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Karpaz is a slender, 80-km long peninsula in the northeast of Northern Cyprus. It's mostly rugged and thinly populated: there are hotels, but on nothing like the scale of the Kyrenia or Turkish mainland tourist strips. In 2023 the population was 20,245.

Towns[edit]

  • 1 Tatlısu (formerly Akanthou, Ακανθού) is a small beach resort.
  • 2 Kaplıca (formerly Davlos, Δαυλός) is a resort village with a long sandy beach.
  • 3 Büyükkonuk (formerly Komi Kebir, Κώμη Κεπήρ) is a village with a cluster of old churches.
  • 4 Iskele (formerly Trikomo, Τρίκωμο): see Famagusta for this resort strip at the foot of the peninsula.
  • 5 Boğaz (formerly Bogazi, Μπογάζι) is a resort strip with good beaches.
  • 6 Bafra has a long sandy beach and cluster of hotels.
  • 7 Mehmetçik (formerly Galatya, Γαλατία) is the centre of a wine-growing area. "Mehmetçik" corresponds to the English "Tommy", an affectionate name for a soldier.
  • 8 Yeni Erenköy (formerly Yialousa, Γιαλούσα) is a village of some 1800 people.
  • 9 Dipkarpaz (formerly Rizokarpaso, Ριζοκάρπασο) is an agricultural town of some 2400 people.

Understand[edit]

A line of bastions along the north coastal ridge indicates this region's troubled history, but it was always the outpost not the battlefield. When Turkey invaded in 1974 they quickly secured the strategic port of Famagusta but left this area alone, so for some years it continued to have a Greek-speaking population and Greek place-names. Those were then ousted, and Karpaz was re-settled by ethnic Turks from the other side of the ceasefire line. Karpaz remained nominally part of Famagusta District until 1998, then came under the administration of Iskele District of TRNC. Meanwhile a tourist resort strip developed along the coast from Famagusta - Iskele town for travel purposes marks the north end of that strip, and is therefore described separately from the rugged, thinly populated peninsula of Karpaz.

As elsewhere in Northern Cyprus, Turkish is the working language, in either its Turkish Cypriot or mainland forms. English is understood at the bigger hotels, less often elsewhere.

Get in[edit]

See your car documents please?

Travellers on package holidays are bussed straight to their accommodation, or their hotel may organise a ride. Everyone else should consider car hire, which you'll need to get around. This is best done at Ercan airport or Kyrenia ferry port as hiring in the south involves extra hassle and expense. Pe-to Rentacar is based in Iskele and can pick up from the south.

Buses run twice a day from Nicosia and Kyrenia, and more frequently from Famagusta, to main villages such as Mehmetçik, Yeni Erenköy and Dipkarpaz. Nothing direct from Ercan airport, you'd have to travel via Nicosia.

Get around[edit]

You need your own wheels - a bicycle might do, but it's a long peninsula with a fierce sun, and the sea breeze is somehow always in your face.

Buses are sparse and not compatible with sight-seeing, typically once in the morning to bring villagers from small places into the towns, then back out in the afternoon. None go east of Dipkarpaz.

A hiking trail links Dipkarpaz and the east cape: it might take two days.

No, you're not allowed to attempt to ride the wild donkeys, and their teeth and kicking hind legs are stronger than yours.

See[edit]

Kantara Castle
  • Agios Georgios (St George) is a ruined Byzantine church in Kaplıca, 1 km inland near the top of the village. Livestock wanders through it.
  • Agios Sozomenos is a deserted Greek church on the coast 2 km east of Kaplıca. It's named for a 10th / 11th century hermit who lived in a cave near Nicosia, where there's another ruined church of the same name.
  • 1 Kantara Castle. 24 hours. The most easterly of the defensive line that includes St Hilarion and Buffavento towards Kyrenia. Like them it was probably built around 900-1000 AD and reinforced by the 14th century Lusignans. It never saw much fighting but could watch out for pirates, signal the other castles and deploy troops wherever needed. It became derelict after 1525 and was partly dismantled, so you mostly come for the view from its hilltop. Free. Kantara Castle on Wikipedia
  • 2 Panagia Kanakaria (Παναγία Κανακαριά) in the village of Boltaşlı (formerly Lythrangomi, Λυθράγκωμη) is a Byzantine 6th century monastery church. It's normally locked but the caretaker will let you in for baksheesh. A fresco of the Virgin Mary disappeared from the apse after the occupation of 1974. It turned up on the New York art market and after a legal battle was returned, and is now in the Byzantine Museum in Nicosia south.
  • 3 Agia Triada (Αγία Τριάδα, Holy Trinity) is a 5th / 6th century basilica with interesting mosaics, near the village of Sipahi ("cavalry"). It was abandoned in the 9th century and lost sight of, and is only partially excavated, but has good mosaics.
Apostolos Andreas Monastery
  • Karpaz National Park is not precisely defined, but roughly denotes the east half of the peninsula, anywhere beyond Yeni Erenköy. It's inhabited by wild donkeys, who reckon they have right of way on the roads, and thrust their snouts through any open car window in search of something to eat, your car documents for example.
  • 4 Agios Philon (Άγιος Φίλωνας) is the ruin of a 10th century church. It's on the site of the ancient city of Karpasia, but all that's visible of that is a few blocks of the harbour mole.
  • 5 Aphendrika (Αφέντρικα) is a more substantial city ruin. The access lane is rough but just-about-driveable this far, then goes to rack and ruin, so to continue east with a vehicle you have to backtrack through Dipkarpaz onto the south coast road.
  • 6 Apostolos Andreas Monastery (Απόστολος Ανδρέας) is an abandoned Orthodox monastery. Its legend harks back to Biblical times but it's only known to have existed since the 12th century, and the main buildings are 19th / 20th. It became a pilgrimage site from the 1920s. It was partly restored in the 2010s, facilitated by the UN as Greek and Turkish interested parties were adamant they'd rather see it crumble than cooperate with the other side.
  • 7 Cape Apostolos Andreas (St Andrew's Cape) is the end of the peninsula. Warplanes overhead remind you that you're only 109 km from Latakia in Syria, closer than Nicosia and barely ten minutes flying. This is not quite the end of Cyprus as building ruins have been found on the craggy islets further out, as if keen to join the action.

