Cyprus lies at the crossroads of three continents, where East meets West in the eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus has long been a crossing point between Europe, Asia and Africa and still has many traces of successive civilizations- Roman theaters and villas, Byzantine churches and monasteries, Crusader castles and prehistoric settlements.
Cyprus has two main mountain ranges, the Pentadactylos the north and the Troodos in central and south – western part of the island. Between them lies the fertile plain of township. The main spoken language is Greek, but English is widely spoken on the island. The currency is the euro. Cyprus is known for its relaxed lifestyle, excellent cuisine, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking mountain trails lie around luxurious hotels and championship golf.
Cyprus is well known as the island of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, who, according to legend, was born here. Main economic activities of the island and forces have long been in the field of tourism, clothing and craft exports and merchant shipping, and more recently in the emerging market of medical and healthcare tourism. Traditional crafts include embroidery, pottery and copper.

Cyprus Facts

Learn all you need to know to help plan your stay and make it more enjoyable.

In general, and as a member of the European Union, Cyprus follows European norms and standards. English is widely spoken, as are other European languages, especially in the resort areas.

Check out various facts and figures, such as entry requirements, currency, electricity voltage and time zone, to help you get organised and keep red tape to a minimum. Find out what the average temperatures for all the months of the year are, to get an idea of when to come and what clothes to bring. Discover how easy is to get around in our compact world using the efficient road network and the variety of transportation options available. Don’t get caught out by local holidays or shop closing times. You’ll find all the information you need at your fingertips.

Entry Requirements

Travelling Documents

Travelling to Cyprus is very easy. The documentation required varies, depending on your nationality. A valid passport is required for a stay of up to 90 days for all bona fide tourists except citizens of European Union countries, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway who may enter Cyprus with their national identity card provided it bears a photo. Some non-EU third country nationals require a visa. Further detailed information can be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Legal Points of Entry

The legal ports of entry into the Republic of Cyprus are the airports of Larnaka (Larnaca) and Pafos (Paphos) and the ports of Larnaka (Larnaca), Lemesos (Limassol), Latsi and Pafos (Paphos), which are situated in the area under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus. Entry into the territory of the Republic of Cyprus via any other port or airport in which the Government of the Republic does not exercise effective control (Turkish occupied areas) is illegal.

Diplomatic Missions of the Republic of Cyprus Abroad

Detailed information concerning Cyprus’s Embassies and High Commissions abroad can be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Travelling With a Pet

If you are coming from an EU Member State , you are allowed to bring your pets to Cyprus provided they possess either a passport or an Animal Health Certificate. But, if you are coming from a non-EU country, you will also need a Vaccination Certificate (especially showing vaccination against rabies).

Please also note the following:

– Animals should be transported in cages made in accordance to IATA specifications.

– Animals and their accompanying documents are inspected on arrival by the Veterinary Officer or by the duty Customs Officer acting on behalf of the Veterinary Services.

– Animals that fulfil the relevant veterinary provisions will be allowed to enter without being subject to quarantine.

– The Veterinary Officer in charge decides on the basis of the relevant veterinary provisions whether the animal will be quarantined or not.

The date, time of arrival and flight number of the aircraft or the name of the vessel with which the animal is due to arrive in Cyprus must be communicated to the District Veterinary Officer at the point of entry, 48 hours prior to arrival.

The following breeds of dogs are not allowed into the Republic of Cyprus regardless of their country of origin.

– American Pitbull Terrier; Pitbull Terrier

– Japanese Tosa; Tosa Inu

– Dogo Argentino; Argentinean Mastiff

– Fila Brasileiro; Brazilian Mastiff

Further information can be obtained from the Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment.

Importing Products

Every person entering Cyprus is entitled to import the following duty free articles (not intended for commercial purposes), provided they are carried in the passengers’ hand luggage or accompanying baggage:

Tobacco

800 cigarettes
400 cigarillos
200 cigars
1kg of tobacco

Alcohol

10 liters of spirits
20 liters fortified wine, (such as port or sherry)
90 liters of wine (of which, a maximum of 60 liters of sparkling wine)
110 liters of beer

Travelers under the age of seventeen are not entitled to duty free tobacco products and alcohol.
It is prohibited to import agricultural products or propagating stock such as fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, dry nuts, seeds, bulbs, bulb-wood sticks, cuttings, etc., without the approval of the competent authorities. The import, possession and use of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are strictly prohibited. The import of fire arms, ammunition, explosives, flick knives, daggers, swords, obscene books, photographs, films and articles as well as goods bearing a forged trademark or false trade description is prohibited or restricted. Also prohibited or restricted are pirated or counter feit goods, animals, birds, uncooked meat and fish and products there of, milk and dairy products.

