The centuries-old history of Famagusta is full of triumphs and falls, glorious and dramatic events. The strategic location of the fertile island of Cyprus contributed to the prosperity of the city, but at the same time, this happy circumstance turned its bustling port and powerful fortress into an object of envious glances from its neighbors. A series of conquests and endless conflicts between the powerful rulers of the countries of the East and West, who saw in the powerful fortifications of Famagusta either a threat or a benefit, led to the fact that the ethnic composition of the local residents periodically changed dramatically. Today the overwhelming majority of the city’s 50,000 inhabitants are Turks.
Famagusta boasts an abundance of medieval structures. The city walls and towers surrounding the Old Town are considered the best-preserved Venetian defensive fortifications in the entire Mediterranean. The citadel is associated with the famous names of kings who proclaimed the city their capital; here events took place that radically influenced the historical destinies of neighboring states.
Unfortunately, the officials of Northern Cyprus allocate extremely meager funds for the restoration of medieval buildings in Famagusta, the authorities are not able to maintain the ancient monuments even in the form in which they were before the events of 1974. A World Heritage Foundation report published in 2010 reported that many of Famagusta’s historic structures are in danger of final destruction. Twelve monuments of medieval architecture that existed as far back as the 1970s were designated as irretrievably lost.
However, the picturesque ruins of Famagusta captivate travelers. The city has museums and entertainment centers, hotels and restaurants are at guests’ disposal. In the vicinity there are ancient Byzantine monasteries, of particular interest are two world-famous archaeological locations – the ancient city of Salamis and the even more ancient settlement of Enkomi dating back to the Bronze Age. To the north of Famagusta there is a string of well-equipped beaches. Modern hotels have also been erected here, among which you can find budget hotels and five-star resort complexes.
History of Famagusta
The founding of Famagusta dates back to the 3rd century BC. e., when in the era of Alexander the great Cyprus was included in his vast empire. Famagusta was founded by a descendant of one of the military leaders of Alexander the Great – the ruler of Hellenistic Egypt, Ptolemy Philadelphus, who inherited the island. In 274 BC. e. he ordered the foundation of a city on the shore of a convenient for navigation bay and named the settlement in honor of his beloved sister Arsinoe. In the “Geography” of Strabo, which was published at the beginning of the 1st century, Arsinoe is casually mentioned as an unremarkable town of fishermen with a small deep harbor for merchant ships. By that time, Cyprus was already part of the Roman Empire. With its disintegration, the island found itself in the sphere of influence of Byzantium. Christianity was established here in the 4th century.
On the geographical maps of the Mediterranean, the exotic mark “Famagusta” appeared only in the Middle Ages. This is how the Latins – Genoese and Venetian sailors – called this harbor and the city in Cyprus, distorting beyond recognition the later Greek name of the port “Ammochostos” (Αμμόχωστος), meaning “Submerged in the sands.” By the way, this name is still used today on Greek geographical maps of Cyprus and road signs.
The turning point in the history of the city was 1191, when Cyprus was captured by the crusaders led by the legendary English king Richard the Lionheart. With his light hand, the Order of the Templars settled in Famagusta, and then one of the leaders of the Third Crusade, the famous French knight Guido de Lusignan, who managed to try on the crown of the King of Jerusalem, took the throne. His son Amaury received the title of King of Cyprus from the Holy Roman Emperor. The Lusignan dynasty ruled here for about three hundred years. The kings erected impregnable castles, beautiful palaces and magnificent cathedrals, which travelers admire to this day. Famagusta reached its peak in the second half of the XIV century, becoming the richest city in the Mediterranean.
