Orchid Walks and Guided Walking Holidays in Northern Cyprus
Northern Cyprus is famed for its wild flowers, and among these, the precious and rare species of orchids are among the best and most spectacular. To experience the real beauty of these exotic flowers, we are able to offer guided orchid walks during the flowering season in spring. The orchid walks are run from mid-March until early May by Maureen Huthchinson, an acknowledged local expert. Suitable for people of virtually any age or ability, these are leisurely and entertaining walks, and include a stop for lunch in a small village, accompanied by the delightful flavours of natural organic food and locally-produced organic wine.
The tour begins with a walk of around two hours to the east of the village of Hisarkoy. Located a few miles from Kyrenia, Hisarkoy is known in Cyprus as the home of the orchid and every year hosts the North Cyprus Orchid Festival. The walk is over gentle terrain and you will see many different species of orchids, together with multitudes of other wild flowers. We then return to the village for a relaxing lunch. After the meal and a time to unwind, another walk again of around two hours goes towards the west of the village. This is also a gentle and untiring stroll and will take you to an orchid glade. Here you will see Cyprus’ famous black tulips and other wild flowers. On the afternoon walk, you will also see some of the traditional parts the village, as well as the Ottoman Turkish Bath, the medieval Maronite Church and a bronze-age tomb.
There are some 30 different species of wild orchids to be found in Northern Cyprus, most are endemic to the island and some are extremely rare. These include the fan-lipped orchid and the giant orchid, aptly named in view of its sometimes comparatively enormous height. The Cyprus bee orchid is confined to specific areas of the island and is a rare and beautiful treat for visitors. Not only the orchids delight though, as in spring the countryside here is awash with flowers, carpeting the meadows and countryside with a full palette of vibrant colours.
If you are travelling at the appropriate time of year, our local representatives will be happy to provide appropriate information or book you on one of the orchid walks. Walks can easily be adapted to suit all ages and abilities and discounts will be given for pre-booked groups of between 10 and 25 people.
GUIDED WALKING HOLIDAYS
For the more serious and dedicated ramblers and walkers, what could be better than a properly planned holiday, with plenty of walking, enjoyable activities, and the opportunity to see all that North Cyprus has to offer?
A1 Cyprus organise guided walking holidays every March, April, September, October and November. The tours include mountain walks, visits to historical sites, picnics in the hills and a beach-front barbecue depending on the season. Walks are approximately 10 to 15 kilometres a day and are suitable for groups of between 8 and 20 people. For full details or to enquire about prices at various times of the year, please call our reservations department.
The itinerary for walking holidays will depend on the time of year, but as an example, here is the full itinerary for a spring tour:
Arrive at either Ercan or Larnaca Airport, depending on your departure flight from the UK. Our guide will meet you at the airport and will take you to Hotel Sempati. After check-in, dinner will be ready for you. Even if you are arriving on a late flight, soup and a snack will be provided. After perhaps a wine, beer or coffee in the bar you can rest and relax.
You are in North Cyprus now, so enjoy the spring sunshine! Breakfast will be at approximately 8 am, followed by a meeting at 9 am to introduce our guide, discuss the programme and for everyone to get to know each other. At around 9:30 am, our minibus will take us to the Kalkanli area. The walk here is around the olive groves and on to Maronite village. We will stop in the mountains for a packed lunch, then carry on after that. Around 2 pm we will return to the hotel, where you can simply relax by the pool, or take a trip to Kyrenia. As this is our first day it is a light schedule and if you go to Kyrenia, we will return around 4pm. Dinner will be served at 8 pm. In total, there is around 10 kilometres of walking.
Today we will visit the Five Finger Mountains. The tour starts at the North Cyprus Herbarium, which is a treasure trove of horticultural samples, drawings and pressed flowers and plants. The walk starts here and carries on through the beautiful mountain scenery. During the journey, we are likely to see many species of wild orchids and other flowers. We take a break among the pine trees for a packed lunch, then continue the walk, eventually arriving at the Antiphonides Church around 4 pm. Our bus will return us to the hotel for dinner at 8 pm.
Today we swap the tranquillity of the mountains for the lively a vibrant atmosphere of Nicosia, the capital of Northern Cyprus. We leave the hotel at 9 am and will be in the old city by about 9:45. Our walk starts at the Kyrenia Gate, and en route we will visit the most important monuments abd buildings in the ancient area, including the Great inn, Covered Bazaar, Selimiye Mosque, Arasta shopping area, and the Arabahmet area. Lunch will be provided in a local restaurant for a taste of traditional Cypriot cuisine and after that, there will be some free time for shopping or just exploring. We then return to the hotel, where you can swim or just relax before dinner.
This journey takes us to the west of Kyrenia, where we will not only enjoy the walk, but also make our own bread to eat! Our bus takes us to the Kozan Restaurant area in Karsiyaka, from where we will start the walk, ending up in Alsancak village. During the journey we will stop and visit the ancient Sinai Monastery ruins. Around 12:20, we reach the meeting point where our bus takes us to the hotel. The oven will be hot and ready and local bread-makers will come and show us how to make traditional Cypriot breads, with halloumi and olives. These will form part of our lunch, together with other local food and wine. After lunch will be your own free time to walk by the sea, enjoy the pool of wander off on your own path. Dinner will be at 8 pm at the hotel.
An early start for a big day, staying overnight in the Karpaz Peninsula! Breakfast will be just after 6 am, then our bus will take us to the Aphenerika Farm area in the heart of the natural beauty of the peninsula. We start the walk here and when we reach Dipkarpaz village we will stop for a coffee break. During the walk, we will visit a local bakery and the terrain will encompass everything from mountains to the sea shore. At around 1 pm we will reach our meeting point, where we will have the delights of a local barbecue lunch, with hot food and cool beers! After lunch, our bus will take us to the famous Golden Sands beach, where you can swim or just relax with a drink, then we will see the wild donkeys and visit the incredible Apostil Andreas Monastery. Then we return to Dipkarpaz, where we will be staying in the beautiful Karpaz Arch House. Comprising a number of traditional, stone houses set in attractive gardens, this is a haven of peace. We will have dinner in the adjacent Manolya Restaurant.
After a superb organic breakfast of local produce at Karpaz Arch House, we will pay a visit to the olive oil factory museum in the village and then drive through the Karpaz to the stunning ancient Roman ruins of the city of Salamis, also stopping at the St. Barnabas Monastery icon museum before arriving in the old part of Famagusta. Here we will visit Othello’s Tower, the chuch of St. George and the old city and will also have lunch here. After that you will have some free time to go shopping or explore more of this fascinating city before returning to Hotel Sempati later in the afternoon. Tonight is sadly our last night, but we will celebrate in style at a local tavern with food, dancing and fun.
After breakfast, or depending on your flight time, our driver will take you to the airport for your return. We wish you a pleasant flight and hope to see you again in the not too distant future!