The amount of restaurants and cafes an individual has to choose from in Northern Cyprus is overwhelming! There are enough choices for you to pick a different restaurant every night of the week for a whole year and even then I don't think you'd have visited more than half!
The choices available are broad, you can choose from a traditional Cypriot restaurant serving local specialities to an Indian restaurant, a fast food cafe to splendid international cuisine with silver service. Whatever your palate and budget youÃ¢ re guaranteed choice and excellence.
Children are made to feel so very welcome everywhere you go in Cyprus but certain restaurants cater specifically for the family offering wider menu choice, clean and cheerful surroundings and no pretensions or airs and graces that will make the parent with the crying child feel uncomfortable!
Ezic Chicken is one such family friendly place. Situated on the main through road in Kyrenia it offers a wide and varied menu featuring the best in traditional Cypriot and Turkish fare with Italian pizza and pasta favourites, salads and of course a complete childrenÃ¢ s menu as well.
The restaurant is first class, brilliantly managed, the staff are highly efficient and courteous. Families with children, quiet couples, lone diners and large groups all sit comfortably and enjoy the freshly prepared and cooked meals.
Just across the road from Ezic is another family favourite, Passport. Serving a similar menu to Ezic the pace of life in Passport is little slower and sometimes quieter...but the standards and welcome are the same.
Both offer a home delivery and takeaway service as well.
Northern Cyprus is probably the last place on earth untouched by the fast food giants like Macdonald's, Burger King, KFC and Pizza Hut which means others have been free to develop their own fast food outlets offering a far wider less restricted choice.
For pizza try London Pizza in Kyrenia or the Cider Man in Karaoglanoglu, for burgers there are Burger City restaurants in a number of locations in Northern Cyprus, particularly in Karaoglanoglu, Nicosia and Famagusta. They offer a Burger King or MacdonaldÃ¢ s style menu but the food is usually freshly cooked as you wait and somehow tastes much nicer!
Traditional Turkish Cypriot
For meze's, fish and kebabs the choices are endless, the quality is usually excellent and the volume of food you will be presented with almost overwhelming! Erols in Ozankoy serve the most excellent hot and cold meze and if you follow that with a mixed kebab you will be able to sample the very best in Turkish Cypriot cuisine. A mouth-watering array of small meze dishes will allow you to pick and choose and get to know the local fare, the mixed kebab will allow you to sample a wide array of the traditional meat dishes.
Beyti's in Kyrenia is another restaurant in Northern Cyprus serving a good range of traditional food, from kebabs and mezes to salads and some international dishes as well. The service and ambience are fantastic, the quality of the food exquisite and yet the price is highly reasonable - if not cheap.
For those of you who love Indian cuisine there's Jashan's in Karaoglanoglu, The Courtyard in Karakum and East Meets West in Kyrenia to name but three. The food available from each is top quality, the menus are varied enough without offering a bewildering selection and a favourite would be very hard to choose! All offer a takeaway service with Jashan's also offering delivery.
East Meets West is tucked away down the pretty old back streets of Kyrenia and also offers a small international menu, the setting is charming and this is my favourite! The Courtyard is an expat favourite in Karakum with the main restaurant area outside in the courtyard from which the restaurant obviously derives its name! They too offer an international menu for those looking for a wider choice. Jashan's is a little more pricey but their purpose built restaurant is first class and their takeaway service is pretty damn good too!
The best Italian selection is probably available from Luciano's in Kyrenia with other favourites including The Brasserie in Kyrenia. Both are set in beautiful surroundings in the old town area with LucianoÃ¢ s offering intimate dining in a tiny pretty courtyard tucked away near the Icon Museum. The Brasserie restaurant is near the main mosque and is set in the most beautiful and well restored colonial mansion...well worth a visit for the surroundings if not the food!
Sophisticated and Unusual!
Stonegrill is on the road between Kyrenia and Alsancak and offers an interesting and healthy dining experience. Beware though, the portions are huge and the healthy way much of the meat is cooked will be wiped out by the amount you will eat! Steaks and meats are served sizzling on your very own hot stone so that the meat continues to cook away while you carve off small portions to eat at a time. They also serve meze, soup and desert as an all inclusive dining experience. Prices are not cheap but they are well worth it.
The Ambience is set on the edge of Mediterranean in Karaoglanoglu, it is beautifully designed and furnished, offers a fantastic menu and the setting simply makes the dining experience perfect. Dine in style at The Ambience.
