Foreign travel advice

Cyprus

Important COVID-19 Travel

Under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home. You must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. It is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.

Check the rules that apply to you in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you intend to travel to the UK from abroad, including UK nationals returning home, you must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result taken up to 3 days before departure. If you do not comply (and you do not have a valid exemption) your airline or carrier may refuse you boarding and/or you may be fined on arrival.

Before you return to the UK you must provide your journey and contact details. You must self-isolate when you enter the UK from any foreign country except Ireland, unless you have a valid exemption.

When you enter England from abroad (except Ireland), you must follow the new requirements for quarantining and taking additional COVID-19 tests. For those travelling from a country on the banned travel list you will be required to quarantine in a hotel. Different rules apply for arrivals into England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

If you are legally permitted to travel abroad, check our advice on your country of destination. Some other countries have closed borders, and may further restrict movement or bring in new rules including testing requirements with little warning.

Safety and security

Crime

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.

Local travel

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.

Road travel

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.

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

Driving standards are poor. In 2018 there were 53 road deaths in Cyprus (source: Department for Transport). This equates to 6.1 road deaths per 100,000 of population and compares to the UK average of 2.8 road deaths per 100,000 of population in 2018.

Driving regulations

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.

Swimming

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.

Adventure sports

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.

Political situation

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.