Do[edit]

Cape Apostolos Andreas
  • Beaches: Kaplıca, Boğaz and Bafra are well-developed. Golden Beach by contrast is a quiet unspoilt 2 km stretch beyond Dipkarpaz along the road to Apostolos Andreas.
  • Water sports such as jet-skiing are available in Bafra and Kaplıca.
  • Karpaz Gate 2 km east of Yeni Erenköy is the main marina for this coastline, with berths for 300 vessels. It's a Port of Entry into TRNC so you can clear Immigration and Customs here.
  • Mehmetçik Grape Festival is five days in early August in Mehmetçik village, with concerts, civic flummery and general hoop-de-hoop.
  • Eco-day in Büyükkonuk is an expanded Sunday market with trad folk dancing and bands. It's in May and October but has been on hold since 2019.
  • Discover bugs: The Streptomyces genus of bacteria has over 600 known members, which over the years have proved a rich source of antibiotics and other bio-agents, but the product barrel is starting to scrape empty. It therefore makes sense to look for new types in hitherto-unexplored environments, and Streptomyces karpasiensis was discovered in local soils in 2014. This has yet to spawn a wonder-drug but perhaps it accounts for the donkeys' attitudes?

Eat[edit]

The hotels are the best bet, there's not much by way of free-standing restaurants.

Drink[edit]

Hotel restaurants and bars serve beer and wine to non-residents.

Sleep[edit]

Panagia Kanakaria
  • Kaplıca Beach Resort, Kaplıca, +90 392 387 2032. Decent accommodation and long sandy beach, food is so-so. B&B double 2000 TL.
  • Pine View Hotel is in wooden bungalows in Büyükkonuk. Formerly charming, in 2023 they're tatty.
  • Çelebi Garden Hotel, Kısna Sk 43, Mehmetçik (1 km southwest of Mehmetçik centre), +90 548 868 7419. Clean, comfy, friendly place open year round. B&B double 1500 TL.
  • Exotic Hotel on the beach in Boğaz is good value for its budget price.
  • Kaya Artemis Resort, Bafra, +90 392 630 6000. Great barn of a place with a cod-classical facade. Comfy enough but service and cuisine variable. B&B double 4000 TL.
  • Concorde Luxury Resort, Bafra (1 km south of Kaya Artemis), +90 542 874 0088. New and thus with better rooms and facilities, but dismal service.
  • Noah's Ark Hotel in Bafra gets poor reviews.
  • Theresa Hotel in Yeni Erenköy is a basic place with restaurant, opposite a Byzantine church.
  • Karpaz Gate Marina Hotel, Yeni Erenköy (by marina), +90 533 833 0222. Good scores all round for comfort, cleanliness and service. B&B double 4000 TL.
  • Dipkarpaz Wooden Bungalows are scattered around the village, basic but peaceful (+90 533 825 2646).
  • Burhan's Hotel, Dipkarpaz, +90 542 854 2988. On Golden Beach, this has had an upgrade but remains fairly basic. B&B double 2500 TL.

Stay safe[edit]

Floor mosaic at Agia Triada

Take care of valuables and beware traffic as anywhere else.

Respect[edit]

The area is one of the most conservative places in Cyprus: many mainland Turkish people reside there with some women wearing the headscarf. However, this does not mean that it is an intolerant area. Clothing such as shorts, tank tops and bikinis is not a problem - Cyprus can get very hot in summer! Homosexual displays of affection will certainly draw unwanted attention and stares.

Connect[edit]

Northern Cyprus is served by KKTC Turkcell and KKTC Telsim, but neither publishes a coverage map. You'll probably get 4G on the south coast road near the foot of the peninsula but not much beyond.

Go next[edit]

  • Famagusta (Mağusa) was the chief port of Cyprus, but is now close to the ceasefire line with some areas blighted by military control.
  • Nicosia (Lefkoşa / Lefkosia) is the divided capital, with attractive old buildings in the walled city and a lively centre beyond.
  • Kyrenia (Girne / Keryneia) is the main resort, with a fine harbour overlooked by a stout castle.



This rural area travel guide to Karpaz is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.