Visit the colourful market and meet the friendly locals in north Nicosia (the Cypriot capital is a divided city like the island itself). Make sure you buy a slab of halva, a Turkish sweet made from sesame seeds. Then visit the peaceful enclave of Saint Barnabas Monastery outside the university town of Famagusta before sitting down to a fresh seafood dinner on the port in Kyrenia.
Spend the morning trekking up to Saint Hilarion Castle, a crusader stronghold perched up high in Northern Cyprus’ Five Finger Mountains. Poke around the ruins and take in the view up and down the coast for miles in either direction — then head to the coast and wash off the dust and sweat with a dip in the balmy Mediterranean.
The Karpaz Peninsula is well worth spending at least one day (if not more). Wild donkeys roam the plains, monasteries dot the landscape and the calm waters of the Med lap against endless kilometres of unspoilt and uncrowded beaches.
In one week
With more time on your hands, spend a couple of nights at the Karpaz Peninsula. There are about a dozen campsites offering cosy beach huts for the equivalent of about £10 a night — the perfect location for lazing away hours swimming, fishing or doing nothing at all.
Afterwards, spend your last couple of days with a jaunt into southern Cyprus for a taste of Greek-Cypriot culture and life on the other side of the UN-controlled border.
The rock of Aphrodite, according to legend is the birthplace of the Greek goddess of Love. You can get here via the local bus service, number 631 from the harbour or if you are in a group, head to it via boat. Dont forget to pack your snorkel. Entry fee is 4.50 euros and boat hire varies depending on the operator.
The Tomb of the Kings is strangely named as there are no kings buried there; however it is an interesting archaeological site to visit. This site can be accessed via the local hop on/off bus tour which costs 10 euros. It will take 2-3 hours to explore fully, afterwards reward yourself with a nice cool drink in own of the many bars in downtown Paphos.
No holiday to the Mediterranean would be complete without a day of fun with some watersports. Jet biking, parasailing, crazy sofas and banana boats are all on offer. There are many operators offering these activities – we were lucky enough to go with Gregory and his team at San Antonio Watersports at the back of the Louis ledra Beach Hotel and had a fun packed day in a very safe environment.