The prosperity of the kingdom of the descendants of the Crusaders did not last long. In 1384, Famagusta was captured by greedy Genoese, and in the 15th century the powerful Venetian Republic was established in the city by force of arms. These invasions of the Latins also left their mark on the appearance of Famagusta. A prosperous trading city with its powerful fortifications turned into a strategic naval base in Venice, which spent huge amounts of money on expanding the fortress. At the same time, the weakened Kingdom of Cyprus fell into vassal dependence on the sultans of Egypt, who, in turn, were tributaries of the Ottoman Empire. In these intricacies of historical events are rooted the reasons for the current claims of the Turkish community to part of the territory of Cyprus. In addition, the island is only a few dozen nautical miles off the coast of Turkey,
In the 70s of the XVI century, Famagusta became the last stronghold of Christians in Cyprus, captured by the troops of the Turkish Sultan Selim II. His vizier and commander Mustafa Pasha with a 50,000-strong army for thirteen months besieged the city, protected by impregnable 17-meter walls. Finally, the remnants of the Venetian garrison were forced to lay down their arms. Unsuccessfully besieging the citadel, the Turks were amazed to see that only five hundred wounded defenders came out of the gates. Mustafa Pasha violated the terms of Famagusta’s surrender, and all the soldiers defending the city were handed over to the executioners.
During the Ottoman period, many medieval buildings and monuments erected by the “infidels” were mercilessly demolished, the remaining historical buildings were adapted for new functions. Famagusta churches have become Muslim mosques. Turkish families from Anatolia moved here, unceremoniously taking houses from the townspeople. The Latins were expelled from the city, the Greek Cypriots and other non-Islamic populations were ordered by the Turks to move outside the city walls. This is how the new district of Varosha appeared. The old city of Famagusta, since then inhabited by the Turks, stood in ruins. From the rubble of destroyed buildings, the conquerors gradually rebuilt city blocks.
In 1878, the British Empire took Cyprus away from the decrepit Ottoman Port. The island spent nearly a hundred years in the status of a Mediterranean colony of Great Britain. Industrial enterprises appeared here, agriculture developed. The British significantly expanded the port facilities of Famagusta, half of all cargo and passengers arriving in Cyprus passed through this harbor. In 1905, a railway was built here, leading from the port to Nicosia and further west through a fertile valley to the mountainous region of Troodos. Much of the modern Nicosia-Famagusta highway runs along an old railway line that is no longer in use.
Modern era and features of recreation
With the proclamation of the independence of Cyprus in August 1960, the tourism business began to develop intensively in Famagusta. In the southwestern region of Varosha, dozens of hotels, restaurants, casinos were built, and comfortable beaches were equipped. In the early 70s of the last century, when a civil war broke out in neighboring Lebanon, the center of international tourism and entertainment of the Eastern Mediterranean moved here from Beirut. During that period of the tourist boom, up to 100,000 travelers from European countries came to Famagusta every year, cruise liners and ocean-going cargo ships from all over the world entered the port.
Ever since the British invasion, the political leaders of the Greek population of Cyprus have not abandoned the idea of ”enosis” – reunification with mainland Greece. Turkish Cypriots strove for “taksim” – the division of the island along ethnic and religious lines. Armed conflicts have flared up on the basis of these disagreements. In July 1974, a crisis broke out in the country: a political coup took place, the Greek army invaded Cyprus, and a few days later Turkish troops landed on the island. In August, Turkish tanks entered Famagusta, the Greek population left the city in panic, never to return to their homes. As a result, the intervention of UN peacekeepers was required. Thus, Cyprus was divided by the demarcation strip that still exists today, which is here called the “Green Line”. The demarcation line begins near Famagusta,
After the events of 1974, the luxurious resort area of Famagusta – Varosha, also fell into the buffer zone, where about a hundred deserted hotels, nightclubs and casinos still rise among the orange groves on the picturesque seaside south of the historic center. All this property, owned by business groups from 20 countries, was viewed by the Turks as a guarantee for political bargaining in further negotiations. Since then, for more than 40 years now, this vast resort area seemed to be stuck in a fantastic “time capsule”, it is surrounded by barbed wire, access to it is closed. It is said that in the hastily abandoned hotels, the belongings of the guests remained, and in the restaurants there are still tables set for breakfast. The buildings themselves, once attractive with their original architecture and ornate facades, have turned into gray concrete skeletons,
However, life in Famagusta continues. Based on the prevailing reality, beach hotels are now being built on the Mediterranean coast to the north of the city. There are not so many hotels built there as there were in Varosha, but quite enough – after all, the influx of tourists, as in the old days, is still not observed in Famagusta. The vast majority of holidaymakers here are citizens of Turkey and Northern Cyprus, who come to local hotels to spend their holidays or weekends.
