Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Cyprus: Can't choose between north and south, help!

Cyprus: Can't choose between north and south, help!

Sep 9th, 2014, 10:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 744
Cyprus: Can't choose between north and south, help!

We are going to Cyprus for a week in end Sept/early Oct. We like to avoid touristy areas and crowds, though of course we make exceptions for historical sites. We are mostly interested in enjoying nature - including beaches if there are nice one - and food and wine. I gather from my research that the south is quite touristy, but are there still some less busy/unspoiled areas in Akamas Peninsula and Troodos mountains?

It's hard to find anything reliable online about the northern coastline/landscape other than what you find on villa sale websites which are not necessarily the best source of information. Villa websites describe Karpaz peninsula as pristine, but some travel forums describe it as terribly dirty, rubbish everywhere. If anyone has some recent experience to share it would be much appreciated!

In general, based on our interests, where would you suggest we focus?
mp413 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2014, 10:59 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,894
I was in Cyprus for a week without a hire car a couple of years ago. Started in Paphos in the south, where the mosaics are gorgeous. I hear that the Troodos mountains are worth a visit but didnt get there. Split my week 2 days in the Greek part and 5 in the Turkish.
From Paphos I got the public bus through Nicosia to Kyrenia on the north coast, part of the Turkish republic of North Cyprus. Crossing the green line was very quick and easy. Lots of interesting stuff in the north and it is quite possible to get away from the sellers of holidays homes, time shares etc though there is a thriving market. There is quite a community of British expats who have bought up (at a bargain price) the property which used to belong to the Greeks pre 1974.
I liked Kyrenia, an old Venetian town rather like the ones in Crete. From there, went to Bella Pais (home of Lawrence Durrell) and explored the monastery and various ruins and museums in Kyrenia. Thence to Famagusta via the ruins of Salamis and St Barnabas monastery. Famagusta is an interesting place with lots of history not to mention the best beach on the island which is now off limits and has been since 1974.
Re your question on beaches, I didnt see any dirty rubbishy beaches anywhere though I wasnt specifically looking for beaches.
Generally speaking I would say if you want a typical beach holiday with western European hotels and atmosphere, go to the south. There are lots of centres. If you want somewhere a bit more off-beat, try the north. Be prepared for quite a bit of Turkish military presence and less English spoken. It is quite easy to get back and forth from the south to the north. Both are tourist-friendly.
I used the Bradt Guide to North Cyprus and found it full of info.
gertie3751 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2014, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,669
Although I haven't been to Cyprus, I did some extensive planning once for a trip that was to be shared with a British friend with, it must be said, very prosaic tastes and little sense of adventure. We couldn't agree so we didn't go.

During the process, I came to believe that I'd pretty much hate southern Cyprus and I'd certainly love the north. At the time, I don't know if it's still true, one couldn't fly directly into the north but had to connect in Istanbul. She refused to set foot in Turkey and as an American, for some reason that I've forgotten, I couldn't easily cross the border from south to north as an EU citizen could. So that was that.

The south is built up with mostly British-owned holiday condos, I imagine much like the Med coast of Spain. The thought didn't appeal to me, needless to say, while she loved the idea, in fact her ex owns one and family members dutifully use it regularly.

The north, on the other hand, seems to be much less developed, less expensive, at least it was several years ago, with actual Cyprus people rather than a mob of British sun-seakers. I'd located some lovely-looking places to stay, refurbished but in old or traditionally built buildings and as I talk about it I want to go again. She'd never know if I did. Unless, of course, she's reading this.
MmePerdu is online now  
Sep 9th, 2014, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,469
I would recommend the south to stay in. You will be glad for the better standard of hotels and infrastructure. But a visit to the north to see what has been done there (or not done) since the invasion will be an interesting contrast, plus there are interesting antiquities and cities. The places mentioned above are worth seeing, I still go by the Greek names as I have no idea what the Turks have renamed them to; Kyrenia which was a jewel, Famagusta (you can take a day trip from the south), Salamis, Bellapais, Nicosia which is a divided city - all very interesting. Due to the distances involved - Cyprus is quite a large island - you might need to stay on both sides.

