We are a husband and wife team and have been running holiday let properties for more than ten years. We live at the top of Ilgaz village and are rarely far from our villas. I am English and my husband Oz is Turkish Cypriot. We enjoy meeting people and take pride in providing guests with the best possible experience. We have many repeat guests, some of whom have returned year after year for the past 7 or 8 years. We have been taking bookings for our original two villas through one of the major holiday booking website for the past ten years however as they now charge guests a large service fee (on top of our hefty annual subscription fees) we decided to build our own website. We had the top rating for these villas and many 5 star reviews. We will continue for a while with the booking site so if you need to see our properties there I can give you a link. We currently have four holiday let properties all in the charming village of Ilgaz. Three of the villas are two bedrooms and two bathrooms and our latest villa is a generous 4 bedroom 4 bathroom property. All have their own private pools and mature gardens.
Ilgaz is a quiet and friendly residential village perched on the slopes of the Besparmak ("Five Finger") mountains in the Kyrenia region with wonderful views down the mountains to the sea. Ilgaz has about 45 houses, many in the old, traditional Cypriot style and has residents of Turkish Cypriot, Turkish and British descent. Ilgaz is 3 kms from the main road between Kyrenia and Lapta. The beautiful Kyrenia harbour is a twenty minute drive from Ilgaz. Bellapais Abbey and St Hilarion Castle are about thirty minutes drive.
Etel Winery and its extensive vineyards along with Gillham Vineyard Hotel are situated on the edge of the village. There is a Wine Bar situated within the vineyards where you can sit and drink a selection of delicious wines including wines from the grapes grown in Ilgaz, eat a selection of tapas and wile away the hours. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and a wine spa.
Ilgaz Koy Firin Cafe bakes their own bread in traditional style bread ovens and provides a delicious and plentiful Turkish breakfast along with lunchtime and evening meals by arrangement.
Also in Ilgaz village and a short walk from our villas is Hoots Bistro. Wander up for delicious food and a friendly relaxed atmosphere or just have a drink on their charming terrace.
An hours' walk across the mountains takes you to the picturesque village of Karmi or Karaman with its quaint streets and charming traditional whitewashed houses all restored to exacting standards. Levant restaurant, Treasure Restaurant and the Crow's Nest pub are situated in Karmi.
The ancient town of Kyrenia with its beautiful harbour and impressive castle is about 20 minutes' drive from Ilgaz. Bellapais Abbey and St Hilarion Castle are 20-30 minutes' drive from Ilgaz.
We currently have four villas, each with their own private swimming pool. Three villas, Villa Lisa, Carob Villa and Top House, have two bedrooms and two bathrooms and are suitable for up to four guests and we now have one villa, Vineyard Villa, with a very large private pool, four bedrooms and four bathrooms suitable for up to eight guests. All are unique and have their own, private infinity or overflow pools and are set in mature gardens. We also have a one bed annexe next to one of the two bedroom villas which can be used if you need an extra bedroom. Ilgaz is a quiet peaceful place to stay and our villas offer a tranquil, relaxing environment whether you want to use the villa as a base to explore fascinating North Cyprus or to relax by the pool.
Our bedlinen is 100% cotton. Both bath towels and swimming towels are provided. For stays of more than a week, linen and bath towels will be changed weekly or more often by arrangement.
We provide a generous welcome pack and when possible we like to include local products. The welcome pack includes tea, coffee, milk, fruit juice, drinking water, eggs, tomatoes, honey, olives, bread, butter, cheese (when possible locally produced handmade hellim / halloumi cheese) nuts, a couple of Efes beer and a bottle of wine. We will check with you before you arrive to see whether you would prefer red, while or rose wine.
GETTING TO ILGAZ
ERCAN AIRPORT. Ercan airport is in the TRNC - Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. There are no direct flights from the UK. Whilst you can book flights as one, you will need to change planes in Turkey, usually in Istanbul. The drive from Ilgaz is about an hour. Our local car hire company will collect you from Ercan airport by taxi for £35 or free of charge if you hire a car from them for a week and will bring you direct to Ilgaz.
LARNACA AIRPORT. Larnaca airport is in South Cyprus. Flights from the UK are direct. Carriers include British Airways, Cyprus Airways, Easyjet, Aegian Airways and Wizz Air. There is a border between South Cyprus and the North. Crossing the border is straightforward if you possess UK or EU passports. The drive from Larnaca to Ilgaz is about 75 minutes. Whilst you can hire a car at Larnaca airport and drive yourselves, an easier option is to take a taxi transfer arranged by a local company for £45-65 depending on the number of adults and whether you hire a car from them. At the border the taxi driver will show your passports to the officials while you sit in the car for a couple of minutes.
We can arrange airport transfers and car hire for you.
THE TURKISH CYPRIOT PEOPLE
Turkish Cypriots are in general very hospitable and friendly. Many speak English and are willing to help in any situation.
