Getting around Cyprus
Exploring the island by car is the best way to get around. Cyprus’s road infrastructure is excellent with more miles of motorway per capita than any other EU member state. The result is a traffic jam-free motorway drive that will take you from Paphos in the east straight into Limassol and on to the centre of Nicosia, plus a branch heading off to Larnaca, Agia Napa and Protaras. Driving in the Troodos Mountains is good, albeit with roads that zig-zag around ravines. Off-road driving should only be done with a suitable vehicle.
Drivers wishing to reach the north of Cyprus need 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. 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 you can cross on foot at the Ledra Palace checkpoint and Ledra Street in the centre of the city.
Motorways and main roads are of a high standard. Inner city and smaller town roads are generally good, but infrastructure upgrades have resulted in uneven surfaces. Roads in villages are often poor. All roads are toll free.
Cyprus has car hire companies with offices in the airports and towns, including major names like Hertz and Europcar. Cars should be reserved well in advance during the summer season. You should be sure to check your agreement if you are planning to take a hired car across the Green Line as not all hire companies in the south permit taking their vehicles to north Cyprus. The minimum driving age is 18, but drivers often need to be 21 years old and to have held a valid license for three years to hire a car.
There are three types of taxi service in south Cyprus: urban, trans-urban, which are shared and can be booked, and rural. Taxis are safe and relatively inexpensive. In north Cyprus, taxis are available in the main towns only. Fares are regulated by the government and all taxis have meters. 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.
The maximum speed limit is 100kph (63mph) on highways, 80kph (50mph) on most other roads and 50kph (32mph) in built-up areas. There are strict repercussions for anyone not wearing a seat belt or crash helmet, using a mobile phone or being under the influence of alcohol whilst driving. Children under the age of five must not sit in the front passenger seat, and must be strapped into a child seat fitted to the rear.
Car hire companies offer a comprehensive breakdown service as part of their agreement.
An International Driving Permit or national driving licence is required for driving in Cyprus.
Buses are modern, reliable and inexpensive. There are four types of service: urban buses that run around town, trans-urban buses that link major towns, rural buses to service the villages and a shuttle between the airports at Larnaca and Paphos. In north Cyprus, buses run between Nicosia and the main towns. Taxis are more expensive. Fares are regulated by the government and all taxis have meters. A 15% surcharge is in operation from 2300-0600. Tipping is expected.