Arriving after a comfortable flight with Cyprus Airlines we were...
The Adventure Company offers over 250 activity holidays to many destinations spanning every continent. We have many perfect destinations for your adventure travel, whatever your needs
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Transport - Minibus, on foot.
Accommodation - Hotel (7nts).
Meals - 7 breakfasts & 5 lunches.
Your trip starts at Larnaca Airport, where you transfer to your hotel in Kyrenia (1 ½ hours).
You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the final documents which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. For information on when the trip ends please refer to the itinerary as described below.
Kyrenia’s picturesque harbour is nearby, dotted with fishing boats and pleasure craft. The dramatic Besparmak (Five Finger) Mountain range forms a wonderful backdrop to the minarets of the mosques in the old town. A dramatic Crusader castle dominates one end of the quay, which stretches in a lazy arch. It is lined with a dozen or so little restaurants, all beautifully restored and whose Venetian facades only add to the harbour’s charm. Transport to the harbour will be arranged on most evenings of your holiday and your leader will be happy to suggest suitable restaurants and tavernas. It is possible to walk back to the hotel, although most clients choose to share a very reasonably priced taxi. Hotel - 7 nights
Oscar Resort- The seaside location of this hotel makes it a great place to relax each day. The hotel has a great range of facilities, including several pools and a spa. The hotel is situated about 20 minutes walk from the beautiful harbour and castle area in Kyrenia, boasting a wide selection of bars and restaurants.
After a morning briefing, please meet your tour leader in the hotel reception at 10:30, where you will learn more of the week ahead, you set off on your first walk.
Please note that North Cyprus has many paths and tracks to discover; because of this and occasional access restrictions, the walks followed during the week may differ from those shown below, which are given for illustration only.
Your first day of walking sees you depart by bus for the small village of Bellapais. Lying just a few kilometres out of Kyrenia, amongst hills dotted with slender Cypresses, Bellapais was made famous by Lawrence Durrell in his book ‘Bitter Lemons’. Durrell describes this beautiful village in detail and today much is still recognisable from passages in his book.
The famous ‘Tree of Idleness’ stands in front of the magnificent 14th Century Crusader Abbey after which the village takes its name. You have time to wander around the site before walking uphill through the village’s bougainvillaea-strewn houses, to reach a broad forest track. After an hour or so of walking, with splendid views back across to Kyrenia and the sea beyond, you enter a high mountain valley. Here the track weaves its way amongst low bushes of sage and several species of young pine. The dense pine forest that once covered this area was destroyed by forest fire in 1995. However, the local Forest Department have been working hard to restore the natural habitats and today you will see many thriving young trees. After lunch beneath the mountain summits you’ll pick up a little-used track, which leads you down to Catalkoy village and your transport back to the hotel.
Distance walked approx. 8 km (BL)
One of the many rewards for visitors to Cyprus is the profusion of wild flowers, especially in springtime. There are more than 30 species of orchid, including the aptly-named ‘naked man orchid’ (Orchis italica), together with cyclamen, tulips, and anemones. In addition, North Cyprus is a must for even the most casual bird watcher - not only does it have over 300 resident species (raptors, hoopoe, blue rock thrush, chukar, bee-eaters, rollers and francolin amongst them) but many more migratory visitors.
This morning you first transfer the short distance to St. Hilarion’s Castle (750m). This ancient citadel overlooks Kyrenia from a dramatic hilltop, and, as a result, has spectacular coastal views.
It is said that this fortress was the model for Snow White’s castle in the famous Disney cartoon film, and indeed it does have a brooding presence. It is said that if a visitor finds the elusive 101st room they will enter a wondrous garden filled with treasure!
After an hour or so to explore the castle you begin your predominantly downhill walk to the village of Karaman. After a few minutes’ walking you reach a dried up stream bed which you follow through a narrow rocky gorge to reach a wonderful vantage point overlooking Kyrenia and back up to the castle. Half an hour of steep descent, followed by half an hour of gradual uphill brings you to your lunch stop, near the church in the flower-filled village of Karaman. In the afternoon you head eastwards, along gentle tracks to meet the bus which will return you to your hotel.
Distance walked approx. 10 km (BL)
North Cyprus’s compact size means that distances really are quite small and are therefore easily and quickly covered; your drive to the start point of today’s walk at the Alevkaya Forest Station doesn’t take much more than 45 minutes or so. A short visit to the Herbarium here (founded by the respected British botanist Dr. Deryck Viney) is a great introduction to Cypriot flora.
