I visited North Cyprus two weeks ago. It was pretty great. I spent most of my time in and around Dipkarpaz (Rizokarpaso), trying to soak up a sense of the place. Dipkarpaz is unusual for North Cyprus in that it still has a small Greek population, and there are various community institutions – a functioning church and a coffeehouse – and the occasional bit of Greek signage here and there. Every now and then I heard a few words of Greek fill the air.
I walked and walked, swam in the cool, clear Mediterranean, and ate simple, delicious food. The tourists were mostly from Germany with a subset of British visitors (many of whom were military, stationed south of the Green Line; others part-time residents of Cyprus), and a smattering of Dutch, mainland Turks, and daytripping Greek Cypriots.
I loved the quite isolation of Karpaz. People were open and talkative and prices were low. The peninsula has seen some development, but relatively speaking very little; the casinos popping up across North Cyprus are thus far absent from this corner of the island.
The Bradt, otherwise excellent, has only the vaguest
information about taking the bus across North Cyprus. There is mention
of some major bus and dolmuş routes and a general recommendation, phrased strongly,
to rent a car. The impression the book gives is that transportation is
slow, cumbersome, and unscheduled. But while it isn't whippet-fast, bus transportation is in fact neither cumbersome nor unscheduled. And
if you're not in a hurry and don't want to rent a car, it provides a great
way to travel down the peninsula.
Here's how you do it if you're coming from the southern part of Nicosia, as I was. Cross the border by foot at Ledra Street and walk along Locmali. Pass the lovely Rüstem's Bookshop and the Venetian column roundabout and continue along Girne Caddesi to exit the walled city at Girne (Kyrenia) Gate. Turn to the right and follow Cemel Gürsel for a short distance. Take the first right. Almost immediately there will be a fork in the road. Take the left fork, Kaymakli Yolu. The Itimat bus station for Gazimağusa is one block down, on the right.
If you're really smooth, you can simply wait just to the right of the Kyrenia Gate and flag down an Itimat bus with a "Mağusa" sign in its front window. Confirm destination with the driver, and keep in mind that the ğ in Mağusa is silent.
Buses leave every 30 minutes starting at 7 am. The bus to Gazimağusa takes about an hour. It is not really a bus, rather a dolmuş, which is like a big van. Passengers are picked up along the way and soon every seat is occupied. I took the 10:30 am bus and got into Gazimağusa at 11:30.
Passengers are let out at the Itimat station adjacent to the Martyrs' Memorial roundabout just outside the city walls. To catch a bus with service on to the Karpaz Peninsula, walk away from the walled city maybe 700 meters along Gazi Mustafa Kemal Bulvari. The main bus terminal will be on your left.
It's a proper bus from Gazimağusa on to Dipkarpaz, with bigger seats and the added benefit of a Turkish pop music soundtrack. The bus doubles as a school bus, and takes a big load of students back to the peninsula from Gazimağusa. It is about an hour and forty minutes to Dipkarpaz. There is a bus at 1 pm heading eastward to Dipkarpaz on weekdays. I'm not sure if it runs on weekends.
The dolmuş from Lefkosia to Gazimağusa costs 8 lira. The bus from Gazimağusa to Dipkarpaz costs 10 lira.