Lefkoşa, Nicosia or Lefkosia …all names for the last remaining divided city in the world, located in the centre of Cyprus. Lefkoşa is a large city with many districts, and we’ll give you a brief introduction to the heart of the city and its history.
Kalavaç is a neat little village to visit if you are around about the Gecitkale or Ercan area, perhaps you may be on an airport run and fancy taking a detour. It has recently been touted in the local media as one of several villages to undergo renovation and restoration with funds donated in 2006 by the EU Commission and UNDP (United Nations Development Project).
Kyrenia, or Girne – Girne being the Turkish name for the town, although most people still call it Kyrenia – is probably the most popular town in North Cyprus, and it’s located in the middle of the north coast. Kyrenia is where all visitors to the island are naturally drawn due to the famous pretty horseshoe shaped harbour, along which you’ll find many bars and restaurants, and which is dominated by an immense Byzantine castle.
The village of Bellapais, (also known as Bellapaix or even sometimes Beylerberi), sits majestically on the slopes of the Kyrenia mountain range and can be reached from the eastern side of Kyrenia by turning right at the traffic lights and following signs for Doğanköy and Beylerbeyi. It is about a 15 minute drive from Kyrenia. You can’t really miss the village actually, given the sight of the glorious Bellapais Abbey sitting in the centre of it!
Çatalköy, (meaning forked village), is located around 15 minutes to the east of central Kyrenia, and spreads from the coast right up into the low lying mountains.
Nowadays Çatalköy is a busy large town with a bustling centre, and it’s home to a number of expats who have fallen in love with this area and its surrounds. It has expanded in recent years to incorporate a busy coastal road area with plenty of shops to cater for pretty much everything, the Malpas Resort Hotel has been built on its low lying mountain slopes, and the growing property market in the area has also seen its borders extend both to the east and west. The town is also a popular place to eat out with several quality restaurants and bars, it is home to the well known Çatalköy Riding Stables, and it offers both peace and entertainment in equal measure.
Esentepe, (meaning windy hill), is a village located on the north coast to the east of Kyrenia probably dating back to the Byzantine era when the village was first established.
If you’re looking to leave the hustle and bustle of Kyrenia behind and you want to venture out further into the ‘real North Cyprus,’ then head east along the coastal road and you’ll come to pretty Esentepe – your gateway to the Karpaz region, the coast and the foothills of the Kyrenia range.
The extremely attractive and peaceful village of Karaman, (or Karmi, which is the Greek name for the settlement), sits around 1,000 feet above sea level and is located on the lower slopes of the Kyrenia mountain range. The gothic castle of St. Hilarion sits majestically above it, and is easily viewed from any spot in the village.
Lapta, or Lapithos, is located about 10 kilometres west of Kyrenia and the town actually begins just before you hit the main ‘Lapta strip’ on the coastal road. It rises up into the mountains and is a local tourist hotspot with some excellent hotels and general accommodation options for visitors to North Cyprus.