Tuesday, 25 September 2012 9:41 AM
Boasting beautiful vistas and stunning architecture, the North is a wonderful region for a walking holiday in Cyprus. If you are hoping to take a trip there soon, read our guide to some of the top sites to look out for.
A city on the northern coast, Kyrenia is one of the first places you should visit, both because it will put you in a perfect position for exploring some of the other best-loved attractions and it is a real gem in itself.
Indeed, this city is particularly famous for its picturesque harbour, which is commonly held to offer the finest views to be found anywhere on the island. Also home to the Byzantine Kyrenia Castle and backed by the Besparmak Mountains, this harbour is an absolute must-visit.
Stroll around the city's streets, meanwhile, and you can take in the destination's fabulous medley of castles, mosques and Venetian facades.
Bellapais Village and Abbey
If you plan to visit Kyrenia, the nearby Bellapais Village should also feature on your itinerary; indeed, this is a charming place to stay for a few days if you are keen to have a quiet, scenic base for your holiday.
Widely considered to be one of the island's most scenic villages, Bellapais's most famous attraction is its abbey, which dates back to 1200, when it was founded by Augustinians. In the 14th century it was taken over by the Genoese and, after that, the abbey's monks acquired an unusual notoriety for flouting their religious vows by filling the building with concubines. Today, it's simply a great place to soak up some local history - particularly as the village is said to be populated with the abbey's descendants.
From the village of Bellapais, you can take a scenic walk up to Buffavento Castle in the Kyrenia Range. Once here, ascending to the top of the tallest tower will give you magnificent views of the surrounding area; you should be prepared for it to be somewhat blustery here though, especially as the castle's name literally translates to 'buffeted by the wind'.
Another must-see castle in the Kyrenia Range is Kantara. This is the easternmost of the three fortifications located within these mountains, and you will find it nestled in the foothills.
Compared to the other two bastions, Kantara Castle occupies a low position, while it also has a particularly rich history. Indeed, the Crusades rendered it a site for a number of skirmishes, and it is best known for being where Richard the Lionheart secured a victory against the island's ruler.
If you have a little time en route from Bellapais to Kantara, it is worth stopping by Incirli Cave, which is close to Cinarli Village. The largest cave on the island, it is approximately 100 m long and filled with spectacular stalagmites and stalactites - something that makes it the perfect addition to adventure-based walking tours.
Bear in mind that this attraction is only open to the public on Sundays, so you will need to time your visit accordingly.
Providing a contrast to the quiet splendour of the cave, the city of Famagusta is the final site you should be sure to add to your itinerary. Boasting a 2,500-year history, it is filled with Medieval and Gothic architecture, as well as being one of the world's most important trading ports.
While you are here, keep an eye out for the Venetian citadel that overlooks the harbour; it is often referred to as Othello's Tower, being believed to have been used as the setting for Shakespeare's Othello.
One of the most interesting things about visiting this region is its great combination of hypnotic landscapes and beautiful architecture. You can book an adventurous trek in northern Cyprus with Explore Worldwide from £279 without flights.