Cyprus travel guide
The legendary birthplace of Aphrodite, Cyprus is every inch the Mediterranean – sandy beaches, ancient monasteries, classical ruins, thyme scented mountains, terracotta pottery and, of course, the obligatory party resorts full of sun-seeking twenty-somethings.
Cyprus has always been at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. In ancient times, a succession of empires squabbled over its seaports and mountain fortresses, which guaranteed supremacy over the eastern Mediterranean. These empire-builders left behind an incredible legacy of historical relics: ancient Greek and Roman ruins, Crusader castles, mighty Venetian city walls and towering mosques and minarets left behind by Ottoman invaders.
Until the 1970s, Cyprus was a sleepy backwater, but a devastating civil war saw the island split into Greek Cypriot and Turkish states. In the south, the Greek Republic of Cyprus grew into a modern European state, while the Turkish north half of the island remains isolated, recognised only by Turkey and well off the mainstream tourist radar.
After Partition, tourist development went into overdrive in the Greek half of the island, with the emergence of Ayia Napa, Protaras, Limassol, Paphos and a string of other package holiday resorts along the southern coast. This is one face of Cyprus – whitewashed villas, sunbathers, banana-boat rides, boisterous nightclubs and hordes of young people enjoying blistering summer sunshine.
Inland, the old Cyprus endures, with beautiful villages full of UNESCO-listed churches, peaceful mountain trails and vineyards that have been producing wines since ancient times. A similar old-world atmosphere pervades in the divided capital, Lefkosia (Nicosia), where quiet lanes lined with Turkish mosques and Byzantine churches come to a sudden halt at the Green Line, the de facto border between the two enclaves.
The north is something else again, more Turkish than Greek, even down to the menus on restaurant tables, but studded with ancient ruins and dramatic Crusader castles. While rampant development is taking place along the coast around Famagusta (Gazimagusa) and Kyrenia (Girne), the remote Karpas Peninsula offers a journey back in time, where ancient ruins spill out onto golden beaches that see more sea turtles than human visitors.
9,251 sq km (3,572 sq miles).
1,195,204 (UN estimate 2019).
129.19 per sq km.
Nicosia (Greek: Lefkosia; Turkish: Lefkoşa).
President Nicos Anastasiades since 2013.
South: President Nikos Anastasiade since 2013. North: President Mustafa Akinci since 2015.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Cyprus on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Cyprus.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government testing requirements. The Cypriot government has advised that travellers should contact local authorities for information on testing facilities by calling 1450 or 1412.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Travel in Cyprus
In line with a UN statement, all crossing points between the Republic and the north re-opened on 4 June 2021 subject to a Red, Orange, Green categorisation system. Under current conditions, Orange status applies which means that all categories of traveller must present a negative PCR or Antigen (rapid) test result, taken within the last 7 days, in order to cross.
If you have been in the UK within 14 days of travel to Cyprus, and wish to cross to the north further conditions apply, refer to additional details under Entry to Cyprus.
Public spaces and services
The use of a face mask is compulsory in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in the Republic of Cyprus. Failure to comply with restrictions may result in a €300 fine.
You will need a SafePass to enter specified areas including malls, catering establishments, some sports facilities etc. The SafePass requires individuals to provide proof of either: a negative test taken within 72 hours; at least one dose of the vaccine received at least 3 weeks prior; or having contracted coronavirus in the past 6 months. You can find full details of the latest measures introduced by the Cypriot authorities on this information page and more generally, including on SafePass/CoronaPass, on the Press & Information Office website.
North of Cyprus
Face masks must be worn in public at all times. There is a daily curfew in place between 12am to 5am.
Healthcare in Cyprus
See the Cypriot Ministry of Health website for information on coronavirus from the Cypriot authorities. If you develop fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath or cough, the Cyprus Government advise that you stay indoors and immediately contact the Ministry of Health’s public health line: 1420.
Guidance for travellers who are self-isolating due to having had close-contact with someone with coronavirus is available on the Press and Information Office website. Additional guidance is available from the Contact Tracing Team by telephone on 22771923 or by email at email@example.com.
For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Cyprus.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Cyprus
Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Cyprus announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.
The Cyprus national vaccination programme started in December 2020 and is using the AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. British nationals resident in Cyprus are eligible for vaccination.
UK nationals registered with the General Healthcare System (GeSY) can use the online portal to request a vaccination. UK Nationals who are not GeSY registered, but are legal residents can apply for a vaccination through a dedicated form. In the north of Cyprus a vaccination programme, starting with those most vulnerable, is being rolled out. UK Nationals resident in the north should contact their local health care provider for further information.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you’re a British national living in Cyprus, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.
