The charming little village of Bellapais lies within a stone’s throw from the port of Kyrenia. With narrow streets and alleys, Bellapais takes visitors back to an era where the history echoes between the walls. The village is an ideal retreat for those seeking relaxation. Here you can sit down at one of the many restaurants, order a cup of coffee and reflect on life, just as the author Lawrence Durrell did in the 1950’s. Among the sweetening citrus flowers, you will find the peace and yourself. No wonder it was here Durrell was inspired to write his famous classic Bitter Lemons. Just a few blocks from the town square you can visit the house where the author lived during his years in Cyprus.
The biggest attraction in the village is undoubtedly the medieval monastery of Bellapais Abbey. The monastery, today a museum, was built by St. Augustine in the 13th century. The ruins are 220 meters above sea level and you have a great view of the coast from here. The monastery itself is a Gothic masterpiece with majestic stone vaults embedded in a beautiful rosewood garden. It is a romantic place that regularly hosts events like weddings, operas and classical music concerts.
Bellapais is the location for some of Cyprus’s best restaurants. Kybele Restaurant and Bellapais Gardens are two of these. Visit Café Oregano, a nice place for a coffee with good pastries. There are many small shops to look around in, with souvenirs like beautiful fabrics, jewelry and crockery for sale. Do not miss visiting Bellapais own glass sculptor sitting at a table outside his shop and making small figures of glass.
The Bellapais Abbey Museum is open from 09:00 to 19:00 in the summer. The opening hours in winter are from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 16:45.
There are several hotels to chose from for those who want to stay in Bellapais. Some examples are Bellapais Monastery Holiday Village, Bella View Boutique Hotel and Bellapais Gardens Hotel.