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Blick auf die Altstadt von Famagusta, Bild: kirill_makarov / shutterstock

Famagusta – Charming port city in the north of Cyprus

Famagusta is a port city on the east coast of the island of Cyprus. It is located in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and forms the capital of the district of Gazimagusa. In ancient times, Famagusta was also known as Arsinoe.

Even today, the port city impresses with medieval architecture. For example, it contains a city wall of ancient Venice from the 15th to 16th century, which is still particularly well preserved. It reaches a length of three kilometres. In addition, Famagusta is rich in its cultural and historical heritage.

Until 1974, Famagusta was a tourist stronghold of the Mediterranean island. But then came the civil war, so that the former tourist district of Varosha is now a military restricted area that may not be entered.

Nevertheless, a visit to the city is highly recommended even in the present, as there are numerous interesting sights.

Best time to visit Famagusta

Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque, Famagusta
The Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque, Image: trabantos / shutterstock

The best time to visit Famagusta is considered to be from March to November. It will be warmest from June to September. During this period, there are also dry periods. The coolest temperatures are in January and February. December and January are the most likely to rain. In August, the highest average temperature rises to 32 degrees Celsius, and in January the lowest temperature reaches 16 degrees Celsius.

How to get to Famagusta?

Famagusta can be reached by plane via the airport in Ercan, about 50 kilometers away. However, direct approaches are only possible from Turkey . We continue by bus from Ercan to Famagusta. However, a taxi can also be taken to the port city. The journey takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

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Alternatively, Larnaca Airport, which is located in southern Cyprus, can also be visited. Due to the division of the island, however, there are no direct connections to Famagusta.

In Famagusta itself, it is no problem to cross the old town on foot.

Beach holidays in Famagusta

Famagusta is well suited for a holiday on the beach. There are various beaches of varying scope between the archaeological sites of Salamis and Gazimagusa. Most of them offer sunbeds, umbrellas, showers, beach bars or taverns.

The most beautiful beach in Famagusta is Silver Beach near Salamis. It is ideal for a combination of recreation and culture. Silver Beach also has a lagoon and reef that invites you to snorkel. The shallow, calm water conditions are ideal for exploring the underwater world.

There is also a small cafeteria near the beach, where guests can get drinks and snacks.

Also recommended is the Glapsides Public Beach. It is also located near Salamis and offers a shallow sandy beach. Young people get their money’s worth in the beach restaurant with bar and DJ. Beach parties are often held during the summer months. The sunset is particularly magnificent at Glapside Public Beach. The beach is one of the most popular in Cyprus and scores with an extensive range of water sports. You can also go camping.

Another insider tip is the Bafra Public Beach, which is located on the other side of the cape and has a small restaurant.

The sights of Famagusta

One of the attractions worth seeing in the port city is the old town with its 16th-century fortress wall. The centre of the old town is the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque. It was once the Christian St. Nicholas Cathedral and was converted into an Islamic mosque after the conquest of the city by the Ottomans in 1571. It was named after the Ottoman general Lala Kara Mustafa Pasha.

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The Ravelin

Ravelin is a defensive structure in the shape of a crescent moon, which is located in the southwestern section of the city wall. The building protrudes far into the moat. Next to it is the Landtor, which in earlier times formed one of the two entrances to the city. A ramp leads to the city wall, which offers a magnificent view of the surroundings.

The Tower of Othello

Othello Tower, Famagusta
The Othello Tower in Famagusta, Image: koralex / shutterstock

The fortress of Famagusta includes the Othello Tower. Its main entrance dates back to the 14th century. Above it was a marble St. Mark’s lion, which formed the coat of arms of the Venetians.

The name Othello Tower goes back to the British colonial period of Cyprus. The British paid tribute to William Shakespeare’s work “Othello”, which was set in Cyprus.

The Sea Gate

The sea gate, also called Porta del Mare, formed the second entrance to the city. Access was through the port.

Other attractive sights in Famagusta are the Martinengo Bastion, the Cafer Pasha Bath, the Franciscan Church and the museum with dungeon. Shopping enthusiasts are also in the right place in Famagusta.