North Cyprus travel information, including maps of North Cyprus, food, drink and where to stay in North Cyprus plus the best time to travel in North Cyprus
North Cyprus packs a real punch for a country that doesn’t exist. Not recognised by the United Nations, the Turkish-ruled half of the isle of Cyprus sits swathed in eastern Mediterranean sunshine and diplomatic uncertainty, divided into Greek southern Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus since 1973.
To the passing traveller, this political intrigue adds further interest to an already fascinating island. North Cyprus is littered with ancient ruins – sprawling Salamis is the main site, but you’ll discover smaller remains all over the place. The beaches on North Cyprus are some of the least developed in the Med, and frequented by nesting turtles in summer. Inland in North Cyprus there are mountains to climb, some topped by Crusader castles, while the untouched Karpaz Peninsula is like a step back in time, the place to forget politics and instead make cheese, play backgammon and drink thick black coffee with the welcoming locals.
When fresh and authentic North Cyprus food is delicious, a combination of Turkish and Greek influences, usually eaten in fairly fuss-free tavernas. Haloumi or hellim cheese is a speciality, tasty with olives, salad and pide (Turkish bread). Other typical North Cyprus dishes include kleftiko, slow-cooked lamb, and stifado, rich rabbit stew.
Kebabs and stews are common, but vegetarians will have enough dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), pilaf and aubergine concoctions to keep them well fed in North Cyprus. It can all be washed down with thick, strong Turkish coffee. For something stronger, try Efes beer, Cypriot wines or raki (the local firewater) – although North Cyprus is a Muslim country, alcohol is commonplace.
No specific jabs are required for North Cyprus. Take sunscreen and a hat to combat the summer sun. Though not the most conservative Muslim society, you should show cultural consideration in North Cyprus, especially away from beach resorts. If walking in the countryside, be wary of snakes (there are three poisonous types on Cyprus) – wear boots and socks, and don’t put your hands into crevices. Tick-borne diseases can be caught in North Cyprus – wear repellent and check your body for ticks after your walk.
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