Fancy a bit of a shopping trip whilst visiting North Cyprus? Why not make a visit to Arasta in the heart of the walled city of Lefkoşa to experience some modern shopping, located in a wonderfully historical location! Arasta is located at the top end of Girne Caddesi which is the main road leading up from the Kyrenia Gate – keep walking and you will come upon it one way or another! You will know you have arrived when you enter a vibrant and busy shopping district.
Since 2003, the north and south of Cyprus have been accessible to each other via several checkpoints along the Green Line, all of which were opened as part of efforts aimed at reuniting the two Cypriot communities.
Today Europeans and Cypriots are able to use several border crossings in Cyprus, whether it’s to shop, trade or work. Currently there are 6 checkpoints open to pedestrians and/or traffic and below we will detail these for you. It’s worth noting that another checkpoint in Yeşilirmak on the far north-western tip of Cyprus could be set to open shortly and we will keep you up to date on that!
There is only one passenger airport in North Cyprus, it’s called Ercan Airport and in recent years it has seen massive refurbishment and now serves people wishing to travel to and from North Cyprus. It’s located a 40 minute car journey from the harbour town of Kyrenia and 15 minutes from Lefkoşa.
Direct flights are not officially available to North Cyprus from anywhere other than Turkey. If you’re flying to and from the island from any other destination you have an hour’s stop-over on the Turkish mainland. On the way to Cyprus passengers can alight in Turkey for onward destinations whilst other passengers remain on-board and new ones embark for the one hour continuation flight to Northern Cyprus. Plans for the future include challenging the UK government on their ban of direct travel to North Cyprus, so watch this space!
Since the borders opened between the north and south of the island, the option of travelling into either of the two airports in the south, Larnaca and Paphos, has steadily gained popularity.
The main reasons are sometimes cheaper flights, as most major airlines can be very competitive with their pricing, and the fact that there is no obligatory stop-over in Turkey. From most European destinations it is only a 4 or 5 hour journey time to the south, whereas it would be a 5 or 6 hour journey time to the north because of the stop over in Turkey.
If you are visiting the city of Lefkoşa whilst on your travels in North Cyprus, or just fancy spending some time looking around whilst you may have business to attend to, it’s well worth taking time to explore the sights, of which there are plenty.
Beside the abundance of museums covered in our separate article, there are some great examples of period architecture, some of which have been restored in recent years and some which are still partially intact, enabling you to at least get a feel for the history of this ancient city. Lefkoşa is believed to have begun as Ledroi in around 280 BC, and was further developed during the Byzantine era and further still by the various occupiers of the subsequent centuries, and has always been a place of importance.
If you want to see the best of North Cyprus you can get to appreciate the landscape via the healthy option of a good bracing stroll across the mountains and lowlands, and there are a few organisations who have sought to accommodate people’s desire for walking and hiking too.
(Please note: in our other articles on land activities and water activities you will find a whole host of things to keep you occupied, things which could even become a hobby or interest which you would like to become proficient in, such as diving for example.)
Before 2003 if you lived in North Cyprus you could only shop in North Cyprus, but with the opening of the Ledra checkpoint in the heart of Lefkosa in April 2003, locals and European shoppers alike were able to explore the delights of what the south of the island had to offer.
Although officially there are duty restrictions in place, which at present are set at a limit of goods worth135 euro per person for shoppers coming back through to the north, there are not too many searches of goods purchased as you come back through the checkpoints – at the moment! There are also plans to raise this limit to between 250-300 euros (presently it’s 260 Euros for shoppers going back through to the south), and although progress is slow it is likely that this will become reality in the not too distant future. Sadly the effect on trade and related services since the opening of checkpoints has not been as fruitful as previously anticipated with Turkish Cypriots not feeling the full benefit of trading with their Greek Cypriot counterparts.
When considering a move to another country there are many things to think about apart from the initial thoughts of ‘am I doing the right thing?’ In this article we will assume that you have already decided to relocate to North Cyprus, after having done the appropriate research!
Depending on your reasons for moving to North Cyprus, whether it is to move your whole family for a new start, retiring to enjoy your time in a Mediterranean climate, or whether you wish to find work, we will attempt to offer some tips and advice. Also note that our Property section will give you insight into finding a home on the island.