13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday: Birds & flowers

This 13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday includes a specialist guide for birds and wildflowers. The tour is from 10-22 of April 2022 & includes accommodation.

13 days
£2,858 to 3,090
13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday: Birds & flowers

By mid-April, the eastern Mediterranean is already benefiting from warm sunshine and clear blue skies. An extraordinary profusion of wildflowers carpets the landscape and large numbers of northbound migrant birds pass daily, adding a special dimension to walks in the dramatic mountain and coastal scenery.

With few visitors, low-key development and monuments ranging from Phoenician and Bronze Age sites to Venetian fortifications and splendid Crusader castles, the North part of Cyprus is a tranquil and rewarding destination. On this 13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday we enjoy accommodation in one outstanding hotel and two sustainable tourism projects in traditional villages and sample excellent Turkish Cypriot cuisine and wines.

Price Includes

  • accommodation for Days 1 to 13, on a twin/double shared basis
  • meals, with wine at lunches and dinners, as listed in the daily notation
  • land transportation in a private vehicle as described, except during free periods
  • entrance and sightseeing fees, except during free periods
  • gratuities for the driver and hotel and restaurant staff

Price Excludes

  1. flights to and from Larnaca
  2. trip cancellation, medical or other insurance
  3. immunisations, prescriptions or other medical requirements
  4. passport, visa and health documentation
  5. personal expenses (laundry, alcohol other than wine with group lunches and dinners, free time activities, etc.)
  6. Cyprus departure tax, if any

What to expect

Itinerary for 13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday

Day 1
D included
After arriving at Larnaca airport, we drive through the mountains (1.5 hrs) to our hotel, where we are based for the next 6 nights. This very comfortable hotel, recently voted the best hotel in N. Cyprus, is owned by a particularly welcoming family, has an excellent Slow Food restaurant and is beautifully situated beside the 13th century Bellapais Abbey. It has an attractive pool, gardens scented with jasmine and orange blossom, Scops owls calling at night and superb views down to the coast.

Day 2
B, L, D included
We set off this morning to explore the romantic mountain-top Crusader castle of St. Hilarion, with its extravagantly crenelated walls and towers and long history as the summer residence of the Kings of Cyprus. We walk on paths through the valley below. Wild iris and sages, anemones and rock roses are all about us and bird species include the Sardinian warbler and the endemic Cyprus pied wheatear and Cyprus warbler. We have an alfresco lunch in the whitewashed village of Karaman, then follow a quiet track, particularly rewarding for orchids. Dinner in a traditional village restaurant is a typical meze, an array of small dishes reflecting the centuries of Turkish, Lebanese and Greek influences.

Day 3
B, L, D included
Cape Korucam to the west is an unspoilt area of maquis and small carob orchards, which is excellent in spring for the diurnal migration of bee-eaters, woodchat shrikes, hoopoes, black-eared wheatears and golden orioles. We walk a circular route past the lighthouse, seeing many orchids on the heathland, enjoy a local lunch, then have a free afternoon to explore the magnificent gothic ruin of Bellapais Abbey and Bellapais village, once Lawrence Durrell’s home and the setting for ‘Bitter Lemons’.

Day 4
B, L, D included
A long morning walk on an easy forestry track in the mountains above Lapta village offers marvellous scenery and many birds and flowers, including myriad orchids. We enjoy lunch overlooking the yacht-filled harbour in Kyrenia and have a free afternoon to explore the fine 9th century Byzantine castle with its subsequent Lusignan and Venetian additions; visit an excellent Shipwreck Museum exhibiting a cargo ship wrecked in the fourth century BC, complete with its cargo of almonds and wine amphorae; or shop for ceramics, kilims and locally woven baskets.

Day 5
B, L, D included
On the morning of day 5 of this guided North Cyprus walking holiday, we stroll from the hotel down an ancient cobbled track once used by the Crusaders. Then drive high up into the Besparmak mountains to walk on a well-graded track through a beautiful natural forest of Calabrian pine, the indigenous Evergreen Cypress and Eastern Strawberry Tree. Birds such as masked shrikes, Cretzschmar’s buntings and great spotted cuckoos may be seen and raptors, including goshawk and peregrine, often soar above the crags. We return to our hotel for some time to relax in the gardens. Dinner tonight, within the floodlit ruins of Bellapais Abbey, is a memorable experience.

