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Five Fingers Mountain (Besparmak)

The Kyrenia Mountains, known as the Five Finger Mountains, run for 120km parallel to the North Cyprus coastline. Their name comes from a colourful legend that tells how the Byzantine hero Dighenis laws forced to escape from the Arabs by leaping from Asia Minor onto North Cyprus. Where he landed, his five fingers left their impression on the five jagged peaks of Mount Besparmak. Five fingers mean "besparmak" in Turkish.

Nowadays, Mount Besparmak offers some serious hiking in Northern Cyprus, with great views and rugged terrain to explore, and hardly anyone else in sight. During the spring, the Northern Cyprus Kyrenia mountains explode into colour with a profusion of wild flowers, and a walk at this time of year fills the eyes with beauty and the nose with delightful scents.

In autumn the cooler weather of the Kyrenia Mountains makes for better hiking temperatures. Walking during the summer months is hard work and not over-rewarding, since the scenery is baked brown by the North Cyprus summer sun. The mountains have always been a line of defence for the island, and Crusader castles lie ready to be explored between Turkish army bases, which are strictly off limits.


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