According to the official administrative division of the Republic of Cyprus, Famagusta is the center of one of the regions of this island country. However, the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which has established a special administrative structure, assigns Famagusta, which is here called “Gazimagusa”, to its own region – Iskele.
Northern Cyprus is under severe economic sanctions from the European Union and is subject to an international embargo. The bans apply to direct flights, the entry of passenger and cargo ships into ports, and the areas of trade and transportation of goods are also limited. However, Northern Cyprus is open to foreign tourists arriving in the southern part of the island, the Republic of Cyprus. And Famagusta is no exception. To visit this city, you need to cross the line of demarcation of the island’s territory, which is guarded by peacekeepers. Crossing the border “Green Line” dividing Cyprus into “Greek” and “Turkish” for foreign tourists heading to Famagusta does not present any special problems: you just need to present your passport at one of the checkpoints. The closest checkpoint to the city was opened in 2018 and is located in the village of Deryneia.
There is also an alternative route to visit Famagusta. In this case, you should fly to one of the airports in Turkey, and from there head to Northern Cyprus. More about this – in the section “How to get there”.
The Republic of Cyprus is part of the European Union, and the currency here is the euro. On the territory of Northern Cyprus occupied by the Turks, the Turkish national currency, the lira, is accepted in the circulation of money, but sellers willingly accept the euro for payment. In this case, the conversion is carried out “by eye” at the rate of about 2.5 lira per euro, and some monetary losses are inevitable, which is insignificant when buying inexpensive souvenirs. But if you are planning to buy something expensive on the market, it is wiser to exchange euros for lira at a bank branch. Bank cards are accepted in major stores in Famagusta, which saves customers from the hassle of double currency exchange. At the box office of museums and other objects open for inspection, the cost of entrance tickets is usually indicated in Turkish lira and euros, but only cash is accepted.
Geography and climate
The southeastern coast of Cyprus, on which Famagusta is built, faces the shores of Syria and Lebanon. This part of the Mediterranean was called the Levantine Sea in medieval chronicles. The Syrian coast from the port of Famagusta is about 50 nautical miles (95 km). The city, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, orange and lemon orchards, lies on a fertile plain. Good highways link it with Nicosia and other towns on the island.
The climate in Famagusta is Mediterranean, close to subtropical. The streets of the friendly city are decorated with exotic evergreen vegetation, the walls of houses are entwined with ivy and grapes. Winters are warm here, but during this period it can be rainy, cloudy and windy. The coldest month is January, when the air temperature fluctuates between + 8 … + 15 ° С, and very rarely drops to + 5 … + 6 ° С.
The most favorable season for a comfortable stay in Famagusta is spring and early summer. The period of cold rains and chilly winds ends by this time. From April to June the air temperature is + 22 … + 25 ° С, and the water near the coast – up to + 20 … + 22 ° С. In July, the city streets are already +30 ° С, in August-September it sometimes gets hot up to + 35 … + 37 ° С, but the fresh sea breeze in the evenings pleasantly smooths out the prevailing heat. The water at the edge of the surf in August warms up to +28 ° С. Then comes the “velvet” holiday season, which lasts from September to October. Warm autumn comes to Famagusta in November, and locals and tourists meet the New Year on the open terraces of restaurants, because in late December – early January the sun often warms up to + 16 … + 18 ° С.
In the Middle Ages, Famagusta was called the city of 365 churches. From these parts, Christianity spread throughout the island. Byzantines and Armenians, Italians and French, Greeks and Syrians built their churches here. Local architects gave the churches a distinctive personality. Legend has it that throughout the year pious Christians came to hear the sermons every day in the new basilica, and so they went around all the temples of Famagusta for a year. Today, the cityscape contains the ruins of only two dozen dilapidated churches. Some of them were converted by Turkish conquerors into mosques and madrassas, and in the rebuilt chapels today you can find a tavern, a souvenir shop or a baker’s shop.
