Cyprus — The Basics
Alone in the midst of the Mediterranean, Cyprus is a beloved stop for many people from all around the world. Egyptians, Greeks, Italians, Syrians, and Americans all love to take a trip to this unbelievable paradise. There is a reason that Cyprus is one of the most beloved European destinations: it’s absolutely gorgeous!
The clear, blue waters of the Mediterranean crash against the towering rock structures on the shores. Grand gorges, dunes, and waterfalls can all be found within a stone’s throw of each other. For such a small country, Cyprus has an incredible catalog of things to do.
Sights and Attractions
You won’t find any seaside attraction cleaner and more pristine than Nissi Beach . You can see through that clear, shimmering water for miles! Cape Greco is the place to go for lovers of snorkeling and connoisseurs of cliffs. Rent a boat at coral bay and sail the day away! Just be sure to apply sunscreen. A vacation in Cyprus is a blast! Melanoma…not so much.
If you land in Paphos , the Tombs of the Kings are practically right in front of you! Egypt isn’t the only place in the world with elaborate burial structures. Erected nearly 2500 years ago, these ancient tombs still stand proud among the rocky landscape of western Cyprus. While in Paphos, you can’t miss Paphos Castle . This 800-year-old fort is surrounded by water on three sides, and having been renovated by the Ottomans in the late 1500s, the castle remains in impeccable condition.
North, south, east, or west: you’ll stumble upon something amazing in Cyprus. Figure out where you’re going to book your hotel and start from there. Sites of interest are so dense in Cyprus that you’ll never be too far from something amazing.
Cyprus Travel Tips
Cyprus Currency Considerations
In contrast to other European destinations, money here isn’t so straightforward. Depending on where you are on the island, you’ll be using a different currency in Cyprus. In the south, you’ll be using the Euro. In the breakaway north, you’ll be using the Turkish lira (plural lire). In bigger cities in the North, you may be able to skate by with dollars or pounds.
You shouldn’t rely on this, though. Since two currencies are used on the island, plan your itinerary accordingly. If you want to see the whole island, plan one solid block of your trip in the North, then plan the other block in the south. Or vice-versa.
Going through checkpoints multiple times a day and carrying lire and euros is a hassle. Breaking up your trip keeps it simple and money-mishap free. Absentmindedly trying to pay for a coffee with lire in the south will make you the subject of dirty looks. To stock up on local currency, an online currency exchange site, or a bank in your home country will offer the best rates. When you exchange money, some value is usually lost, so you’re paying for it. A better rate means that you’re paying less.
Exchange enough to cover your basic costs. If you run out of local currency, you can always exchange your currency in Cyprus. Just make sure to avoid airport kiosks and kiosks inexpensive tourist hotspots. Local banks usually give a pretty decent rate. A few extra euros at the end of your trip? Not a big deal if you plan to visit Europe in the near future. 19 countries accept the Euro, so it’s a relatively versatile currency.
Unless you plan to visit Turkey right after seeing Cyprus, you don’t want to be sitting on a pile of Turkish lire. The Turkish lira is subject to high inflation. That means that the value of a single lira depreciates heavily with time, and it is worth less every day. Only exchange for the minimum amount of lire you think you’ll need. If you have many extra lire, exchanging them back is vital. Otherwise, their value will depreciate immensely within just a few years.
Unfortunately, when you exchange money back, you’re paying for your own money a second time. It’s better than possessing a high-inflation currency, but it can be avoided with some savvy budgeting. Cyprus isn’t the cheapest place on the planet, so watch your budget, consider looking into some European cheap flights. Take advantage of whatever deal you find!
As many tourists visit Cyprus every year, there are enough beds for everyone. Hotels and hostels can be found anywhere, and there are plenty of homestays for those who prefer that. Nearly all towns or cities have plenty of lodging options. Unless you’re in the middle of the woods, you’ll find a place to stay in Cyprus. Generally, the further inland you are, the less you will have to pay per night.
Flights and Transportation
You will either land in Paphos on the western part of the island or Larnaca in the mid-south. Book your ticket in advance for some sweet deals on European cheap flights. The less you spend on a ticket, the more you can spend on the island! Moving across the island is easy. Cyprus has no railway system, but there are plenty of buses to cart you around.
As it’s a relatively small country, traveling across the island takes little time. Be sure to have small bills when paying for a bus ticket. They may not be able to make change for larger bills. You don’t want to miss the bus because your bills are too big, do you, moneybags?
The majority of Cypriots in the south speak Greek. The majority of Cypriots in the North speak Turkish and about 80 percent of Cypriots can speak English. As the entire island has relied on tourism for so long, any good or service you may need can be accessed with English.
Cyprus Travel Considerations
By law, the entire island is controlled by the Republic of Cyprus. In reality, the country is split in two along ethnic lines. Ethnic Turks have proclaimed the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the northeast. Internationally, they are only recognized by Turkey.
This fracture has existed since 1983, although tensions have existed for centuries. Generally, Cypriots don’t want to discuss this topic. Passions run deep, and people have very strong opinions on the matter. If a discussion comes up, they probably don’t really want to hear your opinion, either. This is their daily reality. A tourist who will likely be gone in less than a month is unlikely to change their perspective. If you’re traveling between the northern and southern parts of the island, expect to pass through checkpoints. Have your passport and other travel documents ready.
When speaking to anyone on the island, don’t say “north Cyprus” and “south Cyprus.” Those terms are politically charged. Say things like “near Limassol” or “by Kyrenia” when conversing with locals.
Don’t refer to the people of Cyprus as “S-eye-priots.” Pronounce the term as, “Si (as in sit) –priots.” You will avoid giggles, eye rolls, and scowls that way. No one wants to offend their hosts during their Cyprus travel adventure.
It’s no wonder that Cyprus maintains its status as one of the top European destinations. With good food, stunning sights, friendly people, and more, Cyprus leads the pack among tourist friendly nations. Do your research, sift through your options for European cheap flights, book a ticket, and take the leap. The minute you return home, you’ll want to go back for more!
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