Cyprus

Capital Nicosia
Currency Euro (€)
Population 891,000 (2014)
Electricity 240V/50Hz (UK plug)
Country code +357
Time zone UTC +2

Cyprus (Greek Κύπρος, Turkish Kıbrıs,) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, south of Turkey. After Sicily and Sardinia, Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It is geographically part of Asia.

There are three politically distinct areas in the island: the Republic of Cyprus (a member of the European Union) is a state with wide international recognition. However it only controls territory in the south. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus acts as a de facto separate country. The British military sovereign base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, while legally separate from either republic, have open borders with the Republic of Cyprus.

This article covers only the island's southern territory administered by the Republic of Cyprus. Information regarding the remainder of the island is given in the Northern Cyprus article. This is a practical distinction and not an endorsement of either side's claim in the dispute.

Regions

Cyprus is divided into 6 administrative regions, each named for its administrative capital. Since 1974, the whole of Kyrenia district, most of Famagusta district, and the northern portion of Nicosia district have been under Turkish military control. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus administers those areas. The Republic of Cyprus administers the following districts:

Famagusta
Larnaca
Limassol
Nicosia
Paphos
Akrotiri and Dhekelia
British sovereign areas with a primarily military use. Limited in things to see and do, but generally accessible from the Republic of Cyprus districts

Cities

Note that Cypriot cities have a variety of historical spellings and writings, all in fairly common use, and which change according to the context, whether it be Greek Cypriot, Turkish or English tourist. The following list emphasizes traditional English spellings, that will most often be encountered by the traveller.

Other destinations


Understand

Cyprus gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960. Despite a constitution which guaranteed a degree of power-sharing between the Greek Cypriot majority and the Turkish Cypriot minority, the two populations with backing from the governments of Greece and Turkey, respectively clashed vehemently in 1974, with the end result being the occupation of the northern and eastern 40% of the island by Turkey. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". So far, only Turkey recognizes the TRNC, while all other governments and the United Nations recognize only the government of the Republic of Cyprus over the whole island. The UN operates a peacekeeping force and a narrow buffer zone between the two Cypriot ethnic groups. Fortunately, open hostilities have been absent for some time, as the two sides (now with the growing involvement of the European Union) gradually inch towards a reunification of some sort.

Climate

Temperate; Mediterranean with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters.

Terrain

Central plain with mountains to north and south; scattered but significant plains along southern coast.

Culture

Cyprus is divided between two distinct cultures of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Get in

Minimum validity of travel documents

  • EU, EEA and Swiss citizens need only produce a passport which is valid for the entirety of their stay in Cyprus.
  • All other nationals who are required to have a visa (including visa-exempt nationalities such as New Zealanders and Australians), however, must produce a passport which has at least 3 months' validity beyond their period of stay in Cyprus.
  • Children registered on their parents’ passport can travel to Cyprus until the age of 16.
  • For more information, visit this webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus.

Cyprus is committed to implementing the Schengen Agreement although it hasn't yet done so. For EEA citizens (EU countries together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), an officially approved ID card (or a passport) is sufficient for entry. Other nationalities will generally require a passport for entry.

Travel to/from any other country (Schengen or not) from/to Cyprus will (as of now) result in the normal immigration checks, although customs checks will be waived when travelling to/from another EU country.

Inquire with your travel agent or with the local embassy or consulate of Cyprus.

Notes

(1) Nationals of these countries need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel.

(2) Serbian nationals with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with Serbian passports) do need a visa.

(3) Taiwan nationals need their ID number to be stipulated in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel.

The nationals of the following countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area: Albania(1), Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina(1), Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia(1), Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova(1), Monaco, Montenegro(1), New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia(1, 2), Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan(3) (Republic of China), Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports and all British nationals (including those who are not European Union citizens).

If you are a non-EU/EFTA national (even if you are visa-exempt, unless you are Andorran, Monégasque or San Marinese), make sure that your passport is stamped both when you enter and leave the Schengen Area. Without an entry stamp, you may be treated as an overstayer when you try to leave the Schengen Area; without an exit stamp, you may be denied entry the next time you seek to enter the Schengen Area as you may be deemed to have overstayed on your previous visit. If you cannot obtain a passport stamp, make sure that you retain documents such as boarding passes, transport tickets and ATM slips which may help to convince border inspection staff that you have stayed in the Schengen Area legally.

Note that

However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.

By plane

Cyprus' main airport is Larnaca International Airport (LCA) and is on the outskirts of Larnaka.

The previous main international airport located SW of Nicosia is now located on the Green Line separating the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus - it has been out of use since 1974.