If you receive your COVID-19 vaccination in Cyprus, you can get an EU Digital COVID Certificate from the national authorities. The Certificate proves that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result, or recovered from COVID-19. It will help facilitate your travel within the EU and, in some countries, you can use it to demonstrate your COVID-19 status to businesses and other organisations. For further information visit the European Commission’s EU Digital COVID Certificate page.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Crime against tourists is not common, but you should keep passports, money and other valuables safe. Room safes and hotel safety deposit boxes have been targeted previously.
Personal attacks, including sexual assaults, are infrequent but they do occur. Be alert to the possible use of ‘date rape’ and other drugs including ‘GHB’ and liquid ecstasy. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times to make sure they are not spiked. Female travellers should be particularly watchful. If you drink, know your limit; drinks served in bars are often stronger than those in the UK. Avoid splitting up from your friends, and don’t go off with people you don’t know.
The operations of crossing points are affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) control measures. See Coronavirus.
Even when the crossing points are operating under normal conditions, British and other foreign nationals who have entered Cyprus through the north (such as via Ercan airport) are considered by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to have entered Cyprus through an illegal port of entry. The Government of the Republic of Cyprus may fine you for illegal entry if you cross into the south, or refuse you entry into or exit from the Republic, or prevent crossing at the boundary with the north.
The Republic of Cyprus authorities may count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90 day visa free total. If you overstay, you may potentially face difficulties at the airport on exit or re-entry.
Similarly, when the crossing points are operating under normal conditions, you can take a hired car through some of the checkpoints. Many cars hired in the south are not insured for use in the north. Check with your insurance company - you will not be allowed through a crossing without the correct insurance documents. At some of the crossing points it is possible to buy car insurance for the north. There are controls on the quantities and types of goods that can be bought in the north and brought into the south, including from the bicommunal village of Pyla in the buffer zone. Goods, including cigarettes, may be confiscated at the checkpoint and you may be fined. The Republic of Cyprus currently imposes a limit of 40 cigarettes per person on crossing the Green Line from the north of Cyprus.
Anyone with documents relating to the purchase of property in the north of Cyprus when crossing the Green Line could face criminal proceedings.
Licences and documents
Short-term visitors and tourists can drive using a UK driving licence.
If you’re living in Cyprus, check the Living in Guide for information on requirements for residents.
Driving standards are poor. In 2019 there were 52 road deaths in the Cyprus (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.9 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.6 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2019.
Cypriot driving regulations are similar to those in the UK and driving is on the left.
You may be fined if you drive without a seat belt or ride a motorbike without a crash helmet. Heavy fines also apply if you use a mobile telephone or are under the influence of alcohol while driving. When hiring a vehicle, check that it is roadworthy and that you have appropriate insurance cover and safety equipment.
Bathing is generally safe, but you should be aware of strong seas and undertows. Always comply with warning signs and swim only from approved beaches.
If you intend take part in any adventure sports, water sports or diving, make sure you have the right travel insurance. Only use properly licensed and insured operators and satisfy yourself that adequate safety precautions are in place. Don’t hand over your passport as a guarantee against the return of equipment.
The Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the EU, but the country remains divided by the Green Line which separates the so-called ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ from the rest of the island. The ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ is not recognised by the British government.
Terrorist attacks in Cyprus can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Cyprus has a strictly enforced zero tolerance policy towards drugs. If you are caught with any type of narcotic you will receive either a prison sentence or a hefty fine. The rules against possession of drugs are stricter than in the UK.
Avoid taking photographs near potentially sensitive areas like military establishments.
The current judicial processing delays mean that court cases can take up to two years to be scheduled and adjournments happen regularly in Cyprus.
Although not generally as widely accepted as in the UK, homosexuality is legal in the Republic of Cyprus and legislation passed in 2016 now allows for civil partnerships to be carried out. Homosexuality was also decriminalised in the northern part of Cyprus in 2014, but it is still not very widely accepted and some discretion is advised. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
British nationals of Cypriot descent, irrespective of whether they hold Cypriot ID papers, may be considered eligible by the Cypriot authorities for military service. If this happens, you may face difficulties when exiting Cyprus, and you may have to prove that you live outside Cyprus.
