Lapta (Lapithos) Succumb to the charms of North Cyprus

Originally founded by locals fleeing marauding pirates, modern day Lapta continues to offer respite to anyone seeking retreat from the hurly burly of modern life. Lapta is also known as Lapithos and was first brought to Europe's attention by Lawrence Durrell (who counted it among his favourite Cypriot destinations). Today Lapta is a sprawling farming village popular with holidaymakers and expatriates alike. Lapta is a popular daytrip destination for holidaymakers staying in Kyrenia.

The village clings to the slopes of the Five Finger Mountains, 10 km west of Kyrenia, overlooking the azure Mediterranean waters far below. Lapta's location is undoubtedly its main selling point: on the one hand visitors can choose the relaxed atmosphere and mountain air, on the other they can head down to the coast and sample some of the livelier towns nearby.

Much of Lapta's charm lies in the fact that there isn't much to do. During daylight hours you would be forgiven for thinking that someone had forgotten to set the alarm clock. However, Lapata's soporific nature is infectious and it isn't long before you find yourself whiling away entire afternoons with a cup of sweet Turkish coffee or a plate of meze. If you do rouse yourself into action there are a number of churches worth visiting as well as one of the island's most beautiful mosques. Lapta's cultural synergy is most evident at dusk, when the muezzin (call to prayer) echoes off the surrounding hills, giving you the distinct feeling that you are caught between two worlds: at the edge of the Mediterranean but with the riches of the Middle East still beckoning.

Another sound that you'll soon become familiar with is the trickling of water; channelled from natural springs high up the mountain to the terraced fields below. This abundance of water is one of Lapta's chief delights and has ensured the fertility of the surrounding citrus groves and the heady pine scented forests. Lapta was one of the few areas around Kyrenia to escape the fires of 1995 and boasts some of Cyprus' best walking trails. Lapta is also well known for producing handicrafts, especially carved wooden chests; which are sold throughout the island.