About Cyprus

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean and covers an area of 3,572 sq mi (9,251 km2). It is smaller than Sicily and Sardinia, but larger than Corsica and Crete. It stands at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia and it has a picturesque coastline of 402.6 mi (648 km) with long sandy beaches and a rich variety of vegetation and fruit. Nicosia is the capital of Cyprus and it is located in the centre of the island. Other cities and towns worth visiting are Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Ayia Napa and Protaras.

In the last few years, the population of Cyprus has increased due to its accession to the European Union and has become a multicultural place. The current population of the entire island is 1 192 285.

The official languages are Greek and Turkish, but English holds a dominant position.

Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate; it is generally dry and warm with sunshine likely on most days of the year. The winter is mild with often heavy, tropical-style rainstorms. The ski season usually runs from January to March. The summer is hot and dry and perfect for swimming. With more than 340 days of sunshine, residents and tourists get to enjoy the sandy beaches of Cyprus throughout the year.

The local time in Cyprus is two hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).     

The ideal weather and location define the ideal lifestyle of this magnificent Mediterranean island. With more than 340 days of sunshine, residents and tourists enjoy the clear warm waters of Cyprus throughout the year. In November, you can swim in the warm Mediterranean Sea in the morning and ski on the slopes of Troodos Mountains in the afternoon. The sun has an incredible effect on the Cypriot lifestyle and reveals itself in many ways, especially through the local diet and characteristics of Cypriots. Two of the main industries on the island, tourism and farming, prosper because of the sun. Cyprus produces a wide array of fruit, vegetables and free-range meat resulting in a delicious and healthy diet that evolved from many influences. Greece, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria and Italy have all left their mark on the Cypriot cuisine. Dining in Cyprus is a very sociable experience and is usually the main reason for friends and family to gather. Cyprus also has a long tradition of winemaking that goes back over 4,000 years. In ancient times, wine was a major source of wealth for the island. Approximately 10% of the island is covered in vineyards. The wines are best sampled at the annual wine festival in Limassol in September. Cypriots speak English very well as a result of the British influence, and are therefore able to communicate with the vast number of foreign tourists that visit the island.

Criminality rates in Cyprus are one of the lowest in the world, according to the European Crime Prevention Network. It seems that the rate of serious crime in Cyprus compared to international standards, as indicated by International Crime Statistics, can be described as very low. In general, Cyprus is a safe country and experiences less violent crime than other European countries of similar size.

Cyprus has an open, free-market, services-based economy. The accession of Cyprus as a full member to the European Union on May 1st 2004 has been an important milestone in its later economic development. Internationally, Cyprus promotes its geographical location as a “bridge” between three continents, along with its educated English-speaking population, moderate living expenses, good airline connections and telecommunications.

In 2004, Cyprus joined the European Union and therefore enjoys political, economic, social, environmental and other advantages. Cyprus is the 118th largest export economy in the world. The top export destinations of Cyprus are Greece, Israel, the United Kingdom, Libya and Germany. Furthermore, Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the British Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement while it is currently in the process of joining the Schengen area.

On January 1st 2008, the Republic of Cyprus introduced the Euro ( € ) as its official currency, replacing the Cyprus pound ( CY£ ) as the legal tender of Cyprus.

There are seven denominations in Euro banknotes: 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. They are all distinguished by a different colour and size, with the higher the denomination, the bigger the size.

One Euro is divided into 100 cents. There are eight Euro coins: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and €1 and €2. The designs on one side of the coins are common to all the countries of the Eurozone (those with the Euro as their currency), while the other side reflects the national identity of the issuing country. All Euro coins can be used in all Eurozone countries, irrespective of their national side.

One euro generally equals to:

83.15                     Indian Rupees

95.80                     Bangladeshi Takas

133.67                   Nepalese Rupees

151.81                   Pakistani Rupees

75.51                     Russian Roubles

60.59                     Philippine Pesos

26,498.50             Vietnamese Dongs

There is a wide selection of consumer goods. Most of the well-known European brands are imported and, in some cases, manufactured in Cyprus under licence.

Nicosia, the capital of the Republic of Cyprus, is located in the centre of the island and it is an ideal place to live, work and study. Nicosia is the home of people of many different nationalities. The sunny days and warm evenings provide a natural setting for outdoor cafeterias, pubs, eating places, parks and other leisure activities.

There are two ports in southern Cyprus. Larnaca Marina is a large port in Larnaca while the main commercial port of Cyprus is in Limassol. Likewise, there are two international airports in southern Cyprus, one in Larnaca (a thirty-minute drive from Nicosia) and one in Paphos (one-hour-fifteen-minute drive) from Nicosia. There are over 28 international airlines flying to and from Cyprus.

Cyprus has one of the best and cheapest telecommunication services in the world. It is connected by ISD (Instant Self Dialling). There are several telecommunication companies from which you can get a local telephone number. The first one is the government owned company, CYTA, that has many offers for new customers, albeit more expensive than privately owned companies such as Cablenet, EPIC and Primetel. For further information, please visit their website at www.cyta.com.cy, www.cablenet.com.cy, www.epic.com.cy and www.primetel.com.cy. All companies also provide landlines, internet and cable television subscription.

Electrical sockets in Cyprus are the same as in the UK and all commonwealth countries. They are 240 Volts, with a 3-pin socket. If you need an electrical adaptor, you can buy one at supermarkets or electrical appliances stores for about €3.