Whether you’re a new visitor to Cyprus or have been here before, there’s always something new to discover.
Take a look at our travel guide and learn all you need to know to help plan your stay and make it more enjoyable.
Check out our helpful facts and tips to help get organized before you arrive. Get an idea of average temperatures and what clothes to bring. Discover how easy is to get around the island by car, bus or taxi. Plan ahead to see when local public holidays are.
The days below are a list of public holidays in Cyprus. All public services, banks and shops are closed on public holidays though many shops and certain services remain open in the resort 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)
Cypriot food is essentially Mediterranean, similar to that of Greece and with a hint of the Middle East and Asia Minor. With emphasis on fresh local ingredients, a powerful mix of herbs and spices and a light drizzle of olive oil, if there is one main element that describes the Cypriot cuisine, it is its freshness.
Tavernas and restaurants offer a host of international menus but take pride in preparing fresh Cypriot food and specialties from recipes which have been passed down through generations.
These are some of the Cypriot dishes, which delight both tourists and locals alike and that you would expect to be served in most of the Cypriot restaurants:
Meze-The finest introduction to Cypriot food – A Meze consists of 20- 30 different dishes, meat or fish based. A unique eating experience, and a must try for every visitor to Cyprus.
Afelia - Pork marinated in wine and coriander.
Sheftalia - Grilled spiced mince balls.
Koupepia - Grape leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice.
Loukanika - Sausages soaked in red wine and smoked.
Kleftiko - Lamb slowly cooked in a sealed clay oven and seasoned with bay leaves and other spices.
Halloumi - White cheese made from sheep's milk, spiced with peppermint and normally served grilled.
Cyprus of course being a Mediterranean island has a lot of fresh fish dishes to offer including red mullet, octopus cooked in whine, kalamari, white bait, sea bass and many more.
Cyprus has a lot unique offerings on the sweet and savoury front as well. Some sweets you should try on your visit to Cyprus are:
Loukoumades -Deep fried doughnuts drizzled with honey syrup.
Daktyla - Pastry in the shape of fingers with walnut or almond, cinnamon and syrup.
Cyprus Delight - Cubes of gelatin flavoured with rose water and topped with powdered sugar.
Shoushouko - Grape juice solidified filled with almonds or walnuts, formed in a shape of long rods.
Koupes - Fried cracked wheat filled with mince mint and spices.
CYPRUS WINES AND SPIRITS
The history of winemaking in Cyprus is very old, dating back to around 2000 BC. There are over 100 varieties of grapes cultivated in Cyprus and most of these are in Limassol and Paphos districts and on the foothills of Mount Olympus.
Probably the most famous wine is the dessert wine called Commandaria, made from the Nama grape variety and dating back a few tens of hundreds of years:
Local Cypriot spirits include Zivania, a strong distilled drink similar to Raki normally served cold. Cyprus Brandy is another high quality spirit produced locally, the most well-known being Five Kings Brandy which comes from the Xynisteri grape and aged for at least 15 years before bottling.
Hiring a car is definitely the best way to explore Cyprus whilst on holiday. As there is no regular transport option which covers the whole island, driving is definitely the best way to get around.
Fairly well surfaced roads complying with international traffic requirements link the main towns and the various villages, whilst 2-3 lane motorways connect the capital, Nicosia with the main coastal towns of Ayia Napa, Protaras, Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos.
Here is an overview of the main road rules and regulations that will help you on your travels around the island:
- Visitors in Cyprus can drive using a valid International driving licence, or their National driving licence, provided it is valid for the class of vehicle they wish to drive
- Drive on the left in Cyprus (as in the UK, unlike the rest of western Europe)
- Motor fuel and unleaded petrol may be bought in unlimited quantities at Petrol stations. Petrol is sold by the litre.
- Rush hours in the towns are approximately between 07:30-08:00 / 13:00-13:30 and in late afternoon 17:00-18:00 in winter, or 18:00-19:00 in summer.
- Seat belts for driver and passengers are compulsory
- It is obligatory for all children under the age of five to sit in the back, strapped into a proper child car seat. Children from five to ten years of age may occupy the front passenger seat provided a child's seat belt has been fitted. Child seats are required up to the age of 12 or a height of 150cm
- Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless using a ‘hands-free’ unit.
