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When visiting North Cyprus for the first time, Kyrenia is a great place to stay. This historic town lies on the northern coast of Cyprus, and life centres around the picture-postcard harbour lined with cafes one side and bobbing fishing boats the other. Like all popular Mediterranean destinations, travellers can spend a lot of money on a swanky hotel room in Kyrenia, but budget travel is easy to arrange and remarkably good value for money.
Any budget-saving holiday travel to Kyrenia starts with a choice of two ways to fly to Cyprus:
Generally, prices for flights to Larnaca in south Cyprus are cheaper, and international airlines plus a well-known European budget airline fly there. Travellers do not enjoy so much choice for low cost flights to Ercan, although Turkish Airlines and Pegasus Airlines both offer good value scheduled flights.
However, the savings travellers may make on flying to Larnaca do need to be offset against the cost of the transfer to Kyrenia. Since tourists need to cross the border from south Cyprus to North Cyprus, there are no direct buses from Larnaca to Kyrenia. Drivers can hire a car and drive across, but will need to buy extra insurance at the border, and many south Cyprus hire car companies do not allow their cars to be driven in North Cyprus. (An exception is http://www.cyprus-car.com).
By far the most relaxing and (ironically) cost-effective way to get from Larnaca to Kyrenia is by private taxi transfer, a journey of around 90 minutes from the airport to the centre of town. Look for companies that offer a cost per taxi, or prefer shuttle taxi and pay per person via the company PickUp North Cyprus. Always pre-book a taxi transfer with a North Cyprus company, and preferably pay in your home currency, as this will be cheaper than a south Cyprus firm charging in Euros. North Cyprus company drivers are more familiar with the border-crossing procedures, and usually they take care of the paperwork, so visitors don't even need to leave the taxi! One of the most reliable taxi transfer companies is GNC Taxi, who have drivers with EU passports, which shortens the border transfer process considerably.
From Ercan Airport in North Cyprus, the transfer time to Kyrenia by taxi is much shorter, as little as 25 minutes for hotels on the outskirts. There is a KIBHAS coach shuttle bus service or Pickup North Cyprus shuttle taxi service from Ercan Airport to Kyrenia, which is considerably cheaper than a private taxi transfer.
However, many cheaper flights from western Europe land at Ercan Airport later in the evening, which means travellers have to wait for the last bus or may miss it altogether. So, tourists need to factor in a taxi transfer price against any savings made from flying late in the day!
Tourists can drive themselves from Ercan Airport by hiring a car but again, they need to pre-book with an established company, as good hire cars are in short supply in North Cyprus. Look for companies that include 'extras' in their rates, such as zero excess, inclusive insurance and CDW, unlimited mileage and free second driver. Requests for baby or child car seats should always be made well in advance, not on the day!
Hotels in Kyrenia North Cyprus range from elegant 5 star resorts to budget three star hotels, but as with many Mediterranean countries, the star ratings are not to be relied upon too much! Many budget hotels seem good value by price alone, but have very little in the way of facilities, so travellers might spend more money paying for wifi access, meals out, etc. The best value hotels in Kyrenia tend to be the better three and four-star hotels, since they have much the same facilities as five star hotels but without the price tag. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews of some of the most popular Kyrenia hotels, such as the family-run Pia Bella Hotel, the traditionally comfortable Dome Hotel, family-friendly Oscars Resort, and the popular and friendly Sammy's Hotel.
If all this seems like a lot of work to organise, don't discount the budget benefits of package holidays. Budget travellers to Kyrenia can buy a pre-arranged holiday at a specific hotel, or 'build their own' from flights, accommodation, car hire and/or transfers. One of the major advantages of booking through a holiday company is that their holidays are usually protected by a financial compensation fund, such as the ATOL scheme in the UK.
Should a holiday company go bust, or an airline collapses,
the ATOL scheme ensures holidaymakers won't be stranded abroad or lose their
money. Airlines are not eligible for ATOL, so if holidaymakers buy flights
direct from a scheduled airline, they will not be covered by the ATOL scheme.
So, look for a holiday company that offers this kind of protection: