With one of the highest car-ownership-per-capita rates in the world, driving will most likely be an expat's primary mode of transport in Cyprus. The island has no operational railway network, and public transport is largely restricted to private bus services and taxis, so options are limited – especially when travelling between urban centres.
Public transport in Cyprus
There are several kinds of bus services in Cyprus. Rural buses between villages and cities are the most limited, since they only leave once or twice a day. Inter-urban buses link larger cities and towns with each other and are far more frequent, while bus services that run within cities are generally the most frequent and reliable public transport service in Cyprus.
Different bus companies operate in each part of the country, such as the OSEL buses that run in Nicosia and OSYPA’s buses in Paphos. Because of this variation, buses in Cyprus don’t all look the same but most of them have their destination displayed on the windscreen.
Buses in Cyprus are independently operated and expats should check the bus routes of individual operators with their respective companies or at tourist offices. Services often cease in the early evening and are limited on weekends, while some are extended in the tourist season and run until midnight.
Taxis in Cyprus
There are several taxi services in Cyprus. Urban taxis are the most widespread and offer 24-hour services in all major cities. While expats are advised to book in advance, taxis can be hailed from the street.
Inter-urban share taxis provide a cost-effective link to other towns. Taxis are shared between a number of people with the cost being evenly split between all passengers.
Driving in Cyprus
Driving in Cyprus is the most effective way of getting around. The distance from Paphos to Nicosia, for instance, can be driven in two hours. Road signs in Cyprus are often in English and Greek, roads are generally well maintained, petrol stations are widely available and traffic is less congested than in other European cities. Cars are also easy to hire and readily available.
With that said, about a third of the roads on the island are unpaved, and while normal passenger vehicles should be able to drive on most of them, it may be best to ask locals for the best routes before going for a drive through the country.
EU drivers and holders of international driving permits can drive until their foreign licence expires, while licensed drivers from a list of pre-approved countries can legally drive for up to six months. These countries include the US, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. Other non-EU expats can drive for a maximum of 30 days.
Cycling in Cyprus
Cycling in Cyprus is practical, considering the short distances between places. It isn't allowed on major motorways, but there are usually ordinary roads running parallel to these. Nicosia is one of the friendliest cities for cyclists, with its dedicated cycling lanes and its smartbike-sharing scheme, called Nextbike. There are more than 40 bike-sharing stations across the city in an effort to get residents to cycle as an alternative form of transport.
Air travel in Cyprus
Because of the schism between the northern and southern parts of Cyprus, only the International Airports of Larnaka and Pafos are considered legal entry sites to the country. Domestic flights can also be taken between these two airports.
Airports in Northern Cyprus are not legal points of entry to the country.
Sea travel in Cyprus
Many cruises are available on large ships and expats can also book a place on smaller vessels that travel to smaller islands surrounding Cyprus, making day trips and getting around the islands relatively easy. Unfortunately, no ferries between Cyprus and other countries exist.
►For more on adapting to life on the island, see Culture Shock in Cyprus
Are you an expat living in Cyprus?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Cyprus. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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