“Having been annexed in 1974, North Cyprus has been relatively cut off - which has preserved its bucolic landscapes, fascinating archaeological sites & Turkish Cypriot hospitality. This walking holiday introduces you to the best of each.”
Bellapais village & monastery | Kyrenia Castle | Karpas Peninsula | St Hilarion Castle | Incirli Caves | Kantara crusader castle | Kaplica Beach | Buffavento Castle | Walking in the Five Finger Mountains Optional: excursion to Famagusta
Description of North Cyprus walking holiday
Since separating from the rest of Cyprus in 1974, Northern Cyprus has received far fewer tourists than the rest of island – but some of Cyprus’s most beautiful landscapes and fascinating archaeological sites can be found here. This North Cyprus walking holiday takes you through this unspoiled region, teeming with wildlife, to introduce you to the laid back Turkish Cypriot culture and discover the remains of the civilisations that inhabited the region, dating back over 3,000 years.
Along the way, you’ll visit pretty mountain villages and harbour towns; crusader castles at Kyrenia and Buffavento; and the Incirli cave, filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Most days you’ll be walking around 10-12km at a leisurely pace, and a free day in the middle of this North Cyprus waking holiday allows for further sightseeing – or just relaxing on the beach.
Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.
Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: North Cyprus walking holiday
Activity: Few holidays have as little detrimental impact on the environment and local residents as a walking trip. Erosion on and adjacent to popular paths is a growing problem in certain places and therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We do believe in leaving no more than footprints, although this tour does encourage clients to have a positive effect by engaging with locals, using cafes and restaurants, and investing in traditional gifts and local produce. By visiting a number of places of interest and offering additional optional excursions, we also support the upkeep of churches, castles and museums whilst also creating local employment.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Accommodation and Meals: On this trip we spend 7 nights in comfortable hotel with beautiful views of the coast. The accommodation is locally staffed, meaning that many people in the area benefit from employment opportunities. This also ensures that income generated is reinvested into the community and that clients have more interaction with locals. Where meals are provided, fresh, locally sourced ingredients will be used as much as possible. Free mealtimes can be used to explore authentic Northern Cypriot cuisine and support some off-the-beaten-track eateries. Regional specialties include: dolmasi (stuffed squash blossoms), seftali kebabi (minced lamb kebabs), borek (fried pockets of halloumi or meat) and, of course, locally produced olives, hummus and yoghurt.
Local Craft and Culture: Our tour takes us to Kyrenia’s Crusader Castle, which is home to the Shipwreck Museum containing a 4th Century Greek merchant vessel and its cargo. St. Hilarion Castle, Buffavento Castle and Kantara Castle are also on the itinerary, whilst the free day offers opportunities to visit ancient city of Salamis or Famagusta with Othello's Tower, St Sophia Cathedral and the Venetian Palace. There is a large amount of history and culture to be discovered here and all guides will be able to facilitate this with briefings that include education about local community and environment.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of North Cyprus walking holiday
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.
I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 29 Dec 2013 by Maria Falgoust
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The landscape - the mountains are breathtaking! We also saw goats in trees!
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Bring wipes, a roll of toilet paper and candy or alcohol to share (if you want to.)
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The trip employs local men and they always gave empty water jugs to the villagers. It would be nice if we could help with the litter issue in some of the remote areas...
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
It was a memorable, challenging and fabulous trip.