About Cyprus (CY)
The third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus (CY) is kind of a complicated place. The island is divided into two regions: the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus; and the de facto governing Republic of Cyprus, which occupies the majority two-thirds of the island. Cyprus is technically in Asia, but politically a member of the European Union. So, it’s generally one country but thought of as two separate entities — Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus. Given the political sensitivities involved, most travel guides tend to treat Cyprus accordingly. Only travelers who plan to visit both regions will need to concern themselves with the ins and outs of crossing the border. Otherwise, the island is one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean for aquatic activities and historical sightseeing.
Public transportation doesn’t exist outside of Nicosia, the capital city, and the majority of visitors rent a car. Meanwhile, most visitors enter and exit from the southern side of the country, where cheap car rentals are found. It’s possible — but not recommended — to enter the north via car hire; however, with a couple of caveats. First and foremost, some — not all — car rental companies in Cyprus will refuse to release the car if they know you’re taking it into the north. Second of all, you will need to purchase insurance at the border crossing, and depending upon which crossing you choose, insurance companies may not be open. Generally speaking, taking a car hire into the north is not a good idea. Meanwhile, driving in Cyprus is the main mode of transportation, but road conditions are described as “poor and crumbling”, and local drivers are notoriously selfish and reckless. The best advice is to stock up on your insurance coverage and hit the road in an all-wheel drive vehicle. Smaller cars tend to operate from a default disadvantage.
Choosing your car
Car rentals in Cyprus are supplied by the big name brands: Europcar, Sixt, Hertz, Budget, and Avis. Choose from compact hatchbacks, economy, standard and fullsize 4-door sedans, SUVs, estate wagons, premium and luxury vehicles, and 7-12 seater minivans.
Tips and advice
Outside of the main motorways, road signage is reportedly sparse and occasionally inaccurate.
If you’re determined to enter the north, doing so by foot is recommended. The Ledras Street pedestrian bridge is the favored crossing of those in-the-know.
Due to the popularity of Cyprus as a tourist destination, booking your car hire well in advance is highly recommended.
Nearly all traffic regulations are based on those found in the U.K., as result of prior British rule. However, locals consider said regulations to be mere “guidelines”.
Parking in Cyprus is unofficially defined as any open spot that’s not currently occupied. Although there are rules in place, they are very rarely enforced.
Car horns are used liberally in Cyprus for everything from expressing frustration to saying hello to a friend across the street.