The currency used in North Cyprus is the Turkish Lira however most restaurants, bars, shops, supermarkets and petrol stations will happily accept UK sterling, US dollars and Euros at a reasonable exchange rate. Most will accept debit and credit cards and there are a number of ATMs / cashpoint machines nearby.
The price of eating out in cafes and restaurants is very reasonable.
THINGS TO DO ON YOUR HOLIDAY
Half an hour's drive from Ilgaz village will take you to Kyrenia Harbour and Bellapais Abbey. There are three Crusader Castles in North Cyprus; St Hilarion, Buffavento and Kantara. To drive to St Hilarion takes about twenty minutes, Buffavento Castle about forty minutes and Kantara Castle about one and a half hours. The castle in Kyrenia Harbour and the Shipwreck Museum are well worth a visit.
The area boasts a large number and variety of restaurants. We would recommend various seafront restaurants such as Kervan in Karaoglanoglu, Ambience in Karaoglanoglu, and Calamari in Lapta. The Red Lobster in Alsancak and Kybele in Bellapais are also recommended. In the village of Ilgaz, Gillham Vineyard Hotel has an excellent restaurant and serves tapas in their wine bar and Hoots Bistro serves delicious food at very reasonable prices.
The closest beach to Ilgaz is about 4kms away. Some beaches have watersports and restaurants or cafes whilst others are quiet.
There are many beautiful mountain walks in the area, many which can start straight from the door of our villas. In spring the mountains above Ilgaz are full of wild flowers. In one direction you can walk across the mountain to the quaint village of Karmi and to the village of Malatya in the other direction. If you are feeling energetic you can walk up the mountains to a road which leads across the mountain ridge from St Hilarion castle to Karsiyaka. The coastal Lapta walk is about 15 minutes drive from Ilgaz.
ETEL WINERY AND GILLHAM VINEYARD HOTEL
Etel Winery is on the edge of the village. It has extensive vineyards and produces quality wines. Sit in the wine bar overlooking the vines and enjoy a selection of delicious quality wine. Gillham Vineyard Hotel has an excellent restaurant, tapas bar, a wine spa and tours of the winery. Treat yourself to a massage or wine spa. We have agreed special prices at the restaurant and spa for our villa guests.
Jeep trips can be arranged. Day trips include lunch.
Boat trips on traditional style Turkish gulets can be taken from Kyrenia Harbour. Daytime trips leave the harbour in the morning and return late afternoon. The boat will stop at various intervals for swimming, snorkelling and watersports and for a generous lunch on board which usually includes a choice of chicken, meat or fish along with various mezzes such as hummus, olives, salads and brad and then fruit. There are also evening "sunset" trips.
The clear, warm and calm Mediterranean waters provide an ideal environment for diving. With a number of shipwrecks and a wide variety of underwater wildlife such as grouper, amberjacks, morays, octopus and even turtles, the area caters for all levels of diving from beginners to the most experienced diver.
JET SKIING, PARASENDING, BANANA RIDES
These can all be arranged at Escape Beach about 4kms from Ilgaz.
Horse riding can be arranged for riders who are learning or for those who want a trek through the pine forests on the higher slopes of the mountains.
You can take a tandem paragliding flight from the mountains above Ilgaz giving you panoramic views of the Besparmak Mountains.
In spring the mountains above Ilgaz village are filled with a plethora of wild orchids, anenomes, irises, cyclamen, oxalis and ranunculus.
In addition to the native bird species, Cyprus is also a temporary host to many migratory species such as Bee Eaters, Hoopee and the Cyprus Wheatear. The mountains above Ilgaz are a haven for birds including partridge, falcons and Scop's owls.
On occasions you can see turtles hatching on the beaches of North Cyprus. Sightings are arranged under a controlled environment so as not to disturb the turtles. Between June 1st and mid September you may be lucky enough to catch the nesting or hatching of the turtles.
Browse the small shops in Kyrenia selling Turkish carpets, pottery, tiles, silk or gold and silver jewellery. In Edremit village, close to Ilgaz, is a small shop selling pottery and basketwork. Local markets sell clothes and ornaments along with local produce such as bread, cheese and olives along with fruit and vegetables. Supermarkets in North Cyprus are well stocked with freshly baked bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and some sell freshly prepared meals.
Try outdoor bowling at the Olive Press in Lapta or ten pin bowling at the King's Leisure Centre. Both are about twenty minutes by car from Ilgaz.
VISIT THE KARPAZ REGION
Have a day out and drive to the Karpaz peninsula with its unspoilt beauty, rugged scenary, sandy beaches and wild donkeys. Stop at the upmarket Karpaz Gate Marina near Yeni Erenkoy along the way.
RELAXING BY YOUR PRIVATE POOL
If none of the above suggestions take your interest, then just relax by your private pool and soak in the peace and quiet. I have lost count of the number of guests who have said "We meant to visit the sites but it was so lovely by the pool that we didn't want to do anything else".