You have probably already seen that we have expanded the ‘Peake’s Retreats’ brand to include a holiday apartment in North Cyprus.
We hope this is the first of many in North Cyprus.
Why have we chosen North Cyprus though?
I was first introduced to the island 14 years ago at the age of 19 when my best friend invited to me to holiday with her family who had been before and were purchasing a villa over there. 3 years later I spent a brief stint working in North Cyprus after being offered a fantastic opportunity working for a local law firm on completion of my degree.
Although I had heard of Cyprus I knew nothing about it’s history, or even it’s exact location in the Mediterranean. Well, I fell in love with the North immediately. It has such a laid back atmosphere, where everything happens ‘tomorrow’. It is so much less commercial than most other holiday destinations, including its southern neighbour.
You won’t find a McDonald’s or a KFC anywhere in the North. When we are describing it to friends we often say that it is like stepping back in time by about 50 years, which creates an amazing feeling of nostalgia along with an air of dreamy timeless romanticism. With all of the ruined castles built into the mountain sides creating a beautiful backdrop to the Kyrenia District which is sandwiched perfectly between them and the beautiful blue ocean, the traditional Turkish buildings which encircle old Girne harbour, or the unspoilt beaches from where the sunset is simply perfect.
Imagine walking around a small mountain village with streets barely wide enough to fit a modern car, the brightly coloured doorways and flowers that adorn many of the simple quaint houses (that could certainly tell a tale or two about the history of the place if walls really could talk) many of which are slightly run down and ruined themselves, although this just adds to their charm.
The locals are incredibly friendly and of course the weather is amazing with sunshine all year round and average temperatures ranging from 16 degrees in January to 37 in July, although it is often hotter than this in July. If you are looking for a sunshine holiday Cyprus is definitely one to consider.
Luckily Ted also fell in love with the island when I first brought him over in 2009, and we have holidayed here nearly every year since, as well as getting married at the beautiful Bellapais Abbey in 2015.
One of the other lovely things about the North of Cyprus is that it is relatively unknown. Whenever we hear about Cyprus in the UK it is generally in relation to the South. The reason for this is the war that happened in the 1970’s;
Prior to 1974 the island was occupied by Greeks and Turks who lived together all over the island. However a ‘coup d’etat’ ordered by the shadow leader of the Greek Junta in 1974 to try and annex Cyprus to Greece prompted what is now known as the ‘Turkish invasion’. The result of this is that the Greeks and Turks very quickly fell out and the island was divided into what we now know to be the North and the South. With the South being occupied by the Greeks and the North by the Turks. Both Greek and Turkish citizens were forced to leave their homes and move to their new designated area.
An area of the city of Famagusta, known as Varosha, has been unoccupied since the war, with a previous population of 39,000 Varasha is a large part of the city that remains exactly as it was in 1974, with buildings quickly abandoned before they were attacked. Although you cannot enter this no man zone, you can view parts of it from the outside, and there is a guided trip to a church in the centre.
The North of Cyprus is now known as the TRNC (Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus) and is not recognised by any country other than Turkey. With it not being recognised, few people know about this hidden unspoilt Mediterranean gem full of history and places to explore.
So, why choose North Cyprus to expand Peake’s Retreats? It was an obvious choice for us really. We love it here and we hope you will too.