Southern Cyprus Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Southern Cyprus
How safe is Southern Cyprus?
Threat level: Low-Medium
The current travel safety advice for Southern Cyprus is to remain cautious on your travels. In 2016, a hijacked flight was diverted from its route between two Egyptian cities and landed in Larnaca airport in Cyprus. The hijacker was arrested and the incident resolved immediately.
Providing the correct safety precautions are taken, your trip to Cyprus should be pleasant and hassle-free.
In July 2011, there was a military accident in Cyprus that was considered to be the worst in history. The peacetime accident saw 98 containers of explosives self-detonate at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base, after being left in the sun for over 2 and a half years. 13 people were killed including Cyprus’s most senior naval officer. It further damaged hundreds of nearby buildings including the island’s largest power station, which resulted in black outs for much of the country.
Many of the country’s residents were angry by this disaster and believe it could have been avoided. This led to demonstrations by thousands of citizens in the capital city, Nicosia and other large cities for the week following the disaster.
Due to UK and US action in Syria in mid-March 2018, there is more of a heightened risk of incidents against Westerners in Cyprus. It is also possible that tourist areas may be subject to terror attacks during the summer months, but by then, the threat may have diminished somewhat. It should be noted that the Brirish Air base of RAF Akrotiri near Limassol was used to mount the US-led air strikes against Syria.
There is a UN buffer zone that separates Southern Cyprus with Northern Cyprus and you should not attempt to enter this at any place other than the designated zones. There are mines in the area and it is highly militarised.
You should not photograph any military areas in the country as this could cause you trouble. Police strictly enforce no photography regulations. Some tourist bars and cabarets may overcharge foreign nationals for drinks. General crime against tourists is rare, however you should exercise normal precautions such as securing valuables away and not keeping lots of cash on you.
Southern Cyprus's International Relations
Southern Cyprus is a member of the United Nations, alongside the Commonwealth of Nations and World Bank amongst others.
It has historically followed the non-aligned foreign policy, however, since joining the EU in 2004, it had enjoy strong relations with the organisation, as well as with Greece and Israel.
Travelling around Southern Cyprus
Most visitors are able to use their driving licences to operate vehicles in Southern Cyprus, for a maximum of 90 days. Driving takes place on the left-hand side of the road. Many of the secondary roads in the country are small and winding and not as well maintained as many of the main roads. The driving standards in Southern Cyprus are relatively poor and road accidents are common. Travellers should exercise extreme caution when driving a vehicle.
If you are planning on entering Northern Cyprus, you should be aware that insurance purchased in Southern Cyprus is not valid. You can purchase insurance near the UN buffer zone check points. Many car hire companies will not allow travel to the north, you should check with your provider if you plan to visit the north. The main crossing point for South to North is Agios Dometio in Nicosia. If you would like to travel by foot, the Ledra Palace and Ledra Street checkpoints are located in central Nicosia.
Upon your return to the South, there are strict controls on the quantities and types of goods brought back from the North. There is, for example, a limit of 40 cigarettes per individual when crossing the border.
Emergency services in Southern Cyprus
All emergency services: 112
Air/sea rescue: 1441
Southern Cyprus Overview
Time now in Nicosia:
Consular information for Southern Cyprus
U.S. Embassy Nicosia
Metochiou and Ploutarchou Street,
Telephone: +357 22 39 39 39
British High Commission Nicosia
Alexander Pallis Street,
PO Box 21978,
Telephone: +357 22 861100 (Urgent assistance)
Visa requirements for Southern Cyprus
Visitors to Southern Cyprus from the UK, EU and US can enter Southern Cyprus without needing a visa. As Northern Cyprus is not recognised by the official government, it is highly advised that you only enter and leave the country via Larnaca and Paphos airports and the seaports Limassol, Larnaca and Paphos. Further advice information can be found here: Visa advice Southern Cyprus
Healthcare and Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Southern Cyprus are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
European travellers with an EHIC will be entitled to the same emergency care as Cypriot nationals, however it does not cover medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment. As such, you should ensure that you have extensive medical insurance that will cover you for such instances.