Cyprus is serviced by a variety of different carriers, the main one being the Cypriot Cyprus Airways. There are flight connections with most major European cities, e.g. London, Birmingham, Manchester, Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, Milan) and many Eastern European countries. There are also connections to almost all Middle Eastern capitals. There are no flights to Turkey from the south.

Larnaca International Airport

There is a frequent and cheap (€1.50) public bus connection from the airport into central Larnaca, but it is poorly indicated. The bus stop is at the departure hall level (upstairs) and shows a sign with a series of three digit bus numbers. Buses go to "Finikoudes", at the beach in Larnaca where buses to other distinatons in Cyprus leave (see "getting around" section).

There is also a direct Larnaca Airport - Nicosia, Nicosia - Larnaca Airport Bus service provided by Kapnos Airport Shuttle. The journey takes around 30-45 minutes (depending on the traffic and the hour), and a one way ticket costs €8 per person. There are bus routes throughout the night. More information about the service and the timetable can be found at the bus service website: http://www.kapnosairportshuttle.com .

There are also charter flights to the western airport of Paphos.

By boat

Occasional ferries connect Cyprus to Greece. Services to Israel and Egypt have been terminated for the time being; however, there are 2 and 3 day cruises running in the summer months from about April to October and they take passengers one way between Israel and Cyprus. These mini cruises also run to Syria, Lebanon, Rhodes, the Greek Islands, The Black Sea and The Adriatic. The ferry service from Greece runs from Piraeus, Rhodes and Ayios Nikolaos in Crete to Limassol. See the itinerary here: You may also catch a freighter from Italy, Portugal, Southampton and various other European ports. See Grimaldi Freighter Cruises providing you with the opportunity to bring a vehicle to Cyprus throughout the year.

There is a regular ferry service from Turkey, connecting Taşucu to Girne (north of Nicosia) .

Traveling to and from the north

Prior to Cyprus's accession to European Union, evidence of entry to Northern Cyprus resulted in denial of entry to the Greek part of Cyprus at the very least. After the accession, and according to EU legislation that considers Cyprus to have been admitted in full, an entry to the Turkish part is formally an entry to whole Cyprus and must therefore not result in any disadvantage to travelers from the EU. Travelers from non-EU member states (as, for instance, Turkish citizens) must enter the island via one of the legal entry points (i.e. entry points in the Southern part of the island) in order to visit the Southern part.

The Cyprus embassy in Washington on the phone (June 2006) when asked if the border is open to U.S. citizens, didn't give a 'No', but said that they recommend entering from the legal points in the Greek side. Different entities and web pages claim different things. But there are recent (2012) examples of people entering Northern Cyprus from Turkey, crossing the border without any problems, although it was noticed when leaving Cyprus.

The main crossings between the south and north are:

In 2012, crossing the green line is very simple. The "visa form" to be completed is very basic (barely usable as a souvenir!) and requires only the name, the nationality and the passport (or identity card) number to be entered. Then it is stamped, and the whole procedure should take no more than three minutes. Upon return, it is stamped again.

Get around

Public transportation in Cyprus has been revamped with all new buses in Nicosia. Still, most Cypriots drive. There are no railways in Cyprus.

By bus

There is a comprehensive network of bus routes that cover all Cyprus. Use Cyprus By Bus to plan your journey using buses in Cyprus.

Buses by City:

Larnaca Airport Shuttle services:

Paphos Airport Shuttle services:

On the Turkish side, buses are more frequent (and smaller). In Nicosia, they depart from stops at the street north of the northern gate. Prices are similar to prices on the Greek side of Cyprus. Beware that return tickets may not be valid on all buses on the Turkish side.

By shared taxi

Services run every half-hour or so from 6 or 7 in the morning, but terminate at 5 or 6 PM on the dot. You can book a taxi to pick you up anywhere and ask to be dropped off anywhere in city limits; the flip side is that it will often take you longer to get in or out of the city than the journey itself! Figure on £4-6 for a taxi ride on any of these, with an increased price on Sundays and holidays. Also known as a service taxi.

By car

Car hire is the easiest (but the most expensive) way to get around the island. Companies will typically not rent cars for fewer than three days, although some international vendors (Budget) will offer one or two day service for a high fee. Renting in advance can be beneficial as walk-in options are obviously limited to available cars. Cypriots drive on the left side of the road, in keeping with British and British Commonwealth practice. However, driving standards are poor. Drivers attack their art with an equal mix of aggressiveness and incompetence and view road rules as mere guidelines. Some main roads do not even have road markings and people often sound their horn, especially in Nicosia. Take care when crossing the roads, and even greater care when driving on them. Highways are generally of excellent condition and quite traversable, but other roads vary greatly in quality. As with surrounding countries, rental cars frequently use diesel fuel and manual transmission rentals are cheaper than automatic transmission, although not typically only by a few euro.

