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Facts about Cyprus


Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

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Traffic in Cyprus

Driving on the left

If you come from UK, driving in Cyprus will not be different for you as the traffic moves on the left. Front seatbelt use is a compulsory. Children under five are not allowed to occupy the front seats and if between five to ten years old, they can sit in front only if wearing seatbelts.

Driving and Alcohol

Drunk-driving laws are as strict as in the UK or North America or even stricter: 39 mg of alcohol allowed per 100 ml of breath (50 mg in the North). If you happen to be caught in the North, you will pay a stiff fine and spend the night in a drying-out cell.

Speed Limits in the South

There is a 100 kph (minimum 65 kph) speed limit on dual carriageways, 80 kph on the rural roads and 50 kph in towns. The entries into urban area zones are signed as 'Build-up Areas'.

Speed Limits in the North

The speed limits are nearly the same, but still may be posted in miles per hour: 100 kph/60mph on the Kyrenia - Nicosia - Famagusta highway, 60 kph/40 mph on the smaller back roads and 50 kph/30 mph in built-up areas. Watch the road signs attentively.

Speed Traps

Urban boundaries are not clearly sign-marked in the North, but there are khaki-drill-clad policemen holding speed traps with radar devices in their hands, mainly at town outskirts. A well-known trap spot for netting large numbers of drivers is just west of Kyrenia, near the military camp, in particular on weekend nights. If you are caught, police is apt to behave politely. There is a fifteen day term to pay your citations at the district police station; if you do not, your name might be added into airport computer at departure. Fines ( 4 -5) are geared to local salaries and thus may seem very low to tourists, however follow the rules and the road signs. Radar speed traps are now commonly used on the motorways of the South.

Parking

In the larger towns of South Cyprus there can be found many parking lots designated, they are not expensive (C0.40 or C0.50) for a half day in Nicosia or Larnaca is the most you will ever pay. The parking meters on the commercial streets take twenty cent coins per hour and yellow lines at kerbsides signify the same as in UK: single, no parking during business hours; double, no parking or stopping at all. In North Cyprus parking zones are poorly indicated, though a policeman can appear and politely announce you to park your vehicle elsewhere as advised. Car parks are called Oto Parks.

Road Conditions

When in the South, the roads vary in four scales: in descending order of quality, A, B, E, and F, as signed on maps and highways. 'A' roads are of the best quality, four-lane divided motorways linking Nicosia with Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos and Agia Napa, while 'B' roads are major undivided highways provided as a rule with verges. At the other end of the grade, 'E' are two-lane country roads while 'F' can mean either a one-lane paved dive or a dirt track fit only for jeep or a geared mountain bike. Much of the F or sub-F roads across the island are single-lane colonial relics covered with a thick layer of asphalt over British cobbles. They are extremely bumpy with sharp edges and are netted in the vast and distant areas, however, in some frequent tourist locations too. Lack of lane markings on E and F roads, and blind corners with no mirrors aggravate the effects of bad local driving.

Signposting

In Cyprus signposting varies, village exits are usually not apparent, so it is better to ask locals or passers-by about the directions. By contrast, the Troodos range forestry roads are almost always marked with the white letters on a green background. In North Cyprus, however, many rural signs are badly faded. In some frequently visited spots in the Kyrenia Mountains the condition of signs is better.

Car Hire

Hiring a car is the best solution for exploring the island on your own. There are many car hire companies in all major towns that offer various brands at reasonable prices.

Check also borders crossing when transferring from the North to the South and vice versa.

Scooters and Cycles

In the southern coastal resort there is an opportunity of renting a small scooter for C4-7 a day (or even C15 a week); few people will want to take them further than the beach, as you will get scant respect from four-wheeled motorists on curvy mountain roads. In the South the crash helmet is necessary for anything over 50 cc. Rental of motor-scooters and pedal-bikes occur very little in the North, with just a few outlets in downtown Kyrenia during summer only.

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