The medieval city core of Famagusta is surrounded by a colossal stone wall, reaching 17 meters in height, with a masonry width of 6-9 m. The fortifications stretch for 3.5 km. Perhaps the most curious and romantic attraction of the citadel is the Castle of Castello, built by the Lusignans in the 14th century. The main entrance to the city from the side of Nicosia ran through the gates of this square fortification with powerful walls surrounded by a deep moat. The castle also defended the port of Famagusta from the attacks of the enemy fleet, another gate went out to the sea. If necessary, the harbor could be closed with a chain stretched over the water. All that remained of the Chain Tower was a pile of stones on the headland opposite the citadel.
300 years after the accession of the Lusignan dynasty in Famagusta, a Venetian garrison was already stationed in the fortress. Medieval square towers were rebuilt to give them a round shape. Such facades more effectively resisted only the recently appeared gunpowder artillery – the cannonballs glided along the cylindrical walls and ricocheted without causing much harm to the fortress. One of the towers bears the name of Othello, the entrance to it is marked by a marble slab built into the wall with a relief of a winged lion – the symbol of the Venetian Republic. This tower served both as a bastion and as a dwelling for the commandant of the fortress. There is an extensive dining room, kitchen, sleeping quarters. Probably, the dramatic events that once took place in this tower served the famous English playwright William Shakespeare as the plot line of the play “Othello”. Recall that according to the plot, Othello was a Venetian commander,
For many years, Castello Castle was in ruins. Restoration work here began only in 2014, when the European Union allocated about a million euros for the urgent restoration of the crumbling fortress. The builders strengthened the arched vaults, renewed the roofs of the towers, and laid drainage to drain rainwater from the foundations.
Today, the restored buildings are available to tourists. In the courtyard of the castle, you can see the finds of archaeologists, the Venetian coats of arms restored from the wreckage, here you can see ancient bronze cannons. Near the guns are iron and stone cannonballs found stuck in the walls or among the ruins. There is also a stone staircase leading to the fortress wall, where observation platforms are located. Climbing up there, you will find the best vantage points for photographing the medieval quarters of Famagusta.
A panorama of the port opens from the loopholes of the northeastern tower. Ventilation shafts are visible at its base. They lead to ancient dungeons carved into the rock by medieval stonecutters. Local legends say that before surrendering to the Ottomans, the Venetians hid the city treasury and other treasures under the fortress. But so far no one has managed to penetrate into the caches heaped up with stones and rubble.
The Citadel of Castello is open daily, except Sunday, from 09:00 to 17:00, with a break from 13:00 to 14:00. The cost of the visit is 9 liras.
In the southern part of the fortress walls, in the building of the Venetian arsenal, there is a museum of Jambulat, a brave Turkish warrior who distinguished himself in the capture of Famagusta by the troops of Mustafa Pasha. Dzhambulat, who died heroically during the storming of the city, was buried here, his sarcophagus is covered with the banners of the defeated Venetians. The museum contains a rich collection of weapons and military equipment of the 16th-17th centuries; here you can also see household items from the period of the Ottoman conquest of Cyprus.
In the center of the Old Town rises the majestic ruins of the Gothic Cathedral of St. Nicholas. The temple was founded in 1298, it took 30 years to build. All the monarchs of Cyprus of the Lusignan dynasty were crowned here. According to contemporaries, this temple resembled a cathedral in the French city of Reims, which is considered the pinnacle of medieval Gothic architecture.
