Cyprus – Useful Information For Visitors

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The Location of Cyprus in Europe

If you are planning a visit to Cyprus this article will give you some useful information so you will be able to get to know this beautiful island before you travel there.

We will be writing further articles on Cyprus and these will include reports on Larnaca, Limassol, Nicosia and Paphos as well as what you will discover if you venture away from the normal tourist resorts.

Cyprus is located in the North Eastern end of the Mediterranean and is the 3rd largest island with an area of 3572 square miles. The island is approximately 160 miles from East to West and roughly 60 miles from South to North.

Cyprus is the meeting point of three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. Its nearest neighbour is Turkey which is just over 40 miles to the North, with Syria 60 miles distant and to the South around 200 miles away is Egypt. Mainland Greece is nearly 500 miles to the West.

Greek and Turkish are the official languages however English is widely spoken.

In July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and as a result roughly 35% of the island was occupied and since then it has been a divided island. Negotiations for the solution of the “Cyprus Problem” have been, and still are, ongoing. In the meantime Cyprus became a member of the European Union in May 2004 and a member of the Eurozone in January 2008.

In 2014 the population of Cyprus was 1.172 million, 77% being Greek, 18%Turkish and 5% other nationalities. Nicosia is the capital with an approximate population of 327,000 followed by Limassol with 235,000, Larnaca with 143,000 and Paphos with 88,000.

The time in Cyprus is 1 hour ahead of Central European Time and 2 hours ahead of GMT. On the last Sunday in March all clocks are advanced by 1 hour and on the last Sunday in October the clocks are put back 1 hour.

The Castle at Paphos H\arbour

There are two airports – Larnaca and Paphos. Currently the following UK airlines operate to and from Cyprus: British Airways; Easyjet; Jet2; Ryanair; Thomas Cook and Thompson Airways.


Approximate distances from the airports are as follows:
Larnaca – to Larnanca Town – 5 km; to Nicosia – 50 km; to Limassol – 70 km; to Ayia Napa – 45 km and to Paphos – 140 km
Paphos – to Paphos Town – 15 km; to Polis – 50 km; to Limassol – 63 km; to Troodos – 113 km; to Larnaca – 130 km; to Ayia Napa – 175 km and to Nicosia – 142 km

Nationals from European Member states (eg UK – for now anyway at the time of writing) have the right to enter Cyprus merely by showing a valid EU passport without having to register for stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay but you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

Cyprus offers a wide variety of holiday accommodation from modern, large and luxurious establishments to small and simple family run operations.

There are Tourist Information Offices in all major towns and cities as well at each airport. The Tourist Information Office produces Maps, Event Calendars, etc and all are available free of charge, so it is well worthwhile finding their offices and making a point of visiting them soon after you arrive.

The Mosaics at the Paphos Archaeological Site
dating back to the late 4th Century
The Mosaics at the Paphos Archaeological Site
dating back to the late 4th Century

Banking/Credit Cards

There are banking facilities at both airports and also in all
major towns and cities. ATM machines are readily found and all major credit/debit cards are accepted in many shops, restaurants and hotels. Travellers cheques are also accepted. The currency in Cyprus is the Euro. Make sure you check around
before changing currency into Euros as the rates offered vary considerably in different areas/locations. There are numerous shops who offer to change your currency on a commission free basis.

Car Driving/Hire Cars

Visitors can use a valid International or National Driving Licence. Four lane motorways (highways) connect the capital Nicosia with the coastal towns of Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Ayia Napa. Fairly good surfaced roads link the towns and various villages.

Petrol stations are readily found in towns and cities, and these stations are equipped with easy to use, petrol vending machines for use when the stations are closed. These machines accept credit cards and euro notes. Petrol stations in rural areas are not as plentiful so it is a good idea to fill up first before venturing into rural areas.

Traffic moves on the Left Hand side of the road (as in the UK). The maximum speed on the motorways (highways) is 100 km/hour and on other roads it is generally 80 km/hour unless otherwise directed. In built up areas the speed limit is 50 km/hour unless a different one is indicated. The alcohol concentration permissible is much lower than in the UK so you must be very careful about drinking and driving in Cyprus.

Car rental firms have offices in all major towns and cities as well as at both airports.


