Turkish part of Nicosia
Europe > Northern Cyprus > Nicosia district (North) > Nicosia (North)
North Nicosia (Turkish: Lefkoşa) is the Turkish Cypriot side of the city of Nicosia and the capital of Northern Cyprus.
Atatürk Square, with the figure of Atatürk and the Turkish flag
Northern Nicosia is the capital and largest city of Northern Cyprus. It contains approximately half of the Old City, and the city streets are visibly crumbling.
Get in
Most tourists visit northern Nicosia as a day trip from the southern side.
If arriving from abroad without going to the southern side first, from nearby Ercan Airport you can take a scheduled bus called Kibhas or take a taxi which costs about 50 TL.
By Plane
Ercan International Airport (ECN IATA), Tymbou (Greek: Τύμπου, officially Τύμβου; Turkish: Kırklar) (about 13 km east of North Nicosia). Regular flights from Ankara and Istanbul, seasonal flights from north-west European airports
(updated Sep 2018)
On foot
The Ledra Street (Lokmacı Caddesi) pedestrian crossing is an easy way to walk to northern Nicosia from southern Nicosia.
By car
From Kyrenia on the northern coast, there is a road which connects to Nicosia.
From southern Nicosia the easiest crossing is the Ledra Palace crossing outside the city walls to the west.
Get around
Map of Nicosia (North)
The Old City of northern Nicosia can be comfortably covered on foot. If crossing through the checkpoint from South Cyprus, there are taxis that can be rented by the hour or by the day to cover the Old City and surrounding areas.
Selimiye Mosque
Most of Nicosia's sights are within the walled city:
Attractions outside the walled city:
Whirling Dervish Shows take place in the walled city near the Selimiye Mosque, every night apart from the Sundays.
Try the 500-year-old Great Turkish Bath (Büyük Hamam) for an experience of true and relaxing cleanliness.
The Nicosia International Fair, takes place every June, and it's more than a fair, with an opportunity to mingle with locals and enjoy the decades-old atmosphere of the mobile restaurants and funfair there.
Nicosia is home to festivals, especially during the summer:
Golden Tulip Hotel, Saray Hotel, Merit Hotel and Royal Hotel host casinos, which are banned in the south.
The so-called nightclubs on the highway to Morphou are prostitution centers. While prostution is illegal, the government turns a blind eye to these "nightclubs" and they remain an attraction for men. These are called "gabareler" in Turkish Cypriot dialect (from "cabaret" in French).
The Indoor and Outdoor Markets are the markets in North Nicosia are certainly worth a visit. There are many market stalls to browse selling everything from genuine fake designer clothes, bags, belts and shoes to stalls overflowing with fantastic fresh, organic and locally grown fruit and vegetables. You can pick up all the local cheese (Hellim cheese), Turkish delight, olive oil and such like that you want to take home to family and friends and you can negotiate a good clothing bargain or two to boot.
Arasta region in the walled city is home to cheap clothing, souvenirs and many other items with friendly vendors.
Outside the walled city, Dereboyu is the most classy area of the city. With frequent festivals, the area hosts several international clothing brands, restaurants and cafes. You will encounter Turkish Cypriot youths here, and hear foreign music. It is busy until late, and probably the only place in North Nicosia with this quality.
Traditional Cypriot cuisine is a melting pot of south European, Balkan and Middle Eastern influences. However, in northern Nicosia, the food you will find is by no means limited to that: while not incredibly cosmopolitan, as the cultural capital of Northern Cyprus, northern Nicosia will offer a unique blend of Cypriot, Turkish, Italian, and other cuisines. Food is cheap for European standards, and depending on the exchange rates, you should expect significantly lower deals than the restaurants in the south.
In Northern Nicosia, restaurants are omnipresent: Turkish Cypriots are an exuberant people who love to go out and eat, as a proverb states, "one should eat if they find food". Dining late is quite common outside of the walled city, and you will find that live music is quite common in restaurants.
While food is pretty much available everywhere, there is a large conglomeration of restaurants in the fancy Dereboyu area, where most of the students and the youth hang out and prices with a great range can be observed. Expect very few restaurants in the shopping district of Taşkınköy, but more in the Gönyeli area and Lemar Yolu. Traditional food (excluding kebabs and döner, which are available 24/7 in a few restaurants and everywhere in the city during daytime), while available in the modern city, can be more readily found in the walled city, although these restaurants tend to close earlier. Some examples of traditional food are:
The Dereboyu region is practically full of mid-range restaurants, below is a choice of them, but feel free to explore around
Meyhane - the Gönyeli region is full of these, even though you may find them in central Nicosia as well, and they may be named "restaurants" at times. They are basically places with a great range of mezes, a slowly served fix menu of kebabs and an opportunity to drink your drinks of choice, with live music or entertainment at some places - might be synonymous to a tavern! Ask for assistance to pick the ideal one. Expect €20-30 per person, and the bill will usually be divided among all that pay.
The going rate for a Pension is 30 TL for a 1 or 2 person room. There are many of them around the Great Inn. They don't have online reservations, but hotels are a minimum of 100 TL in the low-season so it's much cheaper to walk into any pension.
Tourism information may or may not be available at the tourism office on Atatürk Square. The telephone code of the city has no difference with the whole Northern Cyprus; (+90) 392.
Go next
Northern Cyprus is a small country, and even the farthest area, Karpaz Peninsula, is just over 1½ hours by car.
It is possible to visit the South on a day trip, provided you are an EU citizen. Citizens of other western nations (e.g. US, Canada, Australia) are allowed to pass by the Greek Cypriots on a case-by-case basis only. People from countries that need a visa for the Republic of Cyprus cannot visit the South if they entered the island via the TRNC. The main checkpoint for pedestrians is on Ledra Street.
This city travel guide to Nicosia is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.
Last edited on 27 December 2020, at 14:30
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