Known as the ‘unspoiled jewel of the Mediterranean’, North Cyprus has retained all of its natural charm and beauty and offers a unique insight into a quality of life that most of us have only ever dreamed of. North Cyprus enjoys a typical Eastern Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and short mild winters. The northern coastline, which borders the Girne (Kyrenia) mountain range, is accepted as one of the most beautiful areas in the world in which to live. The natural beauty of the island, the lovely climate, the warmth and generosity of the Turkish Cypriot peoples and the abundant selection of fresh foods make North Cyprus an unspoilt and non-commercialized heaven. There is virtually no crime to speak of, and this country is reminiscent of the UK standards long lost, where hospitality, politeness and the general enjoyment of life are the daily norm.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus comprises an area of 3,355 square miles and encompasses the northern part of the island, which is the third largest in the Mediterranean. It is situated at the cross-roads of east-west and north-south navigational routes, is only 70 kilometers south of Turkey and 385 kilometers north of Egypt. Owing to the location of Northern Cyprus and its proximity to the rich Middle Eastern countries, it provides an ideal place for foreign investment.
The climate of the island is of an extreme Mediterranean type with long, hot summers and relatively cool, short winters. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, the sea temperature is rarely below 16°C and rises to 28-30°C during summer months, making North Cyprus one of the healthiest places in the world in which to live.
The capital city of the TRNC is Lefkosa (Nicosia), which is the main administration and business centre. Other towns include Magosa (Famagusta) - the country's principal port, Girne (Kyrenia), a town of tourist attractions and archaeological interest, and Guzelyurt (Morphou), which is the centre of the citrus plantations.
Below is a brief description of the most popular villages and towns on the north coast.
Alsancak: This village has something to offer everyone with its spectacular views, authentic village atmosphere and easy access to beaches and restaurants. There are a couple of wells-stocked mini markets for all your supplies. It is approximately 6 miles west of Kyrenia/Girne with its pretty harbour and shops.
Baspinar: Set high above the village of Lapta is Baspinar, well-known for its mountain spring, breathtaking views, sleepy atmosphere and cooling breeze. The ideal place to spend lazy days enjoying the views or a variety of excellent walks in the Besparmak mountains.
Bellapais: This historic village is set approximately 3 miles to the east of Kyrenia, in an elevated position with wonderful views to Kyrenia and the coast. The village is dominated by the Bellapais Abbey which was originally founded in the 12th century by monks of the Augustinian order and is the most impressive Gothic building in Cyprus. The Abbey is situated on a natural terrace overlooking the village of Ozankoy with a good selection of restaurants offering local and international cuisine.
Edremit: Edremit is a small village located half way up the hill on the road up to the mountainside village of Karmi/Karaman. Edremit has a small grocery store where daily produce can be bought, plus the popular Hideaway Hotel with pool, bar and restaurant which is open to non-residents. The larger village of Karaoglanoglu is approximately 1 mile down the hill with supermarkets, restaurants and sandy beaches.
Kyrenia-Girne: This fascinating town is situated on the northern coast of Cyprus. Its horseshoe shaped harbour with backdrop of the Besparmak (or Five Finger) Mountains make Kyrenia one of the most beautiful areas on the island. The old carob warehouses which border the harbour have been converted into attractive cafes, restaurants, bars and private residences with the fishing boats and colourful yachts making this the ideal place to wile away the hours. The harbour is overlooked by Kyrenia Castle, a truly magnificent edifice constructed in the 9th century to ward off Arab invaders. There are plenty of places of interest in the area for those days when you want to do more than laze in the sun including the Shipwreck Museum in the castle, Folklore Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Monument and Museum of Freedom and Peace, Café Pasha Mosque, Bellapais Abbey and St Hilarion Castle.
Ilgaz: It is a quiet mountainside village with superb scenery and a mixture of Europeans, Turkish and Cypriots. The ideal retreat for those is to want to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern day life, with one restaurant serving the village and many others at the bottom of the hill.
Karakum: A small village located just a mile east of Kyrenia with its own small sandy bay. The village is conveniently located on the bus route and has several restaurants, shops and a large supermarket all within walking distance.
Karaoglanoglu: Three miles to the west of Kyrenia is the unpronounceable village of Karaoglanoglu. There are a few bars, some excellent restaurants and picturesque beaches and coves, in particular Kervansaray Beach which affords some of the most stunning sunsets due to its westerly outlook.
Karmi/Karaman: The picturesque village of Karmi is situated approximately 4 miles west of Kyrenia and is 1,000 ft above sea level giving virtually every house breathtaking views along the coastline. Karmi is undoubtedly the prettiest and most well-kept village in the north as all the houses have been restored in a traditional manner often with flagged floors, beamed ceilings, stone arches and roof terraces set in an array of flowers, plants and trees. The village has a couple of restaurants, bars, pubs and a village shop.
Karsiyaka: Located in the west of Kyrenia the area affords stunning views of the highest mountain in the Besparmak mountain range. Karsiyaka has a couple of shops and some good fish restaurants located close to the waters edge. A large sandy bay is a 5minute drive away and there are many more sandy beaches between Karsiyaka and Kyrenia.
Lapta: Renowned for its fresh water springs and laid back way of life. Lapta is a sprawling village approximately 9 miles west of Kyrenia. It is backed by the Besparmak Mountains and has spectacular views of both the sea and mountains. The village has lots to offer in the way of restaurants and has easy access to some good beaches.
Ozankoy: A popular village with Europeans and Cypriots alike, conveniently located a couple of miles east of Kyrenia, the village has excellent views to Bellapais, the mountains and the Mediterranean and a good selection of restaurants.
Yesiltepe: Located between Alsancak and Karaoglanoglu on the lower slopes of the mountain range is the area of Yesiltepe. It is conveniently located close to several sandy beaches, restaurants, bars, hotels and shops and is not far from the main coastal road.
Zeytinlik: Within easy access of Kyrenia yet set in a tranquil, rural position amongst olive groves and overlooked by the spectacular St. Hilarion Castle. A small but good selection of restaurants, a couple of shops and a supermarket close by.
The cost of medical treatment in the local hospitals is lower than that in the hospitals the UK depending of course on the type of treatment required. Accident and emergency facilities are available at local hospitals. It is recommended that you seek local GPs, many of whom have had UK experience, for many minor ailments. Private healthcare is also available through a number of international medical insurance companies if required. Dental treatment is of a high standard and charges are moderate. The British Residents Society is the best place to contact for more information.
Turkish is the official language and English is the second language, and is widely used and understood in official and commercial circles. There are several first-class Turkish language teachers available, and some British residents avail themselves of their services.
Most household items can be bought in North Cyprus at about the same price as Europe. Most international makes and models are available (Whirlpool, Kelvinator, Candy, Philips, Beko, Sony etc.) Auctions are also held monthly where a vast array of items can be purchased at reasonable prices. We are pleased to announce that we now offer a furnishing package where an in-house colleague can advise you on shops etc or purchase as few or as many items as you wish. We have furnished several houses and can offer various standards from basic to luxury furnishings packages with prices from £ 2,500 - £ 10,000.
Living costs in the TRNC are much cheaper than the UK and most of Europe. There is no rates system at present. The main costs are electricity (approx. £15 monthly per house for a couple), water (£5 monthly) and an annual council tax is less than £50. Central heating is becoming more popular with newly built properties and is usually run on gas or oil. Most cookers are run on calor gas and/or electricity.
The Turkish Lira (TL), which has been in circulation since 1974, is the legal tender. The official rates for the TL are adjusted daily according to changes in international monetary markets. Generally speaking, all foreign currencies are acceptable at trading/tourist outlets.
