Traveling to Cyprus: What you need to see in Southern and Northern Cyprus
Cyprus, the beautiful holiday island located in the Mediterranean Sea about 100 km south from the coast of Turkey, is a glorious gem that is definitely worth a visit.
Cyprus is divided into two sections, with the southern two thirds of the island being seen as the ‘Greek’ part, while the northern one third of the island has been Turkish territory since 1974.
The island’s distinctive division and history allows you to experience something completely unique on this Mediterranean island: the world’s last shared capital.
The Greek Cypriots call the capital Nicosia, while the Turks say Lefkosa. What both peoples agree on, however, is that the city is the economic, political and cultural center of the island. Down through the city, the border goes ‘the green line’, so if you want to experience both sides of the island, then you have to remember your passport.
Since the island shares history, there are many similarities between the two parts, but there are still unique things for both sides.
Wild donkeys and ghosts in northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus has drawn clear inspiration from mainland Turkey, and this is seen in the food culture, the bazaars and the number of mosques. Wander down the small winding streets and experience how locals interact with children and animals, when playing around in the streets, the sweet smell from the restaurants and the beautiful architecture.
Visit the Selimiye Mosque, which is Lefkosa’s most famous landmark. The building is a historic mix of Gothic church and mosque and provides a beautiful and fascinating insight into the architecture dating back to the 13th century. The mosque is open to visitors except during prayers and ceremonies.
One of the other cities to visit in the north of Cyprus is Famagusta. The city is located right on the border to the south, and it makes its mark. Part of the city is cordoned off and part of a military area today and went from being a lively vibrant city to a ghost town in a few days.
If you are not into ghosts, but more into alive creatures, then you can meet wild donkeys on the eastern point of Cyprus, which goes by the name Karpaz.
Nature and culture in the southern part of Cyprus
The southern part of Cyprus also offers lots of experiences. Visit the cities of Limassol, Ayia Napa and Paphos; beautiful coastal towns offering ruins and culture, celebration and colors.
If you are more into nature rather than city life, head up to the Troodos Mountains, visit some of the beautiful waterfalls, lakes and caves that southern Cyprus has to offer, or take a swim in the Blue Lagoon.
Cyprus is said to have the cleanest and clearest water in the entire Mediterranean, so a walk on the beach is definitely a must for your trip to Cyprus.