Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Cyprus?
Driving is on the left with overtaking on the right although you shouldn't be surprised to find people driving on the right - usually tourists from European countries.
Cypriot drivers can be aggressive, extremely slow or very fast - there is usually no middle ground. It's much better to drive defensively, especially at first.
The country has an excellent and very quiet motorway network that only busies up around the cities; elsewhere you can find nothing else in sight on the road. The government have invested heavily in major infrastructure projects including roads and highways following many years of low investment and maintenance. A new link road from Paphos Airport
to the city opened in 2016 providing relief from nearby villages of the airport traffic not using the motorway.
Drivers frequently use their horns; if you are slow off the mark at traffic lights or junctions or if there is a wedding procession of cars.
The public transport system is improving so more people are taking advantage of cheap and good quality bus systems but there are no trains.
Seat Belt Laws
All passengers must wear seatbelts or face a fine. You'll see many people that don't including children! Cyprus road safety standards are a little below the EU average with 67 deaths per 1 million inhabitants, the average being 55. 65% of road deaths occur where a seatbelt is not used. Read our full story on Cyprus Road Safety
Drinking and Driving
The alcohol limit is 22 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of breath and 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 milligrams of blood. This is often enforced by random breath tests and if caught you will be fined or imprisoned depending on the severity of the offence. You will receive up to six points on your licence which can be transferred back to your home country.
Must Have Documents
A driving licence is essential and it must be printed in English otherwise an international drivers licence will be needed. You will need to have proof of identity, the car's insurance certificate, MOT certificate and the registration document. If you don't have them on you, you will be given a very short period of time to present them at the nearest police station.
- 50 km/h in built up areas (sometimes 30 km/h)
- 65 km/h in semi rural areas
- 80 km/h on the open road
- 100 km/h on motorways
Minimum Driving Age
To rent a car in Cyprus you should 21 years of age with a minimum of three years driving experience. There may be a young driver surcharge for drivers under the age of 25. There is a maximum age limit, enquire with our staff about this.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are illegal in Cyprus but there are so few speed cameras it's almost not worth bothering with. Of more concern if you want to avoid a ticket are mobile speed traps where police will hide in bushes and have a colleague pull you over further down the road.
On the Spot Fines
Cyprus doesn't issue on the spot fines. You'll be given a ticket which you can pay at a bank or online.
Child Safety Rules
Children under the age of ten must not sit in the front seat. Children aged between 5 and 10 sitting in the rear seats must have appropriate child seats for their safety.
You must have a minimum of third party insurance cover in Cyprus.
Rules of the Road
Standard EU driving regulations apply with the following exceptions:
- Cyprus drives on the left
- You must have snow chains fitted if you are travelling to the mountains in snowy conditions or the police will turn you back
- There are no regulatiions for first aid kits or extinguishers but you should find your hire car is equipped with two warning triangles
- Watch out for goats crossing roads, especially in rural areas.
There are no specific regulations for towing - just make sure you have hazard lights on and perhaps put a sign in the rear window to show your intentions.
There are few fixed cameras in Cyprus but there are plenty of mobile speed traps on the motorways and on dual carriageways. The penalty is a ticket for which you'll pay a variable amount in fines averaging around four euros for each kilometre per hour over the limit.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
You must not use your mobile phone whilst driving and can be fined for doing so unless using a hands free kit. You will find that almost everyone ignores the law.
Parking is fairly informal in Cyprus and in most towns you'll find cars parked just about anywhere, often double parked. Unless the car is obstructing or parked dangerously, the police won't bother you.
There are parking meters in the major towns along with ticket machines for municipal car parks. Parking charges are low so it's often a good idea to use them. You'll almost always find a space.
Cyprus is not party to the Blue Zone scheme
Cyprus offers spaces for disabled drivers but does not recognise the blue disability badge despite being part of the EU. You'll often find able bodied drivers using the spaces but when you can use them, the parking charges are low anyway.
Unless you park dangerously or are obstructing it's unlikely you'll be bothered. The police enforce parking and the standard fine is fifty euros as of 2014.
Motor Way Signs
Motorway signs are in green. They are labelled with the prefix A, and go from A1 to A22. Signs across the island are labelled in both Greek and English and are easy to follow, though sometimes an area will be signposted once and not again for a while. The island is small enough that you will find your way eventually.
I have broken down – Eho katanemimenes
Where is the police station? - Poo inay to astinomico dmima?
I have a flat tyre – Eho ena skasmeno lastiko
I have been in an accident – Eho pie say ena atiheema
Where is? - Poo eenay?
Where can I buy petrol? - Poo boro na agorazo venzini
Traffic lights follow normal conventions - the Cypriots don't. Many will drive straight through a red light at speed, others make turns illegally on red whilst many creep forward over the line when the light is red and then speed off once they're through the light.
Cyprus doesn't have any toll roads at the moment and there are no plans to introduce them as few people travel long distances.
The emergency services number is 112.
The American Embassy is at Metochiou and Ploutarchou Streets in Engomi, 2407 and can be called on 00357 22776400.
What to do in an emergency
You only need to wait for the police if someone has been injured or if there is significant damage. Most bumps are sorted out amicably. If there is an injury or serious damage call 112, put out warning triangles if you have them and wait for the police to arrive. Take photos of the scene and leave vehicles in place where possible.
Unleaded 95 octane petrol costs 1.10-1.15 EUR per litre in Cyprus as of June 2017 whilst diesel is around 3 cents higher.
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