I have lived in North Cyprus now for 12 years and during my time I have been involved with the tourist industry in some way or another. Tourism is a way of life here and I love meeting and greeting all our visitors who come from all over the world. I was a holiday representative for 8 years before setting up in the rental management market and have put together some tips to help you enjoy your time here ...
Safety and Health Tips
- It is advisable not to drink the tap water in North Cyprus, bottled water is very cheap in the shops.
- Drink plenty of water in the summer months, and make sure you always carry a bottle of water with you, as it is very easy to become dehydrated.
- If you forget your medication, most prescription drugs can be bought over the counter in chemists.
- If you are visiting during the summer months, try to stay out of the sun between 11am and 4pm as this is when the sun is the strongest.
- It is advisable to take out travel insurance before you travel as health care bills can become expensive.
- There are mosquitoes around so be sure to wear repellent and cover up in the evenings.
- If you need to visit a doctor, there are plenty of private clinics around, where a consultation costs around 80TL - 100TL (around £27 - £40). Make sure you get a receipt (fatura) for all medical care to show to your insurance company.
- If you need to visit a hospital, then you should go to the nearest state hospital. Expect to pay significantly less than private hospitals. Always keep 10TL handy, as you will need to pay this at reception as an entrance fee.
- In an emergency, you need to call 112 for an ambulance, which will take you to the nearest state hospital.
- A boat trip is a fantastic experience, just bear in mind that you are more likely to get sunburnt due to the reflection from the sea.
- Generally the hotel pools and beach areas are not serviced with life guards so be particularly vigilant in the water and pools.
- Make sure you purchase good sunglasses with UV protection as the sun in North Cyprus can be very strong. Sunscreen goes without saying.
- Ladies – It is not advisable to go topless on the beach or in family resorts. North Cyprus is a Muslim country, and it is seen as disrespectful.
- Nightclubs are not as we know them in the western sense. Ask to go to a disco instead.
Shopping in North Cyprus
- Many of the shops on the tourist paths will have imitation products for sale including jeans, watches, handbags and international designer names. Whether to bargain for the price is not clear. Some say prices are fixed, some say they are not. My theory is if you think something is overpriced you could always ask and/or even don't buy.
- Make sure you visit one of the open markets, as they have many types of fruit and vegetables as well as clothing and traditional handicrafts for sale.
- The open markets operate from 10am to 2.30pm Kyrenia open market takes place near the Police Station. Famagusta Open Market takes place in the bus terminal on a Thursday.
- Clothing and shoe sizes are not the same as in the UK. It is worth finding out your European size before you travel as it will be much easier to buy clothing while on holiday.
- Never be afraid to get involved with local life, e.g. going into a village shop or taverna for example, as the locals are very accommodating and friendly.
- I wrote a piece for Dovec Construction whilst employed by them about shopping you may be interested to read. You will find the blog article here.
Eating out in North Cyprus
- You should definitely try to experience the traditional Turkish cuisine, including the “Full Kebab” which is a variety of different meats as well as a large selection of meze (appetisers).
- Turkish Ice Cream or “Maraş Dondurma” is well worth a try. Mainly sold by street sellers, this ice cream is delicious and has the added advantage that it does not melt!
- Try not to limit yourself for dinner as there are so many restaurants in North Cyprus serving delicious food.
- It is the custom to tip around 5 - 10% of the total bill in restaurants but check that this is not already included in the bill.
- Restaurants in the main tourists areas tend to be more pricey than most.
- Looking for somewhere to eat out in Famagusta check out this great restaurant guide at www.restaurantfamagusta.com.
Top Tips for hiring a car
- Why not rent a car so that you can explore the wonders of Northern Cyprus? Car hire is generally cheap, and comes with full insurance for an extra £3 a day.
- Most car hire companies will not rent you a car if you are under 25 years of age.
- You must bring your full UK driving licence with you to hire a car. Photocopies cannot be accepted.
- Once you have hired a car, you must always have your driving licence and insurance paperwork with you if you are driving.
- If you are going to drive to one of the more remote areas such as the Karpaz Peninsula, be sure to fill up with petrol before you go, as petrol stations can be sparse.
- At petrol stations, the attendant will fill up your car for you. It is worth noting whether your hire car is diesel or petrol, however most attendants will know what type of fuel the car takes.
- If you get flashed on the road by drivers in the opposite direction this normally means there is a police control up ahead and not necessarily something that you are doing wrong.
- There are many cameras in North Cyprus so be aware of the speed limits a shown on the signs. If you are photographed speeding you will be presented with a fine next time you visit the island.
- Car hire companies on the North will not allow you to take the car over to the South of the Island.
- If you run into problems with the car you can contact the car hire company directly and they will normally try to rectify the problem or they will change the car (subject to availability, of course).
- If you wish to hire a car from Larnaca airport, you can purchase 3rd party insurance at the border and bring a car from the South to the North.
We welcome guests from all over the world and we want you to feel safe and comfortable whilst here on holiday. Please if you have any questions about North Cyprus, I am always available for a chat.
Your holiday start here ......