Fly To Nicosia (Lefkoşa), Cyprus
Lefkosa Airport, better known as Ercan Airport, is the gateway to Northern Cyprus. This airport serves the town of Nicosia (known as Lefkoşa in Turkish).
What makes this part of the island very unique is that it is one of the last remaining divided capitals in the world, with the southern and northern parts separated by a border known as the Green Line. The northern part is known unofficially as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus – this however is not recognised by the rest of the world.
Understandably, this is all rather confusing – especially as the Green Line lies in the middle of Nicosia. But despite the separation and boundary, there are no known conflicts at present time and it is possible to experience both Greek and Turkish attractions, food and culture during a visit to this unique part of the world.
Visa Requirements & SA Embassy Details
- South African Passport holders do need a Visa to enter Northern Cyprus. Make sure you organise this as early as possible, and that you have all your papers and passports up to date. There must be at least 2 blank pages left for stamps in your passport – it should also be valid for a minimum of 6 months after your planned return.
- The South African Consulate to Cyprus is situated at the following address: 101 Arch Makarios III Avenue, 1071, Nicosia. Phone: +357 22 374 411.
See and do
There are many major landmarks to see in Nicosia – most can be seen just from taking a walk about. Notable attractions to add to your ‘to see’ list include the Cyprus Museum, Buyuk Han and Selimiye Mosque (St Sophia Cathedral). Many different styles of architecture are found in this region, from Venetian to Turkish and traditional Greek. Museums are the main order of the day, while art also plays a big role in the city’s history and culture. There are also beautiful beaches to enjoy, with mild weather making the environment perfect for swimming or sunbathing.
Keeping in mind the divide between Greek and Turkish occupants, the city has a diversity that is very apparent in many ways. The south side of the city is the Greek side, and has its own list of things to do, restaurants and other highlights. Separated by a green fence is the north side – the Turkish side. This side also has a number of highlights on offer. This may well be somewhat confusing, depending on whether you are visiting Northern Cyprus or the Republic of Cyprus. Visitors can cross over the border as long as they are in Cyprus legally – it is important to maintain respect for locals across both sides however.
Shopping is quite a novel experience – it is a good idea to stock up on both Euro and Lira to make sure that you are organised for both the northern and southern parts of Nicosia. Look for straw products such as ‘sele’ and ‘sesta’, along with traditional crafts available at tourist sites such as Buyuk Han. Mostly, shopping is less large scale, and more geared towards smaller shops – goods may be pricey but you will find rare items.
Lefkoşa Airport (Nicosia) – ECN
Food and beverage: There are two restaurants situated at opposite sides of the passenger terminals at Lefkoşa Airport.
Currency Exchange: ATMs are available for currency exchange and banking.
Airport Hotels: Bare Hill Hotel, Uc Hall Residence, Round Hill Apartment, Hilton Cyprus.
Car Hire: Sur-Rent-A-Car, Ayaz.
Airport Hub: Lefkoşa Airport (code ECN) is a hub for Cyprus Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Atlas Jet and Turkish Airlines.