Famagusta has an intriguing and romantic past, with its picturesque, unspoiled landscape of islands, clear blue lagoons, mountains and lofty peaks. Its beauty, as if the gods themselves created it for you and your loved ones, must be seen up close and personal. Famagusta is situated on the eastern side of Nicosia, Cyprus.
The Palazzo del Provedittore (the Royal Palace) entrance, in Famagusta.
Over the last 50 years, Famagusta has developed a very distinct chasm between the ancient ways of life and the citified, tourist-oriented lifestyle. This has caused two ways of life to spring up adjacent to each other.
The best travel advice for the newcomer is to go with your mind open, bring your adventurous side and try out the language. The locals will appreciate it, and you’ll have a better time, as well.
Here are a few nuances of nonverbal language:
• The word ‘no’ is not expressed by shaking the head side to side; Greeks will tilt their heads up when they are saying ‘no.’
• Greeks are very expressive. Be prepared for hugs and/or a very definite handshake, and do reciprocate.
• Never, ever put out your hand with all five fingers extended. It is an insulting hateful gesture.
The Euro tends to be strong against the dollar. However, bring extra cash in case the markets fluctuate widely while you’re on your trip.
For public transportation, you’ll need about ten Euros per day to get around town. If you want to rent a private boat, you’ll need as much as 18 Euros.
To enter historical sites and attractions and buy those irresistible souvenirs, allow about 25 Euros per day.
Allow about six Euros per snack, including a drink. A light meal runs about five Euros. One way to cut costs, especially in summer, is to purchase your water at a market instead of at tourist spots. You’ll pay about one-sixth as much.
Choose from budget apartments, luxury apartments, four-star resorts, five-star resorts and Cyprus villas in Famagusta.
If you want to go first-class, renting villas in Cyprus could cost over 2,400 Euros. For this amount, you might get a large, splendid sea front villa done in marble. Some villas even have a roof that slides back for private tanning during daylight hours. Enjoy stargazing at night. Of course, a private pool, parking and pool are included.
Budget apartments, which you can book easily on the internet, cost about 38 Euros per night, with Ercan airport transport available. You might have a kitchen, television, air conditioning, Internet access and lounge for this price.
Luxury apartments, such as the Mythical Sands, will be near the ocean and cost up to 475 Euros per week. The Salamis Bay Conti Hotel and other resorts costs about 42 Euros per night, and has indoor, children’s and outdoor pools, Jacuzzi, gym. The resort claims to intertwine traditional Famagusta culture with all of the modern comforts.
Landmarks and Top Attractions
Famagusta is historically famous for its deep harbour, which was once a big copper exporting point. The town was founded in 300 BC on the site of ancient Arsinoe. Its impressive town walls are 17 meters high, and date from the 13th century.
Visitors can view the well-preserved ruins of:
• Temple of Zeus
Famagusta boasts some of the best beaches on the island. Other popular sites are Damlatas Cave, which maintains a chilly temperature of 22 degrees Centigrade. Its stalagmites (those come up from the floor of the cave) have grown to almost 15 meters high.
If you like gothic churches, don’t miss an early 14th century church of the apostles Peter and Paul (called, oddly, Church of St. George). And St. Nicholas Cathedral is right in the centre of town, and is now used as the Lala Mustafa Pasha Mosque.
To miss the hottest months, go in January, and avoid June through September. If you like rain, go in October, and avoid April through July.