Europe > Northern Cyprus > Kyrenia district > Kyrenia
Kyrenia (Κερύνεια, also Girne in Turkish) is a harbour town in Northern Cyprus.
A picturesque port with a population of just 22,000, Kyrenia is the most popular tourist destination in Northern Cyprus. A Venetian harbour town in the past, it is backed by the dramatic wooded hills of Beşparmak Mountains.
Atlas Air and Cyprus Turkish Airlines fly into Ercan, the main airport of North Cyprus. Another option is flying into the Larnaca Airport in the south, and then crossing the border into the north.
Frequent ferry services operated by Fergün Shipping connect Kyrenia to Taşucu (near Mersin (daily, 2h, 69 TL pp) and Alanya (twice weekly, 3½ hours, 78 TL). There are also slow car ferries to Taşucu which take around 8 hours and cost 59 TL pp and 150 TL per car.
The best way to explore Kyrenia is with a rental car, as public transportation is not that good in the Kyrenia area. If you are staying in the central Kyrenia there are "Lapta Dolmuş" (buses) to go to the beaches in the west side of Kyrenia.
Public buses are available from Kyrenia to Nicosia (capital city) and Famagusta. If you are visiting Güzelyurt then Çimen Taxi (7-seater) is available, as you are sharing the cost, it is cheap.
- Kyrenia Castle. Next to the harbor. An ancient castle of uncertain origin, but probably built by the Byzantines in the 7th century. Richard the Lionheart conquered it (and the rest of Cyprus) in 1191 on his way to Jerusalem, only to lose it to the Lusignans, the Venetian, the Ottomans and eventually the British, who used it as a prison.
- Shipwreck Museum. Within Kyrenia Castle. This small museum houses the preserved wreck of a wooden merchant ship dated 306 BC, found in 1967 off the coast of Kyrenia. The cargo of 400 amphorae (clay jugs) filled with olives and almonds was still (relatively speaking) intact. The drawing of the ship is now on the Cyprus versions of the Euro 50, 20 and 10 cent coins.
- Fresco Museum. At the Church of Arkhangelos.
- Baldoken Graveyard & St Andrews Church.
- Museum of Decorative Arts.
- Scuba Diving
- Turtle bay dive Centre
- Kyrenia Range Walks
- Orchids Walk
- Turtle Watching.
- Boat Tours - best way to discover shores of Kyrenia and enjoy the sun and sea.
- Nightlife - Kyrenia is home to many dance clubs (such as Club Locca or W Club) and many concerts take place in the city, especially during the summer. Check the schedule before going!
The official currency of North Cyprus is Turkish Lira, TL. All major currencies are easily exchanged and most shops do accept Euro, £ British Pound and $ US Dollar. But it is always better to carry some Turkish Lira for small shops in the villages.
There are many somewhat touristy restaurants by the harbor. Try typical Turkish cuisine such as lahmacun, meze, Turkish kebab and flat breads. There are many markets selling fresh fruit and vegetables, olives, cheeses, breads and meats. For a splurge, take an excursion to Bellapais in the hills above Kyrenia, which has many classy restaurants.
There are a lot of bars available around the Kyrenia.
- Sempati Bar (Sky sports)
- Runch Bar
- Riverside Ranch Bar with Sky TV on big screen and happy hours, drinks half price.
- The Valley restaurant and Clubbers Bar in Korineum Golf and Country Club. This golf club (which runs a championship golf course) is some 10 miles east of Kyrenia on the coast road.
- Alevkayasi Forest Cafe (Flamerock forest cafe), Alevkayasi forest picnic area (Çatalköy to lefkoşa mountain road), ☏ 05338770652 . 10am till late. Alevkayasi Forest Cafe is the only one of its kind in North Cyprus. Based near the five finger mountains,the cafe resides in Alevkayasi (flame rock)mountain-forest picnic area and has been there for over 50 years. The cafe is a family run business where you can enjoy the authentic cypriot environment with a choice of a delicious menus or you can even have your own picnic. It is a great place to escape from the scorching heat of the summer months.
- Acapulco Beach Club & Resort Hotel. Catalkoy. 5-star hotel with sandy beach.
- Bare Hill Holiday Village, Karaoglanoglu Caddesi, Alsancak (Near Escape Beach), ☏ (0090-392)-821 26 09 , firstname.lastname@example.org. Family-run hotel.
- The Colony Hotel (Downtown). Five-star hotel which lies between the mountains and sea.
- Club Simena Hotel. 3-star hotel with a gorgeous view of the 5 Finger Mountains
- The Dome Hotel. 4-star hotel within a few minutes' walking distance to Kyrenia harbour and castle.
- Green Holiday Village. A modern holiday village with wide range of facilities.
- The Hideaway Club, ☏ 003928222620 . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Boutique hotel three miles from Kyrenia. Comprising a selection of Connoisseur Suites and Club Rooms, the hotel has a relaxed atmosphere around its welcoming pool-side terrace, except for children, who are not welcome during the summer season.
- Hotel Sempati. Family-run hotel.
- LA Hotel & Resort. A holiday heaven situated on the beautiful coast close to the historic Lapta Village.
- Malpas Hotel, Catalkoy. A 5* hotel set on a rise to the east of the village of Catalkoy, amidst fragrant gardens and glorious views.
- Manolya Hotel. Family-run hotel just next to the beach.
- Mercure Hotel (Kervansaray). 5-star family-run hotel.
- Mountain View Hotel, Adnan Damar Caddesi Karaoglanoglu, ☏ . Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00. 3-star family-run hotel. £25.
- Oscars Resort, A lovely hotel complete with excellent swimming pool and water slides. But beware the hotel management and their hostility to anyone who buys a bottle of water for a third of the price from another shop and consumes it in the hotel. Vitriol and dirty looks will come your way! Also, look out for the numerous 'It Is Forbidden To (Insert stupid, insignificant action here)' signs that are plastered all over the hotel. For some people this can be ignored, but if you are looking to get away from silly rules, hypocrisy and authoritarian management then do not come here.
- Prince Inn Hotel, 124 Karaoğlanoğlu Road, ☏ . Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. A small family-run boutique hotel 3 miles west of downtown. Close to the beach, a local supermarket, and cinema. £12.
- Riverside Holiday Village. A 4-star family-run holiday resort in the village of Alsancak. Riverside provides free bus service to beaches.
- Bellapais has an amazing ruined Gothic monastery and some good restaurants too.
- The magnificent St. Hilarion Castle overlooks Kyrenia and is easily visited on a day trip.
- Buffavento is another medieval citadel on the Beşparmak Mountains.