The holiday market is changing rapidly, and whilst the current economic climate is no help to travel companies, there has never been a better time to book a hotel direct. The world is full of interesting places to visit, but this year it’s definitely time to re-visit one of the wonderful North Cyprus hotels and see all the island has to offer. One of the many delights of this fabulous Mediterranean resort is that, certainly compared to its partner to the south of the island, Northern Cyprus remains relatively quiet. The main towns are bustling and full of shops and businesses, but get away from the centres and along the coast and it’s as if you’ve entered a different world. The Karpas peninsula at the north-eastern tip of Cyprus really is like the land that time forgot. Here you can still drive for half an hour without seeing another car, find deserted beaches and come across tiny villages that look unchanged for centuries.
For years after the early 1970s, Cyprus was a truly divided country: the Greek Cypriots in the south and the Turkish Cypriots in the north. The border was monitored and patrolled by the United Nations and crossing it was only barely possible with a great deal of forward planning. This political situation meant that North Cyprus was effectively an annexed part of Turkey and the only way to reach the island was by a flight via the mainland. Simple enough, and many took advantage of it, but long and tedious. But not any longer! For a few years now the border between the countries has been fully open and as south Cyprus is a full member of the EC, anyone with a European passport can cross with utter ease. The big news for anyone looking at staying at a Northern Cyprus hotel is that this means flights are now simple. Larnaca airport in the south is close to the border and only a short taxi ride to most parts of the north. Larnaca has a multitude of flight routes, not only from all the UK’s major airports but also from many regional ones and the majority of mainland European terminals as well.
So, now you can reach the destination with ease, how about somewhere to stay? Well, the choice is wide. Despite its relative seclusion, the hotel industry is vibrant and world class. Northern Cyprus hotels include a number of five-star plus establishments that boast all the facilities you could want. However, to many people this is not what Cyprus is about. The island is famed for its friendly people and an old-fashioned approach to life, in the best possible way – not to mention its superb food. For this reason, many visitors look to some of the smaller hotels and there are quite a few that really are truly excellent; offering superb facilities, but with a much more personal touch. There really is something here for everybody, but for those travellers who prefer the smaller and more intimate type of hotels, North Cyprus has much to offer.
The choices are seemingly endless, but there are a few tips to help you get the most from a break. North Cyprus has some of the Mediterranean’s best beaches, but the coast around the prime resort (the beautiful harbour town of Kyrenia) is fairly rocky. Kyrenia and its surroundings offer easy access to all the places of interest, and the area is home to a staggering variety of restaurants and tavernas. Unless you want to spend each and every day on the beach, it’s probably best to look at one of the hotels in the surrounding areas and hire a car to get to the beach on some of the days. Within a twenty-minute drive there are some spectacular beach clubs, with all the facilities you could wish for. It’s probably best to choose somewhere quiet in one of the villages close to Kyrenia, this will give you easy access to everything you could want, and provide you with a peaceful haven. All the better places have superb pools and terrace areas, so you will never be far from the sun!
In all, North Cyprus hotels offer a world of opportunity. Best of all, its financial position outside the Euro zone means the resort remains linked primarily to the Turkish Lira. Whilst Sterling is widely accepted (and English is spoken by almost everybody), the Lira has remained remarkably stable for many years now and the exchange rates are incredibly favourable at present. Couple this with low prices in general, and you have the recipe for a perfect summer holiday!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard is a frequent visitor to the Mediterranean. Now retired, he worked for many years as a director of a major travel company.