Languages and Religions

Languages

Greek and Turkish are the main languages spoken by the Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot communities respectively. English is widely spoken. French and German are also well spoken within the tourist industry.

Religions

Cyprus enjoys an exceedingly high level of freedom of worship. While the majority of Greek-Cypriots are Greek-Orthodox Christians, other denominations are represented on the island, including Armenians, Maronites and Roman Catholics. The Turkish-Cypriot community is predominantly Muslim.

Money and Currency

Currency

The currency of the Republic used to be the Cyprus pound – CY£. As from 1st January 2008 the Cyprus pound has been replaced by the Euro as the legal tender money of Cyprus at the irrevocable fixed exchange rate € 1 = CY£ 0,585274.

There are seven denominations in Euro banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro. They all have different colour and size, the higher the denomination, the bigger the size. One euro is divided into 100 cent. There are eight euro coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cent, €1 and €2. The designs on one side of the coins are common to all the countries of the euro area, while the other side reflects national identities. All euro coins can be used in all euro area countries, irrespective of their national side.

Currency Exchange

All banks operating in Cyprus offer foreign currency exchange services and quote the exchange rates of the Euro against all major foreign currencies daily. Foreign currency can also be exchanged at hotels. More detailed information concerning exchange rates can be obtained from the Central Bank of Cyprus. You can also use the currency converter.

Forms of Payment

Hotels, large shops and restaurants accept credit cards, travelers’ cheques, Eurocheques and banknotes of major foreign currencies.

V.A.T. Refund

Foreign visitors from countries outside the EU can claim back V.A.T. on goods exported in their hand luggage. Visitors are eligible for a V.A.T. refund if:

– They are not holders of a passport or other form of identification from an EU Member State.

– They have not resided in Cyprus for more than 365 days in the two years immediately prior to the date of purchase of the goods,

– The total purchased from one store or a chain of stores is more than 171 Euro and less than 17 100 Euro.

– The goods are exported in visitors’ hand luggage by the last day of the third month following the month in which the goods were purchased.

In order to claim your V.A.T. refund you will have to:

– Make your purchases from shops that display a tax-free shopping sign and simply ask for your tax-free document.

– When leaving Cyprus show your purchases and passport to customs officials and have your tax-free document stamped.

– Receive your refund in the method of your choice.

More detailed information can be obtained from the V.A.T. Service of the Customs and Excise Department

Holiday Budget

The price of products and services in Cyprus varies depending on the season and the location. Below is an indicative list in Euro:

– A single bus ticket costs around € 1

– A glass of beer costs between € 3.50 and € 5

– A ticket to the cinema costs around € 7 for adults and €5 for children

– A ticket to the theatre costs between € 17 and € 25

– A ticket to a concert or opera can cost between € 25 and € 77

– Continental breakfast costs between € 3.40 and € 6

– Lunch – a fixed menu costs between € 10 and € 13.50

– Dinner at a local tavern (meze, including beer or cold drink) costs around € 20

Tipping

Since a 10% service charge is levied in hotels and restaurants, tipping is not obligatory but is always welcome and appreciated.

Time, Working Hours and Holidays

Local Time

Cyprus Time is GMT +2.

Working Hours

Public service operating hours are flexible all year round. Operating days are from Monday to Friday starting between 07:30 – 08:30 and closing between 15:00 – 16:00. Private sector working hours are 08:00 – 13:00, 15:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday for the period September 15th – May 31st and 08:00 – 13:00, 16:00 – 19:00 Monday to Friday, for the period June 1st – September 14th .

Shop opening times vary depending on their type and location, though shops normally open between 07:00 and 09:00. During the period November 1st – March 31st shops close at 19:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 15:00 on Wednesday, and at 19:00 on Saturday. For the period April 1st – October 31st shops close at 20:00 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 15:00 on Wednesday and, at 19:30 on Saturday. During the period June 15th – August 31st there is an optional three hour afternoon break from14:00 – 17:00.

Special shopping hours apply for Christmas and Easter. From December 1st to December 31st , shops may remain open until 20:00 throughout the week, but must close by 18:00 on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Shops can also remain open until 20:00 10 days before Easter Sunday, but must close by 18:00 on Good Friday.

Eating Hours

Breakfast is usually served between 07:00 and 10:00 in the morning. Lunch is served in restaurants between 12:00 and 15:00. Dinner is served from 19:00 till late in the evening.

Public Holidays

The days listed below are public holidays in Cyprus. All public services, private enterprises, banks and shops are closed on public holidays though many shops and certain services remain open in resorts and coastal areas. Banks are closed on Easter Tuesday but not on Christmas Eve.