A plane tree, planted in the first year of construction, grows on the square near the walls of the cathedral. After the capture of Famagusta by the Turks in 1571, the dilapidated cathedral was turned into a mosque, it was named after Mustafa Pasha, whose cannons mutilated this beautiful structure. However, the conquerors did not bother to restore the building, adding only a thin minaret to the left portal of the ruins. Numerous sculptures that adorned the facades and luxurious interiors of the cathedral have been destroyed. In the middle of the 18th century, during an earthquake, the remains of bell towers and towers collapsed, but the openwork stonework, untouched by cannonballs, still amazes with the skill of medieval craftsmen. Three richly decorated with fine carvings with magnificent pediments, the central portal is crowned with an elegant stone rosette with stained-glass windows almost did not suffer. Inside the building, a huge 50-meter vaulted hall with a height of 25 meters has survived, where the mosque is now located. Once there were sarcophagi of kings, tombstones of noble knights and bishops. Today, mosaic marble floors are covered with worn prayer rugs by devout Muslims, while priceless medieval wall paintings and mosaics are hidden under a layer of thick whitewash. Only the Gothic chapel in the courtyard has been well restored; now, under its arches, there is a popular Turkish restaurant in the city.
Old Famagusta is home to the Proveditore Venetian Palace, one of the rare examples of Renaissance architecture in Cyprus. At first, this palace was built for King Henry II de Lusignan in 1302. In the 16th century, the building was rebuilt by the Venetians; the residence of the governor of the island of Cyprus was located here. Facade arches support ancient Roman columns brought from the ruins of the ancient city of Salamis, located near Famagusta. In Ottoman times, the palace served as an arsenal and a prison; soldiers’ barracks were set up in the premises. The British renovated the palace complex in the 30-50s of the last century, but today these buildings are in a deplorable state. An exception is the building of the dungeon, where in 1873-1876, by order of Sultan Abdulaziz, the influential Turkish revolutionary writer Namyk Kemal was imprisoned. There is a museum here, organized by the Department of Antiquities of Northern Cyprus. Samples of military equipment of the 20th century are exhibited in the courtyard.
The ruins of Salamis are located 6 km north of the historic center of Famagusta. According to legend, the polis was founded by one of the participants in the Trojan War, the legendary hero and skillful archer Tevser, the son of Telamon, king of the island of Salamis, off the coast of mainland Greece. After the victory over Troy, Tevser settled in Cyprus, built a city here and named it after his homeland. A mention of this port policy was found on clay tablets from the library of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon, who ruled in 680-669 BC. e. He fought with Egypt and claimed possession of the island of Cyprus. The text says that the elders of Salamis recognized the authority of the Assyrian ruler and sent an embassy with rich gifts to the king. The Greek historian Herodotus also tells about Salamis in Cyprus. The oldest artifacts found by archaeologists on the territory of an ancient settlement, date back to the XI century BC. e. Already from the VI century BC. e. the city minted its own money, these coins are one of the oldest in the world.
It is worth spending a whole day to explore Salamis. Archaeological excavations were carried out here from 1882 to 1974. City streets and squares with remains of stone buildings and colonnades of temples and public buildings stretch for a kilometer along the sea coast for a kilometer. The well-preserved amphitheater, which once accommodated 15,000 spectators, hosts performances and celebrations in summer. These structures date back to the Roman period and the Byzantine era. The mosaic floors and elegantly carved marble porticoes of the gymnasium are well preserved, as well as a school, a stadium and a wellness center. Nearby are Roman baths with restored pools. Here also mosaics of the 4th century with floral patterns and thematic images of heroes of Roman mythology have been cleared.
On the square, surrounded by the remains of marble columns, there was a city forum and the largest ancient temple of Zeus in Cyprus. Its columns of red Aswan granite were brought by sea from Upper Egypt. There is also a huge stone cistern, a 56-kilometer aqueduct delivered water from distant mountain rivers to it.
Even in ancient times, Salamis was badly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, part of the port facilities were swallowed up by the sea. The destruction of the city was completed by the Arab invasion of Cyprus in the 7th century. By the way, it was from that time that the role of the main seaport of this coast of Cyprus passed to the harbor of Famagusta.
About a kilometer from the ancient city there is an ancient necropolis covering 5 km². It is known as the “Royal Tombs of Salamis”. The burials date back to the 7th-5th centuries BC. e. Burial chambers were built under the mounds of massive limestone blocks. The departed rulers were accompanied by bronze chariots, thrones and heaps of treasures. Seven tombs are open to the public. The finds can be found in a small museum; most of them are presented in the museums of the capital of the country.
