Cyprus is fast becoming a popular Mediterranean destination, but it offers more than just a beautiful coastline and resorts. The island is divided into two countries, the internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway state, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The complex history of the island includes conflict and a struggle for independence. Despite this, North Cyprus offers a unique experience for travelers seeking an alternative to more popular destinations.
The Rise of Cyprus as a Trendy Destination
Cyprus is an island located in the eastern Mediterranean, near Turkey. It’s known for its beautiful coastline, beaches, and pristine waters. The island nation is growing in popularity due to its burgeoning resort scene, and its fully open borders and lifted pandemic-related restrictions have led to a surge in travel demand.
The complex history of the island contributes to its unique character and charm. Cyprus has a rich history of conflict, struggle for independence, and division. As a result, it has two countries, Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Although both parts share a similar landscape, climate, and culture, there are some noticeable differences between the two.
The Complex History of North Cyprus
Cyprus has a complicated history, involving conflict and multiple failed attempts at reunification. In 1960, Cyprus gained independence from Britain and became a republic. The country’s constitution reflected a power-sharing agreement between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. However, the agreement quickly fell apart, and violence between the two communities erupted.
In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus, allegedly to restore order and protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution. This led to the division of the island into the internationally-recognized Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. However, the international community only recognizes the southern part of Cyprus, leaving the north in a state of political limbo.
Today, Northern Cyprus operates as a de facto state with its own government, currency, and military. However, it is not officially recognized as a sovereign state by other countries. Despite this, North Cyprus offers a unique cultural experience for travelers looking for an alternative to mainstream destinations.
What To Expect in Northern Cyprus
Travelers visiting Northern Cyprus can expect to be welcomed by friendly locals and immerse themselves in the country’s unique mix of cultures. The Turkish Cypriot culture is a blend of Turkish and Cypriot, with a dash of Ottoman influence. The country’s architecture, cuisine, and traditions reflect this blend of cultures.
Visitors can explore ancient ruins, including the historic city of Famagusta and the Roman ruins of Salamis. The country also has several stunning beaches, including the Kyrenia Harbor and Alagadi Turtle Beach. The Kyrenia Harbor is a must-see destination where boats can be rented to venture out to sea.
Northern Cyprus is also known for its delicious cuisine, which blends Turkish and Mediterranean flavors. Some of the popular dishes include halloumi cheese, kleftiko (slow-cooked lamb), and mezze (a selection of small dishes).
Is Northern Cyprus Safe For Travelers?
Northern Cyprus is a safe destination for travelers. The country has a low crime rate and is known for its friendly and welcoming locals. However, visitors should take basic precautions to ensure their safety, such as avoiding unlit areas at night and not leaving valuables unattended.
Travelers should also be aware that there are still restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They should check the latest travel advisories and entry requirements before planning a trip.
How To Get To Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus has two airports, Ercan Airport in Nicosia and Larnaca International Airport in the south. Visitors can fly to Ercan Airport from major European cities, such as Istanbul, London, and Frankfurt. Alternatively, they can fly to Larnaca International Airport and then take a taxi or bus to the north.
Visitors can also cross the border between the two parts of Cyprus at designated crossing points. However, Northern Cyprus is still not officially recognized as a sovereign state, and travelers should check their country’s travel advisories before crossing.
Cyprus is a trendy destination that offers travelers a unique blend of cultures, history, and stunning scenery. While the southern part of the island is more popular with tourists, the north offers an alternative experience for travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-track destination. Despite its complicated history, Northern Cyprus is a safe and welcoming destination for travelers looking for a cultural adventure.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I use my mobile phone in Northern Cyprus?
Yes, mobile phone coverage is available in Northern Cyprus, but visitors should check their roaming charges with their service providers before using their phones.
2. What currency is used in Northern Cyprus?
The Turkish lira (TRY) is the official currency of Northern Cyprus. However, euros are also widely accepted.
3. Do I need a visa to visit Northern Cyprus?
Visitors from some countries may require a visa to enter Northern Cyprus. Visitors should check the latest entry requirements before traveling.
4. What is the best time to visit Northern Cyprus?
The best time to visit Northern Cyprus is from April to October when the weather is warm and sunny. The hottest months are July and August, with temperatures reaching up to 40°C.
5. Is English widely spoken in Northern Cyprus?
English is widely spoken in Northern Cyprus, especially in tourist areas. However, visitors may encounter language barriers in more rural areas.