I was staying on the Greek side of Cyprus and decided to cross over to visit the Turkish side. This in itself was very easy to do and having a European passport I had no trouble. Once in the Northern side I felt really good and managed to buy lots of things from the shops and the stalls. The problem was on the return to the Greek side I got stopped by the border guard and had two ladies bags which my wife purchased confiscated with the excuse that they where fakes, so what seemed like a good shopping experience just turned expensive. I explained to the border guard that we where not aware that we had done anything wrong and he then pointed at a small sign in a window next to him saying fake goods will be confiscated. This was on the Greek side and nothing was adviced when we crossed to the Turkish side.
I felt robbed, I was then made to sign a form in Greek to say that I agreed to have the bags destroyed, well I hope this is what I signed as they did not a copy in English. I am sure I could of insisted to have this translated or ask for consular help but I am sure that would have kept me there all day.
So anyone crossing be warned what looks like good buy in Northen Cyprus might cost you alot of money when confiscated at the border.
At the end of Ledra Street is the start of the green line, there is a big display about the invasion and some wholes in the wall to pick at the other side. Many tourists go there to take photos. Use your own judgement and take everything with a pinch of salt...
The alternative is to read, talk to people and visit both sides of the town to get the bigger picture...
In the Turk controlled Nicosia, you'll see the blue "Nicosia Trail" marked on the tourist map and the street. You won't get lost if you follow the blue line and in the end you'll get back to immigration control. But I wouldn't recommend you to follow the trail. Most of the time you'll find yourself in the narrow street of the residential area. In fact, there're not a lot of things to see here anyway. It's pretty run down compared to the south. But then again, you might just want to see the contrast. The turks are pretty humble people and things are cheaper there. Some people who live in the south just go there to buy cigarettes. So much so that the customs officer on the Greek controlled Nicosia would ask you how many cigarettes you have bought.
Fast food restaurants are everywhere in the central area of Nicosia.
Unique Suggestions: The best of all of the fast food establishments seems to be 'Big Boy' on Ledra Street at the end close to Plateia Eleftherias. They serve the more healthy option of jacket potatoes and salads.
Fun Alternatives: Try and find the authentic Cypriot eating establishments instead. In the centre along Ledra Street there are lots of places offering food but the best eating places are in the back streets. If you see a few of the locals eating in a taverna, head there yourself. It usually means that the food will be of an excellent quality.
The shopping streets are pretty tacky, but some of them have really good bargains and aren't too busy when you come early or late during the day.