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.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Cyprus’s current entry restrictions and requirements. Due to COVID-19, these may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country on your journey, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides appropriate cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
There are rules about taking food and drink into the EU. See Taking food and drink into the EU for further information.
Around one million British nationals visit Cyprus every year. Most visits are trouble-free, however we advise British nationals that we are not able to offer full consular support to those visiting the areas in the north of the island which are not under the effective control of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus.
The authorities in north Cyprus do not share information regarding British Nationals in distress, for more information see Safety and security.
If you’re living in or moving to Cyprus, visit our Living in Cyprus guide in addition to this travel advice.
Terrorist attacks in Cyprus can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
Cyprus has a strict zero tolerance towards drugs. See Local laws and customs
Driving standards are poor. You should drive with great care. See Road travel
If you need to contact the emergency services call 112.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the TravelHealthPro website for information on COVID-19 risks in Cyprus and further advice on reducing the spread of respiratory viruses.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Cyprus.
Be prepared for your plans to change
Countries may restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice. 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 are advised to contact your GP and receive relevant treatment. You will be advised to self-isolate for at least 5 days, unless advised otherwise by your GP. You must wear a double face-mask or one high-protection face-mask (FFP2 or N95) for at least 10 days. 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
You can cross between the Republic and the north and vice versa from any of the available crossing points. The crossing point at Ledra Palace and Ledra/Lokmaci Street can only be used by pedestrians.
Healthcare in Cyprus
See the Cypriot Ministry of Health website for information on coronavirus from the Cypriot authorities.
What to do if you test positive for coronavirus
You will be advised to self-isolate for 5 days from the date of a positive test. It is not necessary to test negative after 5 days.
The Cypriot authorities recommend that you self-isolate in your private accommodation and do not use public facilities. You will need to pay any additional accommodation costs incurred during the isolation period.
If you have tested positive for coronavirus and have serious concerns about your symptoms, you are advised to seek medical attention. Specific COVID-19 hospitals are available in most cities.
If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, you are advised to take a test on days 3 and 5 from your contact with a positive case.
You can find a list of English speaking doctors online.
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.
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.
The Republic of Cyprus is a full member of the EU, but the country remains divided by the Green Line. The self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ is not recognised by the British government.
The authorities in north Cyprus do not share information regarding British Nationals in distress with the British High Commission, or the families affected. Even when the High Commission is aware of a British National in distress, the authorities in the north will not share information about their location, wellbeing or treatment. This limits the ability of the British High Commission to provide Consular assistance to British nationals travelling to the north of Cyprus, meaning they are more vulnerable and at greater risk.
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.
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 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 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 maximum period of visa-free stay in the Republic of Cyprus for all non-resident UK Nationals is 90 days within a 180-day period. The Republic of Cyprus authorities count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90 day visa-free total. You should not exceed the maximum stay allowed on the island. If you do overstay, you should expect difficulties at the airport on exit. Furthermore, if you subsequently return to Cyprus you could face further difficulties, including being refused entry and/or being placed on a stop list for a period of between 3 to 5 years. The British High Commission cannot provide assistance in such cases. 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.
If you are planning to drive in Cyprus, see information on Driving Abroad.
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 a British car abroad
You may need a UK sticker to drive your car outside the UK. From 28 September 2021 UK stickers have replaced GB stickers. Check the GOV.UK Displaying number plates website for more information on what to do if you are driving outside the UK.
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.
See the European Commission, AA and RAC guides on driving in Cyprus.
Make sure any vehicle you hire is in good condition and check that you’re insured. When renting mopeds or quad bikes, insurance sold by the hire company usually only provides third party insurance, which only covers the cost of damage to another vehicle. Any damage sustained to the rental vehicle in many cases may need to be paid for by you, or you may face arrest if you do not pay and the hire company decide to press charges.
Rental companies often ask for your passport as a deposit. That is illegal. You should never offer your passport as collateral.
Quad biking is considered an extreme sport and carries the risk of serious injury or death. Specific travel insurance to cover quad bike rental is essential to avoid you having to pay the costs of private health care and/or repatriation to the UK. Always take care to read the details of your insurance cover before you travel on holiday, paying particular attention to the small print and exclusions on your insurance policy.
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. The self-declared ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ is not recognised by the British government.
The authorities in north Cyprus do not routinely share information regarding British Nationals in distress with the British High Commission, and this impedes our ability to respond quickly in order to support vulnerable British nationals there.
International Parental Child Abduction – north Cyprus
The authorities in north Cyprus do not act on British instruments of Court and will not share information with the British High Commission on minors who are subject to UK court orders. This means the British High Commission are unable to ensure that these minors are properly safeguarded.
Terrorist attacks in Cyprus can’t be ruled out. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.
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 illegal drugs, which now includes laughing gas. 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 illegal 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.
The British High Commission website has lists of local lawyers for Cyprus and Cyprus (north).
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.
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 has information on travelling to Cyprus.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Cyprus set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Cyprus’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
As of 1 June 2022, passengers travelling to Cyprus are not required to present any sort of vaccination or recovery certificate, nor a negative COVID test result.
You should continue to track developments through the Press and Information Office.
Entry requirements for Cyprus are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status or whether you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past year.
Visiting the north of Cyprus
Entry requirements in the north of Cyprus are the same for all travellers, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status or whether you have tested positive in the past year.
Children and young people
There are no specific requirements for children and young people.
If you’re transiting through Cyprus
Transiting is when you pass through one country on the way to your final destination.
Check with your airline before departing.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
If you are planning to travel to an EU country (except Ireland), or Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino or Vatican City, you must follow the Schengen area passport requirements.
Your passport must be:
- Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
- valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)
You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.
Contact the embassy of the country you are visiting if you think that your passport does not meet both these requirements. Renew your passport if you need to.
For more information on crossing to and from the north of Cyprus, see Local travel.
Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area, Visits to Cyprus do not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit in the Schengen area.
Visits to other EU or Schengen countries do not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit in Cyprus.
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.
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 are travelling to Cyprus for work, read the guidance on visas and permits.
If you stay in Cyprus with a Cypriot residence permit or long-stay visa, this time does not count towards your 90-day visa-free limit for Cyprus.
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 will count time spent in the north of Cyprus towards the 90 day visa free total. If you overstay, you will potentially face difficulties at the airport on exit or re-entry.
As a visitor, your passport will be stamped when you enter and exit Cyprus. Border guards will use the passport stamps to check you’re complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for short stays in Cyprus.
If you enter or exit the Schengen area through Cyprus as a visitor, check that your passport is stamped. This will show border guards that you are complying with the 90-day visa-free limit for Cyprus and the separate 90-day visa-free limit for the Schengen area.
If the relevant entry or exit stamp is not in your passport, border guards will presume that you have overstayed your visa-free limit. If you show evidence eg transport tickets to prove when you entered or exited Cyprus, border guards should add this entry or exit date and the location in your passport.
You may also need to:
- show a return or onward ticket
- show you have enough money for your stay
If you have a Withdrawal Agreement residency document for another country, your passport might still be stamped if you are a visitor to Cyprus.
If you are resident in Cyprus, read our Living in Cyprus guide for passport stamping information.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Cyprus.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
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, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.