All tours on this holiday have now departed. Future departure dates will be confirmed in due course.
Exploring the dunes and orchid-rich scrub at Ronnas Bay
5th century BC Persian Palace of Vouni
Botanical walks and flower hunting
Stunning views and scenery
Harbour town of Girne
With an attractive, unspoilt coastline, idyllic countryside, majestic mountains and an excellent sunny climate, North Cyprus is a botanic haven. As well as many endemic species, the island has around 20 different species of orchids and searching for flowers is a perfect way to get to know this beautiful island.
Day 1: Fly from London Heathrow to Larnaca. On arrival transfer to the Onar Hotel for check-in for seven-night stay. Welcome drink at the hotel followed by dinner (included).
Day 2: Full day to St Hilarion and Bellapais Abbey.
This morning we have a short introductory walk in the hotel grounds followed by a visit to St. Hilarion Castle, where several endemic plants found only in the Kyrenia range will be seen. After a brief stop in orchid-rich pine forest, we travel to Bellapais for lunch (included) near Lawrence Durrell’s famous ‘Tree of Idleness’ and a visit to the Abbey. Optional walk (approx. 1.5 hours) down the old Crusader path to re-join the coach in Ozankoy.
Day 3: Morning visit to Karaman and afternoon free in Girne.
This morning we drive up to Karaman for a walk through the village and along a florally-rich mountain track. The afternoon is free for you to visit Girne or to relax at the hotel. Girne is a charmingly situated harbour town with a mostly Venetian castle which contains a museum displaying a ship wrecked in about 300BC, an archaeological museum and much else of interest. The attractive harbour has many cafes and restaurants. Today is also market day in Girne, so you will have the chance to buy some local delicacies. This evening dinner (included) is at Niazi’s Restaurant in Girne.
Day 4: Full day to the Karpas Peninsula.
Today we travel eastwards to the Karpas Peninsula, stopping at the historic site of Ayios Philon, with some interesting plants to be seen near the ruins. We also stop to examine the dunes and orchid-rich scrub at Ronnas Bay. After lunch (included) we have further botanical stops on the return journey to the hotel.
Day 5: Full day to the Palace of Vouni and Akdeniz.
Today we travel west through the main citrus-growing area to the Persian Palace of Vouni (5th century BC) for flower hunting and a picnic lunch (included). On the outward journey we make a detour (if the track is passable) to see the ancient olive trees at Kalkanli. Visit the fixed dunes at Akdeniz before a final stop to examine some orchidaceous pine forest. This evening dinner (included) is at a local restaurant.
Day 6: Full day botanising near Horseshoe Bay and Korucam.
Today we journey along the north coast to Horseshoe Bay for a short botanical walk. After further flower stops, the last to see the blue lupin Lupinus mircranthus, and a picnic lunch (included) we continue to Korucam to see the endemic tulip Tulipa cypria and other plants of interest.
Day 7: Full day botanising near the Forest Station at Alevkaya and Alagadi (Turtle) Beach.
Explore coastal limestone flora near Diana Plaj, east of Girne. Then we drive along the forest road behind Five Finger Mountain to the Forest Station at Alevkaya, with several stops along the way for flowers. After a picnic lunch (not included) we flower-hunt in the surrounding forest and on nearby rock faces. This is a good location for endemic plants, including the small campion Silene fraudatrix. Return to the hotel along the north coast, stopping at Alagadi (Turle) Beach to see plants of sandy shores. This evening we have a farewell dinner (included) at the hotel.
Day 8: Morning free before transfer to Larnaca Airport for the return flight to London Heathrow.
NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager’s discretion
Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 20 passengers.
Onar Hotel, Girne
Located just five minutes’ drive from the centre of Girne on the outskirts of the Kyrenia mountain range, the Onar Hotel has a wonderful location with a unique panoramic view overlooking the Northern Cyprus Mediterranean coastline and the ancient town of Kyrenia. Facilities at the hotel include and outdoor swimming pool and deck, heated indoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, Turkish bath, library, restaurant and bar. All bedrooms are en-suite with air-conditioning, TV, telephone, fridge/minibar, hairdryer and a private balcony. The hotel also offers a free daily shuttle to and from the centre of town.
We have used the Onar Hotel in Girne for many years and it continues to offer our guests a very warm and friendly welcome. A little faded around the edges, it offers clean and comfortable accommodation in an ideal location from which to explore the flowers and scenery of Northern Cyprus, as well as providing excellent food.
Dr Alan Harrington
Dr Alan Harrington has been a professional botanist for more than 40 years. In 1976 he joined the Natural History Museum, specialising in the study of liverworts, before becoming involved in the Museum’s adult education programme on his (early) retirement, running botanical courses and leading field study tours.
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