İskele tourist attractions
The Karpaz peninsular, which is home to very little, is located in the İskele district. That is, nevertheless, what makes İskele worthwhile to visit. You are never far from human growth when exploring the remainder of the territory. İskele, on the other hand, is unspoiled and incredibly natural, with beautiful stretches of untouched sandy beaches and a diverse range of reptiles and birds. The İskele district is a bit of a drive, but those who are prepared to put in the miles will be rewarded with some of the best natural scenery in the country.
The first question that comes to mind is, Is the İskele area a splendor place to visit?
There are some fascinating places to see in the İskele area of North Cyprus. You can read more by clicking here.
Donkeys: Carrot-loving free-range animals
You are recommended to drive cautiously along the Karpaz Peninsula. Those who refuse to listen to such advise may end up in a fight with one of the estimated 1000 feral donkeys. While these equine beauties appear to be native to the area, they are actually a very recent addition to the natural landscape. Despite attempts to control the population, their numbers have expanded over time, and they now appear to control the peninsular. Take some carrots with you if you want to make some Donkey friends, but be warned: they can be a bit naughty. There is a lot to discover in the İskele region.
Long Beach, one of the major tourist attractions in North Cyprus is located in the İskele area. You can read more about the İskele Long Beach from our previous blog post by clicking here.
Protecting and celebrating Cypriot heritage at the eco-village
Buyukkonuk/Komi Kebir is home to a unique project whose goal is to maintain local traditions using environmentally friendly methods. Concerned about the loss of traditional ways, organizers founded North Cyprus’ first eco-village in 2016. There are eco-friendly fetes where you may try local dishes and experience Cypriot music and dancing, in addition to frequent markets selling locally manufactured gifts. There are also two guesthouses in the area for a totally immersed eco experience.
Attractions in Gazimağusa
A number of North Cyprus’ most popular tourist sites are located in the Gazimağusa area.
Stunning religious icons & priceless artefacts at Saint Barnabas Monastery
Saint Barnabas Monastery, named after and established in honor of the island’s patron saint, today houses a wonderful museum with religious icons and precious Cypriot antiques. The icons are plentiful and in excellent condition, showing largely well-known holy leaders. The majority of the pottery and ceramics at the museum are still in good condition. A tiny cafe serves light appetizers, Turkish coffee, tea, and freshly squeezed pomegranate juice on site.
Burial chambers from the eighth century, recently discovered
The Royal Tombs (also known as the King’s Tombs) are a few minutes’ drive from Saint Barnabas Monastery along the same road. The royals, nobles, and well-off who lived in adjacent Salamis have their final burial places here, among agricultural fields. Only a small percentage of the tombs have been unearthed, and many of the treasures buried with the dead have been plundered over time. However, some artifacts have survived and can be shown in a small museum on-site. You can stroll around wherever you choose, including within the tombs, as you can at other tourist attractions in North Cyprus.
Salamis ancient city: Amazing ruins from various periods
This ancient city, which had survived the occupation of the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, was eventually destroyed by two earthquakes in the 4th century. Despite the fact that the majority of this Roman city is now underwater (which would make for a great scuba diving experience) and most of the site has yet to be excavated, there is still much to marvel at.
The Roman columns (formerly the Gymnasium), the 15,000-seat amphitheatre, a collection of marble headless statues (said to have been vandalized by Christian zealots in the late Roman Empire), and stunning mosaics that visitors may walk on are among the highlights.
Some of the archeological riches discovered here are now on display.
The district of churches in Famagusta’s Walled City
You may be forgiven for frowning as you enter and drive through the city of Gazimağusa/Famagusta. It is not the most appealing city. Continue driving, and you will come across the Walled City.
The defenses encircling Famagusta’s old town, like most things in North Cyprus, have a complicated history. The Lusignan Kingdom of Cyprus built them in the 14th century, and the Republic of Venice redesigned them in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The merchants were driven to have churches erected in various styles because they believed that people’s wealth could be assessed by the churches they built. Famagusta became known as “the district of churches” because of these churches, which still survive in some form. Some of the churches, such as the Cathedral of St. Nicholas, have been converted to fulfill the needs of the Muslim community. It is presently known as Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque.
You can park in a lay-by outside the walls, but there are car parks inside the walled city. Simply drive across the small bridge and the parking lots will be clearly marked. The walled city is relatively tight, and wandering around ‘collecting’ all the churches is a real pleasure. There is a lot to see in Famagusta, and we could go on and on about it, but we will let you find it for yourself.
Varosha is an abandoned seaside vacation town stuck in time…
Varosha is a perfect example of the current political situation on the island of Cyprus. Varosha was the most popular tourist destination in Cyprus in the early 1970s, with bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and high-rise hotels. Varosha, however, became a ghost town overnight in 1974, following the entrance of Turkish forces and a mass evacuation of its population of 39,000 people.
The Turkish army has blocked off the entire town of Varosha, trapping it in a time warp. The old five-star hotels that formerly catered to the world’s wealthy and famous now stand empty and abandoned. It is incredible that such a place exists in modern-day Europe, and if you are interested, you can go see it for yourself.
Visiting Varosha’s Ghost Town
Before you go see Varosha, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, Turkish forces would prefer that you did not. That is not to suggest they will actively try to keep you from leaving; rather, they have made things tough for you.
Access to the zone is strictly forbidden and guarded at all times, so don’t even consider trying to enter. Furthermore, do not take any images of the zone. There are notices posted all over the place, including spray painted notices on the sides of abandoned motels. If forces accuse you of photographing them, they will leave their posts and approach you, possibly arresting you. You won’t be able to get away with a hasty snap either. Anyone who approaches the perimeter is closely scrutinized.
You will need a car to get to the best vantage position, which is also the sole vantage point on the northern side of the buffer zone. You can park your car for free in the car park opposite the Arkin Palm Beach Hotel. Walk southerly along the road with the hotel on your left once you have parked. Some of the abandoned structures behind barbed-wire gates may be seen well ahead. Continue walking in their direction, following the signs for the Gazimağusa beach buffet restaurant. The indications will lead you down a tiny road between the buildings to the left.
The pathway leads to a nice sandy beach with a fantastic view of Varosha’s coastline stretching out into the distance. Surprisingly, the beach is bordered by abandoned hotel structures. It is a breathtaking sight.
Travelıng to North Cyprus
The main international airport in North Cyprus is Ercan International Airport. Despite the fact that there are no direct flights to the airport, planes do fly in and out, but only via Turkey. While flight fares to and from Ercan remain incomparable, there are more options with greater flexibility and significantly more direct flights to and from Larnaca airport in Southern Cyprus. All things considered, you can also fly into Larnaca and then arrange a transfer to North Cyprus.
North Cyprus accommodation
In general, lodging costs in North Cyprus are significantly lower than those in the rest of Europe. With this in mind, wiser and more luxurious options as part of your lodging search may be worth exploring. It is possible that a nicer room or apartment is less expensive than you think!
There are numerous excellent lodging possibilities. The Sea Life Hotel in the İskele Long Beach area on the outskirts of Famagusta North Cyprus is one of the fantastic options to consider. You will enjoy their breakfast and other meal options, the outdoor villa-style room layout would be relaxing, and you will find the staff friendly. The İskele Long Beach resort is also a few steps away from the hotel.
Aside from the İskele region, there are other incredible tourist attractions across North Cyprus which you can read by clicking this link.
You can also read to know why the İskele Long Beach is more than a beach!