North Cyprus Overview

North Cyprus was a gift bestowed upon Queen Cleopatra by Julius Caesar as a token of his love. No more fitting a gift could be found for this sun-drenched jewel in the eastern Mediterranean, which is covered with the relics of ancient civilisations in a setting of incomparable beauty.

Northern Cyprus is one of the few places in the world yet to be discovered by mass tourism - when you step onto its shores it seems as if you have gone back in time. Uncrowded sandy beaches, picturesque villages, quayside restaurants and cafes are but a few of the attractions of this enchanting island.

Historically, the location of this island has always tempted conquerors, from the Persians to the Romans and the Byzantine, each leaving their own indelible mark. One of the most remarkable sights is the Salamis Ruins near Famagusta. These exceptionally preserved ruins were founded by Teucer on his return from the Trojan wars. Other unique sites include an array of museums, notably the Abbey at Bellapais, and the magnificent St. Hilarion castle on Mount St. Hilarion near Kyrenia. This was one of the inspirations for Walt Disney's fairy-tale castle and is also the place where Richard the Lion heart is reputed to have been married. The key to a holiday in Northern Cyprus is relaxation, for a country to which time does not apply.

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  • Cyprus once played hosts to many civilisations including the Ancient Phoenicians, Greeks, Venetians and Romans as well as the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

  • Queen Berengaria of England was the only Queen who never set foot on English soil. Queen Berengaria married Richard the Lionheart in 1191 at St. Hilarion Castle close to Kyrenia.

  • The Arabs learnt their ocean navigation skills while attempting to conquer the island of Cyprus in the middle of the 7th Century.

  • There are remains of temples to Greek deities all over the island. Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Beauty and Apollo have close associations with Cyprus.

  • North Cyprus has beautiful Castles, such as St. Hilarion but also 13th century Abbey’s like Bellapais, perched at the craggy top of a range of mountains with carvings, stonework and rows of arches.

  • When King Richard the Lionheart left Cyprus after the crusades, he left the island to the Knights Templar.

  • Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean.

  • Cyprus derives its name from the ancient Greek word Kypros, meaning Copper, which was abundant on the island.

  • Under the streets of Kyrenia are over 70 catacomb tombs cut into the limestone, many of which have long since been built over. 

  • North Cyprus is home to three crusader castles, Kantara, Buffevento and St Hilarion. 

  • Bellapais was home to Lawrence Durell, author of ‘Bitter Lemons’ from 1953 to 1955. 

  • Nicosia, the capital of both North and South Cyprus, is the biggest and most densely populated city on the Island and is the only remaining divided capital city in the world.

  • Kyrenia Harbour - lined with its restaurants, bars and cafes (A must try is Ikimiz a hearty Cypriot family run restaurant)
  • Kyrenia Palace 
  • The long white beaches of Famagusta
  • Nicosia, the only divided city in the world
  • The Guzelyurt city with beautiful St. Mamas church
  • Archangelos Michael Icon Museum 
  • Chysopolitissa Church - Kyernia's oldest Church dating back to 1500's
  • Greco Roman Tombs
  • Aga Cafer Pasa Mosque which was built in the 16th century

  • The ‘tree of idleness’, immortalised in a poem by author Lawrence Durrel, is famous amongst locals who believe sitting under it makes you lazy; locals will only play backgammon around the tree and not under it! The nearby restaurant has fantastic views of the Bellapais Abbey and Kyrenia harbour and serves tasty mezze and kebab.
  • At the centre of Kyrenia, Niazi’s Restaurant has been serving amazing quality mezes and local dishes for over 50 years. The restaurant has a great atmosphere in a perfect location.
  • Stroll around the Bandabuliya (market place) in the centre of Kyrenia and stop at the Soner’s Fruit Bar, located in the 100 year old ottoman mall. Local shops selling handmade lace and accessories are also worth a visit.
  • Need a new pair of glasses? Bring your prescription with you and purchase new glasses for half the price in the UK.
  • Have a new suit made as you relax by Kyrenia harbour. Tailor made suits can be arranged at a very reasonable price. Choose your material, give your measurements and come back in 3 days to try on your brand new outfit.
  • Would you like to learn how to cook local Turkish dishes? Take a cooking course in a small local village. From October to November, pick olives from the trees and make your own olive oil or collect carobs with the villagers and make your own Carob juice in a 150 year old factory.
  • One of the oldest trade ships of the world sits in the Museum of Kyrenia. 2,400 years old and once used for trade routes between Cyprus, the Greek Islands and Anatolia. You can even see part of the ship’s last cargo – almonds, fig seeds & carob seeds.
  • Bogaz is a small fishing village close to Famagusta, with a small harbour and fantastic fresh seafood.
  • For some of the best beaches on the island, head to the Famagusta area, especially the Glapsides and Salamis beaches, which are very popular with locals.
  • In Famagusta visit Petek Patisserie and try the Turkish delight and baklava. One of the best patisseries on the island.

