Ali Butler, our Cycling Product Manager, had the chance to head out on our brand new Cycling North Cyprus trip before anyone else. Find out why she put together this unique trip around a beautiful and unspoilt part of the island.
This October, I travelled on our new Cycling North Cyprus trip and discovered the island by bike. I had previously walked parts of North Cyprus
, but cycling around the island was completely different. The cycling is superb in North Cyprus as you mainly cycle on quiet country lanes and roads, which are lined with olive, lemon and pomegranate trees.
By bike I could discover completely remote and unspoilt areas of Cyprus and visit more local villages away from the usual tourist hotspots. Topping the whole week was the delicious food and wonderful weather. October is a great time to cycle in North Cyprus, as the mornings and evenings are refreshingly cool but the days are warm with plenty of blue skies. Perfect cycling weather.
The Cypriot food was superb. I was eating seasonal, locally produced food everyday and I particularly enjoyed a delicious lamb and potato stew baked in a clay oven overnight. As you cycle from Famagusta to the Karpaz Peninsula, you can snack on fresh pomegranate, figs, dates and almonds, all sold locally along the route.
The trip takes you around some of the amazing historic sites in North Cyprus. Starting in Famagusta, you explore the Venetian fortifications and Gothic Crusader churches before cycling through the university campus, seeing the hustle and bustle of modern life. You’ll also cycle to the Saint Barnabas Monastery, where I took time to wander around the shaded courtyard housing the iconic museum before cycling to the beautifully located ancient Greek city of Salamis, which overlooks the sea. Salamis has an impressive theatre and archaeological finds that date back as far as the 11th Century BC, but is still used for concerts today.
I enjoyed spending some time in Salamis, eating lunch and taking a dip in the sea before cycling through the countryside onto the fishing village of Bogaz.
When you leave Salamis, you head off the beaten track to discover some of the more remote parts of North Cyprus. Cape Andreas, a peninsular national park, is one of your stops along the route. It is inhabited mainly by wild donkeys and there are long stretches of white sandy beaches completely untouched by tourism.
I didn’t see another tourist until I reached the end of the Karpaz Peninsular, where a few people had travelled to see Andreas Monastery.
I knew North Cyprus didn’t have any of the large tourist resorts that are found in the south of the island but I was surprised just how few tourists and hotels there were.
It really feels like time has stood still in the Karpaz Peninsular. Ancient farming traditions have been preserved and the inhabitants live off the land. The locals are very welcoming and the area is full of historic sites and churches to explore. I loved exploring by bike, and it felt like a perfect detox from modern day life.