Although Girne (Kyrenia) is very much the focus for tourism interest in North Cyprus, few visitors to the island actually choose to stay in the town preferring instead to rent a villa away from day to day life downtown and all of the associated noise and traffic!

Which is why it’s a surprise to us that so much emphasis is always placed on bars and restaurants in Girne – to buck the trend we thought we’d sample nightlife in North Cyprus’ Lapta which is a very popular location to the west of Girne for holidaymakers.

Where to Dine in Lapta

Depending on your budget and also your preferred dining ambience we can recommend M Haci Ali Hotel at the upper end of the scale, the excellent Stumble Inn for quality pub grub and home cooking and Ayhan’s Garden Restaurant for an excellent local kebab menu and takeaway service.

M. Haci Ali Hotel is newly opened and it has a large outside dining area around the swimming pool and overlooking the sea in Lapta as well as space inside for winter diners.  The service is exceptional, the suited and booted waiters are attentive but not annoyingly so and the menu is vast, varied, well priced and includes a fairly decent wine list (at last in North Cyprus!) The dress code is not exactly formal, you wouldn’t be turned away if you arrived in jeans but there are proper linen table cloths and napkins so you might just prefer to dress up a little if you don’t want to be stared at!

Next on the list is the Stumble Inn, tucked away down a back street in Lapta the recently refurbished premises afford diners space and the ambience of a traditional English pub.  The food is all home cooked, the pies, daily special curries and chilli con carne are excellent and the chips are seriously scrumptious!  Prices are really reasonable and the landlord, landlady and staff at the Stumble Inn are making a real success of an excellent business idea…create a pub where British holidaymakers and locals want to go, give them decent food and drink at a decent price, make the atmosphere family friendly and sit back and watch the business grow.

Finally, if would prefer local food try Ayhan’s Garden Restaurant – if you eat in your traditional main courses are preceded with a tasty meze and if you take away you always end up with a whole host of extra goodies in your carrier bag!  This is a family run restaurant and even the host’s little girls lend a hand clearing tables and bossing the waiters about!

Where to Drink in Lapta

For a good pub night out with occasional live acts, occasional karaoke and everyday great atmosphere both The Cabin and the Stumble Inn are favourites.  The Cabin is ideal for the summertime as it is on the Lapta strip, close to the sea and affords revellers and drinkers the chance to not only put the world to rights but also the chance to watch goings on and passers by in the main street!  The Stumble Inn has more character and charm that almost all the other bars in North Cyprus put together and so we need say no more other than go and check it out (no, they aren’t sponsoring us!).

For a pre-dinner drink or a cocktail maybe, then the main casinos and hotels along the Lapta strip offer bars that are open to non-residents of which the Celebrity is a favourite having recently refurbished and it now includes a pool table for the bored teenagers in the party to amuse themselves with while their parents take a much needed break!

Where to Socialise

A favourite meeting point for friends and family across the island is the Saffron bar and restaurant – the atmosphere is quite informal although the standards of the restaurant are high…guests are welcome to come in, relax, enjoy a leisurely drink and a chat before sitting at their table and dining and spending the whole night socialising whilst overlooking the sea in Lapta.

Shirley Valentines was another great social spot but unfortunately at the time of writing this article the lease is not being renewed by the current owners so we’ll watch and see what happens at the premises and keep you updated on any positive developments.

Where to Gamble in Lapta

Finally, if you’re into having a wager on sporting events or playing cards, slot machines or seriously hitting the casinos then Lapta has them in abundance!  The Celebrity is probably the most well known as it is right on the Lapta strip or try the Grand Ruby (it’s a casino not a curry house and they have a cool stretch limo!). 

If you’re new to North Cyprus then Lapta is about a twenty minute drive away from Girne (Kyrenia) along the main western coastal road – the village of Lapta itself is set back from the main seaside strip along which all the businesses mentioned in this article are located.  The village has immense charm and character and is home to a growing community of expats who love the elevated location of their homes, the relative seclusion that they can find from properties in this area but who also love the fact that they have the entertainment delights of Lapta within walking distance.