The tranquil and beautiful village of Bellapais stands in the Kyrenia mountain range, some four miles from North Cyprus' coast. With breathtaking views, tiny streets and ancient buildings around every corner, the village has changed little since it was immortalised by Lawrence Durrell in the 1950s. The author's "Bitter Lemons of Cyprus" chronicles his time in Cyprus and his adventures buying a home in Bellapais, close to Bellapais Abbey. Whilst the abbey is certainly a 'must see' for visitors to Bellapais, there is much more here, including ancient crusader paths that criss-cross the mountain - not to mention an excellent selection of North Cyprus Restaurants and tavernas!
The main feature of Bellapais village is undoubtedly its wonderful abbey, though the small coffee shops and restaurants nearby come a close second! Still in use today for classical music concerts and exhibitions, most life in the village revolves around this famous monument. But once you have spent a couple of hours taking in the fine abbey and the breath-taking views, or followed in the footsteps of Richard the Lionheart along one of the many crusader roads, you can rest and soak up the ambience and relaxed atmosphere for which Northern Cyprus is equally famous.
There is a good choice of high-quality accommodation for holiday-makers who would like to stay in Bellapais village: The Abbey Inn at Bellapaix is a small, boutique hotel with only ten attractively furnished rooms, a small pool and a restaurant, only a stone's throw from Bellapais Abbey. Very close by, The Residence at Bellapaix is another, very small hotel of wonderful quality. A short walk from the abbey takes you to Bellapais Gardens. Sited in the shade of the abbey, Bellapais Gardens has a stunning cliff-top restaurant and comfortable accommodation. Also nearby is the excellent Bellapais Monastery Village, and further down the road, about half-way to Kyrenia, Altinkaya Holiday Village.
Next to Bellapais Abbey, you will find the 'Tree of Idleness', Legend has it that those who sit under the tree will become so lethargic and relaxed that they will be unwilling to work; and Durrell was struck by how true this legend seemed. You may well feel the same, because after visiting Durrell's old haunts, you may find yourself strangely unwilling to move.