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Karpas Peninsula - North Cyprus

A must visit natural paradise near Famagusta in North Cyprus.

Karpaz National Park

This long, narrowing peninsula with beaches of golden sand, miles of undulating hills lost in isolation and wild donkeys remains one of the most unspoilt regions of the Mediterranean. Popularly called the panhandle of Cyprus, it was far more important and populous in the past than it is today and is littered with ancient sites. The Karpaz Peninsula National Park is a must visit. Driving to Karpas in a North Cyprus car hire is pleasure and best way to get there.

Exploring Karpaz near Famagusta, North Cyprus


Karpaz Peninsula

Visits to the Karpas are generally limited by the lack of accommodation and poor roads to a day’s excursion. All that is changing slowly and the new sections of the road along the north coast are making access easier. It is still a lot of driving to reach the extreme tip at Zafer Burnu so it barely leaves time to explore the many points of interest. One or two nights’ accommodation takes the pressure of driving allowing a more leisurely excursion.

The Christian basilica of Agia Triada has some amazing and extensive mosaics still in situ, including a very unusual sandal mosaic, showing a pair of sandals believed to be associated with pilgrimage. It does lie on the route to the monastery of Apostolos Andreas which attracted countless pilgrims over the years. To find Agia Triada follow signs to Sipahi on reaching Yenierenkoy. The site is fenced and gated but, if there is nobody in attendance, the gate is usually unlocked.

The wild donkeys are not usually encountered until Dipkarpaz is reached, the largest village on the peninsula. They were once domesticated donkeys let loose after the 1974 troubles but there are plenty around and the latest concerns are about feeding them. Beyond here lies Golden beach, a 5km stretch of beautiful sand, easily the best beach on the island.

The monastery of Apostolos Andreas lies towards the end of the peninsula. Revered by Cypriots, it has been a magnate for pilgrims for centuries. There is no shortage of legends and stories surrounding this religious site mostly involving the Apostle Andrew. St Andrew is said to have landed here on a journey to Palestine to summon a spring since the ship was running out of water. Miracle cures have been claimed from this holy well, now in a crypt below the main church. If the priest is around it may be possible to enter the church. Expect some market stalls too.

The very end of the cape, Zapher Burnu, is 4km away reached by a rough track.