Setting off on foot you walk on forest tracks towards Yayla Peak (927m) passing through stands of the strange strawberry tree (Arbutus Andrachne). These tracks are typical of those you will walk during the week. Broad, but occasionally rough underfoot and sometimes steep (making them 'moderate' in the sometimes hot weather) these are mainly used by farmers so you are unlikely to come across many other walkers.
You gradually gain altitude from Alevkaya to around 825m, directly below Yayla Peak, and then descend to arrive at Tirmen Pass. At this point there are fantastic views to the south over the Mesaoria Plain and, to the north, the Mediterranean.
Today and over the next couple of days you will walk past many varieties of herb, their scents filling the air in the warm sun. One of the most common is Cistus salviifolius or sage-leafed rockrose. This plant is a key ingredient in ada chai - ‘island tea’ - an infusion made from the leaves of the plant and which is used locally to treat upset stomachs.
Turning north you walk down to Antiphonitis Church. This pretty little church, built in a number of contrasting styles - Byzantine, Lusignan and Venetian - is tucked away in the depths of the forest. Receiving few visitors (yet with a gatekeeper!) those who do stumble across the church may be able to view the deteriorating frescoes – if you keep your fingers crossed it should be unlocked with the opportunity to share a coffee with the gatekeeper. You then return to Kyrenia. No doubt this evening you shall head down to the harbour front for a meal and a chat about the day’s walk.
Distance walked approx. 16 km (BL)
There are many options for today, which has been left free for you to spend as you please. Kyrenia’s small coves and beaches, or alternatively the walled city of Nicosia, can be reached easily enough – only 25 minutes by car from Kyrenia. There is also a regular bus service. Alternatively, a popular optional excursion visits Famagusta and the nearby ruined city of Salamis. Your group leader will be on hand to ensure that you can spend the day as constructively as you wish and will assist with any arrangements. Tonight everyone will gather together again for the briefing on the next day’s walk. (B).
Dramatically located on a rocky outcrop, Buffavento is the highest Crusader castle on the island. Set at an altitude of 954m, you’ll have seen the castle on some of your walks earlier in the week; today you’ll explore its imposing ruins. You drive to Buffavento Castle along a newly paved forest road overlooking the Mesaoria Plain. Starting from the car park below the castle, we will make the 700 step climb to this strategic fortress, which in parts ascends steeply - adding to the sense on invincibility of the castle’s position. Once at the castle you enter through an arched gateway and inside can see the remains of a number of rooms, a cistern and chapel. Built in Byzantine times, Buffavento was once used by the king as a hideaway from Richard the Lionheart but the king’s daughter is said to have surrendered the castle to the Crusaders in 1191.
After taking in the extensive views south and north from the castle walls you’ll descend the steps and have a well-earned break for lunch, under the shade of an olive tree. Your descent from the mountain takes you westward on the southern flank of the Besparmark Range with views inland across the Mesaoria Plain – the “breadbasket” of Northern Cyprus. You will first walk along a road, before heading into the forest for the walk up and downhill back to Bellapais village, where you will meet your driver for the return journey to the hotel. Distance walked approx. 14 km (BL)
Your final walk starts today with a drive along the Kyrenia-Nicosia road to Besparmak Mountain – the mountain of ‘five fingers’ that gives its name to the whole range. Your walk starts here and follows a forestry track east, gradually descending towards the coast. After an hour and a half’s walking you’ll reach a local ‘Lovers’ Leap’, a rocky outcrop on the left hand side of the trail, that overlooks a dizzying sheer drop. An hour or so later you’ll arrive at Sourp Margar. An abandoned monastery dating from the 12th Century, the building was established by Armenian monks fleeing Byzantine rule. Remaining undiscovered for two decades they were able to worship in safety. Abandoned in the late 17th Century, the monastery is in disrepair; however, the roof still retains a few frescoes.
From Sourp Margar you descend towards the Alagadi Reservoir, with a stop for lunch after a further half hour’s walking. After lunch you continue on to reach the reservoir and your bus which will be waiting nearby. A short drive then takes you to the coast for a refreshing dip in the Mediterranean – a wonderful way to finish a fascinating week of walks.
Distance walked approx. 18 km (BL)
Your trip ends today. You may have time to wander the picturesque streets of Kyrenia one last time if you so wish. (B)
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