Kyrenia Harbour is called the Jewel of Cyprus and when you see it, you will understand how it got this well-deserved title. Originally built around the 10th Century BC, the fact that it is only 40 miles from the Turkish mainland made it a perfect trade route. In the harbour itself there is a restaurant to meet the needs of even the most discerning palate, most of which are in buildings that were once warehouses of Venetian dwellings. There is an emphasis on locally caught fish and traditional Turkish Cypriot cuisine and the whole area maintains a feel of history and tradition. To walk off your dinner you can stroll past the boats moored in the harbour, be tempted to a moonlight sea tour, fishing trip or simply browse the wide range of local crafts and goods being sold a little further along the harbour – an ideal place to purchase all those holiday souvenirs for your visit! If you don’t find anything at the harbour take a trip to Kyrenia centre where there are traditional shops making personalised wooden and leather gifts and some astounding examples of local glass mosaic lamps in the Ottoman style. There really is something for even the most hardened souvenir hunter!
No visit to Kyrenia is of course complete with a trip to the castle, originally built by the Byzantium’s, remodelled while the Lusignan’s ruled the island, and further added to by the Venetians. The imposing walls that tower over one corner of the harbour are a testament to the defences created for this picturesque but strategically important location for Northern Cyprus. Of course, don’t forget to pay a visit to the Aga Cafer Pasa Mosque, past the cobbled street next to Harbour Club Restaurant. Built in 1580 after the Ottoman Conquest, the Mosque is still in daily use, and still making use of a nearby spring for ritual cleansing.