My North Cyprus Experiences
Whether you need guidance for your next family trip to North Cyprus or are a couple looking for a bit more insight on where to stay, I will try to share my adventures from a family and couple perspective below.
Having been to South Cyprus for a holiday many years ago and remembering how busy it had been back then, I decided to pack the suitcases and take my husband and two young daughters to the Northern side of Cyprus, where it is more unspoilt and quieter, yet lively enough to keep us all busy and entertained.
We were not disappointed! Like a boomerang, we returned again and again, but each time we selected a different hotel that would tick all the right boxes for our growing family’s needs.
Getting there - holiday 1
For our first North Cyprus adventure, I booked flights with Turkish Airlines, departing from London Heathrow, via Istanbul to Ercan International Airport (N. Cyprus). This not only proved more cost-effective than flying direct to Larnaca International Airport (S. Cyprus) but also meant that we avoided the need to cross the border from the south into the north and we would have a shorter transfer time from Ercan to our hotel.
I must admit that because our flight departed 40 mins late from Heathrow, the 1-hour stopover in Istanbul was reduced to 25 mins, which was a little tight and stressful, if not highly amusing to our 5-year-old playing race you to the next plane!
Our first stay in North Cyprus
We stayed at the 5* Merit Park Hotel on the outskirts of Kyrenia town centre, situated by the Mediterranean Sea with breathtaking views. We opted for the all-inclusive package which I would highly recommend as the food and drink was delicious! On arrival at the hotel, we were blown away by the unique architecture of the building. We were made to feel very welcomed with friendly service, refreshments and a selection of sweets.
We chose a family suite – my 5-year-old daughter slept on a sofa bed in an adjoining room and my 6-month-old slept in a cot bed, which was provided on wheels! By the time we had unpacked and made our way to the main restaurant, it had closed being 9:30 pm, but to our surprise, we were told that another dining area was shortly opening, which served meals between 10-5 am. So, there was somewhere in the hotel, always open for food and drink around the clock!
The main buffet-style restaurant served a vast range of food, which was beautifully presented, fresh and delicious. It was kept very clean and the waiters were quick to come over and ask what you would like to drink. We also had a meal at the hotels fish restaurant, which you could pre-book at a supplement from £15 per person. It was a sit-down meal, unrushed and we got to sample many different seafood dishes.
The main bar was sophisticated and cosy, with a choice of comfortable seating and spacious booths, giving you a sense of privacy within a nice atmosphere. The cocktails had good measures of alcohol and there was an adequate number of different cocktails to choose from.
The hotel also hosts a coffee bar, which was similar to having your very own costa at your disposal and I do enjoy a good cup of coffee! The pool bar had incredible views of the mountains in the distance and served toasted sandwiches, fries etc.
The staff couldn’t have been any more helpful. I asked if they could bring the youngest a small selection of fresh fruit, which they then offered to puree.
By the pool
There are two outdoor swimming pools, just steps away from the pool bar. We found it a perfect location to relax and keep cool with a quick dip and ice coffees! However, there are no water slides here.
The immaculate gardens surrounding the hotel was perfect to take my little one for a stroll and a nap in the shade of her pushchair and the hotel was kept immaculately clean and tidy; not once did we encounter any flies/critters or mosquitos!
There was a kids club, and activities throughout the day if your child wishes to join in, (mine did not!), although she did take advantage of the free pony rides on offer.
Merit Royal Premium Hotel
Top Tip - You can visit a different Merit Hotel during your stay!
Staying at a Merit Hotel, run by the reputable group of Merit International Hotels and Resorts, meant we could transfer to a different Merit hotel for the day and/or evening for dinner, which was easy enough to arrange through Reception. The taxi fares were good value, so we didn’t feel the need to hire a car.
The Merit Royal Premium situated on a beautiful cove is the ultimate in luxury and certainly had the WOW factor. We choose to visit this particular hotel as it has small water slides and a play park.
It turned out that my 5-year-old wasn’t a fan of the water slides and so the main swimming pool at the Merit Park suited us perfectly.
To sum up!
The Merit Park Hotel is a smaller resort, but perfect for a younger family and a couples getaway. Although it didn’t have the same amount of entertainment on offer in the evenings as the other hotels we were yet to visit, it didn’t matter on this holiday with our young as it made for an excellent get-away-from-it-all break!
Getting there - holiday 2
For our second North Cyprus holiday, we decided to fly direct into Larnaca. We needn’t have worried about crossing the border as it wasn’t too troublesome at all. After filling out a few simple forms and a passport check we were through!