Under international law, the British High Commission can’t formally intervene with the Cypriot authorities on behalf of those considered by the Cypriot authorities to be dual Cypriot/British nationals. If you think you may be eligible for any local obligations or duties that apply to dual nationals, contact the Cypriot authorities or a local lawyer before you travel.
If you are visiting Cyprus for the purpose of commissioning surrogacy arrangements, you should consider the potential risks and challenges involved in pursuing international surrogacy and seek specialist legal advice on Cyprus and UK laws prior to making any arrangements. Surrogacy is a complex and lengthy process. The British High Commission does not have authority to be involved in surrogacy arrangements. The FCDO and Home Office have produced guidance to help inform you on the issues you may face when embarking on a surrogacy arrangement. Commissioning a surrogacy will not automatically mean that the child holds British citizenship.
Make sure you are fully aware of the facts and are well prepared before starting the process. Research prospective surrogacy clinics and hospitals thoroughly to ensure you are dealing with a safe and reputable organisation. The British High Commission cannot recommend specific hospitals or clinics.
If you wish to bring your child born via surrogacy from Cyprus to the UK you must apply for a full British passport, for which a Cypriot birth certificate will be needed. The maximum period of visa-free stay allowed by the Cypriot authorities is 90 days within a 180-day period.
Following policy changes announced by the Republic of Cyprus Government and the administration in the north, all crossing points between the Republic and the north are effectively closed to travellers.
Taking food and drink into the EU
You cannot take meat, milk or products containing them into EU countries. There are some exceptions for medical reasons, for example certain amounts of powdered infant milk, infant food, or pet food required for medical reasons. Check the rules about taking food and drink into the EU on the European Commission website.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Cyprus set and enforce entry rules. For further information contact their embassy, high commission or consulate. You may also check with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and travel documents meet their requirements.
If you are travelling to Cyprus for work, read the guidance on visas and permits as the rules have changed since 1 January 2021.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
Entry to Cyprus
The UK entered Cyprus’ Red category on 8 July.
Passengers coming from Red Category countries must undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and provide proof of a negative result. You must then undergo another PCR test upon arrival at Larnaca or Paphos airports, and remain in self-isolation until the result is issued. Test results should be available within three hours through the online platform. The cost of both tests is borne by the passenger.
Results from the PCR test taken before travel can be in the form of an email or SMS, but the result itself and/or appointment letter must include the date and time when the test was taken. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.
Children who arrive in the Republic of Cyprus before their 12th birthday, are exempted from the testing requirement.
If you belong to one of the following categories of passengers, you have the option to take a test only upon arrival in the Republic of Cyprus:
Cypriot citizens and family members (alien spouses and their underage children),
Persons legally residing in the Republic,
Persons entitled to enter the Republic under the Vienna Convention.
If you choose this option, you must remain in mandatory self-isolation for 72 hours upon arrival. At the end of the 72-hour period you must undergo another PCR test. If the repeat test is negative, you can end your isolation. The test result must be sent to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The cost of both tests is borne by the passenger.
Further information about entry requirements for travellers from countries in Cyprus’ Red category is available on the Cyprus flight pass website.
All permitted travellers must complete a Cyprus Flight Pass before their journey, available on the Cyprus Flight Pass website. Where relevant, you will be responsible for ensuring your PCR test result is uploaded to Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours of your departure. If you need to provide your appointment letter you can upload both documents in a single photo. In addition to obtaining the Cyprus Flight Pass, passengers are required to carry with them, in hard copy or electronically, copies of these documents. You will be asked to present your flight pass prior to boarding and on arrival at immigration.
The Cyprus government have a help desk to assist travellers with queries regarding the use of the Cyprus Flight Pass. This service is accessible by telephone +(357) 2484 1234 and through the Cyprus Flight Pass e-platform. You should continue to track developments through the Republic of Cyprus Information Office.
Travellers with proof of two COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to take a PCR test before departure. If you have received two vaccinations you will still need to obtain a Cyprus flight pass. You should check the Cyprus Flight Pass website for information on which vaccinations are acceptable, and the length of time which should have elapsed between your final dose and date of travel. (See Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status)
Travellers arriving to or visiting the north of Cyprus from the UK, will be required to undergo a PCR test within 72 hours prior to entering the north and present a negative result upon entry. If you have completed the vaccination program and/or previously had COVID-19, you will not be required to quarantine after entry. All other travellers are required to quarantine for 7 days at authority-designated accommodation.
Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status
Cyprus will accept the UK’s solutions to demonstrate your COVID vaccination status. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
Regular entry requirements
For more information on crossing to and from the north of Cyprus, see Local travel.
