The centre of the North Cyprus rental market is Kyrenia (Girne) whose picturesque harbour remains one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean. In fact, Kyrenia has been popular with British visitors since the 1950’s when Lawrence Durrell chose it as the setting for his celebrated portrait of Cyprus, Bitter Lemons.
Since Durrell’s day the tourist trade has grown into a veritable torrent, but much of the region’s charm remains intact. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of the south, where development has been unchecked and relentless. The first step for anyone wanting to book a villa in north Cyprus is to do some homework on exactly where they want to stay.
The Kyrenian mountain range, which acts an impressive backdrop to the harbour town, proves fertile hunting ground. Rustic villas and tasteful contemporary developments take advantage of the fresh mountain air, lush surrounding countryside and easy access to the coast (not to mention anything of the spectacular views). The village of Bellapais in particular is the epitome of this philosophy of enjoying ‘the best of both worlds’
The best time of year to visit the island is during the months that bookend the peak season. If you plan your trip for spring or autumn you’ll be able to take advantage of more competitive villa rental tariffs, more comfortable temperatures and quieter beaches. Anyone renting a villa would also do well to think about renting a car. Besides access to your property, you’ll be able to pick up the shopping (essential if you’re self-catering) and visit some of Northern Cyprus’ further flung attractions.
The medieval town of Famagusta, once the world’s richest city, is a must; as are the ruins of ancient Salamis. Nicosia’s tourism credentials are dubious, but the capital does have several historic buildings sandwiched between modern apartment blocks. And there’s the Green Line, a poignant reminder of the island’s troubled past and uncertain present.