Cyprus: sun, sea, beach and culture
The island Cyprus is perfect when it comes to choosing a sun and chill vacation! It has some nice beaches, nice weather and it is not expensive. A few years ago, I went to this island for holidays with my boyfriend. I really had a relaxing vacation. I am an active and adventurous person, so of course I have seen a lot of the island as well. I will tell you all about it in this article.
Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean Sea and is located between the countries Turkey and Greece. The island has a Turkish part and a Greek part, but is an independent island with its own culture and history. According to many people, Cyprus is the birth island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. The official language of the island is Greek, but Turkish and English are also very important languages. In the Greek part you can pay with euros, meanwhile in the Turkish part you can pay with Liras. Both parts of Cyprus are very different from each other. Since some conflicts between Greek-Cyprus and Turkish-Cyprus, it is not that easy to come to the other part of the island. Before you would like to enter the other side, you have to show your passport. However, during our vacation, we did not notice anything of the conflicts at all.
Me and my boyfriend stayed at the Turkish part of the island and our hotel was located in Kyrenia (also known as Girne). We just had to ride by bus (dolmus) for ten minutes when we wanted to go to the centre of the city. This is a cheap way of transporting yourself from one point to another. It is a beautiful city with lots of nice streets, cosy eateries and a beautiful coastline. We spent a lot of time in town here during our holiday at Cyprus.
During our stay we did a boat trip and this was also my best experience of this holiday. We had a relaxing day, spent some time in the water and on the boat and enjoyed the surroundings. It was perfect and really a recommendation! You can book a boat trip at the port of Kyrenia.
Kyrenia is not a city where you can do great shopping, but it has some nice boutiques in little streets were you can just wander around. It is very nice to explore the streets of Kyrenia.
However, the city does has some nice places where you can have diner. The restaurants are spread over the city. You can find many restaurants at the port and the coast line of Kyrenia. Furthermore, in the middle of the city, close to some boutiques, you can find some nice and cosy restaurants as well. Unfortunately I am not sure how this place is called, but it is close to a park and the bus station. If you love desserts and treats, you should definitely pay a visit to the Cacao. This is a ‘restaurant’ where you can have a simple and nice dinner with a perfect dessert. This place is located a little outside the centre of Kyrenia, at the main road (Karaoglanoglu Caddesi).
A little outside the centre of Kyrenia, at the opposite of the main street and a little upwards the hill, you can find a local market. It is nice to walk over the market, because it has some nice stalls and you can explore the local culture. I personally love it to be out of the tourist places. Unfortunately I have no clue if the market has a name and I cannot find it on the internet, but I guess there are several local markets in Kyrenia which you can visit.
Nicosia (also known as Lefkosia) is the capital of Cyprus and during our vacation, we went to this city for a day. The city is definitely worth the visit and has some beautiful places. You can go here by car (renting) or by bus (the dolmus). Below I will tell you some more about the must do’s and sees.
Going to the other part of the island
Even though you have to show your passport before you can go to the other part of the island, it is worth to go there. We stayed at the Turkish side, but we also went to the Greek side, which was very different. At the Greek part, everything is far more European than in the Turkish part. You can find some international shops and everything is a little more commercial. In this respect, the Turkish part is a little cosier and more authentic because of its Turkish influences. However, the Greek part also has its beautiful places. Unfortunately we had not much time, so we did not see much of this part.
Nicosia features several tourist attractions. In general, the Greek part of the capital has more tourist attractions than the Turkish part, but the Turkish part has more cultural places, cosy shops and nice, little streets. At the Turkish part, you can find the Kyrenia Gate. This is a former gate which was used for transport to the northern areas of Cyprus. Furthermore, we visited the Selimiye Mosque, which is the main mosque of the city. It is a big mosque with a beautiful architecture and there is the possibility to visit the mosque from the inside. We also visited the Buyuk Han, which is a beautiful courtyard with a cosy atmosphere. It is very nice to wander around this courtyard or have some lunch or drinks here.
In short, Cyprus is a beautiful island when it comes to relaxation and enjoyment! We went to Cyprus in October and it still was very warm (approximately 23 degrees Celcius).