Many people who finally settle to the north of the island come for a vacation but quickly realize that North Cyprus is an ideal retirement location. There are currently over 10,000 British, European, and other international ex-pats living contentedly among the estimated 300,000 Turkish-speaking people.
Why North Cyprus retirement?
There are several advantages to retiring in North Cyprus. The fantastic Mediterranean weather is perhaps the most often cited reason — out of 365 days in a year, you can anticipate sunlight on roughly 340 days. The climate in Cyprus is semi-tropical, and while there is much-needed rain in the winter, it is consistently at least 10 degrees warmer than the UK on any given day of the year, with frost nearly unheard of. Warmer temperatures and more natural sunshine are well known to help persons over 60, with physicians recommending a Mediterranean environment to those with particular health concerns such as arthritis.
North Cyprus’s private healthcare and hospital facilities are “state of the art,” with new centers such as the Near East University Hospital and Medical School having world-class technology and treatment options. More and more travelers are flocking to North Cyprus to take advantage of the much-reduced rates for private healthcare and operations and to find that the healthcare in North Cyprus is significantly superior to that in their own country. Although anyone relocating to North Cyprus should consider private medical insurance, the cost of expert consultations is so low (about £25-30 each visit to see a specialist) that it may be more cost-effective to just “pay as you go.” Prescription and over-the-counter medications are often less expensive. If required, you can also go to the south of Cyprus for free European healthcare, although neither the south nor the north now has a free GP system.
The sky is not the limit when it comes to the number of leisure activities available for active retirees. Peggy McAlpine, a well-known British centenarian and former North resident made headlines recently when she broke the Guinness Book of Records by paragliding down to the coast at the age of 104 from the 2,400-foot top of the North Cyprus Besparmak (Five Finger) mountains. The brand new 18 hole Korineum Golf & Beach Resort has an immaculately kept 18 hole golf course with spectacular mountain and sea views, which is generally favored to the courses in the south of Cyprus (including the well-known Aphrodite Hills course) owing to its more tough design. There are three marinas (the ancient Kyrenia harbor, the new Delta Marina at the New Kyrenia Harbour, and the spanking new Karpaz Gate Marina farther up the pan-handle), as well as diving and water sports clubs. Dances, seminars, and other fundraising activities are organized by numerous English-speaking groups for persons who like socializing. There are a host of new ex-pat bookshops, cafés, and weekend markets where ex-pats can mingle and unwind in the sun while sipping tea – or something stronger!
For individuals worried about maintaining ties with home, there are a number of Consulate offices in North Nicosia (Lefkosa), notably the British Consulate, where passports can be renewed and ex-pat residents can access all of the regular official information and guidance. North Cyprus is a Muslim-majority country that embraces members of all religions. Regular Sunday services are held at the wonderful old St. Andrew’s church in Kyrenia, which is overseen by an Episcopal vicar who lives in the adjacent Hermitage. Weekly “clinics” are held in the British Residents Society’s Kyrenia headquarters, where experienced ex-pats are eager to offer assistance to newcomers and membership can be obtained.
Finally, when compared to other Mediterranean locations, such as Turkey’s south coast, one of the main reasons why people retire to North Cyprus is the inexpensive cost of luxury property. North Cyprus retirement house prices have been more steady than those in other countries, such as Spain, and have not been influenced by the global financial crisis. Despite the fact that prices are beginning to climb, a two-bedroom apartment on or near the shore can still be purchased for upwards of £45,000 – and a three-bedroom villa for upwards of £80,000 – many with flexible payment options.