Kyrenia / Girne

the heart of tourism in North Cyprus

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Kyrenia is the most popular town for holidays and, therefore, the heart of tourism in North Cyprus. Despite that, many expats, mostly British, choose this town for their permanent place of living. Kyrenia has a well-developed infrastructure, easily-accessible public and private transportation system as well as various ‘rent a car’ companies, comfortable road system, a big number of hospitals, universities, schools and nursery schools. Regarding the population, Kyrenia is relatively small and consists of 20,851( 2011).

For decades, holiday makers were choosing Kyrenia as their holiday destination, starting from local wealthy families who were coming from Nicosia to Kyrenia’s coastline. The first hotel here was built in early 1906 and was named “ Akteon”. Since then, the town has strengthened its positions and by now has more than 90 hotels. Nothing to wonder why Kyrenia is so popular; because of its great location between the sea and the mountains, beautiful flora, softer climate and, of course, warm and clear water.

If you think of Kyrenia, the first thing that may come to your mind is Kyrenia castle, which is located in Kyrenia Harbour and meant to protect the city from invasions. The castle was built by Romans in the 1st century A.D, then later modified by Venetians in the 15th century. The castle is well-preserved and opened for the public.

history of Kyrenia

In Cyprus history and present are intertwined with each other and exist side by side. Kyrenia Harbour is the most scenic harbour and has a lovely walkway to the lighthouse on one side,authentic bars and restaurants by the sea on the other, the atmosphere is enchanting.


In the old part of Kyrenia, you will find various gift boutiques with the most unique presents you can imagine, many of them are hand made by locals from the local products such as olive oil soaps, olive and jasmine creams, lamps from pumpkins or from alagadi beach branches,different kitchen utensils made of olive wood, wooden chests, traditional leather shoes,paintings of the local artists and more.

Picturesque City

Kyrenia is a picturesque city, partly, because of its coastline location, from any point in the city you can catch and enjoy the view of the Mediterranean sea. There are many beaches which are worth your attention such as Escape Beach Club, Alagadi beach, Camelot Beach, Denizkizi Beach; most of the hotels, even the smallest boutique ones, have their private beaches to guarantee your comfort on your holidays in Cyprus.

Nightlife

Apart from all said above, Kyrenia has a vivid nightlife with various restaurants, bars, clubs, casinos which will make your experience unforgettable. Maybe you would like to try something new, why don’t you visit Meyhane? It is something between a restaurant and a pub with, traditionally, Turkish- Cypriot music and quite often even a group of musicians will go around the tables to play live music. When you make your order the waiter will offer you Raki, a very popular drink, give it a try. Then plates of Meyzes will start coming more and more. It’s an interesting experience when plates come to your table non-stop, cold appetizers, hot appetizers, main courses.

What to visit

Kyrenia a colorful city of History

Holiday with Kids

If you are coming as a family, you shall not be worried that kids will get bored. For water fun, you could visit water slides in Acapulco hotel, Lapethos Aqua Park, or Oscar Resort Hotel. Another joyful amusement is Funky Monkey Kids Club, it’s a massive playground, which offers various activities for your kids (https://funkymonkeykidsclub.com/). Just along the road, you will see a cinema theatre “Starlux cinema”, recently opened, it follows the highest standards, various halls starting from regular ones finishing with the VIP class, and, of course, children playground with professional teachers and animators.

Lovely Kyrenia

Kyrenia is a love from the first sight now you know why many holiday makers and expats choose this city. Spectacular landscapes, comfortable infrastructure, close to shops, restaurants, bars, entertainment facilities and magnificent historical places. Moreover, Kyrenia also holds varied local and international festivals, theatre performances and even international musicians give concerts in Kyrenia, regularly in the month of June but also around the year.

Kyrenia Castle

Kyrenia castle which is located in Kyrenia Harbour and meant to protect the city from invasions, it was built by Romans in the 1st century A.D, later modified by Venetians in the 15th century. The castle is well-preserved and opened for the public. The Castle is a complicated mixture of styles and absolutely worth visiting. The entrance fee is 12TL. When you enter the castle, by the bridge over the moat leading to its north-west gate, inside you will find the shipwreck museum that exhibits the remains of a Greek Merchant ship which is considered to be one of the oldest vessels. There is also a twelfth-century chapel, a tomb of Ottoman Admiral Sadik Pasha, the dungeons where the prisoners were kept, a museum of the soldiers, and of course a gift shop and a cafe. In total, under ‘the roof’ of Kyrenia Castle there are 4 museums. If you want to spend a full day engaged with history, the Kyrenia castle is at your service.

Kyrenia Harbour

Some experts argue that the town of Kyrenia was found after the Trojan War. The Kyrenia harbour as it is today was formed by Venetians when they took control over the island in 1489. Kyrenia Harbour has a spectacular view, as it is located between the sea and the mountains, you can feel the chilling breeze coming from the Mediterranean while enjoying your walk along the harbour. What else creates the authentic picture of the harbour? The Great Kyrenia Castle, historical surroundings, adorable restaurants and bars, boutique hotels and, of course, what a harbour without boats! Here you can easily find modern expensive yachts, which are neighbours with little fishing boats. Such a mix! Kyrenia Harbour, arguably, can be the most atmospheric place in Kyrenia.

