Planning a trip to Cyprus to get some late summer sun? Or are you well prepared enough to be planning next years summer holiday already? Either way, every country has its little peculiarities and Cyprus is no different. To ensure a trouble free time in the country, follow our simple advice.
The Cypriot’s drive on the left – or at least are supposed to. You’ll encounter at least once on your holiday, cars coming at you on both sides of a wide road as drivers emerge from parking spaces and try to ‘filter’ into the traffic. Motorways are a dream with hardly any traffic and no tolls although they are a favourite haunt of police cars with speed cameras. There’s an unspoken law that the tourist cars (identifiable by their red number plates) are treated more leniently so they are predisposed to return to the island bringing much needed tourist trade and money. Red traffic lights are often flouted and you’ll see cars stop at them, edge over the line and then as they’ve already gone through the light, carry on. Traffic wardens are non-existent and as long as you park sensibly, even on double yellow lines, the police who monitor such things, will leave you alone.
Food is generally good quality and when it comes to paying the bill you’ll see ‘service charge included’ almost everywhere but it’s still expected for you to leave a tip of around another 10%. Drinks such as cocktails can vary in strength so be careful over drink driving laws which are enforced quite rigorously. If in doubt, order a soft drink.
Seeing the Sights
There’s an entrance fee for almost all the archaeological sights which should be €1.70 which is based on the conversion rate from the original entrance fee of one Cyprus pound. Some places will charge you more, especially as a tourist, and often the rate charged changes depending on how the cashier feels!
Travel Into the North
It’s easy now to travel into the occupied north of Cyprus on foot or by car. Whilst there used to be a fee for doing so, that has been waived now unless you’re driving a car when you’ll be fleeced by government owned insurance companies to pay for car insurance for your stay. You’ll also find speed cameras all over the place which vociferously capture unwitting drivers and you’ll find that although you won’t get a fine by post, if you try to return to the north again, you have to pay the fine before they’ll let you in.
The People You’ll Meet
In Cyprus you are most likely to encounter the friendly locals who may occasionally sound like they’re angry but that’s just the way Greek is spoken. There are also many Russians, living, working and holidaying on the island and these can be a little trickier to handle. Reports that they won’t share lifts with the British, shove their way through queues and are generally unpleasant are rife so you might just have to count to ten at times.
At any time of year you can get sunburnt, even in January. Make sure you put on plenty of sunblock, wear a hat and take plenty of water with you.