KATIE BUTLER

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

IT’S not an un­der­state­ment to say that North Cyprus has pos­si­bly the most beau­ti­ful climb in the world.

I have a love of cy­cling and the great out­doors so have ven­tured around many beau­ti­ful places on two wheels, in­clud­ing South East Asia, Aus­tralia, as well as our good old English roads, but I have never been taken aback by the mag­nif­i­cence of the hills as I did in this beauty spot.

We me­an­dered our way up through quaint ru­ral lit­tle vil­lages and then through the mid­sts of thou­sands of me­tres of hills nes­tled at the side of the sparkling blue sea.

The nar­row roads were smooth and re­ally quiet, mak­ing it ideal for cy­cling, although the views make it dif­fi­cult to keep go­ing be­cause I kept hav­ing to stop to take pic­tures.

We trav­elled along cliff edges and through forests and around hair­pin bends – spot­ting dif­fer­ent views of the is­land as we climbed.

This in it­self would have made the whole trip worth­while – but there is still so much the Turk­ish part of the east­ern Mediter­ranean is­land has to of­fer.

There is also Bel­la­pais vil­lage, which has been made fa­mous as it oc­cu­pies a won­der­fully scenic spot on the foothills of the Five Finger moun­tain range – a huge group of moun­tains in the shape of a fist.

Bel­la­pais Abbey is also re­garded as a mas­ter­piece of Gothic Art.

But there are not just beau­ti­ful ru­ins in North Cyprus, there are also beau­ti­ful beaches – made fa­mous by the tur­tles which in­habit them.

I vis­ited Ala­garde Tur­tle Beach – but sadly it was not the right time of year to see the beau­ti­ful crea­tures.

The sea and sand were stun­ning all the same.

But if you wanted to ven­ture fur­ther afield, Karpas Golden Beach is classed the best on the is­land.

If it is too far to cy­cle, Pa­cific rent-a-car is a great way to travel across the is­land.

I stayed at Ho­tel Pia Bella, which was lo­cated in the heart of Kyre­nia – and had ev­ery­thing you could want from a place to stay.

There were two huge pools, com­fort­able sun loungers and plenty of fresh fruit.

There were lots of or­ange and lemon trees around, which was beau­ti­ful to see.

The food was re­ally good too.

I’m ve­gan and ev­ery­one was re­ally ac­com­mo­dat­ing – and they made sure I got to try a spe­cial­ity of a vege­tar­ian ver­sion of their Çig köfte: a mix of spices, tomato and bul­gar wheat.

There were also a lot of fish and chip restau­rants started up by ex-pats to make them feel more at home.

So don’t worry, you can feel like you are back at home as you can get your chips and gravy while sit­ting on the beach.

What struck me most about the trip was how friendly the lo­cals were, es­pe­cially while we were cy­cling.

We had one man on a moped trav­el­ling at the side of us ask­ing where we were from and then said, ‘Wel­come to Cyprus’.

North Cyprus is def­i­nitely more rus­tic than Cyprus it­self and much less built up. It seems a lot more nat­u­ral and un­touched.

There aren’t hoards of hol­i­day mak­ers fall­ing out of bars and clubs. Although there are some pretty bars on the har­bour if you fancy a glass of wine or two.

●● North Cyprus has his­toric build­ings such as Bel­la­pais Abbey

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