Here you will find all you need to know about Cyprus, from it's amazing history to what electricity socket we use...
A relaxed lifestyle in a Mediterranean atmosphere has established Cyprus as not only a popular tourist destination, but as one of Europe’s top spots for
expats, business professionals and retirees.
Located in the Eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, Cyprus’ strategic position has played a key role in shaping its history and in developing the island into a centre for trade and international business. Cyprus enjoys around 340 days of glorious sunshine a year and boasts a coastline teeming with endless stretches of golden sands, secluded bays and rocky coves. Surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the island is dotted with the fascinating remains of history from Neolithic settlements and ancient city-kingdoms to exquisite Byzantine art and magnificent Venetian architecture.
RATED ONE OF THE MOST SAFEST COUNTRY'S IN THE WORLD:
Cyprus is the 5th safest country in the world, according to recent statistics, and one of the safest countries in the EU – and crime is virtually non-existent. It is safe to walk around all towns and villages whether day or night. Few locations in the world can offer the same level of security and stability that Cyprus does.
Cyprus has been coveted, conquered and colonised numerous times during its 10,000-year history. The island attracted the interest of a succession of dominant powers in the region, which battled for it through the millennia. The first of these are believed to have been the Achaean Greeks who arrived in around 1200 BC introducing their language, religion and customs to the island. Cyprus was subsequently colonised by the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians and the Persians. In the 4th century BC Alexander the Great claimed the island, which remained part of the Greek-Egyptian kingdom until 30 BC, when the Romans arrived and Cyprus became a senatorial province. It was during this period that Saint Paul was said to have visited the island and converted the Roman governor to Christianity. Cyprus remained a Roman possession until the empire began to disintegrate in 330AD, when it became part of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. In 1191, Cyprus was conquered by the English king, Richard the Lionheart, while on his way to take part in the Third Crusade. He later sold the island to the Knights Templar, who consequently sold it on to the Franks or Lusignans, a dynasty which went on to rule Cyprus for almost 300 years, until the last of the Lusignans ceded the island to Venice in 1489. Despite building heavy fortifications around the island’s major cities of Famagusta and Nicosia, the Venetians were not able to withstand the invading Ottoman troops who conquered the island in 1571. Cyprus remained under Ottoman rule until the arrival of the British in 1878.
The island’s long history offers visitors a journey of discovery paved with ancient archaeological treasures. The ancient city-kingdoms of Kourion and Amathus, and the Mosaics of Paphos, are considered among the finest mosaic floors in the Eastern Mediterranean. Other must-see historic sites include the Neolithic settlements of Choirokoitia and Kalavasos-Tenta, the Tombs of the Kings and the famous Sanctuary of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, who legend claims was born on this island. In more recent times, Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, however a Greek sponsored coup d’etat in 1974 was swiftly followed by an invasion of Turkish forces which occupied the northern one-third of the island. Despite numerous efforts over the intervening decades, the island remains de facto divided, and the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) remains unrecognised by the international community. The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders continue to look for a solution to end the division of the island, but while negotiations have been slow, some progress is being made. The capital city, Nicosia, is still split between the two sides, though visitors can access either side from checkpoints at Ledra Palace and Ledra Street, and today Nicosia is the last remaining divided capital city in the world.
CULTURE & ENTERTAINMENT
More than a place just for lounging in the sun, there are lots of things happening in Cyprus all year round. From music concerts and cultural performances with big name stars, sports events, religious festivals with all the pomp and circumstance of the Greek Orthodox Church, to informative conferences where you can meet like minds. The Cyprus Rally has been held every year since 1970 and forms part of the World Rally Championship and the FIA Middle East Rally Championship, and attracts hordes of car enthusiasts, while the annual Historic Cyprus Rally draws crowds of vintage car enthusiasts. Cultural events such as the Pharos Chamber Music Festival, the Kypria International Festival, which comprises music, dance and performance arts, and the Thalassa International Festival, which includes photographic exhibitions, movie screenings and music performances, ensure there’s something to interest everyone on the annual calendar of events. 2017 also brings with it an additional programme of top-tier cultural events in the coastal town of Paphos, the legendary birthplace of Aphrodite and UNESCO world heritage site, following the town’s win for the bid of the European Capital of Culture this year.
Cyprus enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with long, warm, dry summers from May to October and mild winters with occasional rain, lasting from December to February. Summer and winter in Cyprus are separated by short autumn and spring seasons. The average daytime temperatures during summer range from +21.C to +34.C, although in high summer temperatures can reach as high as +40.C. During the cooler months, temperatures can range between +7.C and +15.C although even during the height of winter there are generally six hours of bright sunshine during the day.
