Northern Nicosia is the Northern Cyprus-controlled side of the city, containing approximately half of the Old City.
Northern Nicosia is rich in cultural heritage with the walled city boasting many attractions (see below). It may disappoint the nightlife and activity seekers though, being more of a calm city.
Most tourists visit northern Nicosia as a daytrip from the southern side.
If arriving from abroad without going southern side first, from nearby Ercan Airport you can take a scheduled bus called Kibhas or take a taxi which costs about 50 TL.
The recently (2008) opened Ledra Street (Lokmacı Caddesi) pedestrian crossing is an easy way to walk to northern Nicosia from southern Nicosia.
From Kyrenia on the northern coast, there is a road which connects to Nicosia.
From southern Nicosia the easiest crossing is the Ledra Palace crossing outside the city walls to the west.
The Old City of northern Nicosia can be comfortably covered on foot. If crossing through the checkpoint at from South Cyprus, there are taxis that can be rented by the hour or by the day to cover the Old City and surrounding areas.
There are also numerous buses which will carry you around the city, you will have no difficulty in spotting these in the bus stops near Kyrenia Gate.
To get to the Dereboyu area from the walled city, turn left from the Kyrenia city, go straight on, passing the Parliament - the area is considered to start from around Domino's.
Most of Nicosia's sights are within the walled city:
Attractions outside the walled city also exist:
Whirling Dervish Shows take place in the walled city near the Selimiye Mosque, every night apart from the Sundays.
Try the 500-year-old Great Turkish Bath (Büyük Hamam) for an experience of true and relaxing cleanliness.
The Nicosia International Fair, takes place every June, and it's more than a fair, with an opportunity to mingle with locals and enjoy the decades-old atmosphere of the mobile restaurants and funfair there.
Nicosia is home to festivals, especially during the summer:
Golden Tulip Hotel, Saray Hotel, Merit Hotel and Royal Hotel host casinos, which are banned in the south.
The so-called nightclubs on the highway to Morphou are prostitution centers. While prostution is illegal, the government turns a blind eye to these "nightclubs" and they remain an attraction for men. These are called "gabareler" in Turkish Cypriot dialect (from "cabaret" in French). Information about these brothels as well as a vibrant discussion form is available online under the same name "gabareler" for curious clients who would like do some research before paying them a visit.
The Indoor and Outdoor Markets are the markets in North Nicosia are certainly worth a visit… There are many market stalls to browse selling everything from genuine fake designer clothes, bags, belts and shoes to stalls overflowing with fantastic fresh, organic and locally grown fruit and vegetables. You can pick up all the local cheese (Hellim cheese), Turkish delight, olive oil and such like that you want to take home to family and friends and you can negotiate a good clothing bargain or two to boot.
Arasta region in the walled city is home to cheap clothing, souvenirs and many other items with friendly vendors.
Outside the walled city, Dereboyu is the most classy area of the city. With frequent festivals, the area hosts several international clothing brands, restaurants and cafes. You will encounter Turkish Cypriot youths here, and hear foreign music. It is busy until late, and probably the only place in North Nicosia with this quality.
Traditional Cypriot cuisine is a melting pot of south European, Balkan and Middle Eastern influences. However, in northern Nicosia, the food you will find is by no means limited to that: while not incredibly cosmopolitan, as the cultural capital of Northern Cyprus, northern Nicosia will offer a unique blend of Cypriot, Turkish, Italian, and other cuisines. Food is cheap for European standards, and depending on the exchange rates, you should expect significantly lower deals than the restaurants in the south.
In Northern Nicosia, restaurants are omnipresent: Turkish Cypriots are an exuberant people who love to go out and eat, as a proverb states, "one should eat if they find food". Dining late is quite common outside of the walled city, and you will find that live music is quite common in restaurants.
While food is pretty much available everywhere, there is a large conglomeration of restaurants in the fancy Dereboyu area, where most of the students and the youth hang out and prices with a great range can be observed. Expect very few restaurants in the shopping district of Taşkınköy, but more in the Gönyeli area and Lemar Yolu. Traditional food (excluding kebabs and döner, which are available 24/7 in a few restaurants and everywhere in the city during daytime), while available in the modern city, can be more readily found in the walled city, although these restaurants tend to close earlier. Some examples of traditional food are:
If your visa allows it, it would be fine to stay in northern Nicosia and see both areas of the city, the crossing is hassle free and open 24 hours a day, and there are more budget options on the northern side (in particular if you don't want to or can't use the youth hostel on the southern side).
The going rate for a Pension is 30 TL for a 1 or 2 person room. There are many of them around the Great Inn. They don't have online reservations, but hotels are a minimum of 100TL in the low-season so it's much cheaper to walk into any pension.
Tourism information may or may not be available at the tourism office on Atatürk Square, you are sure to find it at Kyrenia Gate. The telephone code of the city has no difference with the whole Northern Cyprus; (+90) 392.