Off the Beaten Path: Northern Cyprus

As low-cost airlines extend and strengthen their route maps, it’s become increasingly difficult to find truly exotic, untouched places to visit. Even given our expansive definition of Europe, which extends to the Urals, includes the Caucasus, and then swoops down to envelop Turkey, it’s ever more difficult to find places where tourist traffic is light.

That said, we can think of a lot of places firmly off the tourist track, like Northern Cyprus. (And, yes, geography purists, we know that Cyprus is not part of geographical Europe.)

While the southern part of Cyprus is thriving—it’s a part of the EU, will begin using the euro as its currency in January, and is booming economically—the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus remains politically isolated and on the physical periphery of Europe.

That said, we’re beginning to pick up on an as yet faint buzz about Northern Cyprus. It would appear that decades of isolation translates into undertouristed ruins and uncrowded beaches, among other fine draws.

The only way to get to Northern Cyprus by air is via Turkey. We found a mid-October one-way airfare from Istanbul to Ercan on the Cyprus Turkish Airlines site today for TRY 111.93 (€62.17; $85.63).

Also check out the North Cyprus Tourism Centre’s official site.

About the author

Alex Robertson Textor
About the author: Bitten by the travel bug at 11, Alex Robertson Textor has fond childhood memories of ultracheap Spanish hotels (the kind with Styrofoam shelving) and supermarket lunches scarfed on park benches. Formerly an academic, Alex has spent the last several years redirecting his professional life into full-time travel journalism and editing. He has published articles in the New York Times, Guardian Unlimited, Condé Nast Traveler, Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, among other publications.
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