North Cyprus enjoys hot, dry summers that last from June to September, with rain virtually unheard of during these months. By contrast, winter can be wet, particularly in December and January. Rivers that fi ll up during these months will be dry throughout the summer. January and February are particularly cold. Snow can fall on the higher parts of the Kyrenia Range, but very rarely lower down.
North Cyprus is a year-round holiday destination, but spring and autumn are the best times to visit. From late February until late April the island comes alive with thousands of colourful flowers, and in March and April the air is infused with the scent of citrus blossom. Rain is virtually unheard of between June and mid- September, with the midsummer months of July and August sending the mercury soaring, sometimes pushing towards 45°C. The rainy season generally lasts from November until February, although occasional showery days do occur in October and even more so in March. December and January are the wettest months, while January and February are the coldest. April and May can yield terrific rainstorms, but you never have to wait for more than a day or two before brilliant sunshine breaks out again. If you are considering a winter visit, bear in mind that some hotels may be closed from October to March. This is also the favoured season for restoration work on historic buildings.
Wild flowers are a seasonal highlight of the island © North Cyprus Tourism Centre
Recent years have seen a boom in package holidays and property development, and North Cyprus now gives other Mediterranean resorts a run for their money when it comes to choosing a week away inthe sun. Nonetheless, for those willing to circumvent an occasionally gaudy tourist veneer, the heart of what makes North Cyprus special remains the same. In such a small country, and with most people choosing to base themselves in and around Girne, all the major sights can comfortably be visited as day trips – the one exception being the Karpas Peninsula, where at least one night should be spent to experience the unique tranquillity of this still unspoilt wilderness. In addition to the major attractions below, nature lovers will want to spend some time walking, admiring the flora and orchids (depending on the season) or birdwatching. The following suggestions summarise the most popular options:
- Vouni, Soli and Güzelyurt
- Buffavento (on foot)
- Kantara Castle
- Gazimağusa (Famagusta)
- Lefkoşa (Nicosia)