Cycling the Paphos coast, Cyprus Cycling the Paphos coast, Cyprus – Image courtesy of dionysoshotelpaphos.com

How to get around Cyprus

The best way to get around Cyprus is by hire car or bicycle.

Motorways and main roads in Cyprus are of a high standard, but those in small villages may lack regular maintenance. In rural regions many roads are unpaved. Roads are well-signposted and toll free. Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road.

Several motorways link Nicosia (Lefkosia) with Limassol and Larnaka on the south coast, Pafos in the west, and Agia Napa and Protaras in the east.

There is only one motorway in Northern Cyprus, which runs between North Nicosia and Famagusta.

Driving in the Troodos Mountain range is also good, albeit with challenging narrow roads that curve around ravines.


Crossing the Green Line

In the divided island of Cyprus, the Republic of Cyprus comprises roughly 59% (mainly the south and west) and the Turkish-controlled Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus covers about 36% (mainly the north).

A further 4% of the island is controlled by the UN buffer zone; the 1% balance is taken up by the British Sovereign Territory of Akrotiri and Dhekelia.

Travelling between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus is relatively easy; however, you are only allowed to cross the border, known as the Green Line, at one of five designated checkpoints; there are a further two checkpoints in Nicosia for pedestrians only. The Green Line is controlled by UN forces. Don't forget your passport.

The five crossings are Limnitis at Kato Pygros, Astromeritis near Morphou, Agios Dometios in Nicosia, Pergamos at Pyla and Strovilia near Agios Nikolaos.

In Nicosia, pedestrians can cross on foot at the Ledra Palace checkpoint and Ledra Street in the centre of the city.

Taxis can cross the Green Line and take you wherever you wish to go.

EU citizens are allowed to cross into the Republic of Cyprus from Northern Cyprus if their point of entry into the country is in the North. For all other nationalities, the situation is often unclear. Officially, the Republic regards Ercan Airport and the ferry ports of Famagusta (Gazimağusa) and Kyrenia (Girne) as illegal points of entry and can refuse entry.

In practice for New Zealand, Japanese, US and Canadian citizens, this is rarely enforced. Just be aware that non-EU passport-holders may be refused entry into the South from Northern Cyprus.


Transport options in Cyprus

Public transport is limited to buses and service taxis that run on predetermined routes. There is no train network and no domestic air service in either the North or the South.

Car hire: Several local and international car-hire companies, including Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Sixt, have offices at the airport and in various towns. To avoid disappointment, cars should be reserved well in advance during the summer season.

If you are planning to take a hired car across the Green Line, be sure to check your car-hire agreement, as not all hire companies in the south permit taking their vehicles to north Cyprus.

If going north, you will also need to buy additional car insurance as your southern policy will not be valid.

Cars hired in the north of Cyprus cannot be taken across the border to the South.

An International Driving Permit or national driving licence is required for driving in Cyprus. Drivers need to have held a valid licence for three years; drivers under 21 are unlikely to be eligible to hire a care in Cyprus.

The maximum speed limit in Cyprus is 100kph (62mph) on highways, 80kph (50mph) on most other roads and 30-50kph (19-31mph) in built-up areas.

Taxi: Taxis are safe and relatively inexpensive. Fares are regulated by the government and all taxis have meters. A 15% surcharge is in operation from 11pm to 6am. Tipping is expected.

There are three types of taxi services in south Cyprus: urban, trans-urban, which are shared and can be booked, and rural.

Shared taxis operate every 30 minutes between major cities. Rural taxis can only be hired from the base station and do not have a meter.

In north Cyprus, taxis are available in the main towns only.

Note: Uber does not operate in south or north Cyprus.

Bus: The bus service in south Cyprus is modern, frequent and inexpensive. Buses run from Monday to Saturday, with limited services on Sunday.

There are four types of service: urban buses operate around town, intercity buses link major towns, rural buses service villages and a shuttle runs between the airports at Larnaca and Paphos.

Buses that connect cities are run by InterCity Bus Company (www.intercity-buses.com), who offers discounted fares on multiple journeys. InterCity Buses are government subsidised and fares are reasonable, given the distances involved.

Five other companies provide services in their respective districts: Emel (www.limassolbuses.com) – Lemesos district, Osea Buses (www.osea.com.cy) – Larnaca, Osel Buses (www.osel.com.cy) – Nicosia, Pafos Buses (www.pafosbuses.com) – Pafos and Zinonas Buses (www.zinonasbuses.com) in the Famagusta district.

Cyprus By Bus (www.cyprusbybus.com) offers an excellenmt guide for bus routes and timetables in Cyprus.

Bus fares start at €1.50 per ride during the day, with special rates of €5 per day, €15 per week and €40 per month of unlimited journeys within a district, which includes rural villages.

In north Cyprus, buses run between Nicosia and the main towns. Fares in the North are between 4TL and 8TL.

In addition, several private coach companies operate in all the main cities and offer day excursions.

Bicycle: Cyprus is cycle friendly. Bicycles can be hired in most areas. Rates start from around €15 a day and local tourist offices provide a list of reputable local operators.

While roads are generally good, there is limited extra roadside room for cyclists, so you need to exercise care. Bicycles are not allowed on buses and cycling is not allowed on motorways.

If you plan on cycling the Troodos Mountains and the Kyrenia (Girne) Range, it's recommended that you hire a bicycle with good gears.

In Protaras and Agia Napa there are urban bicycle paths, as well as beachfront boulevards that incorporate space for bike riding.

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) produces a helpful brochure entitled Cyprus for Cycling, which lists 19 recommended mountain-bike rides around the South. These range from 2.5km to 19km from the Akamas Peninsula in the west to Cape Greco in the east.


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Latest update: How to get around Cyprus: 26 July, 2020


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