Saint Hilarion Castle

Saint Hilarion Castle, Kyrenia

Saint Hilarion Castle
Ancient Ruins • Castles
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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2,138 reviews
Very good

Berlin, Deutschland35 contributions
Sep 2021
Amazing visit to the castle with its many parts and sections to explore. The climb to the peak and the view from there are worth it. The cafetaria inside the middle section of the castle had to be closed after a fire destroyed the old buidling in March 2021. There is a small restaurant for refreshments at the entrance area. The separate toilet facilities are run by a private operator, which were closed at the time of the visit. Presently, PCR test or proof of vaccination have to be presented at the ticket booth. Also be aware of the revised opening hours of the castle due to Covid-19. The castle is closed on Sundays. The timings on the official website have not been updated to this regard. Also inform yourself in advance about any last minute changes with regard to any closure of the access road. We have been informed that the access road might be closed, if the army is using the exercise grounds along the access road.
Written September 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Elizabeth V
Bognor Regis, UK763 contributions
Feb 2020
To reach the very top is quite a challenge, but well worth it. The views from the top, and from many resting places on the way up, are spectacular. Make sure it is good weather because it would be a shame to make all the required effort and then find you cannot see anything - avoid low clouds and fog. There are sections near the top where the path is narrow and, if you don't have a head for heights, you should give up rather than carry on. There is a lot of history in this place and, if you do not have a guide with you, buy a guide in order to really appreciate what has been going on.
Written March 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rednal, UK20 contributions
Jan 2020
We had a taxi driver take us from the market place and then he waited two hours for us to explore and get to the top as well as eating a picnic lunch. He charged us 35 euros and that included taking us back to our hotel.
It is a very difficult site to negotiate and not one which anyone who has any difficulty in walking should attempt but if you do get to the top the views and the sense of achievement are immense.

It really is a marvel as to how the castle was originally built and there are lots of standing remainsto study and speculate. There is a cafe part way round but it was closed when we were there, probably out of season.
Written January 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Island of Malta, Malta28 contributions
Jan 2020
Saint Hilarion Castle is worth the visit for it’s history ( a good guide is a bonus ) to get to hear all the place’s history on the spot. The views are fantastic worth the rather challenging climb .The castle is divided into three levels .There is also a small coffee shop where One can buy some very nice carob syrup and taste some local tea.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Chelmsford, UK539 contributions
Apr 2022
One of the must visits near Kyrenia/Girne. You must be prepared for many steps and steep climbs (all perfectly safe). Fantastic views from each of the scetions. Would suggest visiting as early as you can to avoid the heat.
A previous review mentioned the army - they were exercising on the access road and using the firing range but neither impacted on our visit (the bangs shattered the silence though).
Well worth visiting even if you only go up to the second section.
Written May 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Yorkshire, England140 contributions
May 2022
As you approach the castle by road you get an amazing view of what looks like something out of a fantasy film. How they built it god only knows but you often think that about these places. You have to be fairly fit to climb al of the steps and navigate the paths but if you can it it well worth the effort.
Written May 12, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Northallerton, UK11 contributions
Apr 2012 • Friends
This castle was well worth a visit, however, I would think twice about taking the kids; or at least keep them on a very tight leash - this castle is built out of a mountain; the steps and barriers can be somewhat precarious. We went on a stormy evening and virtually had the castle to ourselves, which was incredibly scary. The castle is also to be found in the middle of a Turkish firing range so do not be surprised at any explosions. My wife and I witnessed some very strange phenomena especially at the barracks where something did not want us to enter (see photos). As the darkness fell we could not wait to get off the mountain. Fascinating place with great views of Cyprus. It exudes with medieval history; interested to know of anyone else who had such an experience here.
Written December 4, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Doha, Qatar22 contributions
Apr 2015 • Family
I have to say I am not one for visiting castle ruins but St Hilarion is definitely worth the visit. It is easy to find by car because it is well sign-posted but brace yourself for the tummy churning drive because it's pretty high up!

We have a 6 and a 4 year old and I am 5 months pregnant, but with the appropriate clothing, footwear and plenty of water it really wasn't that bad and we climbed most of the steps except for the ones my husband deemed too treacherous for the children. Even in April I am glad we went first thing in the morning because it would have been too warm to climb all the stairs by the time we left late morning.

The views are spectacular. It is a shame the coffee shop is a bit basic because it really could be a goldmine if time were put into it - we didn't even bother visiting it. The toilets are pretty disgusting and I am glad I always carry baby wipes and disinfectant gel because there was no toilet roll or soap!
Written April 28, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Caroline B
Chichester, UK1,977 contributions
Apr 2018 • Couples
Walt Disney based his renowned cartoon film, 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' on St Hilarion's Castle location as he was so inspired by the place.

St Hilarion was also known as 'Dieu D'Armour (belonging to a saint). In olden times it was known as Didymas, meaning twins because of the two peaks that were separated by a valley.

St Hilarion, 700 metres high, is one of the three castles set upon the 'Five Finger Mountains' built to protect the Cypriot public from attacks by the Arabs.

The castle appears not to be named after the St. Hilarion who was active in Palestine and Cyprus in the 4th century, but that of an obscure saint. It is said he fled to Cyprus after the Arab conquest of the Holy Land and ended up on the hilltop where the castle was built. It is believed a monastery was built in his name and then later, the castle was built around it.

From the road below, St Hilarion looks awesome. We visited in April and had the joy of spring when you can see masses of beautiful wild flowers. Views from the snack bar, once you reach the top are fantastic, although their coffee is quite expensive.

If travelling from Girne, you drive south along the Lefkoşa motorway as it climbs up into the mountains. Before you get to the top of the pass and it begins its descent to the Mesaoria plain, you have to follow the yellow signpost off to the right.
For 3 km or so the road then snakes it's way upwards through a military camp and we heard loud shots from the firing range.
You are not allowed to stop in the restricted military area, which is a pity because you could take some great photos as you near the castle.

There are car parking spaces at the top but it can get rather crowded and 'tight' with coaches lining up the side of the road.

I decided to wander around the outskirts of the castle when my husband climbed up the steps to reach the inside of the castle. Not suitable for people with walking difficulties.

Arab attacks started in the 7th century through to the 10th century. The castle was there when Richard the Lionheart took the island in 1191. It was emptied and left vacant in 1489 when Venetians took the island.

The castle has three main sections. The parapets at the main entrance were fortified by the Byzantines in the 11th century. The lower section of the castle was used for billeting soldiers and their horses. In the middle section was the royal palace, the kitchen, church and a big cistern. In the upper section entrance, there is a Lusignan Gate with a courtyard in the middle.
If you look from the Queen's window on the second floor you can see a wonderful panoramic view of Northern Cyprus.

This is a great attraction for visitors to Cyprus and worth a visit.
Written May 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

London, UK142 contributions
Jul 2014 • Family
Made it to the top after a challenging climb ! Well worth the effort - incredible views over Kyrenia and the surrounding area. If you are looking for a good day trip from Kyrenia - try here.
Written August 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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