I wanted to write this article for years since this was my third time on the tiny island of Cyprus. But for some reason, I didn’t, and now I refreshed some memories about the Cypriot experience.
I love this island and its people so much because it’s such a peaceful and secluded place, full of amazing food and kind people.
Did you know that only 1 in 10 people can point Cyprus on the map?
Although extremely small, Cyprus is a very diverse country, for various reasons. Some are more sensitive than others and you should know about them before visiting Aphrodite’s birthplace.
An Island Split Between British, Greeks, Turks and Russians
As I already said, Cyprus is very diverse, giving its dimensions.
Initially colonised by ancient Greeks, then turned into a British colony, later under a massive military conflict with Turkey, and now currently the go-to warm European escape for Russians, Cyprus has an interesting history for sure.
While the Greek and British influences are more than obvious everywhere you go, if you go to the south side of the island avoid mentioning Turkey at any costs. Cypriots are historically linked to Greece and they were left with a bitter taste after the military conflict with Turkey, that divided the island in half.
The conflict got that bad, that the United Nations had to create a buffer zone border between the north and the south of the island. Although Cyprus acts as one country, the north and south are somehow divided.
Cyprus’ political conflict is notorious in the EU and, to be honest, I don’t think anyone understands it anymore. You can read more about this political conflict on Wikipedia.
The bottom line is to avoid mentioning Turkey since it’s a very sensitive subject for South Cypriots.
Don’t Rely on Their Public Transport
Cyprus has been through an economic recession in 2013 and the effects are still visible.
When I first visited the island – 10 years ago – it was modern and peaceful. Now, on the other hand, things looked like they stood in the exact same place for a while.
Public transport is quite outdated. Larnaca busses are old, it’s almost impossible to find information about the public transport schedule, drivers skip stops, buses don’t stick to their schedule (if you find any) and so on.
For a group of four people, we needed approximately two days to make an itinerary using the bus. You can find information on cyprusbybus.com but brace yourself with a lot of patience.
For a country which is living on tourism, public transport feels like the wild west.
They Speak Good English and Use Euro
Being a former British colony, they speak good English. I was given the impression that their English skills were better the last time I visited, but maybe my English wasn’t that good back then. Compared to Hungarians in Budapest, they could learn a thing or two.
If you speak some English, you’ll be just fine in Cyprus.
Probably a very important point for non-EU citizens – Cyprus uses the Euro as their currency. So you don’t have to worry about other foreign currencies.
Cypriots Drive on the Other Side of the Road
Now… depending on where you’re from, “the other side of the road” might mean different things. In Cyprus, they drive on the left side of the road. Remember the whole “British colony thing”? That’s one of the things British left behind. Besides loads of tea.
If you want to rent a car for your vacation here, but you never drove a car on the left side of the road, maybe doublethink that.
It’s a Go To Secluded Vacation Destination
I visited Cyprus during its peak and off-peak seasons.
No matter when you’re going, it’s a secluded place. And this is what I love the most about it. Sometimes it almost feels abandoned.
If you go to the most touristy side of the island – which is Ayia Napa – then it will be crowded for sure. If you like busy beaches, that’s the place for you. But for those of us who love isolated places, Cyprus is heaven.
People Are Very Kind Here
In all my trips to Cyprus, I never met one single rude person. I mean it!
The country grew around tourism and they know how to accommodate tourists, which makes them very kind and thoughtful. You’ll get extra snacks at restaurants, bus drivers will come back to pick you up if they skipped your bus stop and so on.
Try Their Local Food
Because of its mixed cultural background, Cypriot cuisine is an amazing blend of Greek and Turkish foods. Both Turkey and Greece are famous for their cuisine, so having them both blended is like a dream come true for any foodie.
Probably their most famous local product is halloumi – which is a cheese made out of sheep and goat milk. It’s perfect for grilling and they have different halloumi dishes.
Other famous foods are souvlaki, sheftalia, moussaka, taramosalata and of course… seafood.
Perfect Weather All Year Long
Right now, at the beginning of November – one month before Christmas, the average temperature is 26-27 degrees C (79-80 F). Which is the perfect temperature for sunbathing.
The sea is colder though during winter and early spring though.
Even winter is perfect here. Although 15 degrees C (60 F) is cold for Cypriots, for the rest of Europe it’s actually brilliant.
So you can visit Cyprus until late October, even early November. Their colder (which translates into “rainy”) is January. So you can extend your summer here until November, if you feel like.
There’s No Drinkable Water
Being a small piece of land, surrounded by saltwater, drinkable water is a problem here.
Locals drink tap water, but foreign people are advised to drink bottled water instead. Our friend drank tap water and nothing bad happened to him, but I would advise to stick with the general recommendation and drink only bottled water while there.
Another consequence of their climate and geography is that they are very resourceful with their sewage. It’s expensive to turn salt water into drinking water. So they are very careful with their water usage and they recycle the sewage for agriculture. Out of respect for their precious resources, try taking short showers and don’t throw the toilet paper in the toiler, but in the bin that you’ll find in every bathroom.
Have you ever been to Cyprus, would you like to visit it? How did you find these facts about Cyprus? Let me know in the comments!