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Map of Local area

North Cyprus is nowadays almost the only remaining unspoiled corner of the Mediterranean. However, in addition to its matchless climate the area has much to offer the discerning holidaymaker who will find many interesting diversions, just a few of which are mentioned below.

The main coastal town of Kyrenia (Girne), has a population of around 14000 and dates from the 10th century. The town is famous for having one of the most picturesque harbours in the Mediterranean, horse-shoe shaped and dominated by a massive Venetian castle The quay-side features many restaurants and boats where one may leisurely walk and take coffee and lunch by day and in the warm evenings dine al fresco on North Cyprus’s wonderful fresh produce and fish – all gastronomic tastes are catered for. Visiting the castle is strongly recommended but it is large, and a full visit could prove somewhat strenuous, so avoid the heat of mid-day! The castle has a small, shaded cafe where a refreshment break may be made, and a museum that houses the wreck of an ancient merchant sailing ship dating from several hundred years BC it is one of the oldest salvaged ships in the world.

Surrounding the harbour is the town centre of Kyrenia, which is small enough for virtually everything to be accessed by foot. It bustles with a wide range of cafes, restaurants, shops, jewellers, gift shops and banks. There is an outdoor market every Wednesdays where marvellous fruit and vegetables and many other kinds of local foods may be bought, together with clothing, spices and of course, souvenirs. The town also has museums of folk art, fine arts and one featuring Icons.

The north coast of Cyprus features some lovely beaches – one, the private Escape Beach, is about 5 miles east of North Shore Villa and is shallow and very safe, so ideal for children. The same distance to the west of the villa is the public Horse-shoe Beach, smaller but equally safe. Although about two hours drive to the east, it is strongly suggested that a visit be made to the Karpas Peninsula (nicknamed The Panhandle). The area is famous for some of the most fantastic beaches in the Mediterranean, but has hardly any of the sometimes, unsympathetic development that often accompanies such places elsewhere! For the more up-to-date shall we say - and energetic - various diversions are available, such as para-gliding, scuba diving, horse riding, karting, sailing and boat trips to secluded bays.

If you like castles then apart from Kyrenia harbour’s fortress there is St Hilarion, which is not for the faint-hearted as it perches almost impossibly upon a mountain peak that dominates Kyrenia and climbing to the former royal apartments at the top is a challenge – but well worth it! With its Crusader associations, St Hilarion was later joined by the castles at Kantara and Buffavento, the sites of which are also well worth a visit, to protect against raids by various fierce foes from the surrounding mainland.

About three miles east of Kyrenia, Bellapais Abbey dominates the beautiful mountainside village of Bellapais – a place made famous because it was where the author Lawrence Durrell based his book "Bitter Lemons of Cyprus". A little further afield, the port city of Famagusta (now known as Gazimagusa) is another place that should be visited. It features one of the most complete city walls – in reality a huge complex fortress built up over several periods – still to be seen, not to mention Othello’s palace (as in Shakespeare’s play), numerous other historical buildings and an abbey where the Lusignan kings were crowned that today serves as a mosque. Just north of Famagusta is the large, ruined pre-Roman city of Salamis, where one may wander for hours, viewing mosaic-floored villas and baths, stroll around column-lined avenues, see fragments of still-surviving Byzantine murals and visit a very complete Roman amphitheatre where sometimes, concerts are held.