North Cyprus - Pegasus Airlines offer a daily service from London Stansted to Ercan and from Manchester on Wednesday (Mar-Oct). The flying time is approx. 5½ hours with a technical stopover in mainland Turkey of approx. 45 mins. on both the outbound and inbound flights.
  • Economy Class - Luggage allowance is 20kgs, and the seat pitch is approx. 29”-30”.

To North Cyprus, Ercan – A daily flights from 4 UK airports via Istanbul to Ercan airport are available for two centre combinations.
Facilities include:
  • Economy Class – Seat Pitch approx. 31’’ luggage allowance 23kgs
  • Business Class upgrade – from £250 each way, Seat Pitch approx 34’’- 49’’ depending on aircraft, luggage allowance 30 kgs
Business Class Benefits:
  • Special services for business class passengers
  • Separate check-in counters, Priority on seat selection, Business Class Lounge

To North Cyprus, Larnaca – A daily service from London Heathrow to Larnaca. UK domestic connecting flights can be added, please contact reservations for more details and supplements.
Facilities include:
  • Economy Class - Seat Pitch approx. 31’’, luggage allowance 23kgs
  • Business Class upgrade - Club Europe from £150 each way, Seat Pitch approx. 34’’, luggage allowance 32kgs
Club Europe Benefits:
  • Separate check-in area and Fast Track security at London Heathrow
  • Relax before your flight in one of BA lounges; enjoy complimentary hot/cold snacks and refreshments
  • On board enjoy good food, wine and more personal space in the separate cabin
  • 50% more BA Miles when flying Club Europe
To North Cyprus, Larnaca - A daily service from London Heathrow to Larnaca.
Facilities include:
  • Economy Class - Seat Pitch approx. 31’’, luggage allowance 23kgs
  • Business Class upgrade - from £250 each way, Seat Pitch approx. 34’’-41’’ depending on aircraft, luggage allowance up to 46kgs (two pieces)

To North Cyprus, Larnaca – We offer a variety of charter and schedule airlines providing direct flights to Cyprus; transfers are arranged from Larnaca to the hotel. The charter flights are operated mainly by Jet2, Thomson Airways, Easyjet and Thomas Cook Airlines. The majority of charter flights operate during summer months and additional departure airports of Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Nottingham East Midlands and Doncaster are also available. Please contact reservations for further details on these and other featured flights.
Facilities include

Language: Turkish is the official language. However English is widely spoken in tourist resorts.

Money: The local currency is the Turkish Lira. Sterling and major credit cards are widely accepted in most hotels and major stores.

Passport: Everyone entering North Cyprus must have a valid 10 year passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after the date of return.

Visa & Requirements: There is no Visa requirement for entering North Cyprus for British Citizens, but non-British passport holders should check with the North Cyprus Tourism Centre. For those visitors who do not wish to have their passport stamped, please make it known at immigration. A stamp will be placed on a separate piece of paper, which must be kept until departure.

Airport: The main airport in North Cyprus is Ercan (ECN).

Local Time: GMT +2.

Flying Time: 5.5 hours (including 45 minutes technical stop-over in Turkey).

Tourist Board: North Cyprus Tourism Centre, 29 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EO. Tel: 020 7631 1930.

Health & Vaccinations: There are no statutory vaccination requirements for entry into North Cyprus. Check with your doctor for the most up to date information, or visit

Voltage: As in Europe - 240 volts.

Religion: North Cyprus is a secular state, but the majority of its population are Muslim.

Airport Tax: No Airport Tax.

Kyrenia Hotels to Ercan Airport - approx. 45 mins to 1hr
Famagusta Hotels to Ercan Airport - approx. 45 mins.
Larnaca to Famagusta - approx. 1.5hrs.
Larnaca to Kyrenia - approx. 2hrs.

Travel Advice 

Please check latest Travel Advise from the Foreign Common Wealth Office