A Natural Wonder

Iskele

Jutting out into the Mediterranean Sea’s easternmost reaches, the Karpaz Peninsula otherwise known as the “Panhandle” is a welcome diversion from the hustle and bustle of everyday life further inland.

Almost 80 kilometres from one end to the other, this peninsula is perhaps the Mediterranean’s last piece of unspoilt tranquillity, where green and azure meets history.

Sparsely populated by comparison and bragging a wealth of deserted golden sand, life’s a beach here. Crop farmers, still relying on archaic horse-drawn implements, cheerily go about their work, while the Cyprus donkey roams freely in abundance.

Along with multiple amphibians, reptiles and birds passing through on their migration routes, the loggerhead and green sea turtles are also proud to regard this unspoilt stretch of land as home, sensing idyllic nesting grounds when they see them.

From here, Maquis, Cypress and Pine trees pepper the gorgeous countryside and scurry up hills to altitudes of around 1,000 metres, comprising a handsome backdrop to the serene sapphire blue of the gently caressing ocean.

The surrounding waters have a wonderful clarity, with ample investigative opportunities for the budding snorkeller – those of a less intrepid nature may opt for a spot of fishing instead. Blessed with a biodiversity so rich, the entire area has been rightfully deemed a national reserve – the architectural eye candy includes several ruins, Kantara Castle and the Monastery of Apostolos Andreas, dedicated to Saint Andrew.

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