Kyrenia harbour is one of the best known and most popular landmarks in Northern Cyprus. Overlooked by its magnificent castle, this picturesque spot abounds with places to eat and places to relax. But there is much more to Kyrenia than just the harbour. Strolling through the streets of the old town, you will never be far from the Lusignan walls and towers which originally surrounded the town. There is plenty too for the keen shopper, with everything from the latest designer fashions to Cypriot antiques. Some of the areas best restaurants can be found in the back streets and alleyways.

Kyrenia Castle lies at the entrance to the harbour and stands majestically guarding the ancient port. The castle is in a remarkable state of preservation and as well as offering a fascinating glimpse into the history of Cyprus (and some stunning views!), the castle is home to Northern Cyprus' shipwreck museum; the setting for the world's oldest recovered shipwreck. Although the town of Kyrenia has existed since the 10th century BC, the first evidence of a castle is in Roman times. It was later used by the Byzantines and their construction of four towers linked by walls was itself subsequently further strengthened and enlarged by the Lusignans. In its current appearance, the structure of Kyrenia Castle mostly dates back to the Venetian rule of Cyprus, around 1489.

Today, you enter the castle via a long ramp, leading to the central parade ground, on the way passing the tomb of an Ottoman admiral. The central area is lined with guardrooms, stables and living quarters. From here, paths lead to defenses on the upper sections of the walls. You can also climb steps that take you to the royal apartments and a small chapel. In the depths of the castle, you will find dungeons, storage rooms and the magazines where gunpowder was kept dry and ready for use. The battlements of Kyrenia Castle are well-worth the climb, and with care you can walk around the whole extent of the castle's walls and enjoy breath-taking views of the harbour and the shimmering Mediterranean in one direction, and the mountains in the other.

The castle, Bellapais Abbey and Saint Hilarion Castle are the most accessible of all the historical sites in Northern Cyprus and Kyrenia town is only a few minutes drive from The Hideaway Club Hotel. The town is a wonderful place to spend time in and you will find yourself returning time after time to eat, or just to relax and watch the world go by!

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Edremit, Kyrenia, North Cyprus

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