Buffavento Castle, Kyrenia

4.4
#4 of 10 in Historic Sites in Kyrenia
Nestled high in the mountains overlooking the bay, Buffavento Castle was once a powerful defense structure. Walk along the mountain pathway, 950 m (3,100 ft) above the sea level for unmatched views of North Cyprus. Tour the remains of this 11th-century Byzantine structure and visit its crumbling hallways with large stone windows. Look for the ruins of an old cistern near the dormitories where soldiers once slept. Wear comfortable shoes, as paths at the site are rough. Add Buffavento Castle and other attractions to your Kyrenia trip itinerary using our Kyrenia trip planner.
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Buffavento Castle Reviews
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  • Hiking this castle literally brought out my love of hiking, I haven't done it ever since, but I'm looking forward to do it again during the next visit to see the family. I'm not a big sports kind of p...  more »
  • 1.2 km up and the same down! Oxigenation, combined with the super view! One of the strategic points of the isle defense, along with St. Hilarion and Kantara castle!  more »
  • To us this seemed the best castle - it's in a beautiful location up a long windy road. After parking it's a steep walk up to the castle itself but it's got good steps up to the top. From the top it's ...  more »
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  • Great castle with amazing views. There are a large number of steps up to the top, but plenty of places to pause in the shade. Make sure you have water with you, as there are no facilities at the car park or at the top.
  • This must have been a Great castle once upon a time. It's sad to see it at that state. Only part of it that is "fixed" is the trail/path that leads all the way there. The road to the castle is in disarray (08/17), part ok, part dirt road and vice versa. The views and vibe you get once you get to the top (about 30 min trail) is astonishing. On any given day is cool and refreshing up there. Definitely worth the hassle to get there. Be sure to have water with you as there is literally nothing for miles.
  • The way to the castle is not easy, but when you are finally at the top - you will forget how difficult it was... the view is amazing... it is worth to visit at least once.
  • Best views of Kyrenia and Nicosia at the same castle. This is my favourite castle in the north up the mountains, good location. You will climb the stairs at least half an hour, so If you have walking issues or if you think you can not climb the stairs for at least half an hour, do not go. Spectacular view though.
  • At 955m above sea level, Buffavento castle stands the highest of the three crusader castles. However it is the least well preserved. It probably originated as a Byzantine watch tower to guard against Arab raiders in the 10th century. It is said that the Byzantine king Isaac Commenos fled here when Richard the Lionheart invaded in 1191. The king's daughter surrendered herself and the castle to Richard, but Isaac Commenos continued his flight to Kantara. The castle was extended during the Lusignan rule, as were her sister castles of St Hilarion and Kantara. The Lusignan kings used the castle mainly as a political prison, known as the "Chateau du Lion". In particular, Peter I when reluctantly warned by his friend John Visconti of the queen's infidelity, repaid the favour by imprisoning and torturing him at Kyrenia, and later locking Visconti up at Buffavento to starve to death. By the 16th century, the castle had been dismantled by the Venetians in an attempt to protect themselves, as their focus moved to the strongholds along the coast at Kyrenia and Famagusta. From the seaward side, the castle is almost invisible, and the best long distance view is from the Nicosia side, where you can clearly see the remains of the castle bulging out from the top of the mountain.

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Where to stay in Kyrenia

Northern Cyprus' most popular tourist destination offers an assortment of accommodations. It's a good idea to remain close to the beach, as this is where most of the Kyrenia's bars, restaurants, and shops are located. Transportation is somewhat lacking and unreliable; however, a bus connects the city center with beaches in the west. For a luxury stay, choose from numerous four- and five-star hotels, several of which boast seaside locations. If you're planning a longer stay, consider renting an apartment or villa.
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