Scientists believe that only a small part of ancient Salamis has been discovered, and many surprises are hidden under the coastal dunes covered with pine trees. However, the authorities in Northern Cyprus do not allow further research on the ancient ruins.
Against the background of the sad crumbling ruins that are overflowing with Famagusta, the ancient monastery of St. Barnabas, with its well-groomed territory, restored buildings and temples, looks quite dignified. It is located west of Famagusta, near the ruins of Salamis. The monastery was founded in 474, its Byzantine architectural appearance is typical of the early Christian era. The monks left their cells long ago; only one elderly priest looks after the monastery. There is a historical museum with an exhibition of ancient icons, an interesting archaeological exhibition with collections of Roman ceramics, antique colored glass products, jewelry of the 6th-4th centuries BC. e. All these artifacts were found during excavations in Salamis, and icons were collected in the destroyed nearby churches. The crypt of the monastery chapel contains the relics of Saint Barnabas, an associate of the Apostle Paul, the first Christian preacher in Cyprus. The entrance to the museum is paid – 3 €. There is a small cafe in the monastery’s olive garden.
Another notable archaeological site worthy of tourist attention is the remains of the Bronze Age city of Enkomi. This location is located near Famagusta, on the outskirts of the village of Agios Sergios. British archaeologists worked here at the end of the nineteenth century. Among the finds found in the royal tombs are wonderful bronze figurines of gods, a perfectly preserved board for a board game carved from ivory, gold jewelry with precious gems, chased metal goblets and other treasures. Some of them are kept in the Museum of Nicosia, but most of the finds from Enkomi adorn the windows of the British Museum in London.
The coast to the north of Famagusta is sandy, the entrance to the water is convenient, the gently sloping bottom gradually sinks into the depths. Trees grow in the “wild” areas, in their shade vacationers take refuge from the scorching summer sun. In open coastal areas, the sand becomes very hot in the afternoon, so it is advisable to bring light beach shoes with you.
The top five popular swimming spots in Famagusta include Salamis Bay, Portofino, Mimosa, Beno and Bilfer Palm Beach. They are owned by private beachfront hotels, but access to the shore is open to anyone wishing to cool off in the sea and sunbathe. Glapsides is considered to be the best public beach here; this place is the most popular on the entire coast of Northern Cyprus. It is always crowded and fun, restaurants are built right by the water, there is a rental of umbrellas and sun loungers, sports equipment.
Those who want to spend a day by the sea in peace and quiet go to the quiet and secluded Bafra Beach. There is a good restaurant on the shore where you can dine and have a romantic dinner in the evening.
Silver Beach (Silver Beach) stretches near the ruins of ancient Salamis. The sand here really has a silvery hue. Here beachgoers combine swimming with a cultural program, going to wander among the ancient marble columns.
Further to the north, on the Karpas peninsula, the sandy coast stretches for kilometers, it is not crowded and quiet. Going here, it will be useful to stock up on soft drinks and snacks, there are no restaurants nearby.
In the city center, on Salamis Road, you will find many shops where you can buy inexpensive quality leather clothing and shoes, bags and accessories, gifts and souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Northern Cyprus. We recommend visiting Estetik and Spice & Herb Center in Namık Kemal Square in Old Famagusta.
Usually tourists bring from Famagusta handmade ceramic jugs with the image of Aphrodite, painted plates in the Turkish style, Lefkarian lace, wicker baskets, trays, chased copper products. Local sweets such as Turkish delight are also popular. It is sold packed in boxes of various sizes and costs from 5 to 25 liras. Honey is also famous for its taste, offered in “different-sized” jars, it is offered at a price of 6 to 20 liras. Nuts in honey will cost from 8 to 15 lire.
Cafes and restaurants
Famagusta’s restaurant and tavern chefs prepare recipes from Turkish, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. There are also many establishments offering Italian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. As a rule, the meal is preceded by a meze – 6-10 small portions of various snacks, hot and cold, fish, meat, vegetables.
