restaurant. Electric golf carts are available for those who prefer to ride rather than walk on their round of golf in North Cyprus but what a shame to miss the 7500 square metres of pathways.
The local area is a wonderful place for riding—you can go along the beaches or through the mountains. The Catalkoy Riding Club (0533 845 4741) is built to European standards and offers day rides but you must book in advance—it’s very popular
There is a village restaurant and bar a few minutes walk from the villa or a short car ride will bring you to the many restaurants for which Northern Cyprus is famous. Within 10 minutes drive you can enjoy French, Italian, Turkish, Cypriot, Chinese, Indian or even Australian stone based cuisine. Style ranges from cheap and cheerful to fine dining. Cypriot hospitality is legendary and you could eat at a different restaurant every day for a month and still not have sampled everything on offer.
Northern Cyprus has many exciting sightseeing opportunities from the quaint charm of ancient Kyrenia with its shops, castle and picturesque harbour, to the crusader castles of St Hilarion and Buffavento, the gothic charm of the ruined abbey of Bellapais and the wonder of the ancient city of Salamis. Nicosia has a wonderful old quarter redolent with history and atmosphere. You could while away a pleasant day cruising the coastline from a traditional wooden gulet. The Karpaz Peninsular provides one of the last unspoilt nature preserves in the Mediterranean and should not be missed. Turtles regularly visit the beaches. Birdwatchers flock to Northern Cyprus as do naturalists who enjoy the wonderful wild flowers that bloom everywhere in spring. There are markets nearly every day of the week. Girne market on a Wednesday morning is particularly good.
In the late winter/Spring Northern Cyprus is alive with beautiful orchids and wild flowers. There are many varieties of rare flowers to see and if you are interested in walking and nature we would recommend that you look into booking a nature walk with Maureen and Tony Hutchinson. Most of the walks take about 2 hours and can be enjoyed by both the physically fit and the less agile. You will see beautiful scenery as well as many different orchid varieties and other lovely flowers.
Since 1992 over 200 students and staff from British universities have taken part in the annual monitoring and conservation of marine turtles in Northern Cyprus. Work is carried out at the request and in conjunction with members of the local Society for the Protection of Turtles and the local Department of Environmental Protection.
In the Mediterranean, only the green turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) are known to nest. It is estimated that as few as 300-400 green and 2000 loggerhead females nest annually, both being considered as regionally endangered. Both species nest in Northern Cyprus.
Northern Cyprus beaches are very important for the nesting of the Green Turtle Chelonia mydas and Loggerhead Turtle Caretta Caretta. Visitors and tourists to coming North Cyprus have the opportunity to witness the nesting and hatching of these turtles. The project, organized by the University of Exeter in the Cornwall campus, is now in its 20th year and goes from strength to strength. There are three bases to be organized; the main base is at Alagadi beach, at "The Goat Shed" which is situated 20km east of Girne. The other two bases are at Akdeniz village and Long Beach Club.
During the nesting season(June & July) night work is carried out on two beaches at Alagadi. The other two bases survey the beaches at daybreak.
Nests hatch well into late September. Anybody wishing to go along with the students on night patrol to witness the laying of eggs, or to see a nest excavation and hatchling release, should visit the project's base at Alagadi during the afternoon to list themselves and to find out if a nest is being excavated that evening. Numbers are limited so it is important to book your place to avoid disappointment.
Take off on a spectacular flight over Northern Cyprus. After taking just a few steps down a gentle slope you will be soaring over gorgeous scenery. Your pilot will tailor your flight to your required excitement level!!! Adventures last 2 hours and you can be picked up from the villa if you wish. No training is needed and the instructors are experienced pilots.
Tourist Board Video of Many Activities in North Cyprus