Once a quintessential Mediterranean seaside resort and one of North Cyprus’ busiest tourist towns, the sandy beaches of Famagusta were left deserted in 1974, when the island was divided. With Famagusta falling under Turkish rule, the Greek occupants fled en-masse, leaving an eerie ghost town and many of the seafront hotels, shops and restaurants still lie empty today.
Not all of Famagusta has been abandoned though and strolling around the walled old quarter offers a glimpse into the town’s former glory. Dating back to the 13th century, the historic area is home to a number of key landmarks, including the medieval citadel of Othello’s Tower and the battle-worn St Nicholas’ Cathedral, now the Lala Mustafa Mosque.
Famagusta is located on the southeast coast of North Cyprus, around 65 km east of Nicosia.
Hemmed in by the jagged peaks of the ‘Five Fingers’ mountains and the azure waters of the Mediterranean sea, the charming seaport of Kyrenia (Girne) is postcard worthy from all angles, and makes a top choice for day trippers taking the ferry over from Turkey or traveling over the border from South Cyprus.
Kyrenia’s star attraction is the remarkably preserved Kyrenia Castle, an unmistakable landmark that has guarded the coastline since the 16th century and now houses the fascinating Shipwreck Museum, home to an ancient Greek merchant ship. Visitors can also wander around the horseshoe-shaped Old Harbour; discover the town’s rich heritage at the Folk Art Museum and Icon Museum; and cruise along the coast. Kyrenia also makes a popular basecamp for exploring North Cyprus, with nearby attractions including the mountaintop Bellapais Abbey, the archaeological sites at Soloi and Vouni, and the Bufavento and St Hilarion castles.
Kyrenia is located on the coast of Northern Cyprus, approximately 30 km north of Nicosia.