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Der Golden Beach auf Karpas, Bild: jaras72 / shutterstock

The Karpas Peninsula

In the far northeast of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus is the elongated peninsula of Karpas (Turkish: “Karpaz”). It is about ten kilometres wide and 80 kilometres long. A total of over 24,000 people live on this headland, which is particularly known for its wildly romantic landscape and extensive cypress forests. Along the coast there are numerous beautiful beaches, which you often have all to yourself. The rugged rocks of the Kyrenia Mountains gently slope in the east of the peninsula and result in a picturesque hilly landscape.

Small villages exude an idyllic charm and the people there live mostly from agriculture and livestock breeding. Along the often unpaved roads, there are extensive grain, wine and tobacco fields as well as olive groves to see. A varied fauna also characterises the image of the Turkish-run peninsula. If you are looking for untouched nature and peace and quiet on your holiday, Karpas is the right place for you.

The best places to visit on Karpas

Kantara Fortress

An interesting sight on the Karpas peninsula is the Kantara Castle, which dates back to the Middle Ages. It is located in the immediate vicinity of the mountain village of the same name and is located at an altitude of 700 meters. Visitors can visit the remains of the two towers of the outer wall, the Zwinger and the upper castle. In the past, the fortress was considered a checkpoint for access to the Karpas peninsula. From the castle ruins you can enjoy a magnificent view of the northeastern coast of Cyprus as well as the Kyrenia Mountains.

Dipkarpaz

Also on the peninsula is the large village of Dipkarpaz, also called Rizokarpaso, with over 5,000 inhabitants. What makes it special is that some of the few Greek Cypriots on the island still live here today together with the Turkish Cypriots – despite the unrest in 1974. Nevertheless, there is a peaceful coexistence in Dipkarpaz. In the village you can see and visit both a mosque from 1993 and a Greek Orthodox church standing close to each other. In addition to an idyllic beach, the area is ideal for hiking and climbing and is an ideal starting point to explore the beautiful landscape of the peninsula in more detail.

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Cape Apostolos Andreas with monastery of the same name

Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, Karpas
Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, Image: Nejdet Düzen / shutterstock

If you are planning a particularly beautiful excursion, you should go to the extreme northeastern tip of the peninsula. There is Cape Apostolos Andreas, which offers a magnificent view of the open sea and the rocky Klithes Islands. A ten-metre-high rock massif at the cape bears the flags of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus and Turkey. If you would like to experience some culture after the trip into the wild nature, combine the excursion with the monastery of the same name, about five kilometers away. This was once one of the most important pilgrimage sites of the Cypriots.

Little remains of the older buildings from the 19th century, but the modern church invites you to visit. Above all, however, the monastery is visited because of the St. Andrew’s Spring. This is located below the monastery church in a rock and is considered the historical origin of the church.

Numerous souvenir stalls at the Andreas Monastery sell souvenirs and a special highlight are the wild donkeys that live in a nearby reserve. The animals are very trusting and like to be fed by visitors (with carrots and apples).

The most beautiful beaches on Karpas

Karpas / Karpaz
Image: Chawranphoto / shutterstock

Along the Karpas peninsula there are beautiful, unspoiled beaches, as well as some public beaches where smaller hotels and guesthouses have settled. However, they all have one thing in common: they invite you to sunbathe extensively and make you forget everyday life. One of the hotels with a beach section is the “Sea Bird Motel & Restaurant”, which is located one kilometer north of the Andreas Monastery in the far east of the peninsula. A section of beach in an idyllic bay, which is ideal for swimming and relaxing, is one of them.

The “Oasis Hotel & Restaurant at Ayfilon” and “Club Malibu Beach Hotel” located in the north of the headland also have their own beaches that rent umbrellas and sunbeds. The “Livana Hotel” in the southern region of Karpas inspires with a very spacious, fine-grained beach that offers an incredible view of the wide sea and is a fantastic place to watch sunsets.

Probably the most famous beach on the Karpas peninsula is the “Golden Beach”. It is located far in the southeast of the headland and is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the north of Cyprus. The fine-grained beach stretches for miles and offers plenty of space for guests due to its width. It is framed by picturesque sand dunes and offers the largest population of endangered sea turtles living in Northern Cyprus. The turquoise blue waters of the beach invite you to swim and snorkel. Several restaurants along Golden Beach, such as “Burhan’s Place Golden Beach”, “Teko’s Placeturtle Beach” or the “Hassan Turtle Beach Restaurant” offer regional delicacies such as meat, seafood and fish, and invite you to linger with a view of the turquoise blue sea.

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The “Alagadi Beach” is part of the Karpas Peninsula, but is also a beautiful beach. Sea turtles can also be found there and those interested even have the opportunity to take part in guided tours at night, during which you can get up close and personal with the impressive animals.

What to do with children in Karpas?

  1. Enjoy beach days: The Karpas Peninsula is known for its long, golden sandy beaches, perfect for relaxing days by the sea. The famous Golden Beach is particularly popular with families. The beaches are often uncrowded, making them ideal for children who want to play in the sand and splash around in the water.
  2. Explore nature parks: Visit Karpas National Park, which offers a diverse flora and fauna. It’s a great place for easy family hikes where you can see wildflowers, bird species, and maybe even wild donkeys roaming freely around the peninsula.
  3. Visit historical sites: The Karpas Peninsula is rich in history. Visit places such as the ancient city of Karpasia, the monastery complex of Apostolos Andreas or the Basilica of Agia Triada. Such excursions offer an exciting opportunity for children to learn about history and culture.
  4. Picnic: Pack a picnic and enjoy the natural beauty of the Karpas Peninsula. There are plenty of scenic spots where you can sit down and enjoy lunch with your family while the kids play in a safe environment.
  5. Visit wildlife sanctuaries: Some areas of the Karpas Peninsula are important breeding grounds for sea turtles. It can be an educational and exciting experience for children to learn more about sea turtles and the efforts to protect them. Be sure to plan such excursions with respect for nature and animals.
  6. Taste local cuisine: The Karpas Peninsula also offers some delicious local foods for you and your family to try. Many restaurants offer kid-friendly menus that highlight local ingredients.
  7. Stargazing: Due to the low level of light pollution in Karpas, it is an ideal place for stargazing. Bring a blanket and enjoy the starry sky after a day at the beach.