Technically sitting in the vicinity of Asia but functionally a European country, Cyprus is an island nation that is visited by more than 2 million people per annum. “Why?” you might ask. Well, its welcoming locals and excellent weather patterns are just the icing on the cake as this fine Mediterranean paradise is more than a siren’s call in and of itself. Harbouring over 1.1 million inhabitants and stretching upon an area of 9,251 square kilometres, Cyprus has evidence of human activity since the 10th millennium BC – quite a feat for an island of its size, isn’t it? With that in mind, let us see what this sprawling and ancient place has to offer in terms of pros and cons.
Knowing the tipping rules in a country you visit is the absolute foundation of your etiquette. In Cyprus, however, these rules are less rigid than in other countries. There, you do not have to tip if you don’t feel like it but the locals usually leave an extra of 1 to 3 Euros (the local currency). While most bars and restaurants include service fees to their bills, they usually do not reach the workers themselves. Taxis, however, are a completely different story – drivers need to be tipped or they’ll look funny (wink). Rounding up the bill usually works but the general tip size should be around 5% of the total fare. Sharing is caring, eh?
2. Divided we stand, united we fall:
Cyprus is one of the last countries in the world to be divided in the way that it is. Simply put, the northern section of the island is inhabited by Turkish Cypriots whilst the southern regions are run by the Greeks (in terms of size, 40% of the island pertains to the north and 60% to the south). Nicosia, for example, is the last divided city in the world with its northern side serving as the capital of the north and the southern side serving as that of the south. There is a UN-protected green zone between the two subdivisions of the country and crossing between them is becoming ever the smoother. There is one thing to keep in mind though: mention this division and the war to no one as it is considered beyond impolite!
3. Language barriers:
There are two official languages in Cyprus and these are Turkish and Greek. Obviously, the density of the speakers of these two are separated by the political boundaries established in our previous point – the north has more Turkish speakers whilst the south more Greeks. English is widely spoken in the southern section as it is frequented by more tourists whilst in the north you might experience slight language barriers. It is best to learn a couple of words in the official language of the section that you are planning on visiting and to keep English as an extra trick up your sleeve. Overall, you should encounter no problems as this fine island nation is in an extremely touristy zone and getting lost is near-impossible (wink)!
Though politically somewhat unstable and constantly on the radar of the United Nations, Cyprus is generally considered a safe place to visit. Its divided nature does not translate into turmoil and this is great news for people who have already purchased their plane tickets. Violent crime is nearly unheard of and even the criminals that exist there are unarmed. The touristy areas are prone to common scams that target newcomers but this is something that occurs no matter where you might tread in the world. Just stay smart and avoid the overly helpful locals that have a funny look (wink)!
It is important to know that Cyprus used to be under British rule for quite some time and this directly translated into the fact that the locals drive on the left. We all know how the Mediterranean countries are notorious for their hectic driving but the case is not so bad in Cyprus. Some roads, however, are lacking proper care and you might want to take it easy on them – especially when considering the fact that many of them are quite winding as well. Drive slow, put on the seatbelt, and stay safe!
Did you enjoy our list? How did your trip to Cyprus turn out? Would you go there again if you had the chance? Tell us all about it below in the comment section and make sure to leave nothing out! Oh, and do check back for exciting new updates periodically as many more adventures await! Woe to all who stop at the horizon (wink)! Safe travels!