Turkey or Cyprus: where to go?
Where to have a better holiday – Turkey or Cyprus? We compared the countries by summer air and water temperature, infrastructure development and cleanliness of the beaches. We brought an analysis of prices for tours, food and resort entertainment. Read and choose!
Two countries in the Mediterranean Sea are not inferior to each other in popularity, beauty of scenery and quality of beach services. No matter when you plan your vacation, Cyprus or Turkey await you all year round. In these regions even in winter the temperature does not drop below +10. +15 ° C, and the water in the sea in winter can be up to +17. +19°С. Here the spring begins in February, and the choice of well-equipped sand or pebble beaches will satisfy all tourists.
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Beaches and sea in Turkey and Cyprus
Both countries have outlets to several seas, so the beaches on the coasts are different and the water does not warm up equally.
Turkey. It is washed by the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara. The latter is the strait that connects the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, so it warms up the best. On this side of the sandy coast stretches for 1,000 km, there are no storms and plenty of thermal springs. So vacationing with children is a pleasure.
The Aegean sea gets the warmest (up to +26 ° C in summer), so the season in this part of Turkey begins with a delay of 2-3 weeks. The weather is mainly clear (up to +30 ° C), which attracts a large number of tourists. However, the beaches are pebbly or covered with boulders, so you can’t do without sun loungers. Some hotels with access to the sea equip artificial beaches with imported sand.
It is colder on the Black Sea coast, which stretches from Istanbul to the border area with Georgia. In this part of the incredibly beautiful nature, mountains, and the seabed is deeper and more rocky. The beaches are also studded with pebbles and the water gets warm to a maximum of +24. +25°С. But the Mediterranean coast is the most popular. In this part of Turkey, there are sandy beaches or with fine pebbles. Everywhere gentle entrances and warm water (in August and September it may be up to +28. +29 ° C).
Map of resorts and beaches in Turkey
Cyprus. The island is washed by the Cilicia Sea in the north, the Levantine Sea in the east and the Cypriot Sea (the warmest) on the south-western coast. The coasts of Larnaca, Ayia Napa and Protaras have fine sand beaches, which are perfect for children. The coastal area of Limassol is covered with volcanic gray sand, but in Polis and Paphos the stones. There are fewer holidaymakers, so the area is perfect for those who want to be quiet. The water is clear and can shimmer in all directions and in all shades. This phenomenon is equally admired by all guests of Cyprus. You can swim from the middle of June to the second half of October. During the rest of the period the sea is cool, so it is for the lovers.
Where it’s best. Many beaches in both countries have been awarded the “Blue Flag” for cleanliness and order. What is better, Cyprus or Turkey, it is difficult to choose. When planning, be guided by the budget and the month when you want to vacation. In both countries, the sea will be comfortable from late May to early October. In Cyprus, it is easier to endure the summer heat due to the dry air, lots of lakes and dense vegetation. In Turkey, the heat is not so felt along the Black Sea coast. Even in winter, those who can safely tolerate the temperature of the sea +17. +18°С.
Map of resorts and beaches of Cyprus
Infrastructure of resorts
Cyprus. Island resorts have a developed tourist infrastructure. First-class hotels, Mediterranean cuisine, equipped beaches. If you want to rest on a beach with white sand and turquoise transparent water during the day, and to party in clubs and dine at good restaurants – go to Ayia Napa. For a quiet family vacation Protaras is a better choice – a minimum of entertainment, sandy beaches and shallow sea. And if you want to see a lot of historical sites – choose Paphos. Sandy beaches, which borders with a palm embankment, and a lake with pink flamingos – that’s Larnaca. Active nightlife is in full swing in Limassol.
Turkey. Everything is designed for tourists, so the beaches are as equipped as possible. Perfectly organized animation, entertainment and meals “all inclusive” – the visiting card of Turkish hotels 4-5 stars (there are many of them on the first line of the coast). There are separate programs for children, so the kids especially love Turkey. Here you pay for the service that is actually provided.
