Nothern Cyprus – A trip to another unrecognized republic. Famagusta and Salamis in one day.
Nothern Cyprus or rather The Turkish Republic of Nothern Cyprus is not recognized by any EU country and unlike their neighbour – The Republic of Cyprus is not in the EU. Both states are divided by a buffer zone created and overseen by the UN. Officially you need a passport to enter the country, but in reality I’ve seen many people crossing the border with EU ID only.
It is not possible to fly to Nothern Cyprus from anywhere else other than Turkey, but as the island is very small, it is not a problem to come from any airport in the South. After you arrive, take Intercity bus to Nicosia and then cross the border on one of the checkpoints. The ones in the city center are usually very crowded and you might need to wait for some time, others are usually free as most of the border crossings are done by turists not locals.
Right after you cross, you can see the change. The North is in many places less developped and poorer, which on the other hand means, that things are cheaper! Don’t forget to change money though, euros are not of any use there, you’ll need Turkish liras.
The best way how to save on public transport in Nothern Cyprus is to use university buses, where you don’t have to pay. They are officially only for students, but they are used by nearly everyone. We have seen that in both Nicosia (Lefkosia – name used in both – Turkish and Greek languages for the capital, Nicosia is its English version) and Famagusta (Mağusa or Gazimağusa in Turkish). To get between the big cities, you can use minibuses. Buses to Famagusta are leaving from a station near Famagusta gate (how convenient, right? ;)) and they cost 10 liras. There is no firm schedule, sometimes they come every 15 mins, sometimes every hour, you never know.
Famagusta is nice old town full of ruins and churches, but nothing you can’t miss, if I shall be honest with you. What took away my breath way more, on the other hand, were ruins of ancient city Salamis. We wanted to take a bus there as it’s approximately 10 km from Famagusta. After waiting at different bus stops and being taken by mistake to a university campus for more than 2 hours (yes, I know, we could have walked there), we finally decided to hitchhike. It went almost well. We got taken almost directly, but our driver misunderstood us and instead of the ruins, he took as to some five star resort with the same name, haha, but that’s life. We hoped that we could at least chill by the sea there , but we got kicked out. Oh yes, you hear me right, we did. I guess we didn’t look fancy enough, so they found out pretty fast. Getting to Salamis took us “only” another 3 cars, but we made it and it was beautiful!
Check the pictures ->
Ruins of old city of Salamis