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Cyprus Country Information
There is a great deal packed into a small space on the island of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean. Not only does it abound with good beaches and holiday resorts, but its relatively tiny landmass is riddled with the relics of ancient history, from the beehive huts of primitive man to classical Greek and Roman ruins, and everything imaginable in-between.

The charms of Cyprus are many and varied. For a start the weather is sunny and dry for most of the year, and the encircling sea is blue, clear and enticing. There are modern luxury hotels in the coastal resort towns, historic restored city precincts to explore, tavernas and nightlife aplenty. Cyprus has remote picturesque mountain villages and monasteries, beautiful churches, Crusader castles and fascinating museums. The local people are extremely welcoming of tourists, happy to share with them their innate love of life and camaraderie. In Cyprus it is possible to mingle with crowds, or seek isolation off the beaten track as the mood takes, even in peak holiday season. For this reason the island is also a favoured destination for honeymooners, a reputation enhanced by the fact that legend has it that Cyprus was where Aphrodite, Greek goddess of love, rose from the sea.

Basic Information
Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).

Electricity: Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. The UK-style three square-pin plugs are used.

Currency: The currency was changed to the Euro (EUR) on 1 January 2008. Major credit cards are accepted at most establishments. Money and travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks, open from Monday to Friday. There are ATMs spread throughout the island, operating 24 hours a day.

Language: The majority of Cypriots speak Greek, and a small percentage speaks Turkish. The Greek Cypriot dialect differs from mainland Greece. English, German and French are spoken in tourist areas.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are required. Samples taken from poultry in north Cyprus on 29 January 2006 have tested positive for avian influenza, but the risk to travellers is believed to be low. Visitors should avoid all situations that would bring them into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds and ensure that all poultry and egg dishes are well cooked. Health services on Cyprus are of a good standard. UK citizens should bring with them a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which enables them to receive free emergency medical treatment. Medical fees are reasonable in Cyprus, but supplies are expensive. Medical insurance is advised.

Tipping: A 10% service charge is levied in hotels and restaurants so a tip is not obligatory, but small change is always welcome. Taxi drivers, porters etc, appreciate a small tip.

Safety Information: The terrorist threat is low, and crime against tourists is rare.

Local Customs: Avoid taking photographs near military establishments. Religious customs such as Ramadan should be respected, particularly in the north where most of the Turkish Cypriots are Muslim; avoid eating, drinking, smoking and chewing gum in public during the holy month. Women should dress modestly.

Business: Business in Cyprus is best conducted face-to-face, as developing a working relationship based on trust is important. Business is conducted formally, and dress should be smart and conservative (a suit and tie are the norm). Greetings are usually made with a handshake, and business cards are exchanged. It is common for women to hold high positions and they are generally well respected in the business world. Punctuality is important, but meetings may not begin on time. Business hours can vary according to the season, but are usually 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday in summer, closing at 5pm in winter.

Communications: The international access code for Cyprus is +357. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the United Kingdom). Area codes are not required. Mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators, but not the United States. There are public phones in all towns and villages and can be used for domestic and international calls. Phone cards can be purchased from shops, banks and post offices. Internet cafes are available in the main towns and resorts.

Duty Free: Travellers to Cyprus over 17 years arriving from non-EU countries do not have to pay duty on 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g smoking tobacco; 1 litre spirits with higher than 22% alcohol volume or 2 litres spirits or aperitifs with less than 22% alcohol volume, or 2 litres of wine; 50g perfume or 250ml eau de toilette; 500g coffee; 100g tea; medicines for personal consumption; and other goods to the value of €175. Prohibited items include fresh fruit, meat and dairy products.

Weather and Climate in Cyprus
Sunshine is the order of nearly every day on the island of Cyprus, which has a typical Mediterranean climate. The weather in Cyprus is characterised by long, hot and dry summers and mild winters, punctuated by brief autumn and spring seasons. The best time to travel to Cyprus is during summer when blue skies are guaranteed, and gentle sea breezes moderate the heat on the coastal resorts. During winter temperatures remain pleasant, but there can be snow and rainfall in the interior Troodos Mountains.

Larnaca enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine year round. Long dry summers and mild winters are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is a time 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.

Nicosia enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with abundant sunshine year round. Long dry summers and mild winters are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. Summer is a time 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.

Limassol experiences a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine and warm weather. Summers are long and dry and winters mild. Spring and autumn are short. Summer is a time of high temperatures with cloudless skies, but the sea breeze creates a pleasant atmosphere in the coastal areas.

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Cyprus Visa and Country Information

  • Entry requirements for Americans: US nationals must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay. A visa is not required for a stay of 90 days, provided the visit is for tourist purposes.
  • Entry requirements for UK nationals: British nationals must have a valid passport. For holders of passports endorsed British Citizen, British National (overseas), British Overseas Territories Citizen, British Subject, with right of abode in the U.K. or 'European Union' on the front cover, a visa is not required for a stay of 90 days, provided the visit is for tourist purposes only. In all other cases a visa is required and passports must be valid at least three months beyond the period of intended stay.
  • Entry requirements for Canadians: Canadians must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days, provided entry is for tourist purposes only.
  • Entry requirements for Australians: Australians must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days, provided entry is for tourist purposes only.
  • Entry requirements for South Africans: South Africans must have a passport valid at least three months beyond the period of intended stay. However, it is advised to hold a passport valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay. A visa is required.
  • Entry requirements for New Zealanders: New Zealand nationals must have a passport valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days, provided entry is for tourist purposes only.
  • Entry requirements for Irish nationals: Irish nationals must hold a valid passport. No visa is required.