– January 1st – New Year’s Day
– January 6th – Epiphany Day
– March 25th – Greek National Day
– April 1st – National Anniversary Day
– May 1st – Labour Day
– August 15th – Assumption of the Virgin Mary
– October 1st – Cyprus Independence Day
– October 28th – Greek National Anniversary Day
– December 24th – Christmas Eve
– December 25th – Christmas Day
– December 26th – Boxing Day
– Variable – Green Monday (50 Days before Greek Orthodox Easter)
– Variable – Good Friday (Greek Orthodox Church)
– Variable – Easter Monday (Greek Orthodox Church)
– Variable – Pentecost – Kataklysmos (Festival of the Flood)

Health and Safety

Health Care System

Medical treatment and assistance in Cyprus is offered free of charge to international tourists in cases of emergency at the Accident and Emergency Department of Government Hospitals and Health Institutions.  EU citizens must produce an E111 form or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by their country’s health care authorities to obtain additional health care.  Holiday makers can also use their health insurance towards their medical expenses, provided the policy covers the length of their stay on the island. More detailed information can be obtained from the Cyprus Ministry of Health

Vaccinations

Cyprus has no dangerous infectious diseases. Visitors do not require any vaccinations to travel to Cyprus.

Using your Car

Visitors who wish to bring their car to Cyprus can do so for a period up to three months provided the vehicle has a valid registration licence from its country of origin. This period may be extended, provided the motorist is considered to be a visitor by the Department of Customs and Excise.

Visitors from any of the European Union Member States, Switzerland, Croatia, Iceland and Norway, who bring motor vehicles with a registration plate of one of these countries to Cyprus will not be required to show proof of insurance cover at their point of entry, as it is assumed they are covered in their own country. If this is not the case, the International Insurance Bureau of the motorist’s country will be required to compensate any claims under the Guarantee Agreement in force (Unified Agreement or Internal Regulations). Foreign visitors who bring a motor vehicle with a registration plate not belonging to one of the above European countries will be required to show a valid Green Card to Cypriot authorities. Foreign visitors may take out a valid Green Card even if their country of origin is not a member of the Green Card system. Foreign visitors with a valid “frontier insurance” issued in one of the European Economic Area countries, can use this cover in Cyprus until its expiry date. Motorists may have a valid Green Card, even if their car has European registration plates. In such cases, the registration plate prevails over the Green Card agreement. This means police should allow the vehicle to enter Cyprus without checking the Green Card.

Foreign motorists who do not have a registration plate belonging to one of the European Economic Area countries, or a valid Green Card covering Cyprus, are not allowed to drive their car here and must first secure insurance cover with a Cypriot insurer for the period of their stay. The granting of such insurance cover is at the absolute discretion of insurance companies who may decline. It is therefore advisable for non-European motorists to secure a Green Card before entering Cyprus . As Russia is not a member of the Green Card system, Russian motorists should take note of this requirement so as to avoid possible inconvenience.

Safety in Cyprus

Cyprus has an excellent reputation for being a safe and friendly place. You can help us keep it that way. A few basic precautions can be enough to protect your belongings.

Driving in Cyprus

Driving in Cyprus can be enjoyable and in some cases essential as regular transport services to remote areas of interest are not always available. The minimum driving age is 18. To rent a car, drivers must be in possession of a driving licence for at least three years or be aged over 25. Visitors may drive using avalid international driving licence or their national driving licence, provided it is valid for the class of vehicle they wish to drive.

Fairly good surfaced roads complying within ternational traffic requirements link cities and villages. Four-lane motorways connect the capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia) with the coastal cities of Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka (Larnaca) and Pafos (Paphos). Minor roads and forest roads are for the most par tun surfaced, but in good condition. Drivers should note that driving is on the left-hand side of the road, not on the right. All the international road traffic signs are in use and placed on the left-hand side of roads and highways. Distances and speed limits are posted in kilometres and kilometre/per hour (km/h) respectively. The maximum speed limit on motorways is 100 km/h and the minimum is 65 km/h. The use of seatbelts is compulsory both in the front and back, while the use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited while driving.  It is an offence to drive a motor vehicle or a pedal bicycle when under the influence of alcohol.

The legal limit in breath is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit in blood is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Rush hours in the cities are approximately between 07:30 – 08:00 and 13:00 – 13:30 and in late afternoon 17:00 – 18:00 in winter or 18:00 – 19:00 in summer.

Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Cyprus

Detailed information concerning foreign Embassies and High Commissions in Cyprus can be obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

Pharmacies and Medications

Medicine can be purchased at pharmacies on presentation of a doctor’s prescription. Almost all brands of medicine are available in Cyprus . Pharmacies are all marked with a green cross.

Emergency Numbers

In case of emergency call 112 wherever you are on the island.

Transportation

Buses

There are four types of buses in Cyprus that can help you move around:

– Transurban buses that link all towns on a daily basis and with frequent routes
– Rural buses that link almost all villages with the nearest city but with limited frequency once or twice daily except Sundays.
– Urban buses that link different areas within the cities and operate frequently during daytime. In certain tourist areas, during summer period, their routes are extended till late in the evening.
– Buses for airport transfers.

Taxis

There are three types of taxi services available, covering the entire island:

– Transurban service which offers the opportunity to share a taxi with 4 – 7 other passengers. It provides connection between all major cities of Cyprus, every half an hour, from Monday to Friday starting at 06:00 in the morning until 18:00 in the evening. On Saturdays and Sundays the service finishes an hour earlier at 17:00. Seats can be booked by phone or online from the providing companies.
– Rural service operates in village areas and can only be hired from and to their base station. These taxis are not equipped with taximeters and charging is based on kilometer/tariff rate.

Cruises

A number of short cruises sail from Cyprus with trips lasting typically between two-to-five days on board large and comfortable ships. You can either book while on holiday in Cyprus or through tour operators abroad who feature the cruises in their holiday brochures. There are also many short boat trips from and to various destinations around the island sailing from almost all marinas and fishing shelters.

Communications

Making Phone Calls

In order to make a phone call to Cyprus from abroad, dial 00357 and then the eight-digit phone number.

If you wish to make a phone call abroad while in Cyprus , dial 00, followed by the country code and the telephone number. International calls can be made from public telephones available at various central locations in all cities and villages, as well as at international airports, harbours and elsewhere. There are three types of public telephones – coin phones, outdoor card phones and indoor card phones. Public payphones can be used for both national and international calls. Dialling instructions as well as rates are displayed in all payphones.

Calling within Cyprus simply requires dialling the eight-digit telephone number.

Sending Letters, Parcels Telegrams

You can send your letters from post offices located throughout the island and at the airports, or using the yellow mailboxes on the street. Stamps may be purchased from all Post Offices, Postal Agencies, as well as from many hotels, news stands, kiosks, etc. Post offices offer other services, including courier service (data post), money orders, parcel post, etc. Telegrams can be sent through the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA), which has offices in all towns.

Internet Connection

Many establishments including phone centres, internet cafes and hotels offer internet connection services of various speeds and types. Depending on the establishment, the service offered is wired or wireless and is usually charged by the hour.

Climate and Weather

General Overview

Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers starting in mid-May and lasting until mid-September and rainy, quite mild winters from November to mid-March. Spring and autumn are effectively short intervals in between, characterised by smooth weather. With almost year-round clear skies and sunshine, daylight length ranges from 9.8 hours in December to 14.5 hours in June.

Average Temperatures

In broad lines, Cyprus’s climate is characterised by hot summers and mild winters. There is a significant seasonal difference between mid-summer and mid-winter temperatures that ranges from 18° C inland to about 14° C on the coast. The difference in daily maximum and night minimum temperatures is also quite significant. In winter they range from 8° to 10° C on the lowlands and 5°to 6° C on the mountains and in summer from 16° C on the central plain and 9°to 12° C elsewhere.

Daily temperatures during the hottest months of July and August,range between 29° C on the central plain and 22° C on the Troodos Mountains .  The average maximum temperatures for these two months range between 36° C and 27° C. In January, the coolest month, the indicative daily temperature is 10° C on the central plain and 3° C on the higher parts of the Troodos Mountains while the average minimum temperatures are 5° C and 0° C.

Sea Temperatures

The temperature in the open sea hovers above 22° C from June to November, climbing to 27° C in August. Even during the three coolest months of January to March, average sea temperature are an acceptable 16° or 17° C. Near the coast, the temperature of water three or four metres deep is similar to that of the open sea, ranging from 15° to 17°C in February and from 23° to 28° C in August. There are no significant daily fluctuations in sea water temperatures, except in very shallow waters less than one metre deep.

Air Humidity

During the days in winter and at night throughout the year, humidity ranges from average to slightly low (65% – 95%). During summer it is very low near midday, ranging from 15% to 30% on the central plain. Fog is rare and typically occurs in early morning. Visibility is normally very good or excellent. There is an exception over a few days in spring when the atmosphere is very hazy due to dust from the Arabian and African deserts.

