North Cyprus provides a great opportunity to walk in a variety of landscapes. Forest trails follow the top of the Kyrenia mountain ridge as well as the lower slopes, and are well graded. Some trails are broad-track, others well-defined footpaths, with many of the published walks being “round” walks so that you can return to your starting point. There are walks and hikes for all ages and abilities, from the avid hiker to the Sunday stroller.
The most popular months for walking holidays in North Cyprus are autumn through to springtime, when the temperatures start to drop after the long hot summers. Expect some rainfall from the end of October through to the end of April, but most days are pleasant enough for a hike through the woods or across the mountain range. After the first rain of the winter, the island becomes green, flowers bloom and the landscapes are colourful and scented. Orchid walks are organised in March and April, when these pretty little flowers are in full bloom, or you can go searching for this unique flora yourself amongst the foothills of the mountains. Also lookout for the Anatolian orchid amongst the forest floors.
Some of the most popular walking trails in North Cyprus can be found along the Kyrenia Mountain Range, which rises dramatically up from the coastal plain and is sometimes described as the ‘Gothic Range’ on account of its vertical strata. The Alevkaya Forest Station is the starting point for many walks, with the highest peak of the mountain range at approximately 1,000 metres where you can see the Manzanita trees with their distinctive smooth red bark. Mountain trails are well-marked on both the north and south side and the mountains feature changing landscapes from pine and cypress trees to sandy tracks. The North Cyprus Tourism Board have produced a booklet about the various walking and hiking trails in Kyrenia and the Karpaz entitled “North Cyprus Trails - Walking in Nature” which you can find at most Tourist Information Centres. It includes a rough map and information about the walks.
One of the reasons walking in North Cyprus is so popular is the superb panoramic views to be had from the many walking trails; you can see for miles! Some walks include the opportunity to visit Crusader Castles, dramatically perched on impossible summits along with the range. You can walk through 9,000 years of history, encountering old ruined monasteries and churches nestled in secluded valleys, as well as many other hidden places to discover.
On the coastal plain there are walks through olive groves; some with very ancient trees serving as living monuments to time. There are reservoir walks which provide interest for bird-watching and walk bordering cultivated fields. There are walks through landscapes wherein the spring the roses on the rocks colour the landscape pink and white. There are coastal trails where you can walk along cliffs and through areas where there are no development, just empty, unspoilt beaches interspersed with rocky reefs and sweeping skies.
The Karpaz Peninsula, being one of a number of protected areas, offers a network of trails on both the north and south coasts. Near Apostolos Andreas Monastery it is possible to see the wild donkeys, now looked after and enclosed in a large reservation. On the south side of the Karpaz you can walk along one of the most spectacular beaches in the whole of North Cyprus, Golden Sands Beach.
Whether you choose to venture out on your own or one of our guided tours, North Cyprus offers opportunities to experience nature like no other, with ever-changing scenery, nature and landscapes along the way. Just be sure to bring your walking boots!