See

Hamam Omerye, Nicosia

Do

Talk

The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. Greek is spoken predominately in the south and Turkish is spoken predominately in the north. English is very widely spoken by locals of all ages because of previous British rule. Other common languages spoken on the island are French, German and Russian.

Buy

During a March 2013 financial crisis, the Cypriot banking system closed its doors for two weeks in an attempt to control a run on the banks and restrictions were placed on Cypriots withdrawing or transferring large amounts of money abroad. These restrictions appear to have been withdrawn as of April 2015.

Costs

Cyprus has always been a relatively expensive destination. Except for some agricultural products, practically everything has to be imported. The cost of living in Cyprus is comparable to Central Europe, especially in the tourist centers. Price examples: National Beer cost €3 to €3.50 euros, a pack of cigarettes €4, a hamburger €5-€7, squids about €10, a steak around €20. Away from the tourist hotels / beaches the prices are much more moderate.

Currency

Cyprus uses the euro. It is one of several European countries that uses this common currency. All euro banknotes and coins are legal tender within all the countries.

Countries that have the euro as their official currency:

One euro is divided into 100 cents.

The official symbol for the euro is , and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

If you have any old Cypriot pounds lying around, the Central Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia will exchange them at a rate of CYP 0.585274 per €1 until 2017.

Northern Cyprus uses Turkish lira (TRY). Euros are generally also accepted in the tourist centres, but at the unfavourable rate of €1 buying 2 TRY rather than ~2.4 TRY. There are many ATMs in the North too.

Things to buy

Eat

Sleep

There are countless hotels and hotel apartments of varying degrees of luxury within Cyprus. Some of the hotels are: Kefalos Beach Tourist Village, Holiday Inn, Le Meridien, Hilton, Elias Beach Hotel. Alternative self-catering accommodation is offered in restored traditional houses in picturesque villages all over Cyprus through the government Agrotourism initiative.

Work

Cyprus' climate and natural advantages mean that there is always a steady supply of travellers seeking employment and residency on the island. Perhaps the biggest change that has occurred in recent years has been the accession of southern Cyprus to the European Union on 1 May 2004, opening up new employment opportunities for European citizens.

The burgeoning Cypriot tourism industry, however, means that there is a huge seasonal demand for temporary workers of most nationalities during the summer months, with a definite preference for English-speaking workers in order to service the very large numbers of British tourists. The Greek Cypriot South remains the best overall bet for jobs, as the South is where the majority of the tourist trade is located. The Turkish North is much harder to get work in as a traveler, as the local economy is in a precarious position and high local unemployment means competition for work is fierce.

Seasonal employment will most probably involve working in one of the countless bars, hotels and resort complexes of the South. Such work is usually poorly paid, but accommodation is often thrown in as some compensation and the Cypriot lifestyle usually makes up for low wages. Many holiday companies employ 'reps' (representatives) and marketing staff to assist their operations on the island - this work is usually more financially rewarding.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is another worthwhile option, well paid though often difficult to find.

Finally, Cyprus' ongoing construction boom in tourism infrastructure results in a demand for skilled builders and tradesmen.

Learn

If you are considering an extended stay on the island, there are a number of educational courses that you can take. Popular options include Greek language courses and arts courses. Most will have a tuition fee attached, and EU nationals should not have any visa problems. If you are from outside the EU, you will need to speak to individual colleges/organisations about visa requirements. Some popular travel and learn programmes include:

Cope

Beware that Greek Cyprus celebrates Easter on different dates than Western Europe, in most years. On Easter Sunday, many museums etc. are closed, and buses run reduced services in some places even until Easter Tuesday.

Electricity

Cyprus operates on a 230 V, 50 Hz electrical system using the BS-1363 3-pin British plugs. Europlug adapters are widely available in local stores.

Stay safe

Cyprus is a remarkably safe country, with very little violent crime. Cars and houses frequently go unlocked. That said however, it is wise to be careful when accepting drinks from strangers, especially in Ayia Napa, since there have been numerous occasions of muggings.

Note also that the numerous Cypriot "cabarets" are not what their name implies but rather brothels associated with organized crime.

Respect

It is best to avoid discussion of the various merits of the Greek-Turkish divide and events beginning in 1963 in some quarters. Any sully of Archbishop Makarios will be looked down upon.

Connect

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, March 19, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.