The rules for travelling or working in European countries changed on 1 January 2021:
- you can travel to Cyprus for up to 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit for family or friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or for short-term studies or training
- visits to other EU or Schengen countries do not count towards the 90-day limit in Cyprus as it is not in the Schengen area. Visits to Cyprus do not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit in the Schengen area
- to stay longer, to work or study, for business travel or for other reasons, you will need to meet the Cypriot government’s entry requirements. Check with the Republic of Cyprus High Commission what type of visa and/or work permit you may need
- if you stay in Cyprus with a residence permit or long-stay visa, this does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit
Any time you spent in Cyprus before 1 January 2021 does not count towards the 90-day visa-free limit.
If you’re a resident in Cyprus, you are advised to carry your Republic of Cyprus-issued residency documents when entering/exiting the Republic of Cyprus.
The Republic of Cyprus does not recognise the self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ in the north of Cyprus, nor residence permits issued by the administration there.
The Republic of Cyprus authorities may count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90 day visa free total. If you overstay, you may potentially face difficulties at the airport on exit or re-entry.
At border control for Cyprus, you may need to use separate lanes from EU, EEA and Swiss citizens when queueing. Your passport may be stamped on entry and exit.
You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
There are separate requirements for those who are resident in Cyprus. If you are resident in Cyprus, you should carry proof of residence as well as your valid passport when you travel. For further information on these requirements, see our Living in Cyprus guide.
Check your passport is valid for travel before you book your trip, and renew your passport if you do not have enough time left on it.
You must have at least 6 months left on an adult or child passport to travel to most countries in Europe (not including Ireland).
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 6 months needed.
If you’re travelling to the north of Cyprus, their administration advises that your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry to the north.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Cyprus.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Cyprus on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Cyprus.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
You should get a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before leaving the UK. If you already have an EHIC it will still be valid as long as it remains in date.
The GHIC or EHIC entitles you to state provided medical treatment that may become necessary during your trip. Any treatment provided is on the same terms as Cypriot nationals. If you don’t have your EHIC with you or you’ve lost it, you can call the NHS Overseas Healthcare Team on +44 191 218 1999 to get a Provisional Replacement Certificate.
It’s important to take out appropriate travel insurance for your needs. A GHIC or EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both before you travel. It does not cover all health-related costs, for example, medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment and non-urgent treatment.
Read more about what your travel insurance should cover.
If you’re living in Cyprus, you can also find more information on healthcare for residents in our Living In Cyprus guide.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. If you are referred to a medical facility for treatment you should contact your insurance/medical assistance company immediately.
Cyprus can experience earthquakes and earth tremors. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake and follow advice given by the local authorities.
You can find an 8-step guide to Earthquake Safety on the Cyprus Civil Defence website.
Forest fires / wildfires
Forest fires / wildfires often occur during the summer months across Cyprus due to the dry/hot weather.
Wildfires are highly dangerous and unpredictable. Take care when visiting or driving through woodland areas. Make sure cigarette ends are properly extinguished, and don’t light barbecues unless you are in a designated site. If you see a fire, call the emergency services on 112 or 1407.
Wildfires can also cause travel disruption in some areas. You should monitor local and international weather updates from the Cyprus Department of Meteorology or European Meteorological Services. Follow the advice of local authorities at all times and check with your travel provider for travel updates. For further information on the risk of wildfires, visit the Department of Forests website.
The Department of Meteorology of Cyprus issues yellow, amber or red warnings for severe weather, especially during the extended summer period and this can at times cause travel disruption. Monitor local and international weather updates from the Cyprus Department of Meteorology or European Meteorological Services, and check with your travel provider if necessary. Follow the advice of local authorities at all times. For severe weather warnings, visit the European Meteorological Services website.
The currency of Cyprus is the Euro.
You can use ATMs, debit and credit cards as normal.
If you’re found with fake euro banknotes the police will be called and you may be prosecuted. Several British nationals have been convicted and imprisoned for possession of fake euros. There are some simple checks you can make before accepting notes:
- The front of a euro note bears the initials of the European Central Bank in five different languages. They should look like this: BCE ECB EZB EKT EKP, in that order.
- They should have a raised print, a watermark, a security thread and a see-through number.
- If you tilt the banknote, you should see a shifting holographic image.
- On the back of €5, €10 and €20 notes you should see a glossy strip and on the larger denominations, a number that changes colour.
The European Central bank’s website has more details.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.