Kyrenia stands on the north coast of Northern Cyprus. With the crystal blue waters of the Mediterranean in front, and sheltered by the magnificent Kyrenia mountain range behind, the town and its surrounding areas have been the most popular area for holidays to North Cyprus for many years. Kyrenia itself the villages close by, and the coast are dotted with places to stay and in every type and style you could imagine: from small, family-run properties with a handful of bungalows clustered round a pool and cage, to major developments with every possible amenity. This short article is in no way a comprehensive list of everywhere to say in or near Kyrenia, but we have been visiting and working in the country for over twenty years, so the comments may be of use to anyone thinking of a holiday in Kyrenia.
The region can be roughly divided into four separate areas. Kyrenia town, the cost to the west, the coast to the east, and the surrounding villages. Hotels generally fall into similar types for each of these areas. Small properties will mostly be found in the village locations, though there are a few in Kyrenia itself and along the coast. Kyrenia hotels are mostly fairly large, luxurious and well appointed, though the relative lack of space in a town location means that facilities are limited. This is, however, a relative term, as all have odd-sized pools, a choice of restaurants and bars, etc. Properties along the coast are less constrained in terms of physical area, and it is here that you will find the large, resort-style properties, with every imaginable facility on site. The location though does mean that you will inevitably have to travel to visit other restaurants and shops. This said, hiring a car in North Cyprus is comparatively cheap. The roads are mostly uncrowded and driving is on the left, as in the UK. A car is all but essential if you want to get out and explore, though guided tours can be booked from most places.
Home to Kyrenia castle, the beautiful old harbour and an enormous variety of shops and restaurants, Kyrenia also has some truly world-class hotels. For something that feels a little smaller, the Pia Bella Hotel is in the outskirts of the town and has good-sized gardens with two freshwater pools. Famed for its Cypriot cuisine, the hotel runs regular ‘Cyprus nights’ in the main season. Just outside the town, about a mile and a half from the centre, Altinkaya Hotel also has a justified reputation for food and service. Altinkaya is split into two ‘sections’, one designed more for family use and the other a quitter part. The hotel also has a handful of larger bungalows which can accommodate up to four people.
Approximately four miles from Kyrenia and nestling in the foothills of the Kyrenia mountain range, the village of Bellapais is one of the most famous in Cyprus and is home to the stunning Bellapais Abbey. The village has a charming, tranquil atmosphere, though the centre can be a little ‘touristy’ in peak seasons. There are a handful of restaurants in the centre of the village. Bellapais Gardens Hotel is located in the heart of the village, overlooked by the abbey above it. With a small selection of studio apartments and cottages, the hotel has beautiful gardens, a good pool and is famed for the quality of its restaurant. The hotel has a really peaceful atmosphere and does not accept children. Further along the foothills of the mountains and to the east, the Malpas Hotel is a high-quality hotel that majors on offering a luxurious atmosphere. Stylish and sophisticated in feel, the hotel is nevertheless well equipped and suitable for families.
A little further still, and right on the cost, you will find Acapulco Cyprus. One of the largest properties in the whole island, Acapulco Cyprus is a resort with just about everything you could imagine. There are three swimming pools, a large private beach, a selection of restaurants, bars and cafes and provision for all sorts of activities. There is also a wide choice of accommodation here, from reasonably basic bungalows to luxurious high-quality suites. Truly something for everyone!
In the opposite direction from Kyrenia, travelling to the west, a short drive will bring you up to Hideaway Cyprus. Originally built as a private club, accommodation was added some while ago. Hideaway stands in a quiet location near to the village of Edremit. Family-run through two generations, the hotel is an intimate retreat and is famed for its cuisine and its poolside barbecue nights. Small and with a languid atmosphere, the emphasis here is on the personal touch.
Further to the west near the village of Alsancak, Riverside Cyprus is a much larger property. However, set in eight acres of attractive gardens, the resort feels more relaxed, with accommodation in bungalows and villas scattered throughout the grounds. Riverside has three pools, a selection of restaurants and bars and a mass of facilities, making it an ideal family stay.
Whatever your requirements, holidays to Kyrenia really are still some of the best in the world. Northern Cyprus remains outside the Euro-zone, so value for money is excellent. The climate year-round is favourable, and depending on the time of year, you can find a range from warm to sizzling. Whilst just about every modern activity can be found somewhere in the area, the country as a whole still retains an old-fashioned approach to life. It truly is the Mediterranean like it used to be.