Passport/Visa Note: Travellers, except EEA nationals, should hold an onward or return ticket as well as sufficient funds for period of intended stay in Cyprus. It is also advisable to have a hotel reservation. Nationalities that require a visa are recommended that their passport is valid for at least six months beyond the period of intended stay. Travellers should note that foreigners entering Cyprus north of the UN-patrolled 'green line' are deemed by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have entered illegally, and can be fined when crossing to the south (EU). Policies and procedures are subject to sudden change and visitors should check on the current situation before departing for Cyprus. EU passport holders with a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus stamp in their passport will not experience difficulties when entering the Republic of Cyprus.

Note: Passport and visa requirements are liable to change at short notice. Travellers are advised to check their entry requirements with their embassy or consulate.

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Attractions in Cyprus

  • Choirokoitia - About 20 miles (32km) from Larnaca on the Lefkosia-Lemesos road, archaeological excavations have revealed one of the oldest Neolithic sites on Cyprus, dating to 7,000 BC. Choirokoitia (also known as Khirokitia) was home to primitive farmers who cultivated wheat and barley.
  • Cyprus Archaeological Museum - This museum was established to collect, study and display archaeological artefacts from all over the island. Some of the exhibits are as old as 8,500 years. The museum is arranged in chronological order.
  • Byzantine Museum - The largest collection of icons on the island of Cyprus is displayed in the Byzantine Museum in the Old City of Nicosia. The icons date from the ninth through to the 18th centuries.
  • Catacombs - A large pistachio tree marks the entrance to the underground catacombs of Agia Solomoni in Kato Paphos. The tree is a strange sight, festooned as it usually is with pieces of cloth tied onto it by the faithful as offerings, in the hope that this sacred tree will cure various ailments.
  • Baths of Aphrodite - A romantic side trip from Paphos is a visit to the natural grotto on the Akamas Peninsula near Polis (30 miles/48km north of Paphos) where legend has it that the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, used to take her baths.

Airports in Cyprus

Larnaca International Airport (LCA)

  • Location: The airport is three miles (5km) outside of Larnaca.
  • Time: GMT +2 (GMT+3 between the last Sunday in March and the last Sunday in October).
  • Contacts: Tel: +357 24 816400
  • Getting to the city: Transport to hotels and resorts is provided by 24-hour taxis, or Intercity bus services are available.
  • Car rental: Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Sixt, Thrifty and a number of local companies are represented at the airport.
  • Facilities: Airport facilities include banks, bureaux de change, a café, a post office, duty free shopping and a gift shop. Snacks and light refreshments are available 24 hours. There are disabled facilities available, including wheelchairs. Tour operators are available in Arrivals.
  • Parking: Short-term parking is available in front of the terminal building.
  • Departure Tax: None.

Paphos International Airport (PFO)

  • Location: The airport is situated nine miles (15km) east of Paphos.
  • Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
  • Contacts: Tel: +357 24 816400
  • Getting to the city: Taxis offer transport to the city centre from outside the airport terminal and there is a regular bus service into town departing outside the terminal building.
  • Car rental: Avis and Europcar are represented at the airport along with several local companies.
    Facilities: Airport facilities include a bureau de change, ATM and bank, bar, cafe and restaurant, medical centre, duty free shopping and a hotel reservation desk. Light refreshments are available. Disabled passengers are catered for.
  • Parking: Short-term parking is available near the terminal building.
  • Departure Tax: None.

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Driving Information

Drinking and driving:
The maximum legal level of alcohol in the blood is 0.049 per cent. Persons suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol may be subjected to a blood test.

Driving licence:
All national driving licences accepted. Minimum age for driving a temporarily imported car and / or motorcycle is 18.

Fines:
The Cyprus traffic police are empowered to impose on-the-spot fines for traffic offences.

Fuel:
LPG is not available. Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane) and diesel is available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available).

It is forbidden to carry petrol in a can. Credit cards accepted at most filling stations, check with your card issuer for use in Cyprus before travel.

Driving Distances:
Please click here http://www.viamichelin.com/ for driving distances

Lights:
Vehicle lights must be used between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise. Spotlights are prohibited.

Motorcycles:
Wearing of crash helmets compulsory, for the rider and pillion passenger.

Motor Insurance:
Third-party compulsory. Green Card recognised.

Passengers / Children in cars:
Children under five cannot travel as a front seat passenger. Children over five and under ten must use a suitable child restraint system.

Seat belts:
Compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.

Speed limits:
Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers. In built-up areas: 31 mph (50 km/h) or 40 mph (65 km/h) depending on the road, outside built-up areas: 49 mph (80 km/h) and 62 mph (100 km/h) on motorways. Minimum speed on motorways: 40 mph (65 km/h).

Compulsory equipment:

  • Warning triangle - two must be carried

Other rules / requirements:

Rule of the road is drive on the left; overtake on the right.

Use of vehicle horn prohibited between 2200 and 0600 hours, and in the vicinity of hospitals.

Spiked tyres and snow chains are permitted on mountain roads in winter.

A GPS based navigation system which has maps indicating the location of fixed speed cameras must have the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function deactivated.

The use of radar detectors is prohibited.

Eating and drinking whilst driving is prohibited.

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