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2024 | BY NORTH-CYPRUS.COM

The North Cyprus Castles You Must Visit

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As you wander the countryside of northern Cyprus, the ruins of ancient fortresses loom above the hillsides. These North Cyprus castles stand as a testament to a rich history full of conquest and turmoil. While time has worn away at the stone, their crumbling walls still hold tales from centuries past. If you find yourself in North Cyprus, consider adding a few castle visits to your itinerary. Here are some of the top North Cyprus castles worth exploring.

Kyrenia Castle

The iconic North Cyprus castle that dominates the skyline of Kyrenia harbor is undeniably one of the most impressive to see. Perched on its rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean sea, Kyrenia Castle has guarded this strategic port city since the Byzantine era. Inside its stout walls, you'll find ruins from the Lusignan and Venetian periods as well as an intriguing underground tunnel system.

On a clear day, the views of the coastline and mountains from the ramparts are absolutely breathtaking. It's easy to spend a couple hours wandering around the grounds of this famous North Cyprus castle, soaking up the history. Be sure to stop by the adjacent shipwreck museum as well.

 

Saint Hilarion Castle

For epic mountain vistas and a true sense of adventure, head to Saint Hilarion Castle. This remote North Cyprus castle sits atop a steep 1,000-foot tall rocky peak in the Kyrenia mountain range, providing incredible panoramic views in every direction.

Getting there involves a moderately strenuous uphike along a winding rocky trail. But the effort is worth it once you reach the summit and discover the well-preserved ruins. Wander through rooms, courtyards and defensive walls while learning about the castle's changing roles over the centuries.

On a clear day, you can even spot the coastline from this lofty North Cyprus castle. It's an unforgettable experience exploring the remains of such an impressively situated fortress.

 

Buffavento Castle

Located in the Troodos Mountains inland from Kyrenia is Buffavento Castle, otherwise known as the "Castle of the Winds." This picturesque North Cyprus castles clings to the edge of a steep cliff overlooking a deep valley below.

Its striking hilltop position offers gorgeous scenery. Inside, you'll find a charming collection of ruins including a small chapel and cistern. But the real highlight is taking in the panoramic views while learning about the castle's role defending this remote mountain pass through the ages.

It's easy to while away an afternoon soaking up the peaceful ambiance of this lesser visited North Cyprus castle. Be sure to stop for a picnic lunch enjoying the scenic vistas before continuing your journey.

 

Kantara Castle

Nestled in the Kyrenia mountain village of Kantara is another lovely North Cyprus castles worth adding to your list. Unlike the more rugged mountain fortresses, Kantara Castle has a more residential feel with its spacious courtyards and well-preserved stone buildings.

Wander through rooms that once served as royal quarters, stables and storerooms to get a sense of how the lord would have lived here. The surrounding gardens filled with fragrant herbs and flowers add to the tranquil atmosphere. Take time to relax with a drink at the on-site cafe, soaking up the scenic mountain views. It's easy to while away an afternoon exploring this picturesque castle and taking in the peaceful ambiance.

 

Bellapais Abbey

No visit to North Cyprus would be complete without stopping at the iconic Bellapais Abbey. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the charming mountain village of Bellapais, this historic monastery complex makes for an unmissable sight. The striking Gothic-style abbey church and surrounding ruins date back to the Crusader period of the 13th century.

Wander through the ruins and admire the impressive architecture before relaxing in the adjacent gardens with their gorgeous mountain vistas. Nearby you'll find the ruins of a smaller North Cyprus castle also worth exploring for its scenic hilltop views. Plan to spend at least a couple hours soaking up the history and beauty of this memorable site.

 

Final Thought

The North Cyprus castles that dot the landscape are a real highlight for any history buff or outdoor enthusiast visiting the region. Take time to wander their crumbling walls and imagine past centuries of battles, conquests and royal living. Their scenic hilltop positions provide gorgeous coastal and mountain panoramas.

With so much rich history to uncover, you're sure to fall in love with northern Cyprus and want to return to explore even more of these historic fortresses. Just be sure to pack comfortable shoes, water and snacks to fully enjoy your visits to these remote mountain and seaside North Cyprus castles.