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Facts at a Glance
 Full country name: Republic of Cyprus

Area: 9251 sq km (3608 sq mi), with 3355 sq km in North Cyprus

Population:785,000 (including 141,000 in North Cyprus)

Capital city: Lefkosia (pop 193,000)

People: Cypriot (Greek 78%, Turkish 18%)

Language: Greek, Turkish, English

Religion: Greek Orthodox, Muslim

Government: Presidential Republic

President: Tassos Papadopoulos


An island in the far eastern Mediterranean Sea, below Turkey and to the west of Syria, Cyprus is is actually two countries - the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (recognised only by Turkey) and the southern Republic of Cyprus. There are two large mountain ranges on the island: the Kyrenian Range in North Cyprus and the Troƶdos Massif in the centre of the Republic. The northern mountains are mainly limestone, the southern are volcanic rock. These ranges are separated by the Mesaoria Plain.

Cyprus has always been an island, and many Cypriot species, particularly plants, are found nowhere else in the world. There are three main habitats in Cyprus: the mountain ranges, the coastal plains and the cultivated lands. The coastal plains are irrigated by seasonal streams, and some support citrus orchards, but native flora and fauna have been largely displaced by tourism. The best areas to see wildlife are the mountainous areas of the island and the Akamas Peninsula (which, although not a national park, has been managed for conservation). The North, being less touristed, also has a larger population of native flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for griffon vultures, foxes, fruit-eating bats, sea turtles and moufflon, a wild sheep endemic to Cyprus.

The Cypriot climate is typically Mediterranean, with very hot summers in July and August. Most of the year is dry, with unpredictable rains falling in December, January and February. Cyprus often suffers drought years, and water is such a scarce commodity that it is often rationed.

Economic Profile
 GDP: US$10 billion

GDP per head: US$15,400 (Republic), US$5000 (North)

Annual growth: 3%

Inflation: 1.7% (much higher in the North)

Major industries: Tourism,fruit & vegetables, wine, cement, clothing, shoes

Major trading partners: Russian, Bulgaria, UK, Greece, Japan, Germany, Turkey (North only)

Member of EU: no, but negotiating membership

Euro zone participant: no

Facts for the Traveler
 Visas: Nationals of the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the EU can stay in the Republic of Cyprus for up to three months without a visa. If you entered Cyprus in the North (ie, from Turkey), it is illegal to cross to the Republic. Travel from the Republic to the North on a day trip is legal and straightforward, but if you are late coming home your name will be placed on a black list and you will not be allowed to cross to the North again. It's also legally impossible to travel from the Republic to the North and to then continue to Turkey - you cannot take luggage with you across the Green Line, and you will be placed on the Republic's black list, which will most likely prevent you from ever entering the Republic again. Also note that Turkish-Cypriots or travelers who have a Greek family name will almost certainly be refused a day pass to visit the North. Travelers may enter the Republic only through the legal ports of entry: Larnaka and Pafos international airports, or the ports of Larnaka, Lemesos and Pafos.

Health risks: No particular risks, but you should consider vaccinations for hepatitis.

Time: GMT/UTC plus two hours

Electricity: 240V, 50 Hz

Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs
 Currency:Cyprus pound (Turkish lira in the North; the value of the lira dropped by over 30% in early 2001)
Relative Costs:

  • Budget: US$5-7
  • Mid-range: US$12-16
  • Top-end: US$16+

  • Lodging

  • Budget: US$8-15
  • Mid-range: US$15-30
  • Top-end: US$30+
  • Compared with Western Europe, travel in southern Cyprus is moderately inexpensive; compared to the Middle East, you'll find it pricey. You'll need to budget around $35 a day if you're going to stick to public transport, stay in very cheap rooms and live mostly on food from shops rather than from restaurants. Around $70 a day will let you stay in a mid-range place, eat out twice a day, and get about in a hire car. The cost of tourist commodities in the Republic and in the North are similar, though the North is better value when it comes to eating out and at the budget end of accommodation options. Accommodation is more expensive in July and August on both sides of the Green Line. Due to the collapse of the Turkish lira in early 2001, the North offers much better value for your hard currency.

    Banks throughout Cyprus will exchange all major currencies in either cash or travellers' cheques. Most places in the North will accept Cyprus pounds and other hard currencies as well as Turkish lira. In the Republic you can get a cash advance on Visa at most banks, and in the North a couple of banks will do one for you. There are ATMs in most towns and even some villages throughout the Republic. In the North there are ATMs in Nicosia, Famagusta and Kyrenia.

    In both parts of the island, a 10% charge is tacked on to most restaurant bills; if not, then a tip of similar percentage is expected. Taxi drivers also expect a tip.

    When to Go

    The shoulder seasons - April/May and September/October - are the most pleasant times, climatically, to visit Cyprus. Summer - June to August - can be very hot, and winter is sometimes wet but still pleasant.

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