Sunshine

Cyprus enjoys a very sunny climate compared with most countries with 11.5 hours of bright sunshine per day over the six summer months. Even during the months of December and January, there is 5.5 hours of sunshine.

Winds

Winds over the island are relatively variable in direction and strength depending on the elevation of the land and local temperatures.

Clothing During Different Seasons

Clothing requirements vary, depending on the length and the period of your visit. During April and May, days are pleasantly warm, but temperatures may drop at night. Spring and summer apparel and long sleeved tops or light jackets for the evenings are recommended. From June to the end of August, very light summer clothing is a must. September to October see quite a few warm days and cool evenings. Light apparel for the day and long sleeves for the evenings in October is recommended. November has pleasantly warm days that can be enjoyed in jumpers and light jackets.

December and January will be the only winter you will get, even though it feels more like autumn for most visitors. It may rain occasionally, yet the promise of glorious sunshine is still there. Winter clothing is necessary, but not heavy coats. The possibility of fairly warm days is always there during February, as is the occasional rainfall. Milddaytime temperatures are the harbingers of spring but it can get quite cold in the evenings and winter apparel will beneeded. Winter wear will also be appropriate during March with its moderate but sometimes unpredictable weather inviting you to enjoy Cyprus nature at its best.

What the disabled visitor needs to know about Cyprus

A number of facilities are available to visitors with special access needs who wish to visit Cyprus. Some hotel establishments provide a range of facilities to meet special needs and requirements. However, accessibility facilities/infrastructure for disabled vary from accommodation establishment to accommodation establishment. Although the Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) attempts to provide accurate, complete and current information from reliable sources it accepts no responsibility or liability for the content, truth, accuracy, reasonability, reliability and completeness of provided information. We strongly recommend contacting the accommodation establishment to ascertain that the establishment provides requested facilities/infrastructure, prior to any binding reservation.

Both Larnaka and Pafos international airports are accessible to visitors with all kinds of access needs. Facilities include available accessible washrooms, charging stations for electric wheelchairs at departure gates, ramps to allow a person on a wheelchair to enter or exit the buses and additional assistive services, meeting European Regulation 1107/2006 concerning the right of disabled travellers.

In 2007, the Cyprus Parliament approved and introduced the use of the European Blue Badge for parking at designated places for the disabled, available all over the island, both in public roads and public parking areas. The authority responsible for issuing the Blue Badge is the Service for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Disabled, part of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance. It can be contacted at +357 22 406 406 email: info@dsid.mlsi.gov.cy

Most Cyprus’ towns are fairly accessible with a wheelchair but much work is yet to be carried out to improve infrastructure.  A person using a wheelchair is advised to be accompanied by an able person for assistance in inaccessible areas.

Transportation around the island can be arranged if prior notice is given to the transport companies. Special buses are also available with low gradient ramps, safety belts and a/c and so are special taxis that may carry a person who is seating on a wheelchair.

Other Practical Info

Drinking Age Limit

The legal drinking age in Cyprus is 17. Drivers should exercise due care over the amount of alcohol consumed. The legal limit in breath is 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit in blood is 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Tap Water

Water is safe to drink in Cyprus. Water pollution is negligible and every home has fresh running drinking water. Tap water in hotels, restaurants, public premises, etc., is also safe to drink.

Electricity

The electricity supply in Cyprus is 230 volts, a.c. 50 Hz. Sockets are usually 13 amp, square pin in most buildings. More than one low current rating appliance may be operated from the same supply point by using an adaptor (i.e. radios, electric clocks etc.). The use of adaptors for operating high current rating appliances is not recommended (i.e. electric heaters, toasters, irons etc.). Many hotels provide adaptors upon request from the reception. Adaptors can be purchased from electricians, supermarkets, grocery shops, etc.

Measurement System

Cyprus uses the metric system of weights and measures. Temperatures are reported in degrees Celsius, petrol is sold by the litre, grocery items are in grams and kilograms, fabric lengths in metres, and road speeds and distances posted in kilometres.

Procedure of Filing a Complaint

If you have a complaint concerning an establishment or a service, you can contact the manager of the hotel or tourist establishment.  If for whatever reason you are not satisfied and wish to take your complaint further, please contact the Cyprus Tourism Organization.

Working in Cyprus

The employment of European citizens is regulated by the “Law on Free Movement and Residence of Nationals of the Member States of the European Union and their Families”. Some professions are regulated by local legislation setting out the qualifications and procedures needed to acquire the right to pursue a specific profession. The employment of non-European citizens is subject to the approval of the Department of Labour which examines applications submitted by employers seeking to hire foreigners in order to meet pressing, short term needs in the labour market in certain economic fields and occupations.

Further detailed information can be obtained from the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance .

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