For a light snack, order a juicy lahmajun at any tavern – a delicious Turkish tortilla with spicy minced meat soaked in sauce. Take a glass of ayran or a glass of beer with the flatbread. Popular with tourists, D&B Cafe serves kebabs and a dozen types of pizza. At Monk’s Inn Bistro & Bar invites you to have an inexpensive snack and a glass of good Cypriot wine. Authentic Turkish cuisine can be sampled at the stylish Ginkgo Restaurant, located near St. Nicholas Cathedral.
On the territory of the historical center, popular establishments are crowded in ancient buildings near Namyk Kemal Square. At the walls of the Old City, check out Niazi’s Restaurant And Cafe. It specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. Tourists note in the reviews that the food here is delicious, the order is brought quickly, the prices are reasonable. Outside the ancient walls of Famagusta, in the New City, head to Salamis Road for a hearty meal. You will find many restaurants and cafes here.
You can dine in a budget city establishment for 10-12 €. The check for a three-course dinner for two in a mid-range restaurant will be approximately € 40-45.
Where to stay
Famagusta has about thirty hotels, guest houses and mini-hotels, and their number is growing from year to year. Recently, in the area of Bafra beach, the resort complex Kaya Artemis Resort Hotel 5 * was erected. This magnificent hotel, designed for 739 standard rooms and “suites”, was built in the form of the famous wonder of the world – the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus. The complex has a water park, a cinema with 800 seats, a nightclub and a casino with a VIP-salon, a restaurant, a bar and a beer pub. There are five restaurants in total, one of which is located on the roof. To services of tourists – a spa, Turkish baths, beauty and massage rooms, several swimming pools, including children’s baths. For active recreation there are tennis courts, a volleyball court, a bowling club, and a billiard room. On the beach you can rent a pleasure yacht or boat, water skis, parachutes and other equipment. The cost of living is from 200 to 700 € per day.
The Salamis Bay Conti Famagusta 5 hotel * is also located far from the historic center, but it has its own beach and a full range of resort services and entertainment, including a casino. The hotel offers rooms of several categories, the price range for a night stay is 122-649 €, breakfast is included.
Bilfer Palm Beach is one of the modern beach hotels offering five-star service. Tourists praise Noah’s Ark Deluxe Hotel & Spa’s excellent service and cuisine.
Long Beach Resort 3 * belongs to inexpensive beach hotels in Famagusta. It offers family cottages with kitchenettes, located a stone’s throw from the sea. Each cottage has a spacious veranda with a dining table, armchairs and sun loungers. Breakfast in the restaurant is served buffet style. The cost of living is from 75 €.
In Famagusta, you can get a job both cheaper and closer to the sights. However, you will have to walk 15-20 minutes to the sea. The small and cozy family hotel Altun Tabya Hotel is one of the few located on the territory of the Old City, inside the fortress walls. This hotel is 500 meters from the Othello Tower. The building was built in the early 70s, its permanent owners, elderly and extremely kind people, set up a real museum of history of the past decades in the lobby with photographs and household items of those years. Turkish home-cooked dishes are prepared here. The cost of living is from 57 € per day.
Buses are the only public transport in the city. They run irregularly, usually tourists prefer to take a taxi. A bus ticket costs 1 € and can be bought at the bus stop or from the driver. Getting in a taxi – 4 €, travel around the city will cost 5-6 €. The tariff for an hour waiting for a taxi is 10 €.
How to get there
Buses run from the capital of Cyprus Nicosia to Famagusta every 30-40 minutes. Travel time is about an hour. In Nicosia and the resorts of Cyprus, individual one-day excursions to Famagusta are offered for 2-4 people with a guide in a car, the trip will cost 160-180 €. The cost of a tour as part of a group (30-50 people) on a sightseeing bus is 40-50 €.
If you decide to go directly to Northern Cyprus, then you will have to fly through Turkey, for example, through Istanbul. From there, airliners regularly fly to Ercan Airport, located 41 km from Famagusta. The most convenient way to get from the airport to the city is by taxi. The fare in 2019 did not exceed 47 €.