Where it is better. If you choose where to rest – in Cyprus or in Turkey, the quality of service of the country are about the same. Turkey is characterized by a rich nature and mountain scenery from the Black Sea coast. In this part, some hotels are located right at the foot of mountain ranges, so the view is amazing. Also holiday in Turkey is suitable for families with children. But in Cyprus, you can rest on the coast with white sand and swim in the turquoise water, which can shimmer in several colors – a mesmerizing sight.
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Video – the beauty of the Turkish coast
In Cyprus and Turkey, hotels work on a similar system “all inclusive” – buffet. However, tourists do not advise to use this service in 3-star hotels and below – it’s better to find a cheap cafe nearby.
A grill menu is quite common in Turkey. Also popular national dishes are pilaw (local pilaf with lamb and dried fruits), dolma (minced meat in grape leaves), manty and sausages. There is a choice of European cuisine, lots of oriental sweets, beautiful pyramids of fruit. A separate children’s menu is offered, which is very convenient for trips with toddlers.
In Cyprus, the cuisine combines Greek and Turkish traditions. There are always a lot of cheese snacks, hummus, takini, huge olives are offered. As for the hot dishes, there are soups. Popular are salads with seafood or fresh vegetables (sliced). Pasta and a choice of kebabs are on almost every menu. If you are travelling with small children, you must clarify in advance whether there is a separate menu. Recently, many hotels are family-oriented and offer cereals, sour milk products, cheese, juices and fruit for babies.
Where is better. In principle, the countries provide the same food conditions. What to choose – Cyprus or Turkey – you decide for yourself. Prices in local cafes from Moscow do not differ much. You can save money by ordering only breakfast and dinner at a hotel, and for lunch eat in inexpensive cafes or buy fruit.
(Photo: Sergey Galyonkin / flickr.com / License CC BY-SA 2.0)
Prices for tours to Turkey and Cyprus
May and October are considered the most inexpensive months for vacation in both countries. Starting in June, prices go up.
Turkey. Prices for tours depend on the number of stars and the time of booking – it is advantageous either early, or to wait for a hot tour. A week’s rest for two in summer at a 4 * and 5 * hotel costs from 45 thousand, in 2 and 3 * – from 35 thousand rubles. The tours for 11 nights are usually 20-30 thousand rubles more expensive.
And below are the prices for tours in the summer and during the holiday season in Turkey in hotels “all inclusive” for two people:
|month||7 days||11 days||14 days|
Cyprus. Stay 7 nights for two in a 4 * or 5 * hotel in the first line costs from 70 thousand rubles, and for 11 nights – 90-120 thousand. Of course, you can find cheaper tours (3 * hotels away from the sea) or buy a last-minute tour.
Below are the average prices for tours in the summer and during the holiday season in Cyprus in hotels “all inclusive” for two people:
|month||7 days||11 days||14 days|
Where is cheaper. Definitely in 2022, tours to Turkey are cheaper, and the choice of hotels and resorts is much richer.
(Photo: kelly bone / flickr.com / CC BY 2.0 license)
Prices for food, tours and entertainment
Turkey is very developed hotel recreation, so on the territory of the complexes are concentrated all possible entertainment. Separately, you can go on a sea tour of the sights ($ 70), ride a yacht ($ 30), do diving – $ 60 for 40 minutes with an instructor. Fans of extreme sports are offered rafting for $ 30 or jeep safaris for $ 30-40. The popular water park will cost up to $30.
- The average price tag at a café where locals eat will be about $11-$15 for two people;
- In a restaurant, you will spend $ 40-60 for two people;
- If you rent a place to stay and cook yourself, then you can buy products in local supermarkets, which will cost cheaper (in the markets you can ask for fruit to $ 1-2 per kg).
In Cyprus, lunch will cost about $45-50. And you can save money and have lunch at “McDonald’s” for $7-11. Coffee costs about the same as in Turkey ($3-4). The only difference is cuisine and portions – in Cyprus they are large, so lunch can be divided for two.
About $65-70 is a sea cruise along the coast or a sailboat cruise. At the popular resort of Famagusta you can go for $ 60. Tours of the ancient ruins will cost up to $ 45, and a trip to the northern territory will cost $ 270-300. ATV rides are $55, a ticket to the zoo or oceanarium is up to $5-13, and the amusement park is up to $12.
