Whatever adventures await in your personalised Green Walnut itinerary, you won’t get out the front door without first experiencing the unrivalled morning feasting found in this part of the world. Expect a spectacular breakfast spread of local produce and regional dishes, such as jams and preserves made from a kaleidoscope of fruits, freshly baked Cypriot pilavuna bread, grilled hellim and nor cheeses, organic vegetables straight from the garden, and much more.
After the day’s gastronomic opening, head over to see Serhat Baş from Vela Yachting, the proud owner and captain of an impressive and traditional two-masted wooden gulet, docked in Girne harbour. A man made for the water, Serhat calls this boat home, as well as opening it up to visitors who want to spend a day cruising the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. Departing at 10am and returning around 4.30pm, the decked-out sailing vessel accommodates an intimate maximum of 26 people, with the seafaring venture including a home-cooked Turkish Cypriot lunch of salads and mezes, charcoal-grilled sea bream, marinated chicken or lamb, and seasonal fruits, all prepared fresh each morning by Serhat’s mother. Dip into the turquoise waters and laze under the shady canvasses, as you spend a glorious morning and afternoon bay-hopping around the Northern Cypriot coastline.
All that sunshine and salty sea air can be tiring. Once you’ve returned to the harbour, make the short 15-minute car journey to the Acapulco Resort, and take advantage of their recently refurbished, upgraded, and high-end spa facilities. Rivalling any other on the island, the site boasts nineteen luxury wooden treatment rooms, and three hamams each with their own steam room. An extensive array of indulgent services is available to help unwind, relax and beautify, from Indian head massage and a traditional Turkish bath, to a fresh seaweed wrap and chocolate hydro body treatment.
After returning to your luxury Green Walnut guesthouse to get ready for the evening’s activities, wander over to Bellapais Abbey in time for sunset, for a dose of the rich culture and history to be found in this part of the island. Against the backdrop of a breathtaking sky, you’ll discover the ancient ruin of a monastery built by priests in the 13th century, also known as “The Abbey of Peace”. If you don’t quite make it in time for their opening hours (9am – 7pm in the summer), you can still enjoy from the outside, what is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture from the medieval Eastern Mediterranean, whilst soaking up the sweeping views down over Girne and the Mediterranean Sea.
A typical day in North Cyprus will always be flanked by two great meals, with a third often popping up somewhere in the middle. Now a good few hours since your maritime lunch, appetites will be ready to experience what Turkish Cypriots are particularly good at – barbecuing meat.
Dökme et in Girne is a grill-house specialising in fresh meat cooked over charcoal and sold by weight. On the menu you’ll find kofte, lamb and chicken shish, lamb chops, beef steaks, liver, and much more. As is the tradition, you’ll be presented with a tapestry of mezes covering the table before the meat even arrives; don’t forget to save room!
To get into the true spirit of things, make like the locals and sip on a cloudy glass of Turkey’s national drink with your meal, rakı. Also known as Lion’s Milk, this go-to-spirit of Turks and Turkish Cypriots is made from twice-distilled grapes and aniseed, and is mixed with a splash of water before drinking. It’s not for the faint-hearted, and don’t be surprised if it sparks soulful discussions, joyful celebrations, and the occasional dancing on tables.