North Cyprus – The hidden pearl of the Mediterranean
North Cyprus is what you can call a hidden gem in the Mediterranean; brilliant sun, pristine beaches, crystal clear sea and delicious culinary experiences make North Cyprus one of the best kept secrets of the Mediterranean. With its natural beauty, North Cyprus attracts an increasing number of foreign home buyers and tourists.
North Cyprus is a safe and friendly country that has strong family values. The locals welcome visitors with open arms who happily share their cultures and traditions. It is very easy to instantly feel at home here. Thanks to the warm and comfortable climate, people tend to spend their lives outdoors and enjoy a large number of outdoor activities.
The pace of life is slow and relaxed. The sunny weather with 340 sunny days a year is of course a great reason why North Cyprus is so popular. Here you can enjoy the sun and swim all year round. With its pleasant climate, the island has also become an obvious destination for golfers who devote themselves to their sport all months of the year.
The whole of country is blessed with beautiful scenery with miles long beaches and fabulous mountain ranges. Here there are national parks with wild donkeys and pristine bays where the sea turtles lay their eggs.
Many are so in love with North Cyprus that they choose to settle here permanently. A high quality of life at very low cost of living makes the place the ideal place for life lovers.
North Cyprus covers a total area of 1357 square kilometers with more than half of the island’s 240 kilometers of coastline.
Cyprus was divided into two separate states since 1974. This was due to the linguistic and cultural differences and due to friction that lasted for 11 years (see history). Greek Cypriots live in south and Turkish Cypriots in north Cyprus. A border called the green line goes through Lefkoşa (Nicosia), the capital separating the two states. Currently, there are five border crossings that offer 24-hour free access for EU citizens to pass to both sides.
The five regions
Northern Cyprus consists of five regions offering unique experiences for everyone:
- The iconic port city of Kyrenia (Girne) in the north.
- The spectacular Karpaz with golden beaches in the east.
- The historic city of Famagusta in the east coast.
- The fascinating capital, Lefkoşa (Nicosia) in the middle of the island.
- The citrus-scented Güzelyurt in the Wes
Beaches, plains and mountains
North Cyprus is characterized by a unique blend of beaches, plains and mountains. The long northern coast is supported by the Beşparmak mountain range (Five Finger), which forms an astounding backdrop with its forested slopes and magnificent limestone peaks, the highest being Mount Selvili at 3357 ft. The lower hills and lowlands are alive with lush greenery, rare species of birds and butterflies, and a natural diversity of flowers that are unmatched in the Mediterranean, with estimated 19 endemic plant species.
Sandy beaches and rocky coves await the discovery along the coast. East of the island, the Five Finger loses the mountain range as it stretches along the narrow peninsula, known as Karpaz or “Panhandle”, a spectacular finger-shaped region of rolling hills and pristine golden beaches. South of the Five Finger mountain range lies the plain of Mesaoria and the capital Lefkoşa (Nicosia).
North Cyprus has a very pleasant climate, with hot, dry summers and mild winters, and an average of 340 days of sunshine. In August, the hottest month with average temperatures from 30 ° C to 36 ° C and in the coldest months, January and February is the average temperature about 10 ° C to 15 ° C, with a winter mean of 6 hours daily sunshine and only moderate rain, which make it an ideal destination all year round..
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was formally formed in 1983 and today the island is still divided. TRNC is a completely democratic state and peace consists of both sides of the island. On April 23, 2003, the borders between north and south were opened and it is now also very easy to get around, making Northern Cyprus a truly excellent destination for those who dream of a holiday that is deep in history. As you explore the island, you will surely enjoy the multicultural heritage, a land where countless civilizations have left their colorful and fascinating imprints.
The population of northern Cyprus is approximately 264,000 (2016 census) and 55% of the population lives in urban areas. The urban population is distributed as follows:
Lefkosa (Nicosia): 73,000
The official language is Turkish, but English is also widely spoken as a second language.
The urban population is mainly employed in the service industry and light industries such as drinks, clothing and buildings. The rural population lives in villages. There are about 195 villages in northern Cyprus. Rural people are mainly agricultural and produce a variety of crops such as wheat, barley, olives, carobs, melons, grapes, figs and potatoes grown commercially on a moderate scale. Citrus is the most important export, but exports from northern Cyprus have generally been severely limited due to the trade embargo.
Although the tourist, banking and education sectors have increased in recent years, slower commercial and industrial growth in northern Cyprus has become a distinct advantage, as it is still relatively undiscovered and untouched by massaturism with minimal pollution and minimal crime. Education has recently been developed to become one of the most important sources of income, with its five private universities offering a good standard for international education for foreign students, including many from Turkey, Africa and the Middle East.
