The fact that the ferry from Turkey arrived in the port of Girne at 08:30 instead of 04:30 came in convenient for us. We did not have to wait on a park bench until dawn, but could go directly to a coffee. 😊

Since 1974 Cyprus is divided into the internationally not recognized “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus TRNC” and the recognized Republic of Cyprus in the south. An entry for the EU in the north of the island is considered illegal. The entry and exit stamps of the “TRNC” could cause problems for us on our onward journey. To avoid them, we presented only the identity card to the border official. To our relief, he did not ask any questions and we received the entry stamp on a separate sheet as requested.

Cyprus confict

In this report we do not want to comment politically on the Cyprus conflict. This older article on Deutschlandfunk (in German) describes concisely why the island is divided and a unification is not foreseeable.

Due to the economic isolation and close ties to Turkey, the TRNC primarily receives Turkish goods and the official currency is the Turkish lira. The Republic of Cyprus (in the south) is part of the European Economic and Monetary Union. In the north as well as in the south, besides tourism, the real estate industry is booming – we had the impression that the island was in a state of sell-out…

Our illusion of not having to remount the rear-view mirrors because of two weeks of left-hand traffic, we soon gave up after the first hectic intersections, traffic circles and tight overtaking maneuvers. Still a bit unsure on the wheels, the first short stage in Northern Cyprus led us directly to paradise…😉
For the second time on our trip, we invited ourselves at Warmshowers hosts. We were warmly welcomed and settled in a beautiful room with sea and pool view. In the evening and for breakfast we were spoiled with culinary delights and had every wish fulfilled before we even had it. The exciting and funny conversations made the time fly by. Thank you so much, Rachael & Jeff, we couldn’t have imagined a better start in Cyprus!

With full batteries we started our journey to the eastern end of Cyprus, the Karpaz peninsula. Our route took us over asphalt and gravel roads always very nice along the sea to the famous semi-wild donkeys, the main attraction of this region. After a detour to the former tourist metropolis of Famagusta (the southern parts of the city are now a restricted military area) and a visit to Roman ruins in Salamis, we were drawn back to the mountains.

Aktiviere Karte Deaktiviere Karte

Following the ridge of the Besparmak Range, we crossed the northern island on a forest road from east to west. For riding / pushing on the partly very stony road we were compensated with wonderful views and nice camping possibilities! Because of stony gravel roads with many meters of altitude and the scarce daylight, our daily stages were limited to about 50km. Fortunately, the supply of water and food was much easier than expected. Happy and satisfied, we reached the western tip of Northern Cyprus after three days.😊

From here we pedaled on a direct route to the divided capital Lefkoşa / Nicosia and crossed the border to Southern Cyprus (the recognized Republic of Cyprus) in the middle of the pedestrian zone … again without any problems and without questions.
Already the first night we were taught that we must choose the campsites in the southern part of the island well. As soon as dawn broke, we heard gunshots in the distance. We packed up in a frenzy and now also heard gunshots very close by. We hurriedly pushed our bikes out of the abandoned olive grove and up to the road. While we were eating breakfast there, the hunters were roaming through the area in high-visibility vests. With their shotguns they shot into the bushes, probably hoping for a lucky hit!  Apart from a few hares, foxes and wild campers, there is hardly any wildlife left on Cyprus…😊 

Bright awake we enjoyed the ride on winding mountain roads through the Troodos Mountains, with Mount Olympus (1952m) as the highest point. Of course, we also visited some sights on the vacation island: e.g. two barn churches and the Kykkos Monastery in the Troodos Mountains, the Blue Lagoon near Polis or ancient Paphos with its impressive mosaics. Despite the beauty of Cyprus, we are glad that the journey continues. For us, there was too much vacation atmosphere here and we missed the unfamiliar culture, the unknown and the adventures away from the tourist masses!😉

We had searched long and intensively for a possible ship transfer from Cyprus (or Turkey) to Israel. Our inquiries to all findable cargo ship and RoRo shipping companies as well as various tour operators brought no success.
By studying the schedules of the ports in Ashdod and Haifa, we found the Israeli cruise company Mano-Cruise, which offers, among other things, short cruises from Haifa. Provided we booked the entire cruise (i.e. Haifa-Limassol-Haifa in three days) and also paid a port agent in Limassol, we were allowed to board. In addition, we needed a negative Corona test and had to stow the bikes packed as luggage in the tiny cabin. The preparations for the crossing were a time-consuming, organizational and logistical challenge…everything else went smoothly.

With two other couples on touring bikes, we went through the security and embarkation procedure in the port of Limassol. The luggage including bikes was brought directly to the cabin by the exceptionally friendly and helpful staff. Finally we could enjoy the abundance and spirit of consumption on the ship.😉 We had imagined the cruise roughly as it is portrayed in this award-winning short movie “All Inclusive”… and we were not entirely wrong. Many passengers had traveled to Cyprus mainly for shopping and were traveling by ship because there are no limits for luggage or food. Although we threw overboard some of our ideal ideas for the crossing with the cruise ship, we are very satisfied that we found a way to reach Israel by water.😊 This morning, the immigration formalities in Israel were so easy that we now have time to finish our blog entry in a café in Haifa. For our time in Israel, we have two volunteer assignments planned. We are really looking forward to that and are excited to see what awaits us!