In the south, there is the Tomb of the Kings, the famous mosaics which are incredible and the castle in Paphos harbour with a lovely seafront/corniche to walk along. Amathus and Curium (there is a beach there too), Limassol and Kolossi castle, in the mountains see Stavrovouni, Stavro tis psogas, the resort of Platres and mountain villages such as Pelendri, Lofou, Omodos etc. End of sept/beg Oct is already out of season and the perfect time to tour around in a car.

<> When you still have the original pre 1974 title deeds, it is not a case of "used to belong to the Greeks", it still does belong to them. This is still quite a sensitive subject for both sides esp as this year is the 40th anniversary of the invasion.
Odin is offline  
Sep 9th, 2014, 11:39 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,469
<> It's nothing like the med coast of Spain. It is not a Costa. There have never been purpose built developments for foreigners as in Spain. The British expats mostly live in villages or towns and try to integrate with local population. It has always been a rather expensive destination in order to not attract the wrong kind of tourists. Legal real estate is expensive, unlike Spain.

<> Actual Cyprus people are the ones who have lived in Cyprus for centuries who have both Greek and Turkish origins. It is not confined to people in the north. And Cyprus people are called Cypriots.
Odin is offline  
Sep 9th, 2014, 12:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 8,669
"And Cyprus people are called Cypriots."

What my love/hate relationship with Fodor's is made of. Or maybe, of what it is made.
MmePerdu is online now  
Nov 13th, 2014, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 76
We lived in the Republic of Cyprus (i.e., the south) for most of last year. I object to Mme Perdy's facile characterization of the country, especially as she admits that she has never visited. Cyprus is wonderful, fascinating, and well worth a visit to North AND South. I hope the poster enjoyed their time there, as much as we did.
harriet_hughes is offline  
Nov 13th, 2014, 11:13 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 4,469
Amen. Let's hope some America people read this.
Odin is offline  
Nov 14th, 2014, 01:25 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,621
I was in Cyprus, both North and South in the last month on business and don't recognise Mme Perdu's imagined island. I found the North to be a bit scruffy and not at all the beautiful unspoiled region that I read about. A lot of the people living there were not indigenous Cypriots but Turks who had emigrated from the mainland. Talking to various people on holiday, the overwhelming opinion seemed to be that they probably wouldn't return.

In the Greek South, the residents I met were Greek Cypriots, with a sprinkling of other Europeans, Brits included, but they were all concerned about the influx of Russians from Southern Russia, mainly Georgia it appears. They have a right to settle in Cyprus I was told, under some agreement with their respective governments, but they've caused problems with violence and crime especially in the Paphos area. (Not my view).

Having said that, there are some lovely hotels, restaurants etc. in the tourist areas of Paphos,Larnaca and Limassol and the scenery is worth seeing. Whether I'd spend a week or two there on holiday is another debate.
Rubicund is offline  
Nov 14th, 2014, 03:27 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,613
Russian access to Cyprus

Given that Cyprus is where many Russians hide their money a good many will have been able to use this technique to get to stay. If you look at where the majority of "international investments" in Russia come from the vast majority come from Cyprus
bilboburgler is offline  
Nov 14th, 2014, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,621
Bilbo, a lot of the Russians we saw in the Paphos area didn't look like they had two ha'pennies to rub together. Not sure how they made it across.
Rubicund is offline  
May 18th, 2015, 09:54 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1
hey i live in cyprus in limassol. cyprus is really small,so my biggest advice to you is to stay in a hotel on the greek side doesnt even matter where,nicosia, limassol, paphos as all u need to do is rent a car and just visit each one for a day. and u can also visit the turkish side, there isnt that much to see anyway as far as i know but remeber to take ur passport with u when u go there.
taktak is offline  
Jun 11th, 2015, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15
If you want to avoid the touristy areas, I would advise staying out of Nicosia. Same mostly for Paphos, although you could steer clear of the British tourist focused area of Kato Paphos and stay within Ktima, which is the historic city center and offers a very nice, calmer alternative.

My personal recommendation would be Latchi, nestled on the Northern Cypriot coastline. Very peaceful, old fishing harbor, very clean, and right next to the beaches! Most of the luxury Latchi villas have some good space to offer in an intimate town. Here's what to expect anyways if you're interested;


I have heard similar things about Karpaz, so proceed with caution. Best of luck!
martinnathalie9 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:23 PM.