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Travel Tips for Northern Cyprus
Helpful tips from the owners of Carmichael Country Cottages
I) All CTA flights to Ercan, North Cyprus, spend 45 minutes on the tarmac at a Turkish airport because of the travel embargo to the unrecognised state. You get a meal on the way out to Turkey with wine and a dry sponge or sandwich roll on the second leg. It may be hot on arrival and in Turkey - carry extra water if desired.
2) Arrivals hall is Passports first - follow the other passengers across the runway to the arrivals hall aud LI5C the white form on the counter if you do not want a KKTC stamp on your passpor, e.g. if flying to South Cyprus soon. There are trolleys if you need them, reclaim bags and exit Customs. Outside there is a mass of taxis and other tour operator pickups. We can arrange reception, taxi transfer, car hire, welcome (drinks and groceries through our site manager Yusof Sacir, a Turkish Cypriot, who has looked after our houses since 1976.
3) Drive time to Bellapais is 45 minutes from Ercan.
4) Currency: Take English sterling notes. Scottish notes not accepted anywhere. English GBP is accepted in most places. Local currency is YTL little new Turkish Lira current value approximately 2.5YTL to one pound. It changes daily. Money exchange offices are throughout Girne (Kyrenia) There is one new HSBC hole in the wall on Kyrenia high street left side where the right sort of cash card may get you YTL. Credit cards are also accepted now for most shops but not for most restaurants or taxis etc. UK cheques from personal accounts are also welcome in some places. There is no official money exchange in Bellapais itself.
5) Supermarket: LEMAR (8AM-8PM) on the Bellapais road near the new harbour junction close to the traffic lights before Girne (Kyrenia) accepts Credit Cards and has a full grocery range. Taxi down to Girne, may cost 8-I2YTLS. Village shops have basic supplies of bread and cheese, eggs, booze, fruit etc. but will need to be paid in YTL. They can advise on bus times if any and sell postcards, stamps etc. They speak fair English in the main shop.
6) Confirm your return flight (Take in tickets) Ankara Travel if you bought there from Cenk or at the CTA offices near the DOME Hotel in Girne on the Friday or Saturday before your return. Normal office/shop hours in summer approximately 7AM - lPM and 4PM - 6PM.
7) Holiday reading. There are books in all the houses and a house copy of "Bitter Lemons" in the Mountain House villa above the CD player in the kitchen also a good collection of CD's. Telephone Mobile is best take Celnet roaming for fantastic signals everywhere.
8) Departure: allow 45 minutes from Bellapais by car to Ercan. Allow 1.5 hours for check in before flights. Identify your bags on the runway as you board (sometimes required).
9) Language: "Mereber" is Hi "Tushicur iderim" is thank you "Su" is water "Bir" is one "I ki" is two "Ouch" is three "Bira" is beer "Sharap" is wine "Choc Guzel" is very good.
10) Nightlife: Belly dancers in the Tree of Idleness on Saturday nights. Casinos and Night clubs and Beach discos in Girne.
II) Car Hire: We use Oscar and normally hire a Suzuki 4WD jeep because the Bellapais streets are steep and narrow. Cost is about £20 – £25 per day. You can drive it to and leave it at the airport on departure. The car can be delivered to you in Bellapais on your rirst morning. Best to book in advance through us to ensure availability.
12) Sightseeing: Kyrenia Castle and old harbour. There are also three mountain-top crusader castles (St Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara) Nicosia and Famagusta's old walled town centres. Salamis at Famagusta. Vouni and Soli Palaces.
13) Beaches: Denizkizi and Sunset west of Girne. Acapulco and Lara east of Girne. Expect to pay about 2YTL each for umbrella, bed, clean beach, shower. In Kyrenia sea swim at the Dome Hotel or on the east side of the castle at the "slab" The Karpas peninsula has totally unspoilt beaches.