There is an extensive range of consumer goods and services available throughout the island. Many of the popular imported brand names are readily available and can be found in local supermarkets. Fresh local produce can be purchased from a wide variety of markets and small stores and there is wide range of wines and spirits at very low costs: For example, local brandy retailing at approximately £1.10 per bottle. VAT (KDV) is levied on most goods and services with rates ranging from 20% down to 2%.
Mains Services & Communications:
The electricity supply is 220/240v AC 50HZ, with a standard UK 3-pin plug.
Water by mains supply via water tanks and in some properties (in particular with larger gardens) supplemented by wells. To dial from TRNC to UK dial 00 44 and omit the first 0 of the UK code. To dial from UK to TRNC dial 00 90 392 then the area code, followed by the number required. N.B. Northern Cyprus is 2 hours ahead of GMT. Broadband has just been introduced to North Cyprus.
The Anglican Church of St. Andrew’s, Kyrenia is conveniently located near the town centre and services are held on Sundays and Thursdays. All Christian communities are welcome. The Roman Catholic Church is also based in the centre of Kyrenia with mass being celebrated on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month. Other Christian churches are located in Famagusta and Nicosia.
As in the UK, traffic circulation is on the left. Road signs are international. There is a large selection of car hire companies with a variety of vehicles at favourable rates, from £10 per day in the winter to £15+ in the peak season.
There is no acute unemployment problem in the TRNC, and the number of registered unemployed has declined steadily since 1978. The official working week is 40 hours in the winter and 36 in the summer.
The TRNC follows a flexible exchange policy. Foreign currency accounts can be opened with local banks, and foreign currency can be brought into the country and taken out through the banks without any restriction or control, and the source of such income is not investigated. It should be noted that the Government are actively encouraging the formation of offshore banks by foreign investors, and are offering incentives such as relatively low set-up capital, low corporation and income tax etc.
All types of banking services are provided and they are flexible enough to satisfy the continually diversifying needs of the business community. There are branches in many of the important trading centres of the world. Some banks, such as Turk Bankasi have branches in London. See www.turkishbank.com Note: HSBC Bank has now opened branches in Nicosia and Kyrenia.
The newly refurbished Ercan (pronounced Airjan and approximately 25 minutes from Kyrenia) airport handles the bulk of the tourist traffic, whilst Gecitkale serves as a back-up airport. Daily flights from many mainland Turkish cities, as well as flights from the Europe, supply the majority of the visitors to the island. Airlines flying to North Cyprus are Cyprus Turkish Airlines, Turkish Airlines and Onur Air. No visa is required to North Cyprus and if you prefer not to have your passport stamped when entering the country, you can have a blank piece of paper stamped. Direct flights from all overseas countries are the key for North Cyprus, but until the intransigence in Greek and British/US attitudes change, the road to financial stability will be slow and tortuous. In addition to air travel, there is a selection of car and passenger ferries from Turkey to the island, the fastest being two and a half hours from Girne to Tasucu.
Pets can be brought into the country from Europe with little hassle. The Ministry of Agriculture requires a certificate from a European vet stating that your animal is free of major diseases. Quarantine is approximately 4 weeks at the Lefkosa kennels. For advice contact Margaret Ray chairperson of Kyrenia Animal Rescue on 00 90 533 863 1950
North Cyprus has a large selection of accommodation units, from 5-star hotels, small family hotels, motels, pensions, self-catering villas, and apartments and camping facilities.
General education standards in the TRNC are of a very high standard and are borne out by the fact that there are four universities based in North Cyprus. The majority of schools offer bilingual education starting with kindergarten through secondary school and finally university.
The mild climate, the natural and scenic attractions, the rich antiquities, coupled with the hospitality of the Turkish Cypriots; make North Cyprus an ideal place for tourists. There is none of the pestering of holiday-makers that is so common now in other Mediterranean resorts. Since tourism has been singled out as a vital sector for the future development economy of the TRNC, the Government has approved a bill which contains a wide range of incentives for investors.