Travel guide to Cyprus

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Cyprus is a very interesting country with some beautiful scenery - you can easily unearth traces of past civilisations right next to brand new buildings. Cyprus furthermore offers excellent white, sandy beaches and oodles of sunshine.

Facts

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Local name
Kibris Cumhuriyeti (Turkish) and Kypriakí Dimokratía (Greek)
Capital
Nicosia (Lefkosia)
Size
9251 km2
Principal Languages
Greek, Turkish and English
Principal Religion
Greek Orthodox and a Muslim minority
Inhabitants
735.900 (1995)
Government
Republic
Geography
Cyprus has it all, from soft sandy beaches, to rocky hills and wooded mountains. The almost 2,000 metres tall Troodos mountain at the middle of the island is a good ski resort in winters.

Travel preparation

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Best time to visit

Even though Cyprus officially has the monsoon between October and March, you shouldn't feel intimidated by that. Only an average of 50 centimetres rain will fall during this period. Summers are as most summers in the Mediterranean: very, very sunny.

Literature

Lonely Planet Mediterranean Europe

Local conditions

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Net cafes

Several possibilities of Internet access in the largest cities

In case of emergency

To call for an emergency on Cyprus, you must dial the following number: Police, fire brigade or ambulance (199)

Tipping

Most restaurant waiters put a little extra on top of the bill themselves, but both waiters and taxi chauffeurs expect a little extra anyway.

Timezone

When it is 12.00 in Britain, it is 14.00 on Cyprus.

Weight and Measures

They use the following measures on Cyprus: Weight: kilo Length: metre

Photography

Cyprus is a great tourist resort, so the local inhabitants have got used to a little of everything now. But you should still behave nicely and ask people for permission before taking portrait photos of them.

Drinking water

In principal, water is safe to drink on Cyprus. Some advise against it though, so if you do not want to take any chances, you should drink bottled water instead.

Electricity

They use the following current on Cyprus: 240 volts AC, 50Hz

Behaviour

You will get far with ordinary, good behaviour on Cyprus.

Business Hours

Banks are open from 8.30 to 12.30 (Monday - Friday), and also from 15.15 to 16.45 on Mondays. Shops' opening hours vary between 9.00 and 19.00, though shorter on Sundays. Offices are open from 8.00 to 17.30 (Monday - Friday), most have a 30 minutes lunch break.

Food and drink

As Cyprus has two cuisine traditions, namely Greek and Turkish, you should never have to go very far to get a meal. They specialise in "Tava", lambflesh with tomatoes and onions, and "Stifado", oxflesh or hareflesh in a sauce of wine, onions and spices. There is also plenty of good quality wine.

Holidays

Public holidays: New Year's Day, 1 January Epiphany, 6 January Greek Independence Day, 25 March EOKA Day, 1 April May Day, 1 May Cyprus' Independence Day, 1 October Ochi Day, 28 October Christmas Day, 25 December Boxing Day, 26 December

Accommodation / Hotel

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Camping

The Cypriot Tourism Board controls the camping grounds, which are all to be approved by the board. Cyprus has quite a few camping grounds and they all live up to standards. They have both mini markets, shower facilities etc.

Hotels

There are a lot of hotels on Cyprus, and they come in all price ranges. The Cypriot tourism organisation keeps an eye on all hotel owners, so you will pay nothing more than a fair price.

Hostels

Hostelling International has also moved its characteristic blue triangle logos and its standards to Cyprus. The island has a good handful of Hostelling International hostels, but they are only open to guests with a Hostelling International card.

Local transport

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Bus

Buses operate between the cities at regular intervals. There are a lot of different companies operating on Cyprus, so ask at the local bus station which company goes where and when.

Taxi

There are three types of taxis on Cyprus, share taxis, city taxis and country taxis. Share taxis operate between the cities when they are full, or about every 30 minutes. City taxis go by taximeter and charge extra for waiting time and luggage. Country taxis only go from special stops and they do not have taximeters. The price is calculated according to an ingenious system. Therefore always ask for the price before grabbing a country taxi.

Car rental

You must be at least 21 years old to rent a car on Cyprus. You can rent a car with a number of international firms or with the small, local firms. There are a vast number of different offers - and there are also a vast number of different discounts, but choose carefully.

Boat or Ferry

You can sail from Lemessos to Greece and Israel. From Famagusta, on the Turkish part of the island, there are regular connections to several harbours in Turkey. There are also connections to Lebanon.

Special conditions

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Cyprus became independent of Great Britain in 1960. In 1974, Turkish troops invaded the island to protect the Turkish minority on the northern part of the island. Since then, Greece and Turkey have been on a collision course, and UN has had troops on the island to keep the two sides away from each other.

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