Safety and security
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.
It’s possible to travel to the north of Cyprus from the south (and back again). In Nicosia, pedestrians can cross at Ledra Palace and Ledra Street. The main crossing point in Nicosia is Agios Dometios where cars and pedestrians can cross. In the British Eastern Sovereign Base Area there are two crossing points for pedestrians and cars: Pergamos and Strovilia. Other crossing points include Deryneia in the East and Lefka-Aplikli, Kato Pyrgos and Zodeia (car only) in the West.
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 reserves the right to fine you for illegal entry if you cross into the south, or decline you entry into or exit from the Republic.
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.
Short-term visitors and tourists can drive using a UK driving licence. Cypriot driving regulations are similar to those in the UK and driving is on the left.
Driving standards are poor. In 2016 there were 46 road deaths in Cyprus (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 5.4 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2016.
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.
Minor demonstrations have taken place in response to the government’s economic reforms. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities.
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.