There are no beaches in the town of Kyrenia itself but there are some decent spots both east and west if you have transport. The beaches to the west of Kyrenia are all private and belong to the hotels built nearby but day visitors are welcome — for a price. These beaches usually have plenty of tourist trappings such as sun beds, watersports and restaurants. There are several beaches east of Kyrenia that are public and free but they tend to be more isolated and have fewer facilities. That means they get fewer visitors as well, so can more attractive to those who prefer their beaches unspoiled by tourist development.
Beaches to the west of Kyrenia
About 6km west of Kyrenia is the popular, sandy and private Kervansaray Beach in a pretty cove. It can be found on the right after driving through Karaoglanoglu at the Gülers Fish Bar. Visitors usually park on the roadside and walk down to the beach where there are sun loungers for hire and a small beach bar serving drinks and ice cream. There are restaurants overlooking the beach with a good selection of food.
The private Escape Beach has several other names — Five Mile Beach (the approximate distance from Kyrenia), Sunset Beach and Yavuz Cikarma in Turkish. The area is landscaped with grass and flowers. There is little shade but sun loungers and umbrellas are for hire and a large restaurant overlooks the sands. A rocky islet protects the beach from the open sea though swimmers who venture beyond the island have been drowned in the strong currents. A sand bank connects the islet to the shore and you can paddle across if you wish to. Water sports are available, including jet skis, canoes and pedal boats. There is also a scuba diving school. It can get very busy in the summer thought the eastern end, where jet skis and boats are banned, is much quieter. Open-air night parties bring in the youngsters with club music from European Djs. A white monument above the beach announces (in Turkish) that this was the spot where the 1974 invasion began.
Mermaid (Deniz Kyzy) Beach
Around the headland is the private Deniz Kyzy or Mermaid Beach. Set in an attractive horseshoe bay the beach belongs to two hotels, the Deniz Kyzy and Deniz Kyzy Royal, so it can get very busy and there is a small charge to use the facilities. Just above the beach is a large freshwater swimming pool open to the public. As well as the usual sun loungers there is a variety of water sports including windsurfing, water skiing and fun rafts for the children. There are several steps down onto the sand so it is not suitable for people with walking difficulties.
Green Coast (Guzelyali) Beach
A holiday village has grown up here and dumped plenty of sand to improve the beach, which also goes by the Cypriot name of Guzelyali. The soft sand is very nice but visitors will notice how it quickly turns to shingle and sharp stones if the venture out to sea. Beach shoes are a must for swimmers.There is a restaurant on the beach and there are showers and toilets as well as plenty of sun loungers which will be needed as there is little natural shade. The holiday complex has built a large car park.
This attractive, small, private, sandy beach has recently been open to the public. There is a sign to it from the Alsancak Restaurant on the main road. The area was until recently under military control and there are still several warning signs around but these can be safely ignored. There is a good sandy beach with sunbeds and a pleasant restaurant overlooking the sea.
Mare Monte Beach
This long stretch of sand belongs to the Mare Monte Hotel beach located about 9km west of Kyrenia. There are all the usual hotel facilities such as bar, shower, sun loungers and so on. It is very popular beach with the locals so the weekends are usually busy. There are a large number of steps to the beach so it's not for those who have difficulty walking. Nearby are the ruins of the 13th century BC port of Lambousa, although most of the ruins lie inside a well-fenced army camp. In 1904, a 7th century treasure of Byzantine gold and silver plate was unearthed — known as the 'Lambousa Treasure' — examples of which can be seen in the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia, the Medieval Museum in Limassol and the British Museum in London.
This beach is named after the 180-room LA Hotel which is located across the beach road near the tiny village of Lapta, about 14km from Kyrenia. The LA is a good sandy beach which, although rather narrow and steeply banked at the back, is a pleasant enough spot and well looked after. There is natural shade along the back of the beach which curves gently around a shallow bay. Along with all the usual beach facilities such as sunloungers, showers, toilets and so on there is a wide selection of water sports.
Camelot (Incirli Plaji) Beach
Beyond Alsancak is a small private sandy beach at Camelot, also known as the almost unpronouncable Incirli Plaji, signposted from the Friends Beach Bar and Restaurant.
Recent years have brought in developers and what was once a plain and simple beach has turned into something of a beach resort. The shoreline water is very shallow, making it good for families with children. There is the restaurant and a bar, free toilets and sun loungers for hire.
Beaches to the east of Kyrenia
About 2km east of Kyrenia is the village of Karakoum and a sign for the private Diana Beach, where visitors will find a small cove of sand just past some newly built villas. Sand has been dumped by the lorry load here in a bid tomake the beach more attractive to visitors but swimmers will find it can get very rocky underfoot when the enter the water. There are plenty of sun loungers to rent and there is a small restaurant for food and drink at the back of the beach. There are also jet skis to hire, which can make for a noisy day for those not into watersports.
This private beach is about 7km east of Kyrenia and well signposted off the main road. It is relatively small, a thin sickle of sand in a small bay, protected by a rock headland that sweeps around it. There are sun loungers and a diving platform as well as a small restaurant at the back of the beach. There is a good horse riding stable here and you can ride along deserted beaches or through the mountains. Catalkoy is a large picturesque village with a good selection of shops and restaurants nestled in foothills of the Five Finger Mountains. Many Europeans have build luxury homes in the area.
Just before the road sweeps up into the mountains is the big sandy beach at Vyrsi now completely dominated by the Acapulco Hotel complex. The road passes through an army camp before it reaches the entrance to the holiday complex which caters for the package tour trade. The 1km-long beach is fine clean sand and the hotel provides all needs for eating and drinking. Signs warn of strong currents out at sea and waves tend to be big so children should be supervised. There is also a very large swimming pool with water slides — said to be the biggest on Cyprus and lots of sports, from beach volleyball to tennis courts. Entry prices are steep but you do get use of the hotel's indoor gym, jacuzzi and sauna for your entrance fee.
Lara (Vakilflar) Beach
Also known as Vakiflar Beach and not to be confused with Lara beach in the south, this private beach is about 3km east of the town of Vyrsi and is popular with British ex-pats who have quite a large community around here. The dark sand looks a little scruffy but its pleasant enough and it has all the facilities including toilets, showers and changing rooms as well as a reasonable open-air restaurant.
These public sands are also known as Turtle Beach for obvious reasons. It's about 20km from Kyrenia. Access is down a rough track to two beach strips either side of a small headland of shingle and sand backed by low dunes. Alagadi is a sandy beach and the water stays shallow for quite a distance. There is a small islet that you can wade to though the sea floor is very rocky. Facilities are limited to a restaurant on the main road and the Green Turtles Beach Bar in summer but there are toilets there. Green and loggerhead turtles come and lay their eggs in the summer. During the egg-laying season the beach area for sitting on is marked out with red painted markers. Beaches are closed overnight and patrolled by students in the egg laying season from June to October.