It is of course impossible to talk about Cyprus without mentioning the food. As with most Mediterranean countries food plays an important role and is to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace with friends and family. One of the first Greek phrases to learn in Cyprus is ‘siga siga’ which means ‘slowly’, and is a mantra one will hear almost daily. The fabulous Cypriot food is to be savoured unhurriedly, usually al fresco with friends and family. Even a cup of coffee can be a two hour past time. Cypriot food bears a distinct resemblance to Greek cooking, but also has Turkish and Lebanese influences. As in other Mediterranean countries, eating is an activity to be savoured and enjoyed and is certainly not to be rushed in any way. Which is a good job as a traditional Cypriot meze – a meal of small plates similar to tapas – can consist of up to 30 dishes. Cypriot cuisine features lots of fresh fish, meat, beans, pulses and vegetables flavoured with lemon, fresh herbs and spices. Cyprus is also one of the world’s oldest grape-growing and wine-making regions, with its fruits of the grape ranging from delicate whites and full-bodied reds to the rich sweet amber-coloured dessert nectar known as Commandaria. This is one of the oldest wines in the world, representing an ancient wine style documented in Cyprus back to 800 BC and has the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production, with the name Commandaria dating back to the crusades in the 12th century.
In Cyprus you can shop till you drop. The island is supplied with stores catering for all tastes and requirements. Most major British and European chains are represented on the island and there is a plethora of fashionable boutiques and big malls in Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos, selling designer brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Calvin Klein, Kenzo, Gianfranco Ferre and many more.
Cyprus offers a host of energetic pursuits to engage the visitor. Becoming increasingly popular as a destination for golfers, Cyprus offers first-class facilities with four professional courses on magnificent locations, and the development of several new courses in the pipeline. Spectacular pine-clad mountains in the centre of the island offer walkers and cyclists welcome respite from the heat. Breathe in the bracing pine scented air, whilst admiring the series of Venetian stone bridges and waterfalls that pepper various hiking trails in scenery that looks as if it has been lifted from a book of fairy tales. In winter months, skiers can test the slopes on Troodos whilst the rest of the island wear short sleeves and bask in winter sun. The island provides excellent opportunities for water sports, such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. There are also excellent dive sites and facilities, with one of the best wreck dives in the world, the Zenobia, situated off Larnaca. Other popular dive sites include Ayia Napa, Paphos and the Akamas Peninsula, where divers are often able to see artefacts such as Roman pottery on the seabed.
Cypriots are highly educated and multilingual. The official languages of Cyprus is Greek, however English is widely spoken and written and is the language of international business. German, French and Russian are also widely spoken in commerce, due both to the number of Cypriot graduates from overseas universities and the island’s commercial ties with the global business community.
Within urban areas, buses run on fixed routes roughly every half hour, with services ending in the evenings at about 18:00 Monday to Friday and earlier on Saturdays. Some routes have no service on Sundays. Hours are extended until midnight during the tourist season and some urban routes now offer a night bus service on Fridays and Saturdays. Timetables are available from tourist offices or directly from the bus companies. Rural buses connect towns and villages and make frequent stops. The service is infrequent with schedules limited to one or two routes per day. These buses can often be smaller mini-buses. There are also buses providing a service linking all major towns. These are generally very regular and all buses are modern and comply with European standards. A private company, Kapnos, provides a regular daily airport shuttle service between Nicosia and both of the island’s airports. There are no trains in Cyprus.
Taxis are also very common, but before setting off on your journey discuss the pricing with the driver and ensure the meter is functioning.
Note: There is also an AirPort Shuttle Bus to and from the Larnaca International Airport & The Paphos Airport, the cost is 9eu.
Religious freedom is written into the Cypriot constitution and Greek Orthodox, Muslims, Catholics, Jews, Evangelical Christians, Armenians and Maronites coexist peacefully on the island. However, the overwhelming majority of Cypriots are members of the Greek Orthodox Church, an institution that plays an important role in both personal and public life on the island.
When it comes to a place to stay, Cyprus offers every conceivable type of accommodation, from budget-priced two and three-star hotels to a large range of upmarket and boutique hotels with four and five-star status. Agro-tourism houses are available for rent all over the island, often in the most picturesque villages, and give the traveller a unique opportunity to experience authentic Cyprus village life.
As a member of the EU, under community laws EU nationals have the right to enter the country with an identity card or valid passport and to seek work. For non-EU nationals, employment permits have to be obtained before entering Cyprus. The nationals of many non-EU countries do not require a visa to enter Cyprus for a stay not exceeding three months. Details of visa-exempt countries and visa application procedures are available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Cyprus uses the same plug style socket as they do in the UK.
Electricity = 240V 50Hz, 5 amp or 13 amp square three-pin British-style plugs. Electricity is provided by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) and water is provided by the water board of the nearest main town. Many properties have solar water heating systems. Cyprus has no piped gas, but bottled gas is widely available in supermarkets.
CURRENCY & ATM
The currency used in Cyprus is the Euro. There are many places to exchange your nation's currency for euro when you get to Cyprus, including at the Airport when you land, but it will be at a higher exchange fee then exchange it else where.
There is also plenty of ATM machines around Cyprus that you can easily use your personal bank or credit card from your country to draw out money from your account straight to your hand in euro.
(make sure you alert your bank that you will be travelling overseas and for them to allow your card to be used overseas, otherwise they will think someone stole your card and its being used overseas and they will shut it down for security reasons.