Northern Cyprus occupies an area of nearly 3,355 square kilometers. It covers the smaller northern part of the island and is separated from the rest of Cyprus through the UN buffer zone. The so-called TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) declared itself an independent country in 1983 but is officially recognized only by Turkey. In the last decades of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century, this part of Cyprus remained one of the most isolated and unknown places on the tourist map of the Mediterranean.
Today, this destination is advertised as one of the cleanest, calm and welcoming holiday locations in Southern Europe.
Northern Cyprus has a typically Mediterranean landscape with most of the native plants being evergreen. Bushes, palms, olive and citrus trees thrive into a narrow and elongated coastal valley.
The Kyrenia Mountains are the backbone of Northern Cyprus. The mountain follows the Mediterranean along almost the entire northern coast.
During the hot summer months of the year the coniferous forests of the mountain range provide pleasant temperatures and cool mountain shade.
The coast of Northern Cyprus, in turn, is an attractive tourist center. It boasts miles of superb sandy beaches with golden, white, beige and light brown sand.
There are not very big cities in Northern Cyprus. The main settlements in this part of the island are the northern half of the capital Nicosia, the main port center of Famagusta and the bustling resort town of Kyrenia.
Northern Cyprus has a population of almost 295,000 people. The vast majority of them are ethnic Turks, but in the area lives also a small number of ethnic Greeks.
The main spoken language is Turkish. Greek is spoken from a relatively small number of local residents. Most of the population is employed in the service sector, especially in tourism.
Although they are also important, the share of industry and agriculture is much smaller. The Turkish lira is the official currency in Northern Cyprus.
Northern Cyprus enjoys a blessed climate with between 300 and 350 days of sunshine a year.
From April to November the average daytime temperatures in the north of the island are over 22°C, and from December to March, during the winter months, they usually do not fall below 16 – 17°C.
At the height of summer, the daytime temperature rarely falls below 33°C but often reaches and even exceeds 40°C.
There is very strong seasonality of rainfall. During the hot summer months rainfalls are extremely rare, and the period of drought may last for long.
On the other hand, winters are very wet and bring intense precipitations. Because of its warm sea, Northern Cyprus is often described as a year-round tourist destination.
Even in January and February the temperature of seawater is about 17°C making swimming and bathing into the sea possible at least for cold-resistant tourists, especially those who come from Northern Europe.
For everyone else, however, the season starts in early April and ends in late November – early December.
What not to miss? Visit the Karpasia National Park as well as some of the golden beaches of Karpasia Peninsula;
Explore in details the beautiful resort town of Kyrenia with its old buildings, museums and numerous restaurants;
Enjoy the great variety of sea creatures such as fish, dolphins and sea turtles inhabiting the warm coastal waters;
Visit the Bellapais Monastery, the beautiful Gothic church of St. Nicholas in Famagusta and the Surp Magar Monastery (also known as the Armenian Monastery);
Be sure to visit also the Byzantine fort of St. Hilarion;
When to visit Northern Cyprus? The best time of year for tourism in this part of the island are the months of April, May, October and November, because they offer the most pleasant temperatures.
How to get to Northern Cyprus? The easiest way to get to Northern Cyprus is with a flight from the cities of Istanbul and Antalya in Turkey to Nicosia and Famagusta or with a ferryboat from the Turkish ports of Tasuku, Mersin, Antalya and others to Kyrenia and Famagusta.