EfendiÃ¢ s in Kyrenia is a firm favourite with expats and locals alike. Hidden away it can be hard to find but follow the little signs up the back streets opposite the Colony hotel and your search will be well rewarded! Recently renovated it has been refurbished in first class style and the menu and food quality reflects the stunningly stylish interior. In the summer you can sit out underneath the pretty trees in the courtyard and enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
Rafters in Ozankoy is another firm favourite with expatriates particularly on a Sunday when they serve a mean Sunday roast! The menu is broad and interesting offering a selection for all tastes, the interior and exterior dining spaces are comfortable and friendly and the staff are very welcoming.
This selection of restaurants is tiny, youÃ¢ ll soon realise this when you come to North Cyprus and see the wealth of choice. Go out there and sample as many as you can! Only then will you be able to establish your firm favourites.
Kyrenia the main centre for diving, and most of the schools are based here. There are over twenty dive sites within easy reach of Kyrenia harbouralone. Ancient wreak sites are mixed with stunning natural features, such as wonderful underwater formations at Mansinis Reef and great opportunities for underwater wildlife photography at Fred's Reef. A popular Northern Cyprus dive is Paradise, featuring caves, cuts and canyons at a minimum depth of just 27 metres, whilst the underwater mountain peak of Zeyko never fails to impress.
You can also join dive safaris to the Karpas region run by companies such as the Amphora Diving Centre, where dive sites include underwater caverns, fabulous walls and a cargo ship lying at 20 metres.
The wealth of marine life visible when diving in North Cyprus is clearly visible in the clear, unclouded waters. Visibility on a good day can be an astounding 30 metres. You may find yourself swimming alongside the famous green or loggerhead turtles, or with stingrays, wrasse and grouper, or chasing an octopus across the corals and rocks.
Don't worry if you have never tried scuba diving before, North Cyprus is the place to learn! Always look for a PADI approved diving school, and you will be assured of the highest standards of training and equipment. The excellent PADI Discover Scuba Diving Program gives you a basic introduction to scuba diving, with full safety instructions, plus a gentle dive accompanied by your instructors. Some schools will teach you the basics in sheltered sea coves (no boring swimming pools) so you can get the thrill of being under the sea right from the start. You can also take further courses, including the full four day dive course, or upgrade to your Open Water accreditation, in North Cyprus pleasant and clear waters. Most North Cyprus dive centers also off the PADI Bubblemaker course for children aged over eight, and regular courses for those over ten years of age.
Your Northern Cyprus dive centre will give you full details of what courses involve, but here's a little hint. Take a bottle of water with you on the boat, and drink some before you dive. Compressed air is also dried to prevent the tanks rusting, so you end up very thirsty after a dive! If you prefer to snorkel than dive, many centres are happy to take you on snorkelling trips too.
You are not allowed to scuba dive on your own in North Cyprus, and it is strictly illegal to either touch or move any historic artifacts seen on your dive. In case of emergency, it is reassuring to know that there is a decompression chamber at the Dr. Burhan Nalbantoglu Hospital in Nicosia..
If you're on holiday and what to treat yourself or your family and friends back home there are plenty of gift items to choose from, especially in Kyrenia and some of the tourist hotspots like Bellapais.
You can choose from very attractively priced gold and jewellery items for sale in Kyrenia and where you can actually get your own designs for jewellery made up or buy excellent copies of some designer items for way beneath the normal designer prices. You can also get a lot of what I call genuine fake items of jewellery, clothing and accessories. From Louis Vuitton bags to Rolex watches, it's all available at the right prices in North Cyprus.
You get what you pay for, the cheaper end tend to be fakes the more expensive are either amazing copies or actually the real thing...you decide!
For smaller gift items there are an abundance of shops selling all sorts of North Cyprus branded things from Turkish Delight to donkeys from pottery to t-shirts. There's also a souvenir shop on the road out of Kyrenia towards Bellapais and it sells an abundance of traditional items as keepsakes. Heading out of town the other way there' a large pottery shop where you can buy every conceivable and beautifully hand made and decorated pottery item...from a small olive oil jug right up to a giant planter...though how you'd get that on the plane to take home with you I don' know!
Lefkosa (Nicosia) has a large outdoor market area where you can pick up fashionable clothing, lace and beautiful textiles for next to nothing. And in some areas of the town and again in Kyrenia you can have clothing made to measure for a fair price.
If you're living in North Cyprus you'll soon find you can get most things, though you may have to hunt around a little harder than you would've back home where all the main shops are to be found on every high street in every major town! And on the odd occasion where you can't find that must have CD, book or pair of shoes it's simple enough to cross the green line and enjoy shopping on the south side.
There's a customs allowance of how much you can bring back across without the payment of duty, but as this allowance fluctuates and isnÃ¢ t harshly enforced if you just go over to purchase salt and vinegar crisps and some new shoes it isnt worth worrying about.
