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a VirtualTourist member from Manchester


How has Kyrenia changed?

Am planning to visit Kyrenia in June. Last visited about 10 years ago and found it a lovely, enchanting place. However... have just read a scarey couple of postings on TA which say that Kyrenia is much changed and not for the better, in particular, the poster said how run down it has become in recent years etc etc. Could anyone give me an honest appraisal of the situation before I make my final booking?

Also, I was intending staying at Sammy's Hotel (can't stand 'posh' 5* ones!). Any comments on the hotel? And is it a walkable distance from the harbour? (Looks OK on the map, but maps can be misleading!).

Any information you can give would be very, very gratefully received.

9 Answers

answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I was there at Christmas. Have a look at my Kyrenia pages for an idea of what it's like now.

I don't know about changes......haven't been there before. But I liked Kyrenia very much indeed.

I'm sure Kyrenia is considerably more built-up than 10 years ago. It's certainly not a quiet little place, but I certainly would not consider it any more 'run down' than most places in N Cyprus. Times have, after all, not been easy for that area.

From the map the hotel is probably around 15/20 minutes walk from the harbour.

Can I suggest you have a look at the Nostalgia Hotel: I thought it was lovely (and literally 2 minutes from the harbour).

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Manchester

Thanks so much for this response, it's helped me make up my mind and I'll definitely stick with Kyrenia this summer. Will check out the Nostalgia as you suggest - thanks again!

answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

Certainly lots of evidence of developments...but also, sadly, lots of evidence that the money for developments ran out. This is especially obvious as one travels further eastwards along the coast from Kyrenia: many half-built hotels/villa estates etc.

I think there was a boomj in building for the retirement/second home market, but issues over land ownership, sanctions and the recession have all played their part if causing real problems.

I found the people at the Nostalgia to be absolutely lovely and incredibly helpful, especially the young manager. The chef even prepared a proper Christmas dinner for us (served with the greatest of pride)!

Just don't expect power showers: N Cyprus has a real water crisis.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Hesperia

Thanks for this update on N Cyprus. It has been a while for me, so I much appreciate knowing how things are progressing there. I am filing the Nostalgia Hotel in me file......d:o)

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Singapore

Like you I visited 10 years ago, then went back in 2005. It hadn't changed much except that in 2005 there were more British tourists. What were prices like when you returned there in 2010? How much was a cup of coffee on the Turkish side and on the Greek side?

answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I didn't go to the Greek side last year. Prices were a little lower than I remembered/would have expected around Europe. But not by very much. Almost everything in the way of food/fuel/goods has to be imported into N Cyprus via Turkey, so overheads are very high.

N Cyprus is still a popular holiday destination and there are still those from e.g. the UK who purchase homes there for holidays/retirement. But the ownership of land is inevitably continuing to cause problems, and there are plenty of abandoned half-built hotels/holiday apartment blocks etc around (and lots of abandoned previously-Greek-owned properties as well).

There is very little spare money for the upkeep or further excavation of its magnificent historical and archaeological sites. The old town of Famagusta is particularly sad in this regard.

But things do move forward: crossing the border by vehicle is not difficult and the newish pedestrian crossing in Nicosia centre means people can easily pass to and fro for their shopping.

A lovely place to visit. I do hope to return.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Singapore

Thanks for that. In 2000 when I went I arrived on the Greek side (I flew to Larnaca) and I could walk across the border (green line) from Greek Nicosia to Turkish Nicosia, then get a dolmus (shared bus) on to Girne, then back to Turkish Nicosia and over the border to Greek Nicosia. But in 2000 you couldn't arrive on the Turkish side and cross to the Greek side - you could only do it by arriving first on the Greek side. Now you can cross the border stsrting from either side. Greek Nicosia is very pretty, especially inside the old city walls and old city, and even Turkish Nicosia is interesting and cheap. In 2005 Greek Cyprus was very expensive (eg a coffee was 3 British Pounds) but they do have some lovely cafes on the nice main street in the new part of Greek Nicosia.

You could even get a jetfoil/boat from Girne/Kyrenia to Alanya in Turkey for about 50 Uk Pounds in 2005 and Alanya is very nice, so you could do that next time, plus no problem for you to travel there alone.


answered by
Mary Smith from Leicester

I don't think there is a great deal of difference in prices between the North and the South, for the reason I've given...having to import the majority of good through Turkey. I certainly did not find much difference (although the mega tourist-popular resorts of the south do, of course and inevitably, charge slightly higher prices than elsewhere).

The new crossing point in central Nicosia allows free flow of pedestrians (no vehicles), although there are proper checkpoints and a 'no-man's land' between them.

There is still a green line of no-man's land between north and south.

North Nicosia has much historical interest, including a wonderful renovated and very early Ottoman han (an unrenovated one also exists), lovely Medieval Gothic cathedral and Bedestan, the Dercish ethnographic museum. and the walls/fortifications, of course.

Well worth a visit.

You can still take the ferry to Turkey from Girne (Kyrenia) but I don't think it is no longer a feasible daytrip.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Manchester

Many thanks to everyone who's replied to my posting and a big, big apology for long delay in getting back/thanking you!
Wasn't disappointed with Kyrenia - it was much as I remembered it tho', as others have said, a big increase in British tourists. And the prices were a wonderful surprise (compared with my usual stamping grounds of Italy and Spain!)- think coffee, small beer, glass of wine etc were about 2 lira tho' could have been less, and dinner about 15L without stinting!
Found Famagusta rather sad (hadn't been there before)- such a beatiful, historical place and so run down.
Liked Sammy's and would stay there again IF we went back. However, trip rather spoiled by Cyprus Turkish Airlines (are they still operating??) - 10 hour delay on way out but were fortunate to fly back the day before they went bust which MAY have accounted for the atrocious attitudes of the flight attendants. And Girne airport was a nightmare - took two hours to get thru check-in and security and only just made it to the plane.
Thanks again for all your input!

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