CYPRUS GENERAL INFORMATION
Cyprus is one of the hottest and driest island in the Mediterranean. The temperature rises in May and by July/August it is above 30 deg C on the coast and around 38 deg C inland. No rain falls between June and September, with just a little in May and October. The mountains are cooler at night but relatively hot during the day. Seas are warm from May to October. December to April is still mild but can be changeable with cool evenings. March onwards provides spring flowers and lush vegetation but by September the landscape becomes dry and arid. The average daily hours of sunshine ranges from six midwinter to twelve midsummer. Although Cyprus is a very sunny place, even in winter, the surrounding sea is cold from December until early May.
Air Travel to Cyprus
The two major airports in the southern Greek part of the island are:
Paphos - In the West of the Island, 13 km west of Paphos town.
Larnaca - In the East of the island, 6 km south of Larnaca.
Flights to the north of Cyprus arrive at Ercan Airport, 37 km from Keryneia and 48 km from Famagusta. It should be noted that the Greek Cypriot Government has declared all visitors arriving in the north to be illegal immigrants, so if you plan to visit the south of the island it is best to go their directly.
Visitors from the European Union, Commonwealth and United States require only a passport to enter Cyprus. No vaccinations or health certificates are required.
There are regular bus routes to the airports and plenty of local taxis. Tourists on package deals will be met by a representative and taken to their resort by a transfer bus or taxi.
Cyprus by Boat
Passenger services connect to southern Cyprus from Piraeus, Rhodes (Greece), Haifa, Ashdod (Israel) and port Said (Egypt). Regular services are only available in the spring and summer. In north Cyprus passenger and car ferries connect with southern Turkey.
Cyprus has an excellent bus service. Local buses in the coastal towns stop at all convenient places and run a regular service all year round, usually every 20 or 30 minutes. Fares are normally no more than a couple of euros per person. However, they can be busy a peak times, when it can be standing room only or wait for the next bus. Buses between towns can be caught at local bus stations in the centre of each town. These usually run hourly peak season.
Taxis are also plentiful - cost is usually over four times the bus fare. Beware of taxi touts that pull up at bus stops. If you take one make sure that you agree a price before the journey and check how much per person.
Driving in Cyprus
Cypriots drive on the left so if you are from the UK driving is fairly straightforward. The main roads in Cyprus are generally in good condition but Cypriot drivers can be reckless so watch out. Care should be taken on mountain roads and ensure your screen wash is kept topped up as it gets very dusty on the open road. It is wise to park in the shade or use a windscreen blind to keep the midday sun off the car. Seat belts must we worn at all times.
Signposts are in both English and Greek, main tourist sites are indicated by the usual brown signs. Also watch out for changes in place names, e.g. Larnaca has become Larnaca.
There are plenty of car hire agencies all over the island from the big international names to small local outfits. The minimum age limit is 21 and a national driving license is required. If you are under 25 and driven for less than three years, special under age insurance is required. A wide range of vehicles are available. Open top jeeps are the most popular choice. Compare prices carefully and check for collision waiver damage, which you are responsible for. Booking in advance is usually the cheapest method.
There is ample parking in most towns. As in the UK, no parking is allowed on double yellow lines, with only loading and unloading on single yellow lines. Petrol stations are plentiful in the towns and cities across the island. Many petrol stations have vending only pumps and manned stations close at 6/7pm weekdays and 3 pm Sundays.
Camp Sites in Cyprus
on the island is only permitted on approved sites, licensed by the
tourist office. There are a small number of licensed camping sites,
with fees ranging from around 6 euros a day per person plus 2 or 3
euros per accommodation. Many of the sites have tents for hire
most offer services such as washrooms, toilets, restaurants,
convenience stores and cafe/bars.
The most common places for camping area in Cyprus are:
- Silver Beach - situated at the far south of the Salamis ruins. Ideal spot for swimming and snorkeling. Easy access to the submerged harbor of the ancient city.
- Forest beach camping - situated near the Larnaca / Dhekelia road on the coast next to the beach.
- Kaplica Village - situated on a quiet sandy beach.
- Governor's Beach Camping Site - situated 20 km east of Limassol on the beach.
- Geroskipou Zenon Gardens - situated 3 km east of Paphos Harbour on the Beach.
- Feggari Camping - situated around 16 km from Paphos, Near Coral Bay.
- Polis Camping - situated 1 km from Polis on the beach
- Troodos Camping Facilities - situated 0.5 km from Troodos to Pano Amiantos Village.
Hitch-hiking is allowed and normally safe if you use common sense. Single women should take extra care and ideally not travel alone or at night.
Holiday insurance is recommended. Make sure your insurance covers medical expenses. Hospitals have casualty departments for emergency cases.
Driving insurance is usually covered in the price of hire cars but be sure to check the excess covers "collision damage waiver". Cars should not be taken on rough roads as damage to the underside is not normally covered. Citizens of non-EU counties with their own cars will need a green card.
The electricity supply is 240v AC throughout Cyprus. Socket outlets are standard three pin plugs, similar to the UK. Hotels usually also supply 110v for shavers.
Cyprus has a healthy climate and the water is safe to drink. However, be sure to wash all salads and vegetables.
Take care not to stay in the sun too long especially during the first few days and wear a strong factor or sun block. The sun is at its height between 11 am to 3.00 pm.
Mosquitoes, while they do not carry malaria, can become a nuisance. They are less prevalent in the coastal areas. If your room is air conditioned, clear the room before bedtime and keep the windows closed. Insect repellent is also a good idea. Always protect wrists and ankles in the evening time.
Cyprus does have some venomous snakes but they are rare and only likely to be encountered by walkers and climbers, especially in the Keryneia range.
Free maps of the island and local towns are usually available from the Cyprus tourist offices. Hotels may also have free maps of the local areas available in the foyers.
Cyprus is overflowing with shops from local lace and leather dealers to expensive jewellery shops. Souvenir shops exist in abundance in every possible space.
Designer clothes can be very expensive on the island, however, many of the smaller clothing outlets and markets often provide more reasonable priced items. For top quality designer labels it is best to visit Nicosia or Limassol.
Supermarkets are provided in major towns but prices can be high for goods that need to be imported.
Due to the large English ex pat community plus the high volume of English tourists, Cyprus now has a wide range of British chain stores such as Marks & Spencer, Next, Debenhams and Peacocks to name but a few.
In southern Cyprus during the summer months (May 1 - September 30), the shops are normally open from 8.00 - 13.00 and 14.30 - 17.30. In winter they open from 8.00 - 13.00 and 16.00 - 19.00. Wednesday and Saturday is usually half day closing: 8.00 - 13.00. In the main tourist areas of southern Cyprus the souvenir shops and supermarkets often remain open until late in the evenings.
The food choices in Cyprus will be familiar to anyone who has visited Greece or other Greek islands. Portions in restaurants are always plentiful and the quality is usually excellent. Traditional Greek dishes are always available in tavernas such as salads, meze, kleftiko, stifado, keftedhes and baklava etc.
You will also find freshly caught sea food in coastal regions, cooked to the finest local recipes. Most resort areas and hotels provide a variety of international cuisine such as Chinese, Italian, Japanese and Indian. Bars, Cafes and even English style tea shops are also plentiful as well as the ubiquitous fast food outlets.
Most Cypriots speak very good English and will always
attempts to speak Greek, but it is not really necessary. See table above for a list of useful