For your weekly supermarket shop there are three main supermarket chains to choose from - Lemar, Tempo and Astro. As all sell similar products for similar prices there's not a lot to differentiate apart from personal preference, though sometimes one supermarket will be right out of a series of items you need while another one will still have plenty of stock! It seems deliveries get stuck somewhere on the mainland meaning you will sometimes have a month without your favourite toothpaste for no known reason! It's just one of the small idiosyncrasies that makes North Cyprus cool!
There are a million mini-markets selling just about every item you might need from toilet paper to cigarettes, from fresh fruit and veg to Efes beer and these shops are often open all day and half the night seven days a week.
Imported goods tend to be quite steeply priced - bottles of wine, non-local spirits, branded cosmetics...all the things you dont really need! Whereas local produce and items sourced from Turkey are often unbelievably cheap. During the citrus season you can buy a bag of oranges, lemons and clementines for pennies for example. There's a shortage of fresh milk on the island and for this reason Coffee Mate and long life milk are the order of the day when it comes to tea and coffee.
Despite the fact the island has had embargoes against it for some thirty years you can get almost everything you could possibly want and far more besides. Electrical items, designer kitchens, hand built kitchens, furniture built to your design, the latest fashion in tiles and bathroom suites, every make of car (including Ferraris and Chevrolet Corvettes...yes, itÃ¢ s true I've seen both with Turkish Cypriot number plates), hand tools, power tools, teeth whitening gel, marmite, the latest films on DVD before they even come out in the cinema in the UK...every single item you could possibly want is available for sale in North Cyprus. You just have to know where to go to get what it is you want!
If you go into a shop and they donÃ¢ t have what you're after, chances are they will point you to another shop that sells what it is you need or who can order it from the mainland for delivery in a matter of days. Also, check out Cyprus Today newspaper and Essential Cyprus and North Cyprus magazines for many shops and businesses who advertise their wares.
When it comes to getting things made, from furniture to curtains, from kitchens to wrought iron, again there is always a man (or woman) who can and who will for a fair price. In fact the only two things my husband and I have struggled to buy are printer ink cartridges for a Lexmark printer and Bombay Mix.
Shopping in North Cyprus may not be quite what you'e used to but it is rewarding when you finally find exactly the one elusive item you've been after, and when you discover you can purchase it for about 30% of what it would cost you are b
North Cyprus provides a lot of opportunities for sport keeners. There are five big stadiums in TRNC, holding from 7 to 30 thousand people. Locals prefer not only to watch a game but also practice different kinds of sport.
The biggest pasion of Turkish Cypriots is football, or soccer. The Cyprus Turkish Football Federation (Turkish: Kibris Turk Futbol Federasyonu, KTFF) is the main football body in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. It organises the TRNC football leagues, and the national team. It is not a member of either FIFA or UEFA, but is affiliated to the New Federations Board.
The Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation (TCBF) founded in 1981, promotes basketball in North Cyprus. The organisation has over 1000 registered players, around 50 basketball coaches, and 40 referees taking part in its leagues. The federation has leagues for over 18s, under 18s, under 16, under 14, and under 12. This year it has opened a league for 10 year-old children. TCBF also runs basketball schools in parallel with Turkish Federation for children aged from 4 to 12 in all 5 regions of North Cyprus. It holds seminars and training exercises for the coaches and referees.
The sight of newly-hatched sea turtles scrabbling out of their sandy nest chambers on North Cyprus beaches and scuttling towards to the open sea is a joy to watch. Their mothers have swum in the warm Mediterranean sea for twenty years before mating. One moonlit might, they will come ashore to lay their eggs. The females come ashore in May and dig deep pits into which they lay their eggs, about 40 cm down, before carefully covering them with literally tonnes of sand. Then they swim away, leaving the eggs safe and cool in their sandy nest, the sand around the eggs trapping air, which is vital to their development. Female green turtles can make several nests during a season, each containing a batch of eggs laid two weeks apart.
Walking, Trekking and Hiking
There are a myriad of wonderful walking trails in North Cyprus and its mountains, which are best explored in the cooler spring and autumn seasons when the countryside and wild flowers are blooming - in spring, the mountains are rich with a rhapsody of woodland flowers, and some 220 species of birds touch down on the island every year on their migratory passage.
Hiking tours for people of all ages and physical disposition are organized by a number of centers in the Girne area generally conducted in the Girne mountain range. One particular tour party, organized by "Mountain Climbing Sport Association, meets every Sunday between October and the end of April, and twice a month (again on Sundays) between the summer months from May to the end of September. During the winter, the tour program is published at the beginning of every month explaining the route and where to meet etc. All walks, as well as being good exercise, endeavour to show walkers interesting natural and historical features. The tours generally start at 7.30 am and finish between 10 and 11 am. It is essential that you wear proper grooved walking shoes. You must also take your own water, and a hiking stick is advisable.
