North Cyprus Guide
North Cyprus known as the ‘unspoiled jewel of the Mediterranean’, North Cyprus has retained all of its natural charm and beauty and offers a unique insight into a quality of life that most of us have only ever dreamed of.
North Cyprus enjoys a typical Eastern Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and short mild winters. The northern coastline, which borders the Girne (Kyrenia) mountain range, is accepted as one of the most beautiful areas in the world in which to live.
The natural beauty of North Cyprus, the lovely climate, the warmth and generosity of the Turkish Cypriot peoples and the abundant selection of fresh foods make North Cyprus an unspoilt and non-commercialized heaven. There is virtually no crime to speak of, and this country is reminiscent of the UK standards long lost, where hospitality, politeness and the general enjoyment of life are the daily norm.
North Cyprus Geography:
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus comprises an area of 3,355 square miles and encompasses the northern part of the island, which is the third largest in the Mediterranean. It is situated at the cross-roads of east-west and north-south navigational routes, is only 70 kilometers south of Turkey and 385 kilometers north of Egypt. Owing to the location of Northern Cyprus and its proximity to the rich Middle Eastern countries, it provides an ideal place for foreign investment.
North Cyprus Climate:
The climate of the island is of an extreme Mediterranean type with long, hot summers and relatively cool, short winters. Boasting over 300 days of sunshine a year, the sea temperature is rarely below 16°C and rises to 28-30°C during summer months, making North Cyprus one of the healthiest places in the world in which to live.
North Cyprus Towns:
The capital city of the TRNC is Lefkosa (Nicosia), which is the main administration and business centre. Other towns include Magosa (Famagusta) - the country's principal port, Girne (Kyrenia), a town of tourist attractions and archaeological interest, and Guzelyurt (Morphou), which is the centre of the citrus plantations.
North Cyprus Flights:
The main Airport of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Ercan Airport situated around 18km south-east of Nicosia, which handles the majority of flights. There are no direct flights to Northern Cyprus therefore you cannot fly directly to Ercan from any country other than Turkey. This means that there’s an obligatory stopover in mainland Turkey (at Istanbul, Izmir, Dalaman or Antalya), where you may have to change planes. Stopovers and changes of planes at these stopovers are usually handled efficiently.
It’s possible to fly to Larnaca or Paphos and cross the border, subject to current restrictions, which may make it difficult to cross back into the Republic to catch your flight home.
Airlines that fly into Ercan are Cyprus Turkish Airlines (CTA Turkish equivalent is KTHY), the official state airline, Turkish Airlines (TA or THY). CTA offers flights from many European airports, including London Heathrow and Gatwick (three times per week), Stansted (daily), Belfast and Glasgow (once a week) and Manchester (twice a week). Turkish Airlines flies from major cities worldwide, including London Heathrow and Manchester.
As stated above, all international flights are via Turkey. The Heathrow flight stops in Istanbul and many people make a virtue of necessity by taking a break in the Turkish capital. Onur Air offers flights from Stansted (three times per week) and Manchester (once a week), stopping in Istanbul.
North Cyprus Transportation:
Bus services run within and between towns every day except Sunday. Those between major cities are cheap, frequent and efficient. If you want to travel on a Sunday, you'll need to get a service taxi. They're good for most places in the Republic, but they tend to take roundabout routes. North Cyprus has service taxis between Kyrenia and North Nicosia. It's easy to hire cars and bikes all over the country.
Border crossing between North Cyprus & South Cyprus:
What are the restrictions?
Movement between Northern Cyprus and South Cyprus has become increasingly easy since 2003 and particularly since 2004 – especially for EU citizens. Nevertheless, you may not drive a hired car over the Green Line from Northern Cyprus side.
Before Cyprus’ EU accession, tourists were denied entry to South Cyprus (Greek) if they had entered via a sea-port or an airport in the North, in accordance with the South Cyprus's Aliens and Immigration Law. They could even be arrested or deported. And tourists in the south weren’t allowed to stay overnight in Northern Cyprus. However, this law was at odds with the EU’s policy of free movement and specifically with the Green Line regulation (that the Green Line isn’t an external border of the EU), which the government of the South Cyprus agreed to implement on accession. So, in theory, the Cypriot authorities may now only hand out information leaflets about the situation in Northern Cyprus. Nevertheless, just after EU accession in May 2004, the Cypriot justice minister warned that those who enter the Republic through what’s considered an illegal port or airport (i.e. any port or airport in Northern Cyprus) could face on-the-spot fines of between CY£20 and CY£500.
In practice, freedom of movement between North Cyprus and South Cyprus depends largely on the point at which you cross the Green Line. Until recently, the only recognised crossing points were Ledra Palace and Agios Dhometis in the old city of Nicosia, but on 18th April 2005 the EU announced two new crossing points: Ledra Street, in Nicosia city, and Zodhia, just south of Morfou. However, you should check that these new points are operational before attempting to use them.
Cyprus Buffer Zone:
Note that parts of the ‘buffer zone’ between north and south are mined and that there are no recognised crossing points inside the British base areas in the south-east of the island. The EU is pressing for amendments to the Green Line regulation, including free movement of people and goods, the opening of more crossing points and an EU-sponsored de-mining programme for the buffer zone.
South Cyprus Visa Information:
Nationals of the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the EU can stay in the Republic of Cyprus for up to three months without a visa. The UN Green Line, which separates the Greek and Turkish Cypriot regions, is currently open and travel between the regions is legal and straightforward. EU nationals with a valid passport can cross from the north to the south at any time. Travellers may enter the Republic only through the legal ports of entry: Larnaka and Pafos international airports, or the seaports of Limassol and Pafos.
Northern Cyprus Visa Information:
All nationals of the EU, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, the US and Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Singapore can enter Northern Cyprus with a valid passport and stay for up to 90 days without a visa.
If you have a Northern Cyprus stamp in your passport, you will be refused entry to the Republic of Cyprus and possibly Greece too. When entering northern Cyprus, you should ask customs officials to stamp a separate piece of paper, rather than your passport. This is a commonly accepted procedure.
If you wish to stay in Northern Cyprus longer than 90 days, you must obtain a temporary residence permit, which is issued at your local police station. Temporary residence permits are valid for a year and can be obtained by completing an application form and supplying four passport photographs. You must also have a medical to prove you’re free of TB and AIDS.
Permits are usually automatically renewed annually and you may apply for permanent residence after five years of residence in the TRNC. Further information is available from the Migration Department of the Ministry of the Interior in north Nicosia (Tel. +90 392 228-3344,