Sun-soaked Cyprus offers a quintessential Mediterranean experience, with its sublime sandy beaches, mouth-watering mezze platters and peaceful hillside villages. Look beneath all this and you’ll find a much more complicated history, which sees the island torn between European and Asian influences (thanks to its geographical positioning). Suited to both history-lovers and fun-seekers, if you’re considering a visit to this charming island, here are some things to know before travelling to Cyprus…


Climate & Weather in Cyprus

With its intense Mediterranean climate, Cyprus enjoys hot and dry summers (from mid-May to October) and mild yet rainy winters (from November to March), with shorter autumn and spring seasons in-between. The island benefits from plenty of sunshine, seeing an average of six hours of bright sunshine per day and an average of 11.5 hours of bright sunshine each day during the summer months. During July and August, temperatures range between 24°C in the Troodos Mountains and 30°C on the central plain. The average maximum temperatures for the summer months range between 27°C and 38°C. In January, which is the coolest month, daily temperatures average 3°C in the Troodos Mountains and 10°C on the central plain, with average minimum temperatures of between 0°C and 5°C.

Currency in Cyprus

The official currency of Cyprus is the euro. Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country and bringing an international card (with no transaction fee) is recommended. Although not obligatory, tipping is considered polite in Cyprus and a gratuity of between 5 and 10% is standard when good service has been provided.

Food & Drink in Cyprus

Cypriot food contains many similar elements to Greek food, such as moussaka, koupes (meat filled bulgur wheat shells), stuffed vine leaves and meat cooked in a souvla grill. However, there are also differences between the two cuisines and plenty of specialities which are unique to Cyprus. For example, Greek dolmades (stuffed vine leaves) are made with just rice, while the Cypriot version (koupepia) also contains minced meat. Some other popular dishes include souvlakia (grilled meat kebabs), shaftalia (grilled sausage), afella (pork marinated in coriander), fried halloumi, kolokasi (root vegetables) and rabbit stews (stifado). Ordering mezze is the best way to sample lots of Cypriot flavours and usually features halloumi, olives, pitta bread, dips (tzatziki, taramasalata and humous), as well as various meats and vegetables. For those with a sweet tooth, baklava (puff pastry filled with nuts and soaked in syrup), loukoumi (‘Turkish Delight’) and koulourakia (ring-shaped cookies) are common desserts.

In terms of drinks, coffee is very popular and comes served with milk and is drunk either extra sweet (glyko), with a hint of sweetness (metrio) or black (sketo). Wine and beer are widespread throughout the country, while ouzo is the most commonly found aperitif. Brandy sours are considered the national cocktail of Cyprus. While the tap water is safe to drink in some regions of Cyprus, you may wish to stick to bottled and filtered water. Bringing a filtered water bottle is a good idea to reduce plastic waste.

Transport in Cyprus

Cyprus does not have a train system and the easiest way to get around is by bus or taxi. There are four types of bus service: airport transfer (linking all the towns to the island’s two airports), interurban buses (linking all major towns on a daily basis, with frequent routes), urban buses (linking different areas within the towns) and rural buses (linking almost all villages with the nearest town, but with limited frequency). If you wish to explore the island at your own pace, renting a car is a good idea and the main roads are well-surfaced. Taxis are another easy and safe way to get around, although be sure to use registered companies and avoid unlicensed street taxis.

Language in Cyprus

The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. The island is divided into two, with Cypriot Turks living to the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. Around 2.7% of each also speak the minority languages of Armenian and Arabic, while most of these also speak Greek. English is fairly widely spoken in Cyprus, particularly in the more touristy areas.

Etiquette in Cyprus

Be mindful of dress codes if visiting churches, monasteries and mosques: men should wear long trousers and cover their chests, while women should ensure their legs and shoulders are covered (in mosques, women should also cover their heads and everyone should remove their shoes). Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots have a reputation for being very hospitable to guests, however in both cultures, being ‘on time’ can mean being up to an hour late. If you are late yourself, give a heartfelt apology and a legitimate excuse. Refusing something you are offered can be interpreted as an insult, so it is best to accept everything to avoid offending!  

Health & Safety in Cyprus

Cyprus is generally a safe country to visit and crime against tourists is not common, however as in any tourist area, you should take precautions to protect yourself and your belongings while travelling. Don’t leave valuables unattended, watch out for pick pockets in public areas and be sure to have travel insurance for your possessions. Always keep your passport, air ticket and other valuable items in a safe place. Report any incidents of crime to the local police and get a police report. Drinks in bars are often served much stronger than those in the UK, so be aware of this when out drinking and stay alert to ensure drinks aren’t spiked, as this has sometimes been known to happen in busy tourist bars.

Things to Bring to Cyprus

If you’re visiting Cyprus during the summer, some essentials to bring include swimwear, suncream and a sunhat. Mosquito repellent is also advised, as they become prevalent with the warmer evenings. Comfortable walking shoes are vital for exploring the island on foot, while rain jackets are a good idea if visiting during winter.

Contact one of our Cyprus specialists