- Smoking in a vehicle which is carrying a passenger under the age of 16 is prohibited
- Motorcyclists and passengers must wear a crash helmet
- Motorcycle/moped/scooter passengers must be over the age of 12 and sit astride the seat
- Road signs are in English and Greek, and occasionally in Turkish
- Distances are marked in kilometres
- Road speeds are marked in kilometres per hour (Km/h)
- All roads on the entire island are toll free
- Third party liability insurance is obligatory
- For emergency assistance call 112 or 199
Cyprus is fortunate to have one of the most pleasant climates in Europe, enjoying on average 340 days a year of brilliant sunshine.
The island enjoys an intense Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers starting in mid-May and lasting until mid-September, providing perfect conditions for swimming, sailing and all water activities.
Autumn days are still warm with sea temperatures high after the long hot summer, and for some it is the best time of year to visit.
Winter is from November to mid-March and offers milder weather. This season brings some much-needed rain to the island, but most days are still bright and sunny, and there is a short snow season on the Troodos Mountains from January to March.
Spring offers warm weather and is a paradise for nature lovers. An ideal season for walks, picnics and generally enjoying the beauty of the island as the days lengthen.
What to Wear
Clothing requirements in Cyprus, largely depend on the length and period of your visit.
December and January are the coldest months, although it often feels more like autumn for most visitors. It may rain occasionally but the sun is never far away. Winter clothing is necessary, but heavy clothing and thick coats are rarely required.
February and March bring fairly mild days along with occasional rainfall and cold nights, so warmer clothes and layers are recommended, especially if visiting the mountain areas.
During April and May, days are pleasantly warm, but temperatures may drop at night. Light clothing for the daytime 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, not forgetting plenty of swimwear.
September and October bring warm to hot days and cooler evenings. Light clothing for the daytime and longer sleeves for the evenings in October is recommended.
November has pleasantly warm days that can be enjoyed in t-shirts and light jackets with long sleeves recommended for the evenings.
If you don’t plan on hiring a car during your holiday to Cyprus, taxi’s and buses are readily available in all towns and resort areas.
There are four types of buses in Cyprus that can help you move around:
- Transurban buses with 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.
Bus timetables and schedules for the Protaras and Ayia Napa areas are available from tourist offices, directly from the bus companies and at the following website http://www.osea.com.cy
There are three types of taxi services available, covering the entire island:
- Urban taxis provide a 24hours service provided in all cities and resort areas. Taxis can be booked or hired on the street. Urban taxis are obligatory provided with taxi metres and charging commences upon the entering of a passenger in the taxi.
- Service/intercity taxis is offered in shared 8-11 seater minibuses. It provides a 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. These taxis are not equipped with taximeters and charging is based on kilometre/tariff rate.
- Rural Taxis offers a service which operates in the village areas and can only be hired from and to their base station
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
Cyprus has no dangerous infectious diseases. Visitors do not require any vaccinations to travel to Cyprus.
Food safety and drinking water quality
In Cyprus the safety of food and drinking water quality is monitored by the Health Inspectors of the Medical and Public Services of the Ministry of Health and the Local Authorities. Food and drinking water are of high quality, absolutely safe and no food or water-borne diseases occur.
Water is safe to drink in Cyprus, as water pollution is negligible and every home has fresh running drinking-water. Tap-water in hotels, restaurants, public premises, etc. is safe to drink.
Safety in Cyprus
Cyprus has an excellent reputation for being a safe and friendly place with crime at a comparatively low level. The Police are always ready to assist anyone who needs help. In case of emergency, one may telephone 199 or 112 (in all towns).
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.
In case of emergency, immediate response is given by the following telephone numbers, where English is spoken:
ALL OVER THE ISLAND
- Ambulance: 199, 112
- Fire Service: 199, 112
- Police: 199, 112
Night Pharmacies: 192
or automatic recording for:
- Lefkosia 1402
- Lemesos 1405
- Larnaka 1404
- Pafos 1406
- Ammochostos 1403
- Lefkosia General Hospital: +357 22 80 14 00, 22 80 14 75 (Accidents & Emergency)
- Lemesos General Hospital: +357 25 80 11 00, 25 30 57 70
- Larnaka General Hospital: +357 24 80 05 00, 24 80 03 69
- Pafos General Hospital: +357 26 80 32 60, 26 30 61 00
- Paralimni Hospital: +357 23 82 12 11
- Polis Hospital: +357 26 32 14 31
- Kyperounta Hospital: +357 25 53 20 21