Discover the beauty of North Cyprus this Autumn
2 October 2009
Autumn is the perfect time to discover the historic sites and cultural delights of the beautiful region of North Cyprus. Direct Traveller (directtraveller.com), the first and leading UK tour operator providing direct flight holidays in North Cyprus, offers a range of fantastic value packages throughout the winter season.
The blazing Mediterranean sunshine of the summer months has gone, replaced by bright azure skies and warm breezes. These are the perfect conditions to climb to the apex of a fascinating castle and enjoy views across the region to the shimmering sea.
Must-visit ancient sites and attractions include the Roman city of Salamis, Othello's Tower, the Monastery of St Barnabas, the Royal Tombs, the Famagusta Walled City, Bellapais Abbey, St Nicholas Cathedral and Kyrenia Castle which houses the oldest sunken ship in the world, believed to have sank in 300BC.
North Cyprus has a wealth of historically fascinating towers, walls, Mosques, churches, ruins and castles, some of the most impressive of which are from the Lusignan Gothic Crusader period - Buffavento Castle, St. Hilarion Castle and Kantara Castle.
Buffavento Castle is gracefully perched above the village of Arapkoy, on the eastern side of the coast. The castle is camouflaged among the mountain peaks and is the least preserved of the three castles, but is all the more atmospheric and rugged for it.
The castle is situated exactly where the warm air rises from the plains, so as the cool air rises from the sea, it swirls around the castle. Visitors can reach out and touch the clouds as they circle the top of this amazing castle.
St Hilarion Castle is a fairytale fortress which is rumoured to have inspired Walt Disney when he made Snow White. St Hilarion Castle sits atop a high peak at 2,400ft and seems to grow out of the rocks around it.
Arrive before or after the midday sun and leave plenty of time to explore and enjoy the hidden rooms, tunnels, gardens and views. Sensible footwear is advised as there are many steep staircases, but the incredible views make the climb worth every step.
From Kantara Castle, situated close to the Karpas Peninsula, visitors can see both sides of North Cyprus at once. The lush olive groves and carob trees of the north are in stark contrast with the dusty plains and city walls of Famagusta to the south.
Kantara Castle’s documented history begins in 1191 when Richard the Lionheart acquired it, though it’s believed to have been built around 900. The Lusignans were responsible for expanding it, while the Venetians took steps to dismantle it. Despite their best efforts, the northern sections of the castle, including an impressive barbican and square tower, are well preserved.
Direct Traveller recommends the following as the best hotels for couples and families who want to explore the castles and culture of North Cyprus:
Bellapais Monastery Village, Kyrenia, North Cyprus
With spectacular views of Kyrenia's coastline and Five Finger Mountains, it's hard not to feel the surrounding peace and tranquillity of Bellapais Monastery Village. The ambience is very much influenced by the historic Bellapais village and the 13th century Abbey, all of which is within a short walk from the hotel. There are two outdoor freshwater swimming pools, alfresco a la carte restaurant, pool bar, lounge bar, sauna, steam room, massage service. A courtesy bus service to Kyrenia’s Venetian harbour runs three times a day.
Seven nights from only £419.00 per person, based on departure on 28 October 2009. Price is based on two adults sharing a twin room, for seven nights on a bed and breakfast basis board basis. This package includes return flights from Manchester, transfers, taxes and rep service.
Dome Hotel, Kyrenia, North Cyprus
The quiet elegance of the Dome Hotel reflects its stately 70 year history. Located in the heart of Kyrenia town, the hotel offers a superb seafront setting with extensive facilities including two swimming pools, a relaxing bar, a fitness room with a sauna and a casino. The hotel recently renovated the terrace with comfortable sofa seating, wooden strip flooring and chic furniture.
Seven nights from only £482.00 per person, based on departure on 28 October 2009. Price is based on two adults sharing a twin room, for seven nights on a bed & breakfast board basis. This package includes return flights from Manchester, transfers, taxes and rep service.
For more information or to book go to directtraveller.com.