For Turkish Cypriots, family life is of the utmost importance and therefore a large part of their leisure time is spent on family associations, barbeques and weddings. All cities and even some villages hold festivals, many of which are in the summer.
Wild animals and plants
Northern Cyprus is still relatively undiscovered so that wildlife flourishes, with about 250 bird species landing on the island each year in their journey from east to west. There is also an abundance of lizards, wild donkeys and butterflies, including 19 endemic species, that is, unique to the region, such as the oddly shaped Cleopatra butterflies adorned with the sun’s colors. All of these are part of a rich natural heritage on an island of contrasts extending from the top of Mount Selvili 3000 meters to the tranquil slopes of the sea water, where the famous turtles land to lay their eggs.
The warm climate of northern Cyprus also means that you can enjoy beautiful flowers all year round, making it a true botanical sanctuary. In the autumn and winter, golden oleanders float the hills, while multicolored anemones and crocuses occur before Christmas. But it is in late winter and spring that the island blooms into a festival of colors with orchid and cherry poppies.
Turkish Cypriot cuisine
There are many influences in today’s Cypriot cuisine that have their roots from countries such as Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, France and Italy. Meze, the Cypriot snacks are special for Cyprus. Helim (Halloumi), the famous Cypriot cheese which can be served grilled or fresh.
There are several different types of kebab dishes. The most famous is seftali kebab, a kind of local sausage, small and spicy. Another popular kebab is called Kleftico kebab, it is lamb with potatoes slowly cooked in a clay oven. We must not forget about fresh fish which is also popular. Fresh fish is cooked in butter or grilled.
Yogurt is important for Cypriot cuisine. Thick and creamy yogurt is served to meat, vegetables, sauces, kebabs and salads. Even Ayran, a drinking yoghurt with mint, is very popular. Salads, of all types, are served with meals. Olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper (garlic if you wish) are common ingredients for salad.
Different types of vegetable dishes are also very popular. A specialty that can be found is Molohia, a green leafy vegetable resembling spinach. Usually cooked with chicken or meat. Stuffed pumpkin flowers called Dolmamake a very special and delicious meal.
After each main course, Turkish coffee or tea is served with popular desserts such as Baklava (sweet pastries), Lokma (deep-fried mini donuts) or a plate of fresh fruit.
Northern Cyprus has an impressive list of brand new hospitals, surgery and dental care all with the latest technology available. No care queues and with staff who put you in the forefront and help you immediately feel well taken care of and in addition it is cheap eg dental care is about 50% cheaper than here in Sweden.
Northern Cyprus does not belong to the EU / EEA and thus you are not covered by healthcare in the new country of residence. You have the right to care, but have to pay for it. Therefore, it is advisable to take out a private health insurance, which gives you access to the best possible healthcare and is offered great freedom of choice regarding hospitals and doctors.
For short stays, ERV travel insurance gives you good protection for a relatively small cost. www.erv.se
Cost of living
Northern Cyprus generally offers a high quality of life at a lower cost than other Mediterranean countries. Local foods such as fruits and vegetables and local crafts are generally cheaper, but goods such as imported cars and electronic items can be more expensive because of the high import duty. Property prices and rents are extremely low compared not only to southern Cyprus but also to other Mediterranean countries.
The official currency is Turkish Lira (TL). Currencies such as British Pounds, US Dollars and Euros are also accepted. You can pay by credit card in most places and ATMs are everywhere.
You have the right to open a bank account in a Northern Cyprus bank when you buy a property. There you usually get very good interest rates (8-12%), in addition, there is no tax on capital in Northern Cyprus.
Good selection of cars and are generally of good quality and new models from as little as SEK 200 per day. Do the driving on the left side.
In Sweden, the children inherit automatically, but in Northern Cyprus you have to create a will and tell who will inherit you. If this is not done, the state inherits you. The lawyer will help you with this.
Travel to North Cyprus
To get to Cyprus there are two main airports, Ercan in northern Cyprus (Turkish part) near the capital Nicosia and Larnaca in southern Cyprus (Greek part).
There are several daily departures from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Copenhagen to Ercan with a short stopover in Istanbul. The price for a t / r trip usually ranges between SEK 1500 – 3000. From Ercan airport takes about 30 min to Kyrenia.
During the high season many direct flights go from Sweden to Larnaca which can be a cheap alternative to getting to Cyprus. From Larnaca it takes about 75 minutes to Kyrenia.