Cyprus is a Mediterranean island positioned south of Turkey, the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, right after Sicily and Sardinia. Geographically, this island is in Asia though politically it belongs to Europe and is even a member of the EU.
This gorgeous island is most famous for its archeological findings, its turquoise beaches and beautiful coastal drives. Divided into a Turkish North and a Greek South, it is a place that invites many tourists to visit each year. There is about one million British nationals that visit Cyprus every year, and with this staggering number of tourists, it is no surprise that most visits go by smoothly and with no troubles, however one should be cautious since this country has some safety issues.
Warnings & Dangers in Cyprus
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Cyprus is generally very safe to travel to, even though it is geographically close to countries hit by terrorism and wars. Petty crime does occur, especially during the holidays and summer.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Taxis and other types of transportation are normally safe in Cyprus, with reliable and modern vehicles. Taxi sharing is not permitted in Cyprus.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocketing and bag snatching have been reported and such cases occasionally happen, as do cases of valuables theft when left unattended or in plain sight in an unattended vehicle. Be cautious when handling money or other objects of importance.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Minor tremors happen occasionally in Cyprus. In the event of a natural disaster, follow the advice of the local authorities.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Street crime rarely happens and even if it does, it is usually performed by unarmed criminals. Armed robbery is most common in the Turkish, northern part of the country, and is rare elsewhere.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
A general threat of terrorism exists, since Cyprus is located very near to war and terrorism stricken countries, to which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office adds: “Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Scams do happen, during the holidays and summer when the number of visitors increases, so double check your change and negotiate everything in advance.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
When it comes to women traveling alone, if you follow the basic protocols of a lone traveler, male or female then your trip to Cyprus should go smoothly. Use common sense and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
So... How Safe Is Cyprus Really?
The main safety issue with Cyprus is that it’s surrounded by countries hit by terrorism and war – with Turkey to its north, Syria and Lebanon to its east and Egypt and Israel to its south.
The island is located just over 50 miles off the west coast of Syria at its closest point and it takes just under an hour to get to it- when travelling by plane. There have been numerous incidents where refugees kept arriving to Cyprus by boat, after making the perilous trip from Turkey or Syria.
Overall, Cyprus is a safe country and has seen less violent crime on the streets or elsewhere than other European countries of similar size. However, crime-related incidents do occur as does petty crime. Most street crimes are non-violent and non-confrontational, and the chances of tourists being attacked are very low. The incidents range from scams to petty theft and, as a tourist, you should mostly be concerned about pickpocketing, and that only applies to areas frequented by tourists. You should be careful when handling money or other objects of importance since thefts of valuables left in plain sight in unattended vehicles also happen. However, these cases as well as cases of pickpocketing, purse snatching or carjacking are likely to rise during the holidays or summer when the number of tourists also increases.
The highest number of robberies and armed crime in the Turkish part of Cyprus was reported in Kyrenia, Famagusta, and northern Nicosia.
- Visas - You might need a travel visa in case you are traveling to Cyprus for reasons other than immigration, and you plan for your visit to last less than three months. The travel visa enables you to travel to Cyprus continuously or to visit it several times. However, the total duration of your visits should not exceed three months. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - There are two currencies in Cyprus, euro and Turkish lira. The Cypriot pound was replaced by the euro as official currency of the Republic of Cyprus on 1 January 2008 and the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus used and still officially uses the Turkish lira as their currency.
- Weather - Cyprus possibly has the warmest climate and warmest winters in the Mediterranean part of the European Union. The average annual temperature on the coastline is around 24 °C during the day and 14 °C during night. Its climate is temperate with hot and dry summers and cool winters. The country, generally speaking, is basking in the sun the whole year round.
- Airports - Larnaca International Airport is Cyprus' main international gateway and the largest of the country's two commercial airports, the other being Paphos International Airport on the island's southwestern coast. It is located 4 km southwest of Larnaca.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Cyprus, since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.