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A Photographer's Dream

A location bathed in Mediterranean sunlight all year round? Where friendly locals vastly outnumber tourists and where the only high-rise development is the mountain range sheltering the cost-line? Well, I’ve been there, and so can you. Northern Cyprus. Mostly neglected in favour of its highly commercialised neighbour to the south, the northern part of the island has always been thought of as difficult to access and therefore attracts a mere fraction of the tourists that flock to Cyprus. Ancient ruins, azure skies and crystal seas abound. As do colourful villages, traditional buildings and very photogenic and friendly locals. All of which makes it a dream come true for the keen photographer. Especially the keen photographer who is also keen on combining a living or hobby with a decent holiday now and then!

If you enjoy ancient history as a backdrop, then Saint Hilarion Castle is a good start. Perched high in the mountains, and with rather too many steps to the top, the visitor is rewarded with stunning views. But beware, heat haze, especially in summer is a problem. Best to make a very early start for the clearest views. If you feel a little less energetic, then Bellapais Abbey offers many beautiful views and its mellow stonework glows in the sun. There are many more historic treasures, such as the Roman ruins at Salamis on the island’s east coast. All but untouched, there are priceless pieces of mosaics and wall paintings still to be found here and all are easily accessible. Salamis lies at the gateway to the Karpas Peninsula, which affords possibly the greatest treats. Seemingly all but untouched by human hand, the Karpas stretches up to the far north-east tip of Cyprus. Over 80 kilometres in length and up to 20 wide, this is an area where farmers still use horse-power in the original meaning and where you can drive for miles without seeing another human being. It is also home to some amazingly beaches, some literally deserted and some, the nesting sites of rare species of marine turtles. There is much more in the Karpas to delight the nature photographer too, with many birds and uncommon insects. Not to mention meadows full of wild flowers and rare orchids early in the year.

There is a more lively and populated side to the island too, though in true Mediterranean fashion, nothing ever moves fast in Cyprus. Busy, colourful markets can be found in the towns of Nicosia and Famagusta and the region is home to literally hundreds of restaurants – from the smallest of traditional coffee shops to beautifully-decorated establishments serving the best of continental cuisine. When it comes to travel and accommodation, the choices are now quite wide. Certainly, Northern Cyprus has a good range of hotels, including some international standard five-stars. But some of the best experiences can be had in smaller, family run property, which also offers exceptional value. You can fly direct from the UK (with one short touchdown) and it is now also possible to fly into southern Cyprus and cross the border unrestricted.

Power supply can be a little erratic, again in traditional Mediterranean fashion! But digital enthusiasts will be surprised to find it is mostly UK style ‘three-square-pin’ outlets at 230 volts. For the traditionalists, there are limited processing facilities and although there are plenty of retail outlets, you are unlikely to find any esoteric film stock. if your preference is for Velvia, be prepared to take your own! Travel early or late in the season for the mildest weather and clearest skies. In April and May, the island is green and awash with flowers, but you may catch cloudy or wet days. September and October bring crystal-clear, blue skies, but greens are faded by the summer sun. Following the recent lifting of border restrictions, Northern Cyprus is becoming more widely known and low land prices are encouraging villa development. Travel now and point your lenses at one of the only remaining unspoilt parts of the Mediterranean. While you still can…….

Submitted by:

John Richards

John Richards is a manager at Cyprus Paradise, http://www.cyprusparadise.com specialists in Northern Cyprus





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