A cruise along the coast or a yacht ride costs about $65-70. At the popular resort of Famagusta can go for $ 60. Photo: unsplash.com / @hulkiokantabak.
Where is better: Cyprus or Turkey
First of all, when choosing between Turkey and Cyprus, focus on your budget. In both countries, hotels are designed for different categories of tourists, so accommodation can be chosen according to your pocket. Rest in Turkey or Cyprus is considered to be budget, but in Cyprus to rest more expensive. The prices on the island differ – affected by the division into two parts. Traditionally, the tour operators offer tours in the Greek half, where the main resorts are concentrated. However, there are a lot of people who want to visit the northern (Turkish) part of the island. There are no direct flights, so get there by Turkey or from Nicosia, where there is a border crossing in the middle of the city. It is in the Turkish zone, where the prices will be lower than in the Greek. Reviews of Turkey →
Rest conditions in the countries are about the same, but the Turkish resorts are considered more family-oriented and child-friendly. Both Turkey and Cyprus are rich in nature and many historical and cultural monuments. If you want to combine leisure with shopping – then you need to go to the Turkish coast.
Cyprus or Turkey: What better way?
It is difficult to answer clearly the question of Cyprus or Turkey, which is better. Each country attracts tourists with something. In Turkey it is a carefree hotel rest according to the traditional “all-inclusive” system. Cyprus attracts with a perfectly clean sea and a friendly attitude of the locals. We compare the resort countries on ResortTurkey.
The weather in Cyprus has a pronounced seasonality, as throughout the Mediterranean coast. In summer, the weather is hot until the end of September. The temperature in July and August rises to nearly 40 ° C, dropping at night only to 28 ° C. Low humidity and wind from the sea help to bear the heat. The water temperature is 26-28 ° C. By the end of the season, the island is drought. The rains in summer are very rare. Paphos is considered the coolest place in Cyprus.
The winter weather on the island is unstable. In the mountains at 5 ° C, sometimes it snows. In the central regions of the island you can do skiing. On the coast, it is 15°C and often rains. Often the wind brings sand from the continent, where sandstorms rage at this time. Mornings and evenings are foggy in the mountains.
In the off-season, the island is sparsely populated, the weather is favorable for outdoor activities. In March, April and November the temperature is a comfortable 18-22 ° C. The sea is already warming up to 22°С in spring by May, and in autumn it cools down not immediately, in October 23-24°С. You can travel around the island by car, bus or bike. Cyprus is especially beautiful in spring. The mountain slopes are covered with bright green grass, flowers bloom and fill the air with aromas. In the fall, nature after a hot summer comes to life, it becomes green and fresh.
In Turkey you can vacation all year round, but most tourists prefer summer. The average temperature during the hot season is around 30 ° C, the water is warm 27-29 ° C. In the sea you can swim from April until the end of October. In July and August the heat is 38 ° C, the sea water is the warmest at most 27 ° C. In April, May, September and October are ideal conditions for combining the beach with excursions. In the autumn there is no exhausting heat, the fruit is cheaper, the resorts and beaches are less crowded, but the sea is still warm.
In winter, Turkey is rainy. Rest in the low season from December to March is possible at the ski resorts. The temperature remains about 14 ° C, the water is 17 ° C, in the Black Sea is even colder – 14-15 ° C. Tourists live in hotels with heated pools and sightseeing.
Do you need a visa
Turkey and Cyprus, both destinations are notable for their facilitated entry regimes. In Turkey, only a passport is required at customs. Its validity must be at least 4 months at the time of presentation.
To visit Cyprus tourists need a Pro visa. It is issued online after filling out the questionnaire. Within a day, a document will come to your email, which must be printed. The visa is valid until the end of the trip.
Holders of a valid Schengen visa is allowed to enter the territory of the country, having been before this visit to one of the Schengen countries.
If the parents go on vacation with a child who does not have his passport, or entry is planned to be sea route through Limassol, then you must personally present for a visa.
The Way to Vacation
Regardless of the destination, travel to Cyprus or Turkey is more convenient by air. The flight will take 3.5-4 hours.
In the Republic of Cyprus tourists arrive via Larnaca airport, much less flights to Paphos. Buses go to the place of rest, often with a change. There are Russian-speaking cab agencies.