Day 6
B, L, D included
We drive round to the south side of the Kyrenia range for a day looking specifically for orchids and Cyprus endemics. We investigate a small wetland, with breeding spur-winged plovers, follow an escarpment edge, good for little owls and raptor watching, and hope to find Holy Orchid, Bug Orchid, Ploughshare Orchid, Pyramidal Orchid, Giant fennel and many anemones, as well as the wild asparagus that all Cypriots collect to eat in the spring.

Day 7
B, L, D included
En route to the Karpaz peninsula, the island ‘panhandle’ which extends northeast towards the coast of Anatolia, we visit the superbly sited Crusader castle of Kantara. Traditionally considered to be where Commenus surrendered to Richard the Lionheart in 1191, the castle enjoys commanding views, with Alpine swifts and very occasionally griffon vultures floating above the cedar forests. We walk gradually down a track with long views, as we make our way to a small Karpaz village where we stay for three nights in comfortable, newly built rooms surrounded by an orange grove and run as a sustainable tourism project.

Day 8
B, L, D included
This morning, we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in Cypriot village life, learning to bake traditional Cypriot bread in a brush-fired oven, make fresh goat and sheep’s cheeses, and prepare organic vegetable dishes, culminating in eating the fruits of our labours for lunch. We also explore the village on foot, seeing the olive oil mill and village handicrafts, including artefacts carved from olive, juniper and cypress, wild fennel stools and hand woven bags. In the afternoon of day 8 of this guided North Cyprus walking holiday, we walk along a ridge above the sea, enjoying marvellous views and looking out for migrating golden orioles and bee-eaters.

Day 9
B, L, D included
After a short drive, we wander through the impressive ruins of Salamis, reputedly founded by Teucer on his return from the Trojan War. We walk or swim from the sandy beach and visit the monastery of St. Barnabas, now an icon museum. In the mediaeval centre of Famagusta, the 14th century Lusignan cathedral was converted into the Lala Mustafa Pasha mosque by the Ottomans, following the terrible siege of 1571. We admire the colossal Venetian fortifications (Leonardo da Vinci acted as consultant) and Othello’s Tower, Shakespeare’s inspiration, then enjoy tea and delicious Turkish pastries before investigating a wetland area which usually holds good numbers of waders including black-winged stilts, ruff and purple heron.

Day 10
B, L, D included
Following a leisurely start, we drive the old road on the protected southern side of the Karpaz peninsula, pausing for some short birding walks along the way. After a village lunch, we walk for a couple of hours down from the escarpment to the sea, then settle into our final small hotel, an imaginative group of stylish stone village ‘houses’.

Day 11
B, L, D included
We spend the day exploring this remote and unspoilt peninsula, virtually uninhabited and a proposed national park. Colourful rollers perch on olive trees and the curious grating call of the black francolin is the only sound. ‘Falls’ of migrants can occur, with good numbers of larks, pipits, wagtails and warblers. The very rare Audouin’s Gull breeds just offshore. After visiting the Greek Orthodox church of St. Andreas, we swim or walk on a delightful long sandy beach. Dinner may well be a classic Cypriot dish of lamb, herbs and vegetables, baked for hours in a clay oven, accompanied by robust red wine from the Turkish mainland.

Day 12
B, L, D included
Continuing our exploration of Karpaz, we walk on paths through the aromatic maquis, where we often surprise the famous wild donkeys, looking out for turban buttercups and Cyprus gladioli and observing raptor migration overhead, especially falcons and harriers. Red-rumped swallows swoop around us as we enjoy lunch beside the 10th century Byzantine church of Ayios Philon, its ruined mosaic flooring half smothered in wildflowers. In the afternoon, we may swim from the beach or look for birds and flowers along the coastal track, before returning to our hotel for a farewell dinner in the village.

Day 13
B included
Driving west, we pass fields where hay is already being harvested and red-footed falcons often gather to feed on crickets. We pause to join the sheep wandering the mosaic floors of the delightfully bucolic 5th century basilica of Ayas Trias, then continue to Larnaca airport for flights home.


13 day guided North Cyprus walking holiday: Birds & flowers: From £2,858 to £3,090 for 13 days

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£2,858 to 3,090 13 days
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