The lure of the clear blue waters of the warm Mediterranean sea is almost irresistible in North Cyprus. There are plenty of water sports on offer too, to make the most of this fantastic aquatic playground. Most seaside hotels offer some of the following water sports, or seek out a specialist firm at Kyrenia> or other ports.>
The north coast of North Cyprus is ideal for windsurfing, with enough wind to windsurf properly without being blown to Turkey! Beginners can learn windsurfing in North Cyprus in calm coves, and any errors only mean a refreshing dip in the warm sea. The main North Cyprus windsurfing hire companies and training schools are based west of Kyrenia, and also at the resort hotels near the ancient city of Salamis . For stronger winds, expert windsurfers should head of the capes, and ride the waves in style!
Banana Boats rides The only skill needed for these fun rides is the ability to hang on tight Ã¢ and scream a lot! Fun for all the family, these rides are very popular on the major North Cyprus beaches>. Just pop on a life jacket (if you are not offered one, simply dont get on), and join in the fun! WhatNorth Cyprus holiday video would be complete without footage of a banana ride?
Jet skiing You may have to hunt to find a jet ski to rent in North Cyprus, and you will need a driving licence when you do. However, these mean machines are great fun to zip around the coastline; just make sure you avoid any nesting turtle beaches or military zones.Acapulco Beach Club & Resort Hotel at Kyrenia< has jet skies available for hire for use off its 1km long sandy beach, and the public beach at Glapsides north of Famagusta also have jet skis to hire.
North Cyprus powerboat trips come complete with an experienced driver, as inexperienced pilots can quickly find themselves on the wrong side of a military exclusion zone. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, as the magnificent coastline of Northern Cyprus flies past in a flurry of spray.
Canoes are available for hire from most major North Cyprus report hotels, and for a peaceful paddle around the coast, these robust and stable little boats cannot be beaten. Ideal for spotting fish or swimming turtles, without even getting wet!
Other Water Sports
Yes, there's more! You can also hire a water bicycle, go tubing, knee boarding, wake boarding and almost any other kind of boarding you can imagine! Just ask your North Cyprus hotel reception for details, or see what everyone else is doing on the beach.
Slides of different shapes, sizes and colors are becoming more and more attractive for kids and adults and are often included in the swimming pool areas. These are supervised by the lifeguards who are present to ensure the proper and sensible usage of the slides.
The prices of the facilities vary depending on a chosen hotel and often include the usage of the complex facilities like changing services, catering, or sport facilities.
North Cyprus Yachts
Alternatively, let someone else take the helm, and just enjoy the sheer thrill of sailing around North Cyprus. Circum Cyprus offer skippered traditional boats; all you need to decide is where you want to go! See a nice cove? Stop and snorkel, or fish for your dinner in the clear waters of the Mediterranean. Aboard your yacht in the waters off North Cyprus you might spot swimming turtles or diving dolphins, before heading back into port for a sun-downer at the harbour side. You can charter a boat by the hour, day or week, include full board, and theyÃ¢ ll even come and collect you from the airport! Other companies offer day trips from Kyrenia harbour that include swim stops and beach barbeques, and trips from Gazi Magusa offer trips along the Karpas Peninsula National Park.
If you wish to sail your own yacht to North Cyprus, the main harbour available is Kyrenia, but what a harbour! Since the ferries were moved to the new harbour in 1990, the old harbour has undergone major improvements. The old customs house is now a yachting centre, and all moorings have water and electricity available. The harbour is so picturesque, it makes an ideal base for exploring North Cyprus both on land and by water. You should contact the harbour at Kyrenia before entering, and once anchored, proceed immediately to customs and immigration. Facilities at Kyrenia also include a laundry, left luggage office, ship washing service and technical workshop.
The Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally
If you like your yachting fast and furious, then don't miss the annual Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally. Over 100 yachts race from Istanbul to Kyrenia in Northern Cyprus via Kemer, and Alanya in Turkey. After a brief rest stop in North Cyprus, they head out again to Mersin in Turkey, then on to ports in Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt before finally finishing at the ancient port of Ashkelon in Israel. The international crews arrive in Kyrenia in mid May, carefully steering their million dollar boats into Kyrenia past the imposing castle before tying up next to the fishing boats. There is always a great big party to celebrate their arrival, and Kyrenia harbour side is packed with yachting enthusiasts admiring the boats before they head out to sea again. Why not join in the fun next year!