Where is Cyprus? Or Larnaca (LCA) Airport? More often they ask me these questions because this part of Europe is less traveled. Hence, I am so thankful to have a handful of Cypriot friends while I was working in Doha, Qatar sharing me wonderful things around here. So here I am, this is my 3rd visit and staying longer in this enchanting Meditteranean island. Let’s go shopping and cross borders!
Do I need a visa? For Filipinos, yes we need a visa. Please take note that Cyprus is not yet part of the Schengen Area states. Hence you need a separate Cyprus visa. However, if you have a valid Schengen visa, you can enter Cyprus within the validity period. For a single entry visa, your first point of entry must be the Schengen area state. I strongly suggest to always check the embassy prior to your travel.
Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus, about 40 mins from Larnaca airport. Ledra is in Nicosia, getting there is very close to the main bus station – Solomou Square. So, where ever you are in Cyprus, all buses stop in this square and by foot, it will lead you to Ledra street in a few meters. You will never miss it!
Ledra Street is a commercial shopping district, used to be the center of shopping back in the days.
The Kingdom of Ledra or Ledrae dates back around 672 BC. Wandering through the streets you will still see ancient buildings.
I love walking around here enjoying its festive and vibrant atmosphere – shops, restaurants, and cafes, also live music playing. In this area, you will see tourists and foreigners residing here in Cyprus. However, be vigilant as there are pickpockets. It happened to me last March as I was distracted shopping and when I reach the cashier, all the cash was gone! So that‘s a lesson learned and don’t bring all your cash!
Though it never stopped me from coming back. I feel Ledra is the heart of the city. Called as the old center it shows you what this country is. When my friend visited, we took her to Ledra on her first day and that was evening time. The place transforms at nightfall turning alleys into pubs – a whole different crowd.
The following day, I took her again to Ledra. We started from the Holy Cross Catholic Church and went to the inner roads of the town then back to the shopping street. The shopping street I am referring from the start is the South Ledra Street. And at certain points, there are barricades which leads you to the Northside – TRNC- Turkey Republic of Northern Cyprus.
(The lines are also referred to as green lines that separate the North and South. During a truce with the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the United Nations officer used a green pen to draw these lines, hence the green line. – According to my local Cypriot guide)
This was a result of the Turkish invasion in 1974, 36% of the island is occupied and controlled by Turks – hence TRNC. Later on, I will show you other areas I have visited that are Turkish occupied.
So getting there is passing through immigration checkpoints. If you are Cypriot, show your ID Card and for foreigners, your passports.
Suggested reading: https://www.the-real-cyprus.com/ledra-street.html
So what’s out there?
Well, I can say, it is more vibrant than the south side and they say goods are cheaper. But you can’t really compare as far as the brands the south side have. (Bershka, P&B, H&M, Carpisa, PlazaItalia, etc) Here on the northern side, there is a cultural building that offers a wide variety of handicrafts – accessories, souvenirs, etc. This is the craft world (up to date)!
Well, don’t be surprised when your roaming mobile network will tell you – WELCOME TO TURKEY!
And your Cyprus mobile network does not work….
And… you can be 2 places at one time too!