You can fly to Turkey from Russia to Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Dalaman, Bodrum. Depending on the remoteness of the resort you should spend from half an hour to 2.5-3 hours for a transfer.
Having the driving license of the international standard you can rent a car. In Cyprus, the traffic is left-handed, but the drivers usually quickly adapt. There are good roads all over the island and it is easy to move around. Signs are sufficient and it is impossible to get lost. The northern part of the island belongs to Turkey, but there are no strict controls at the border.
Of public transport there are only buses, subway and trains are not here. Intercity shuttle buses go every 15-30 minutes, at weekends less often.
In Turkey the traffic is right-side, the roads are not overloaded. The Russian driving license will also do, if the name and surname are written not only in Russian, but also in Latin letters. It should be noted that the driving style of Turkish drivers is notable for its aggressiveness toward pedestrians and other drivers. Winter tires are not used in Turkey, so on mountain roads in the off-season may be a problem. If you are going to the mountains you should ask the travel agent for a car with winter tires or bring chains.
Public transport is represented by buses and dolmushas, the subway is built only in Istanbul.
Cyprus knows how to meet tourists. The island has a well-developed network of hotels ranging from two to five stars. Service in Cyprus hotels of any level is excellent. The food is excellent, the menu offers a mix of Greek, Arabic, English and Turkish cuisine.
If you choose a quiet holiday, Paphos is the best choice. On the beaches of the resort is freer, a lot of interesting places associated with the history of the island. The sea is shallow, you can come with children. For the young people Ayia Napa and Limassol are more interesting. Tourists can lie on the fine sand on the beaches during the day and in the evenings they can rock in the nightclubs and restaurants. Larnaca attracts with its palm embankment, proximity to the airport and the lake with pink flamingos.
In Turkey, the quality of service does not differ much, but tourists prefer to choose hotels of 4 or 5 stars, including full board. If you live in a hotel in a lower category, it is better to eat in a restaurant or cafe nearby. Rest in Turkish resorts is good for families with children. Service hotels include the organization of free time for children of all ages. There is a separate menu for children. Adults are fed with national dishes; European cuisine is also practiced.
Sea and Beaches
Turkey’s coastline is washed by the Mediterranean Sea in the south, the Black Sea in the north and the Aegean Sea in the west. The warmest of them all is the Mediterranean Sea. It surrounds the island of Cyprus from all sides. Therefore, the climate is much like the southern resorts of Turkey, such as Alanya. Beaches of both countries entirely municipal, but the equipment (sun loungers, umbrellas) are usually owned by hotels. Many of the beaches are marked with a blue flag.
Turkish Mediterranean beaches are sandy and sandy-pebbly. They stretch for more than a thousand miles. Even in winter, the sea is rarely stormy. These resorts are preferred by families with small children.
On the Aegean Sea the beach season comes later for 2-3 weeks and ends in October. The coast attracts tourists with the sunny weather during the whole season. The air in summer warms up to 30 ° C, the sea water 26-27 ° C. The beaches are pebbly throughout, sometimes with large boulders. Some hotels are practicing the creation of bulk sand beaches.
On the shores of the inner Marmara Sea and the Black Sea coast from Istanbul to Georgia, the tourist infrastructure is less developed. The beaches are pebbly and sandy. Along the Black Sea there are many historical monuments. The weather is humid throughout the year. In summer, from June to August, when the main mass of tourists arrives, the average air temperature is 23 ° C, but it can reach 40 ° C in especially hot years. The water in the sea warms up to 20-22 ° C.
The sea in Cyprus is one of the cleanest. It is also remarkable for its turquoise water color. Most beaches are located in the southern part of the island. In Protaras, in the southeast of the island, the beaches are covered with very fine sand of yellowish color. In Ayia Napa area, sandy beaches join the rocky shores of bizarre forms of white limestone. Landing planes periodically fly over the beaches of Larnaca. Limassol stands out for its coastal sand, which is of gray volcanic origin. The south-west coast of Paphos and Polis is covered with coarse pebbles.
Attractions and entertainment
Cyprus or Turkey, both countries have a rich history. They have a lot to offer excursion lovers. Many places are covered with legends and myths.
