Why you should explore North Cyprus this year

by Jules on May 4, 2013

North Cyprus is an interesting destination that is rich in culture and tradition yet curiously doesn’t seem to be on most travellers’ radars. Which is a real shame as there is plenty to see and do in North Cyprus.

Explore Kyrenia

The town of Kyrenia has the largest castle within North Cyprus. Here you will find war relics and can see depictions of the incredibly ingenious ways that locals rebuffed enemy invaders, despite the country’s relatively small size. Both Kyrenia and the castle itself offer an interesting insight into the local history. This is a great experience that will transport you back to 16th century. This is the resting place for the British during their occupation and it became the preferred spot for settlers thanks to the calm relaxing sea breeze.

Discover the Shipwreck Museum

The curious Shipwreck Museum is situated in the heart of Kyrenia Castle. It is symbolic as its home to one of the oldest ships ever retrieved after being destroyed. History says that the ship was heading to Cyprus to bring goods but it was destroyed due to strong winds. It was retrieved 80 years later and is being preserved thanks to a unique atmosphere within the castle. The ship shows how locals place so much significance on their identity and their history.

Trace the future with Bellapais

The village of Bellapais is stunningly pretty and is surrounded by ancient walls. These walls were built during the 12th century by the Augustinian monks that depict the sheer ingenuity of the engineers and architects of the period. Bellapais Castle served as a monastery before it became home to hundreds of citizens over the years. Various castles are dotted about and although originally built for war, now serve as scene settings in big-scale movie productions.

See Buffavento Castle

This castle was primarily built to defend the country from enemies at that time. Buffavento Castle is strategically located on a hill that reaches 940 meters. Its name means “buffeted by wind” and served as a watchtower to see over much of Cyprus. It is also one of the highest mountain peaks in North Cyprus and ably demonstrates the defence techniques used during conflicts. It is currently protected by the country’s military.

Discover St. Hilarion Castle

The magnificent St Hilarion Castle is located at the top of a steep road in the northern Cyprus town of Kyrenia, which boasts amazing scenery. The castle itself is built into the side of a mountain and almost seems to rise up out of the mountain. The view up the hill will show you how tactical the soldiers were during wartime. Be prepared for a challenging hike down from the castle as there are over 700 steps leading to the bottom of the mountain side, but its well worth it to get to the Tank Route. By walking the tank route you are exposed to even more history of the island, including an old tank that was destroyed back in 1974.

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