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.)
Some people prefer to spend a day outside, discovering new parts of the island which they had previously been unaware of, taking time to enjoy the local surrounds, nature and wildlife whilst being part of a group which enjoys doing the same thing. You would be surprised at the amount of open space there still is in North Cyprus, despite the property development over the last few years, and there are some very knowledgeable people who can ensure that you do see as much of it as possible.
In this article we will detail some of the groups and walking opportunities organised by people who have an expert knowledge of North Cyprus, its flora and fauna, and who at the same time help to promote what is best about this little place on earth.
North Cyprus Hash House Harriers
Originating in Kuala Lumpur in the late 1930’s the Hash House Harriers were originally a group involved in running, walking, jogging and then drinking and eating afterwards! Each harrier group is known as a ‘kennel’ with groups now based all over the world with members and interested parties joining together for a jog, walk, run and then a beer!
The North Cyprus ‘kennel’ holds a walk/run and then a picnic on the first Sunday of each month with meeting points advertised in the local Cyprus Today newspaper. They have the use of a coach which will collect walkers and drive them to the designated route for the day, and will transport people back at the finish. They also have a Facebook group which you can join, and you will then be notified of any events taking place.
It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends, so if you would like to take part in the group, or just pop along to see if you enjoy the day, then they would be more than happy to have you aboard. Contact them via their Facebook Group www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=8762508468&ref=ts or you can telephone Tony Hutchinson +90 (0)392 7213013 or +90 (0)542 8544329.
Walks and Wild Orchids
Orchid walks have been run by Maureen and Tony Hutchinson for over 10 years, these walks are a great way of learning about the rare and exotic orchid population in North Cyprus. Based in Hasırköy on the southern slopes of the Kyrenia mountain range, Tony and Maureen are experts in the local area and its flora and fauna and they should be able to introduce you to at least 20 or more species of orchid that grow around the island.
Apart from their orchid hunting activities they have also produced a book on the walks and bird spotting opportunities available in North Cyprus, and they also hold activity days which allow visitors to help make traditional Turkish Cypriot cuisine specialities such as Pekmez (grape molasses).
Very sadly Maureen passed away in January 2012 of cancer. This loss cannot be expressed enough in words suffice to say she was a blessing for lovers of North Cyprus and did so much to promote its environmental wealth and culture. She is to be held in high esteem for her contribution to the island. Maureen could be found at the Carpenters market in Karaoğlanoğlu on a Friday, where she sold handicrafts and home made delights such as marmalades and jams, and was more than happy to pass the time of day talking about the activities that you can experience on an orchid walk with her and Tony.
At the time of writing we presume that Tony will carry on with their activities but please do check their website www.walksnorchidsnorthcyprus.com or via email email@example.com, or by telephone on +90 (0)392 721 3013 or mobile +90 (0)542 8544329.
Kyrenia Mountain Trail Association / North Cyprus Trails
This group has been active since 2007 and their aims are to produce a way marked trail that covers the whole of the Kyrenia mountain range – which is around 230km long, stretching from the east to the west of the island. They also want to assist in the development of infrastructure such as picnic areas, information boards, and providing data about things to do and see on the walks. This group offers one a fantastic opportunity for walking and hiking we are sure you would agree!
The group is actively promoting this aspect of tourism as a viable and sustainable business option, and with a huge amount of visitors each year choosing walking holidays, they are doing an excellent job in ensuring the island is prepared to accept them. At present they are in the process of mapping the routes, which will take some time, but will be a real boost for walkers with professional maps and signage when completed.
The organisation does not specifically have a walking group, but does offer the opportunity to find out more about where to walk, what to see and how you can join specific walking tours and days out which are organised by other operators.
You can contact them via their websites which have some excellent links for other organisations too who provide other trekking options such as cycling, 4×4 tours and more – see www.northcyprustrails.org or via email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com , or by telephone +90 (0)533 845 39 35.
Union of Cyprus Turkish Tourist Guides (KITREB)
KITREB can offer tailored walks and tours around Lefkoşa which are completely free. Usually meeting on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10am at the Tourist Information Office at Kyrenia Gate, and at 10.30am at the Lokmacı Border Crossing, they will guide you around many of the historical landmarks within the city.
The walks usually last for around 2 hours, and are a great way to familiarise yourself with the rich history of this great city, visiting many of its famous landmarks and buildings. You can contact them via email firstname.lastname@example.org and for the future their website is www.kitreb.org (being worked on at time of writing) or by telephone +90 (0)392 2284127. Alternatively you can check out our article on places of interest in Lefkoşa.
For more information on North Cyprus castle walks, then please visit this link. You can also find out much more about specialist tour companies offering walking, hiking, bird watching and orchid hunting holidays in our related articles within our Tourism section, by clicking on any of these links.