In Cyprus, after resting on the beach you can go to see:
- The Templar stronghold of Colossi Castle, where the knights of the order grew sugar cane;
- Kikkos monastery in the Troodos mountains at an altitude of 1200m;
- The ruins of the ancient Kurion, built in the 12th century BC;
- The reserve of Akamas and the Baths of Aphrodite near the town of Paphos;
- The Rock of Aphrodite, where according to legend the goddess emerged from the foam of the sea;
- The archaeological park with excavations of the town of Neo-Pafos;
- royal tombs;
- The monastery of St. Neophytes the Hermit;
- The cat monastery of St. Nicholas;
- Lefkara village and the famous local lace.
In Turkey, there are even more attractions. Beautiful palaces, mosques in Istanbul.
Nisi Beach in Ayia Nasa is the most party place, where young people dance and have fun at any time of the day. In Turkey, everything depends on the organization of leisure time by the hotel. Antalya and Kemer are the centers of resort life and entertainment.
Cyprus and Turkey offer tourists a mixed cuisine. Turks love to cook grilled dishes, vegetable and meat dishes with beef and lamb. Not all of them are spicy, as is commonly thought. Cypriots cook pork and chicken and vegetables according to European, Greek and Arab recipes. Their cuisine is varied, suitable for gourmets and supporters of the classic diet.
Famous sightseeing routes:
- Cappadocia, the cave towns and Goreme National Park;
- The unique landscape and geothermal springs of Pamukkale;
- Temple of Artemis, Roman ruins in Ephesus;
- Topkana Palace, Blue Mosque, Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul;
- the old city in Antalya;
- the oldest Orthodox monastery of Panagia Sumela, carved into the Mt;
- the water repository of the Byzantine emperors Cisterna Basilica;
- The ruins of legendary Troy, praised by Homer.
Ecotourism in Turkey is poorly developed, many places are not easy to reach on their own. You can use the services of a guide.
Depending on the purpose of the trip the cost of recreation in Cyprus or Turkey can vary significantly. We’re talking about minimum amounts.
Prices for a week tour in Cyprus in a 4-5-star hotel starts at 70 thousand. You can get a cheaper holiday by buying a last minute tour in high season, or by booking a 3-star hotel further from the sea.
You can see the natural sights in Cyprus for free. Pay only for transport. Lovers of hiking there are more than 50 trails with the most picturesque places.
A visit to the water parks costs 30-40 euros. Museums and archaeological parks charge visitors 4-5 euros. Excursions cost 40-50 euros, but will save time on public transport. The prices of food in supermarkets are comparable with Moscow prices.
Prices in Turkey for a week’s stay can cost 50-55 thousand in a 4-5* hotel with all-inclusive service. Staying at a 2-3* hotel will cost about 10 thousand rubles less.
Both countries are safe, but many tourists feel it better in orthodox Cyprus than in Islamic Turkey. It may be noted that in Cyprus the theft of personal property and pocket money are much less frequent. In Turkey, it is quiet in places of accommodation, but the risk increases when you go outside the hotel.
If tourists come for business purposes, they are recommended to stay in the 5-star Movenpick Hotel Izmir, which has stable Wi-Fi, conference room and other conditions conducive to business cooperation.
So what should you choose?
The dilemma of Cyprus or Turkey – where it is better, is decided primarily by looking at the financial issue. A trip to Turkey will be cheaper if your budget is limited, and you have children with you. You can take an inexpensive tour with a flight from any major city in Russia. Turkish hotels are well known Russian tourist, provide service with the inclusion of all options. On vacation you can not think where to eat and how to entertain yourself and your child.
Cyprus has excellent service in hotels, honestly deserved every star. Island beaches are fully equipped, and many for the purity and natural beauty marked by a blue flag. You can move around the island on your own. Tourists can rent cars and bikes. Every corner of the island is welcoming without intrusive service.
The disadvantage of rest in Cyprus is generally recognized the high cost of recreation, and the all-inclusive system here is not yet well accustomed. You can fly to the island only from several cities in Russia. Communication with Turkey is better, but the monotony of hotel recreation is not for everyone. There is a frank desire to gain income from tourists by any means.