Contrasting Landscapes on a Road Trip in Cyprus

The weather was beautiful, the golden beach was only a few steps away and cheap cocktails were on tap. Just what I wanted and expected from a resort holiday in Protaras, Cyprus. But after a few days of lounging around in the often unbearable heat (it was August), we decided that a change of scene was in order.

Pool and beach in Protaras, Cyprus

So we hired a compact car for a few days to get out and see some other parts of Cyprus. One morning we decided to take a 40-mile road trip to the capital Nicosia.

The little car we hired for a few days. Let's call her Barb.

We turned up the air conditioning to full and began the journey away from the coast towards the island’s heart.

After having a quick lunch on arrival we sought to find the Ledra Street border crossing to the Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.

There were no signs anywhere and, in the end, we had to ask for directions. But it was well worth the effort. After being allowed across by border police, we were amazed at how different the scene had become. The picture around of us was of another country – yet we had merely walked a few yards down the road.

Across the border into northern Cyprus

Buildings and bazaars in northern Cyprus

The bustling pavements and brand-named retail outlets on the Greek Cypriot side had been replaced with quieter streets lined by sandy, worn-looking buildings, archways and mosques.

The border was closed off in the 80s due to disputes between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots and was only opened in 2008. It is controlled by the United Nations who agreed in 2004 to help reduce the isolation of northern Cyprus. Turkey is the only country which recognises northern Cyprus as an independent state.

Politics aside, it was interesting to walk such as short distance and experience a completely different culture and enjoy some tasty Turkish cuisine.

On our return journey we stopped off at various points along the way. The first break was supposed to be a quick stop-off to grab some refreshments. But we ended up stumbling across an extremely picturesque fishing village.

Beautiful fishing village we stumbled across by accident

The next stop was equally as stunning, with amazing coastal views and, eventually, a sensational sunset – a great finale to a fantastic day.

 

 

Word of advice: If you ever go on a road trip in Cyprus in the height of summer, the air conditioning will not prevent you from melting. It’s ridiculously hot.

Take lots of water and energy drinks.

Another item I would recommend taking with you if you’re going to be stuck in a sauna-like car is a face spray. Luckily my friend had an Evian one with her and we were all using it constantly to cool ourselves down.

Have you ever visited the island of Cyprus? Would you like to visit?

8 Comments

  1. February 8, 2012 / 05:28

    I would love to visit Cyprus and your pictures make me want to go tomorrow!

  2. February 9, 2012 / 23:58

    Beautiful pictures. Not been to Cyprus, but have been to Greece and Turkey is on our list. Though summer is definitely not the time to travel the Mediterranean. I know that much.
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    • February 13, 2012 / 19:56

      Ha ha, I literally just named that car as I was writing the article! Barb suits it I think :-) You’re right, it’s definitely worth getting out of the resorts to see some more authentic landscapes.