If you’re planning a Mediterranean vacation, Northern Cyprus is a beautiful option to consider.

Those looking to relax can enjoy the beautiful view and warm water. There are also rocky coastlines that will take your breath away. Nature-lovers can explore the flora and fauna of the beaches, and there are also options for vacationers who want to try out some water sports. You can find unique historical sites near every beach – for example, you could check out the fortifications of Famagusta, or visit any of the numerous churches, museums, and castles in the area.

Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find something you’ll love on the best beaches in Northern Cyprus.

1. Alagadi Beach, Kyrenia

Alagadi Beach with gentle waves.
Alagadi Turtle Beach, located in Kyrenia. Source: Flickr

Do you want to get close to nature and experience something you can’t find anywhere else? Try Alagadi Beach in the district of Kyrenia.

This beach is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers and other flora, and it features soft clean sand. Those with a passion for nature photography are guaranteed to get some beautiful shots of the white flowers growing here.

There are also signs warning visitors that these flowers are a protected species, and the fines for picking them are massive. Note that Northern Cyprus is home to cyclamens, narcissi, orchids, as well as fascinating anemone, which makes it a popular destination for botany lovers.

But the biggest draw of Alagadi isn’t the flora – it’s the fauna. If you wish to see marine turtles during your vacation, this is the place to visit.

The beach provides a nesting place for sea turtles, which is why it’s closed to visitors at night. But if you look up the Alagadi Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Centre, you may be able to join one of the groups that get to observe the nesting process.

During the day, you might stumble upon a turtle if you go snorkeling. The water here is clear and warm, so you can simply relax and take in the beautiful sights. There’s a bar nearby for snacks and other essentials, but the main allure for this beach is that you can be close to nature.

2. Golden Beach, Dipkarpaz

A distant shot of Golden Beach, showing grass and bushes.

Located on the Karpass Peninsula, you can find the beautiful Golden Beach. Dipkarpaz is a nearby village, and it’s also the name of the municipality this beach belongs to. The town is one of the eco-tourism centers of Northern Cyprus, known for its historic architecture and the wild donkeys that still live there.

The Apostolos Andreas Monastery is nearby, providing a memorable experience to anyone with an interest in art and history. The church is a popular pilgrimage destination, as well.

What could be better than combining culture with relaxation? Golden Beach provides many opportunities to sunbathe and recharge. The water is crystal-clear, and the sand is a beautiful golden brown. There are a few restaurants nearby, offering simple but delicious meals. The only thing this beach lacks is shade, so make sure to pack some form of sun protection.

3. Glapsides Beach, Famagusta

A calm sunset on Glapsides Beach.
Pink sunset over Glapsides Beach, Famagusta. Source: Flickr

Close to the historic marine city of Famagusta, Glapsides Beach is a perfect choice for families. The sea here is warm and very clear. If you’re looking for shallow water for the kids to play in, this is the beach for you.

You can always get some refreshments at the nearby cafes, and there are surprisingly affordable parasols and sunbeds available to rent. Glapsides Beach offers perfect comfort and safety, and the gorgeous views complete the experience.

After a full day of relaxation, the city of Famagusta is there, offering a wide range of bars and restaurants, as well as other entertainment options like organized nature tours, museums, and even casinos. Between the relaxing beach and vibrant city nightlife, Glapsides is a popular choice for couples and honeymooners too.

Read more: Best Greek Islands for Couples

The cityscape of Famagusta is both romantic and intellectually engaging, and there are many opportunities to learn about the history of the region.

4. Escape Beach, Kyrenia

A busy day on Escape Beach, we can see the mountains behind it.

Escape Beach is perfect for vacationers who want to enjoy thrills like jet skiing, all in a comfortable and clean environment with lots of amenities (from showers available in restaurants to convenient rent-a-car options).

The water is shallow with tiny waves. Although this is one of the most popular beaches in North Cyprus, it generally isn’t overcrowded. Next to the white sandy beaches, there are lawns for comfortable lounging. There is plenty of shade available.

