Cyprus offers a beautiful setting for archaeological discovery. Our journey through the northern part of the island takes us amidst the unspoiled natural landscape of this sun-blanched land; we discover an array of Medieval castles and churches, expansive classical sites, and gentle villages. Meet with a local archaeologist who offers a real insight into the ongoing excavations on the island.
Salamis is, of course, a real highlight and easily North Cyprus’ best archaeological site. Discover the fully restored Roman theatre, a gymnasium with a monumental bath house attached, cisterns, Byzantine churches and much more.
- Explore the rich sites of once mighty Classical cities
- Breathtaking views from the Kyrenia Mountains
- Visit Byzantine castles & domed Ottoman mosques
- Spend a full day in Cyprus’ capital, Nicosia
- Discover ancient Salamis with its Royal Tombs
- Cultural Excursion
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
(Please note: the October 2018 departure will be running this itinerary in reverse order)
We fly from London to Ercan, via Istanbul.
Today begins with a visit to the famous Bellapais Abbey, a 13th-century monastery also known as the Abbey of Peace. In the afternoon we head for the Neolithic settlement of Akanthou, where we have special access to ongoing excavations.
We spend the day strolling through the beautiful town of Kyrenia - the ancient town of Girne. We take a guided tour of the impressive Kyrenia Castle, which dates back to the Byzantine period, and has also served the Crusaders, Venetians, Ottomans and British in the long contest over the ownership of the island. We also stop at the Shipwreck Museum, which tells the story of trade in the Mediterranean at the turn of the 4th century BC. After lunch, we explore ancient Lamboussa, including the necropolis and Roman fish tanks. Later, we discover the magnificent Castle of St. Hilarion in the Kyrenia mountains. The best preserved of the Kyrenia strongholds, it was originally founded as a monastery and later fortified by the Byzantines as a defense against the Arabian pirates who raided the coast in the 11th century.
We dedicate a full day to the capital of Cyprus, Nicosia. In the morning we will visit the Cyprus Museum, housing the most important archaeological artefacts found throughout the island and the Archaeological Museum. Just before lunch, we have an appointment at the Centre of Visual Arts & Research, where the Severis Collection is on display. The rest of the day will be spent in the northern part of Nicosia’s Old Town, where we visit the sixteenth-century Büyük Han, a beautiful caravanserai built by the Ottomans. We also explore Nicosia’s Selimye Mosque, converted from a cathedral in 1570.
This morning we travel to Güzelyurt, stopping en-route to see the well-known altar at the late Bronze Age sanctuary of Myrtou Pigadhes. We will see the Museum of Archaeology and Natural History before heading to the 5th century BC Palace of Vouni, with its beautiful views out across the sea. Our visit of the day is to the ruins of Soli, once one of the ten ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus.
We spend the day in Famagusta, visiting Othello Castle built by the Lusignans in the 14th century which might have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s play. In the afternoon we will experience the medieval remains of Famagusta during a walking tour.
We enjoy a morning at the ancient site of Salamis, famous for its archaic period “Royal Tombs” and Cellarka cemetery. We also visit the St Barnabas Monastery and the Bronze Age city of Enkomi, once an important trading centre.
We return home today.
Today we depart from London and fly to northern Cyprus.
We start our exploration of Cyprus with a guided tour of the impressive Kyrenia Castle, which dates back to the Byzantine period, and has also served the Crusaders, Venetians, Ottomans and British in the long contest over the ownership of the island. We also visit the Shipwreck Museum, housed in Kyrenia Castle, which tells the story of trade in the Mediterranean at the turn of the 4th century BC.
After lunch, we explore ancient Lamboussa, including the necropolis and Roman fish tanks.
This morning we head for the Neolithic settlement of Akanthou, where we have special access to ongoing excavations. The site includes a faithful reconstruction of one of the dwellings discovered on the site.
In the afternoon, we travel to the famous Bellapais Abbey, also known as the 'Abbey of Peace', is a 13th-century monastery noted for its superb Gothic architecture, set in a pretty village immortalised in Lawrence Durrell’s 1950s memoir “Bitter Lemons of Cyprus”.
We drive to Nicosia, the divided capital of Cyprus, to visit the northern, Turkish part of the city. In the morning we visit the 16th century Büyük Han, an Ottoman caravanserai and Nicosia’s Selimiye Mosque, converted from a Lusignan-era cathedral in 1570. We will also walk along the Green Line.
In the afternoon we discover the magnificent Castle of St. Hilarion. This is the best preserved of the Kyrenia castles, originally founded as a monastery, later fortified by the Byzantines as a defence against Arabian pirates.
We travel to Güzelyurt, stopping en-route to see the well-preserved altar at the late Bronze Age sanctuary of Myrtou Pigadhes, set within a picturesque valley. We continue to Morphouwill to see the Museum of Archaeology and Natural History. We will also visit the adjoining Byzantine Church of St Mamas before heading to the 5th century BC Palace of Vouni, with its beautiful views out across the sea.
Our final visit of the day is to the ruins of Soli, once one of the ten ancient city kingdoms of Cyprus.
We spend a full day in Famagusta, enjoying a walking tour of this Venetian-walled city, during which we see St Nicholas Cathedral and the splendid churches of the various Eastern Christian denominations. Not only that, but we also visit the remnants of the Venetian palace, and the wonderfully well-preserved city walls themselves.
We enjoy a morning at the ancient site of Salamis, famous for its archaic period “Royal Tombs” and Cellarka cemetery, as well its 15,000 capacity theatre, impressive bathhouse complete with mosaics, and numerous other remnants from what was once Cyprus’ premier city.
The afternoon we wander the Bronze Age city of Enkomi. Seldom visited today, it was once an important trading centre laid-out on a grid plan and enclosed by immense cyclopean walls.
Today we fly to London and bid farewell to this fantastic tour.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.
Information for travellers: We would like to make guests from the US aware that they should enter Cyprus through the south (Larnaca and Paphos airport) and then travel across the border. This is because the northern of Cyprus has been occupied since the Turkish invasion in 1974 and is only recognised as a state by Turkey, which means that anyone entering through the north or flying into Ercan airport is considered to be entering the country illegally. To avoid complications, we would advise this information is taken seriously so that you can be safely on your way to enjoying your holiday.