Summer Hire Rates are effective from 1st April until 31st October, when Winter Hire Rates take over from 1st November until 31st March. Many car hire companies offer reduced rates during the Winter Period. ire Rates are effective from 1st April until 31st October, when Winter Hire Rates take over from 1st November until 31st March. Many car hire companies offer reduced rates during the Winter Period.

Electric Current/Voltage

The supply is 240 volts and you will find that the vast majority of sockets/plugs used are 13amp square pin as used in the UK.

Press/Television/Radio

UK papers, normally printed locally,are available in all tourist areas but are much dearer than in the UK. For local Cypriot/international news in
English, the Cyprus Mail is published Tuesday to Saturday and on Sunday its the Sunday Mail. UK magazines are also available but once again are
considerably more expensive than in the UK.

Most hotels etc provide satellite tv programmes and wifi internet connections.
Cypriot television companies also produce some programmes in English. The same can be said for Radio programmes. The British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) is on the air 24 hours a day with all programmes in English.

Medical Services & Hospitals

Medical care needs in Cyprus are met through both Government General Hospitals or Private Clinics/Hospitals. These clinics/hospitals are usually concentrated in urban areas whilst in rural areas health clinics/chemists provide a network to meet medical needs. All Government Hospitals and some private clinics have Accident and Emergency Departments.

Government Hospitals are located in Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paralimni, Paphos and Polis.

Visitors should ensure that they have a valid European Health Insurance Card or private medical insurance which covers medical expenses for the duration of their stay. In case of emergency, response is given by the following telephone numbers (where English is spoken) all over the island:-
Fire – Ambulance – Police: Either 112 or 199

Sports & Activities

There is plenty to keep you occupied; for example:

Angling In Reservoirs – Licences are required and details can be obtained from Department of Fisheries & Research in Nicosia or at their District Offices in Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Paralimni. No licences are required for Sea Angling.

Other popular sports/activities are: Birdwatching; Cycling; Golf; Hiking; Horse Riding;Diving & Sub Aqua; Sailing & Yachting; Swimming.

There is also Horse Racing which takes place in the only racecourse to be found in Cyprus at Nicosia. Race meetings are hold on most Wednesdays and Sundays in the winter season and Wednesday and Saturday in the summer

Telecommunications

If you have an unlocked mobile phone it is usually much cheaper to phone the UK by purchasing a local, prepaid, Connection Pack which is
available from a large number of outlets/kiosks.

Transportation

There are no trains in Cyprus. One can travel around by bus, taxi or hire car. Various bus companies link all major towns and almost all villages are connected to the nearest town by local buses. In rural areas bus operation is generally limited to once or twice a day, so please make enquiries locally before heading off. Urban taxis are provided with taximeters.

Water

Water is safe to drink as water pollution is negligible. Tap water in hotels,
restaurants, public premises is safe to drink.

Cypriot Meze

Weather

Cyprus enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate, with long, dry summers from mid-May to mid-October and with mild winters from December to February which are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is the season of high temperatures with cloudless skies but the sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas. Winters are mild with some rain and snow on Troodos Mountains. In Cyprus there is abundant sunshine – even in December and January there is an average of six hours of bright sunshine per day.

February/March – The possibility of exceptionally warm days. Almond trees in blossom, occasional rain and mild daytime temperatures are the harbingers of spring. It can be quite cold in the evenings so warm winter clothing is suggested. In March nature is at its best and is an excellent period for long country walks.

April/May – Days are pleasantly warm, but temperatures may fall a bit at night. Medium weight and summer apparel is recommended. Its an excellent time for those who prefer to enjoy nature as the countryside is green and flowers are in blossom.

June/July/August – Warmest months of the summer so very lightweight clothing is required. An ideal time for swimming and all beach/water activities.

September/October – Warm days and cool evenings – Lightweight clothing for the day and medium weight for the evenings in October.

November – Pleasantly warm. Medium weight apparel (light woollies). Ideal weather for autumn travel. Lunches in the open air are still a delight. Sunbathing and even swimming can still be enjoyed as well as most outdoor sports.

December/January – It may rain occasionally, yet the promise of glorious sunshine is still there. Winter clothing but not heavy coats! Outdoor activities and excursions can be enjoyed.

Petra Tou Romiou – Aphrodite’s Rock & Beach

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