A journey up the Karpas Peninsula – a Mediterranean rural idyll of rolling fields, olive groves and remote white-sand beaches licked by shallow turquoise water – is like watching the clocks wind themselves back to a time before investors and developers gobbled up much of the island's coast. East of Boğaz' forlorn tourism centre and Bafra's woefully bad-taste luxury resorts, you enter one of the island's last true wildernesses.

Set between a spine of undulating hills, country roads weave between forgotten archaeological sites, ruined churches and sleepy villages up to the thin tapering finger of land at the eastern tip where wild donkeys wander onto the roads and turtles nest on dune-backed Golden Beach. This region is a beacon for cyclists, hikers and anyone simply weary of matching lines of holiday villas.

Come in March when the fields erupt in a kaleidoscope of wild flower colours and rare orchids bloom.