Activities near Escape Beach include pedal boating, canoeing, volleyball, and you can also rent a banana boat with some friends. If you’ve always wanted to get scuba diving lessons while on vacation, Escape Beach has got you covered. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the clubbing options – this is one of the hottest locations on the island, with an unforgettable vibe.

Note that this all-inclusive beach has an entry fee.

5. Silver Beach, Famagusta

Silver Beach with clear water and white sand.
A calm day on Silver Beach in Famagusta. Source: Facebook

Known for the crystal-clear seawater, Silver Beach, Famagusta, is a great pick for visitors who wish to go snorkeling.

This is a wide beach, there is plenty of space for families to spread out and enjoy the sand and fresh air. You can explore the sea daffodils and other marine life without getting constantly interrupted by other tourists. Why not enjoy a serene afternoon exploring the natural wonders of Northern Cyprus?

For adults, the water is only thigh-high for a long way in. This means that parents can relax and let their little ones get acquainted with the sea at their own pace.

Read more: 10 Tips for Traveling with Kids

There are sunbeds available for a reasonable price, as well as various restaurants nearby.

6. Acapulco Beach, Kyrenia

Some people bathing in Acapulco Beach, there are also tall rocks in the distance.
Acapulco Beach in Kyrenia. Source: Facebook

Another one of Kyrenia’s gems, Acapulco Beach is connected to a lavish hotel and spa complex. If you’re not a guest at the hotel, you have to pay a hefty fee, which covers the sunbeds, changing rooms, and you can even grab a quick shower after a long day spent in the water.

The beach is notable for the extremely clean sand, and unlike on most other Northern Cyprus beaches, you don’t have to worry about encountering litter.

Read more: Best White-Sand Beaches in Europe

You can try your hand at various water sports, as well as tennis and golf. The nightlife is excellent as well. But one of the most interesting options when visiting Acapulco Beach is the Neolithic settlement of Vrysi on the eastern part of the beach. You can visit the excavation site or explore some of the museums in Kyrenia to learn more about it.

7. Agios Filon Beach, Dipkarpaz

A front view of the historical church at Agios Filon, with the sea and setting sun behind it.

Here’s another gorgeous beach that houses marine turtles. Agion Filon Beach has comfortable sandy stretches, but there are also scenic rocks you can climb if you’re in the mood for adventure.

There’s an eco-tourism hotspot nearby – a hotel called Oasis at Ayilon. The hotel’s restaurant offers excellent Turkish meals to rival the menus of more expensive establishments.

This beach is also close to one of the finest historical sites Northern Cyprus has to offer. Agion Filon (also known as Ayios Philon) is home to both a 5th-century and a 12th-century church. The newer church was built partly over the remains of the older one. You can see beautiful tiled floors – a hallmark of Byzantine architecture – as well as apses and parts of the roof.

8. Palm Beach, Famagusta

Palm Beach - a busy beach with parasols but there are abandoned hotels around it.
Palm Beach, surrounded by abandoned buildings, in Famagusta. Source: Flickr

If you’re looking for a truly unusual seaside location, don’t miss out on Palm Beach, Famagusta.

The beach itself is mainly popular among the locals. It has fine golden sand and the water is warm and clean. There’s a welcoming hotel on the location as well. If you’re looking to relax and enjoy the sun and sand, you won’t be disappointed.

But just beyond the edges of the beach, you’ll find a string of dilapidated hotels. Walking further south, you’ll eventually get stopped by a barbed-wire military fence. This is Varosha, the ghost town of North Cyprus, and it’s not open to the public – however, you can see many abandoned buildings around the fenced-off area.

Back in the 1970s, Varosha was an internationally beloved tourist spot, with luxury hotels that attracted celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Brigitte Bardot, and Richard Burton. But in the political turmoil that split Cyprus apart, this city was abandoned. Varosha remains a strange monument to the past, and it’s definitely worth checking out as it is now – plus, there are plans to reopen it, though its future remains uncertain for now.