The Karpaz peninsula stills retains some of the unspoilt charm of old Cyprus and a day trip is not enough to seek out and sample its many delights. Even a guided tour will leave the visitor short changed, no matter how expert the guide may be, because there just isn’t enough time to do it all.
Whichever route into the peninsula is a matter of personal choice, but once there the things to see are numerous from ancient long abandoned churches, vast virtually empty beaches to the relics of long defunct industries.
The centre of the Karpaz area is the village of Dipkarpaz, a mixed community of Orthodox Christians and Muslims, where the Mosque and the church of Ayios Synesios are situated side by side. The people here chose to stay when the island was partitioned in 1974, though there are now a lot more inhabitants who have come from the mainland of Turkey and they carry on the age-old traditions of arable farming and animal husbandry. They do not allow politics to impinge on their everyday lives.
There are many places to stay in the area with the degree of comfort and facilities ranging from the very basic to luxury small villas with all mod-cons. A bonus is most places will serve good food usually fresh fish straight out of the sea. Served with local mezze, salad and chips it is hard to find better.
Close to Dipkarpaz is the site of ancient Carpasia and here will be found the ruins of Ayios Philon overlooking the sea with the remnant of a beautiful opus sectile floor. The road that heads eastwards from here leads to a group of three ruined churches, (Ayios Georgios, Panayia Chrysiotissa and Panayia Asomotos), under the collective name of Aphendrika. This is a good spot for seeing the wild donkeys and also, because it is so quiet, lizards and chameleons can be found sunning themselves.
Returning to Dipkarpaz and continuing eastwards the pilgrim site of Apostolos Andreas cannot be missed. Here there is a spring of fresh water that gushes from the rocks below at a point where St. Andrew struck it with his staff. Muslims and Christians consider this a sacred site and believe in the miraculous power of the water. The far tip is Zafer Burnu, the home of sea birds and dangerous sea currents. There are secluded beaches with bright clean sand and the great long stretch of Golden Beach is somewhere perfect to swim and relax.
Going west from Dipkarpaz a turning to the left is sign posted Ayias Trias. The floor of this ancient long-gone basilica is the finest example of mosaic work in North Cyprus and should be lingered over. The patterns and intricacies of design are astounding in their variety.
Yeni Erenkoy still has the remains of the once abundant tobacco industry with warehouses in the village centre and close to the shoreline there are ancient carob warehouses and tobacco smokehouses.