Bellapais Monastery

Bellapais abbey was found by Canons Regular the Holy Sepulchre who fled from Jerusalem, in the 13th century. However, the monastery didn’t have its end appearance yet. Bellapais, as it is now and as many other historical sites in Cyprus, is a great project completed by all the conquerors who visited the islands, each of them has added some of their own culture and vision to the image of the island. Here, for example, the cloisters and the refectory were added later in the 14th century. Even the name of the monastery had been constantly changed throughout its existence- “White Abbey'', “Abbey of Peace'', “Beautiful Land”. As for now, Bellapais is a popular historical site among tourists and locals. You can find many paintings inspired by the monastery if you walk by the harbour’s gift boutiques in Kyrenia. The monastery is open to the public and, definitely, worth visiting. On the site, you will find restaurants such as ‘Huzur Ağaç Steak &; Kebab House’, ‘Kybele Restaurant Girne Kıbrıs’, ‘Bellapais Gardens Restaurant’. You can enjoy the historical atmosphere with the comfort of the present. Moreover, Bellapais Abbey has great acoustics in its used-to-be dining room, that’s why the hall is often used to carry concerts and music festivals. Musicians come all around the world to perform in Bellapais. It’s a spectacular event no one wants to miss.

Buffavento Castle

Buffavento Castle is one of the three castles, the other two are St Hilarion and Kantara, which served as a protection axis. Buffavento is located 960 meters above sea level; it takes 600 steps to reach it. The castle is not as well preserved as the other two, but the views from the top are breathtaking, as a bonus, you will feel sort of achievement after you climb that far. Similar as in the case of Kantara castle, there is no precise information when Buffavento was built, however, it was built during Byzantine rule in the island. Furthermore, during the Lusignan period, the castle was used as a political prison and bore the name ‘Chateau du Lion’. Under the Venetians, the castle no longer carried the same strategic importance and was demounted.


Karmi

You will be surprised to know that the village is populated mostly by expats from Britain and

Germany, it is forbidden for Cypriots to reside in the village since it was abandoned by Greek

Cypriots during the 1974 crisis.

What makes the village special? It has a strict building code, it’s impossible not to notice its

special beauty- the character reserved in these pretty Mediterranean villas.

Furthermore, Karmi is known by its Necropolis, tombs from the Middle Bronze Age, and a

former Greek Orthodox church, which is currently operating as a museum.

On the territory of the village, you will also find bars and bistros, workshops.

Festivals ın Kyrenia

If you have ever visited North Cyprus there is a huge probability that you have visited at least one festival. Festivals in North Cyprus happen almost the whole year-round. It can be a festival in honour of local goods such as lemons, oranges, olives, carob, hellim, or endemic species of flowers, for example, Tebasi Tulip Festival in the name of the famous Tulip Cypria (-Black Tulip). There are also international festivals of music, art and theatre. To the international music festival in Bellapais Abbey musicians come from all around the world.

Everyone is looking forward to festivals because they are colourful events of ultimate joy and have an indescribable atmosphere. Always music and songs, different performances, locals wear traditional outfits, you can taste and buy local delicacies at the stalls and certainly don’t forget to get souvenirs and various hand made and Cyprus products.

Some of the Festivals

International Spring Concerts, at the Bellapais- April, May

Güzelyurt Orange Festival- June

North Cyprus International Music Festival, Bellapais- October, November

Kyrenia Olive Festival- October

Tatlısu Carob Festival- September

Tepebaşı Tulip (Tulipa Cypria), Lapta Festival- March

Lapta Lemon Festival- June

Girne Art and Culture Festival- August

Some Popular Activities

North Cyprus is a truly amazing island rich with its flora and fauna which will market to fall in

love. One of the favourite tourists’ attractions here is birds watching. Why Cyprus? Apparently the island is blessed with the geographical location it is placed on the crossroads of bird migration routes. In North Cyprus, you can find more than 320 species of birds and more than 50 of them live on the island.

The best time to watch birds spring and fall because during those seasons migration starts and various birds are passing through Cyprus. Approximately 100 million birds pass through Cyprus during spring migration and around 150 million during autumn migration.

best places to watch birds

Wetlands around Famagusta.

Tip of the Karpaz Peninsula.

Kaplica beach coastal area.

Various Reservoirs.

Kyrenia Mountain Range.

Kaylar and surrounding area.

Every diffrent seaons you can find diffrennt species of birds.

In Spring, for example:

Cyprus Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, Cyprus Whearear, Subalpine Warbler, Black Francolin, Cretzschmar’s Bunting,Collared Pratincole, Masked Shrike,European Roller, Spur-winged Lapwing, Griffon Vulture, Pallid Harrier, Citrine Wagtail, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Lesser Kestrel, Great

Spotted Cuckoo, Montagu’s Harrier.

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