Limak Cyprus Deluxe Hotel
We stayed in the resort area of Bafra in the northeast of Northern Cyprus at the 5* Limak Hotel. The architecture again was mighty impressive and grand! It felt like you were in a village with the cobbled floors, stone walls and a romantic lit interior and Mediterranean landscaping outside. Our family accommodation had 2 bedrooms that were spacious and comfortable.
The private beach was idyllic with crystal clear lapping waves ideal for paddling and the odd dip to cool off. The beach bar was near to hand and all areas were kept very clean and tidy.
Incredible Swimming Pools
The girls loved the waterslides at the aquapark, which varied in size from the bigger ones that we could go on together to the smaller ones suitable for our 2-year-old. We also had a choice of 4 amazing large outdoor pools.
There was adequate shade from the sun and the resort was extremely well designed. I loved the layout, with many different areas to explore and take a stroll. It never felt overcrowded or too quiet.
The hotel had a vast entertainment programme for both adults and children, all nationalities were mixing on the dance floor and enjoying themed shows. There were foam parties throughout the day and the usual daily activities ran by the friendly entertainment team. My husband had fun on a jet ski and I had a relaxing body massage in the spa. There were yoga and pilate classes too.
There was a choice of pre-bookable restaurants to choose from offering different cuisines, but the main buffet restaurant had a rotating theme too.
*It also had its own dedicated buffet for the kids with juice cartons and milkshakes chilling in a fridge, fresh fruit, chips, nuggets etc, and a blender and microwave at one’s disposal*
To sum up!
For a family holiday suitable for all ages, I would highly recommend this hotel!
All the hotels I have encountered in Cyprus have been wonderful, but this one by far has given us the most fantastic memories. I really don’t have a bad word to say about it!
Our third North Cyprus trip was to the 5* Noah’s Arc Hotel in the Bafra area again and aptly named as its exterior is designed to look like a magnificent ship!
This is another large resort with splendid gardens and beautifully laid out. I enjoy walking and this hotel provided me with ample space to take different routes and stroll around before indulging in ice creams or cocktails.
The water parks were again a hit with our children. I like the fact that it was separated from the main swimming pools as it contained the noise levels to that area. It was geared up for family fun with a selection of ice creams on offer and pool floats/toys available too.
The mini club was also fantastic and my now 7-year-old daughter, who hadn't shown any interest in kids clubs previous, loved it. The girls had their faces painted many times and the indoor play area was cool with lots of climbing frames and slides.
The entertainment was less varied in the evening to the Limak. The main bar was popular with live bands and a lively atmosphere.
The children could attend a mini disco at the kids club, however, we found ourselves slipping into a comfortable routine, heading off to the same bar after the disco and evening meal, but saying that, there were so many different style restaurants at the hotel offering an array of cuisines each with their own character that made the evenings enjoyable.
One night we took the girls clubbing on the pier that didn’t open until 11 pm, as a one-off! It was a fun night out and the music was up to date and English.
On a different occasion, we tried a shisha and relaxed in the shisha lounge outside, but this was at a supplement. I do recommend trying at least once just for the experience!
To sum up!
We had another great experience and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves at the Noahs Ark Hotel. I comment that Noahs Ark is perfect for couples as the hotel offered many places for peace and relaxation. Although we were on an all-inclusive package again, I did feel there were a few more extras, for example, certain cocktails were at a charge, shisha lounge and the other restaurants at a supplement too.
Out & About
On all our North Cyprus holidays we ventured out to picturesque Kyrenia. We loved the stunning castle and harbour, perfect for relaxing and a place to enjoy a cold drink! Followed by a stroll through the streets of the old town browsing the quirky outlets was lovely and we usually returned with a few souvenirs.
Holiday No 4?
Will we return to this island gem in the Mediterranean? I would love to someday soon and I am certain I’d have a wonderful time again, but the ‘world is your oyster’ and this Holiday Warrior is on a quest to conquer more destinations!
Find out more
At Holiday Warriors we book our North Cyprus holidays through our esteemed supplier Cyprus Premier who we have a fantastic relationship with and access to exclusive deals and discounts!
Please contact us if you are interested in booking a holiday to North Cyprus. I am just one of the team at Holiday Warriors who have visited and stayed in North Cyprus. We collectively have a lot of knowledge and can advise on where to go, stay and extra tips to help make your North Cyprus holiday one to remember and maybe blog about!