Visiting Northern Cyprus is, some say, like stepping back in time. The Mediterranean of decades past can be found in the island’s northerly regions which spread to the east and west from the divided capital city of Nicosia. Less visited, yet arguably more beautiful, it is home to remote villages, Crusader castles and monasteries built atop craggy cliffs, and well preserved ancient settlements and cities. Stay in Kyrenia at a beachside hotel, providing the perfect base from which to experience interesting excursions to the highlights of the north. Visit the city of Nicosia and watch the whirling dervishes in their mesmerising dance; explore the clifftop crusader castle of Saint Hilarion and Bellapais Abbey; and discover the Famagusta region including the ancient city of Salamis. On your free days, you can choose to relax or take advantage of optional excursions to explore further.
7 nights in hotel (accommodation as specified or similar)
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Larnaca. On arrival we transfer to the north of Cyprus and Kyrenia, where we stay at the Oscar Resort Hotel (4T) and are welcomed with a refreshing drink.
Day 2 Nicosia
After breakfast we drive to Nicosia to visit the divided capital of Cyprus, where a guided tour will introduce us to the highlights, including the Arab Ahmet and Selimiye Mosques, the latter being housed within the grand Gothic Cathedral of Saint Sophia. We also see the Dervish Pasha Mansion and the 16th century Great Inn (Büyük Han), the largest of the island’s historical roadside inns, known as caravanserai. Here there may be an opportunity to witness the dizzying spectacle of a whirling dervish.
Day 3 Kyrenia
Today is free to enjoy in the surroundings of your hotel. Or you may choose to take an optional excursion into the Karpas Peninsula, sometimes referred to as the panhandle. From your hotel, you will travel into the past through old villages set in the shadow of the Five Finger Mountains. In the beautiful coastal village of Bogaz, you can watch the fishermen at work and a stop at the archaeological site of Sipahi will allow us to view the spectacular, intricately patterned mosaics of the Basilica of Agia Triada. Our last stop is the Monastery of Saint Andrew, a peaceful site where both Greek and Turkish Cypriots come to worship. During this optional excursion you may be lucky enough to spot some of the local wildlife, including many wild donkeys.
Day 4 Kyrenia
This morning, we embark on an excursion in Kyrenia, to explore two remarkable sites. Saint Hilarion, dramatically sited on a rocky crag overlooking the glittering sea, was once a monastery and is also one of the best preserved of the Crusader castles. We have time to wander and take in the beautiful views, before continuing to Bellapais Abbey. This 13th century Gothic monastery grew rich with the gifts and donations offered by crusading knights and pilgrims. The impressive sanctuary may be in ruins, and the frescos of the life of Christ faded and fragmented, but the abbey has retained an air of tranquillity and beauty.
Day 5 Famagusta
Today, we enjoy a full-day tour to Famagusta, stopping first at the 5th century Monastery of Saint Barnabas, which is now a museum exhibiting magnificent Cypriot artefacts. Our tour continues with a scenic drive to the ancient city of Salamis; roam the extensive ruins here including the marble columns, ancient baths and Roman theatre. Later, we arrive in the old city of Famagusta with time at leisure to wander the streets of charming shops selling silver and copperware amongst others.
Day 6 Kyrenia
Enjoy a day at leisure; perhaps relax in the hotel or discover some of the surrounding sites including Kyrenia’s historic harbour and grand castle. Alternatively, join an optional excursion to Larnaca in southern Cyprus, calling first at Lefkara Village where you can explore the alleyways of white stone buildings and discover the area’s famous hand-made lace (Lefkaritika) and also visit a silverware store. Next, enjoy wine tasting in the small traditional village of Kato Drys characterised by narrow valleys of vineyards, and then continue to the 9th century Saint Lazarus Church, and the Hala Sultan Tekke, a beautiful mosque on the west bank of Larnaca Salt Lake.
Day 7 Kyrenia
Take today at leisure, or join an optional excursion to see the west coast of Cyprus. Begin by exploring the region of Güzelyurt, commonly referred to as the ‘Fruit Garden of Cyprus’ being located in a fertile alluvial plain. Visit the 18th century Saint Mamas Monastery and the Güzelyurt Museum located next door. Continue to Soli, an ancient city kingdom with many Roman remains to independently explore.
Day 8 Kyrenia - Larnaca - London
We transfer to Larnaca Airport for a direct scheduled, British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.