Cyprus Tourism Organisation
Leoforos Lemesou (Limassol Av.) 19
Postal address: PO Box 4535,
CY 1390 Lefkosia (Nicosia), Cyprus
Telex: 2165 CYTOUR - Telefax: (02) 331644/334696
Tel. (02) 337715 Cable: Cytour


Physical geography

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean with an area of 9,251 square kilometres (3,572 sq. miles). It has a maximum length of 241km (150 miles) from east to west, and a maximum width of 96km (60 miles) from north to south. The distance from London is 3,753km (2,333 miles), from Paris 3,049km (1,895 miles), from Berlin, 2,899km (1,802 miles), from New York 8,769km (5,450 miles), and from Athens 933km (580 miles). There are two mountain ranges extending in parallel lines from west to east, and they are separated by a wide and fertile plain - the Messaoria. The Kyrenia, or Northern range, rises to a height of about 1,000 metres a.s.l. (3,300 feet), and the Troodos mountain massif in the southwest culminates in the peak of Mount Olympus at 1,951 metres a.s.l. (6.404 feet).


Cyprus has an intense Mediterranean climate which makes the island one of the healthiest places in the world. The long dry summer fills alike the bathing beaches and the pine-clad mountains, where the climate is equable, dry, sunny and bracing. Winters are mild and invigorating in the plains and on the coast (340 days of bright sunshine annually, lowest sea temperature in January at 16°C, or 61°F). In the mountains snow begins to fall in December, and skiing is usually possible from January to March.

Economic geography

Tourism is the leading sector of the economy. Total foreign receipts from tourism in 1994 were c£810 million and remained at the same level for 1995.

The contribution of the agricultural sector to the gross domestic product at current market prices was 5.7 per cent in 1995. Agriculture exports constituted in 1995 about 41.8 per cent (agricultural prod. 29.2 per cent). Industrial products of agricultural origin constituted 12.6 per cent.

Manufacture contributes 12.7 per cent to the gross domestic product and industrial products of mineral and manufacturing origin, 68.6 per cent of the total volume of domestic exports. The main agriculture products are potatoes, citrus fruits, grapes and fresh vegetables. Manufactured goods include: clothing, footwear, cement, medicinal and pharmaceutical products.


The population is about 729,800, the majority of which are Greek (83.5 per cent). Lefkosia (Nicosia) counts 188,800 inhabitants, Lemesos (Limassol) 146,200, Larnaka 65,300, and Pafos, 35,300.

A brief history

Cyprus is an island rich in history. There is evidence that it was inhabited as long ago as 6800 BC. The island was colonised by Mycenean Greeks at the end of the 14th century BC who also Hellenised the island. Its successive rulers include the Assyrians, the Persians, the Egyptians, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Francs Lusignans, the Venetians, the Turks and the British. After thousands of years under foreign administration, the island has, with effect from 1960, attained independent status.

On 20 July 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied 40 per cent of the northern part of the island. That part of the island, which includes Famagusta, Kyrenia and Morfou regions, is inaccessible to foreign visitors.


Greek Orthodox is the principal religion of the Greeks but also there are Maronites, Armenians and Latins and Islam of the Turks.

Languages spoken by nationals

Greek is the main language. English is spoken almost everywhere. French and German are also spoken.


Cyprus time is two hours ahead of G.M.T.


The legal unit of currency is the Cyprus £, which is divided into 100 cents. Coins: one, two, five, ten, 20 and 50 cents. Banknotes: C£1, C£5, C£10 and C£20.

Official holidays (all offices and shops closed)

1 January, New Year's Day; 6 January, Epiphany Day; 10 March, Green Monday; March 25, Greek Independence Day; April 1, Greek Cypriot National Day; 12 April, Good Friday (shops open); 28 April, Easter Monday; May 1 Labour Day; 16 June, Pentecost; Kataklysmos, (Festival of the flood); 15 August, Assumption, Virgin Mary's Dormition; 1 October, Cyprus Independence Day; 28 October, Greek National Day; 24 December, Christmas Eve (shops open); 25 and 26 December; all Sundays.

What one should not fail to see

Cyprus abounds in historic places of prime importance and interest and any of the local tourist information bureaux will be glad to provide you with information as to how you can visit them. Several of the travel agents run organised daily tours to these places. The following are some of the many places of interest:

Lefkosia (Nicosia)

The Cyprus Museum, a treasure house of antiquities from neolithic tools (6800 BC) to the early Christian period, the medieval city walls; St. John's Cathedral, the Folk Art Museum; Makarios Cultural Centre (Byzantine Icons Museum and Art Gallery), Famagusta Gate (cultural centre of Lefkosia), the Cyprus Handicraft Service, the Leventis Historic Municipal Museum of Lefkosia. Laiki Geitonia (traditional pedestrian quarter). Hadjigeorgakis Kornesios House, the State collection of modern art and the Municipal Arts Centre.

Lemesos (Limassol)

The District Archaeological Museum, Kolossi Castle; Temple of Apollo, the Medieval Museum and Castle; the Folk Art Museum; the Municipal Gallery, the ancient city-kingdom of Kourion with its theatre, early Christian basilica etc.

Ammochostos (Famagusta)

The town and the largest part of the district of Ammochostos are under the occupation of the Turkish invading forces and have been declared as prohibited areas by the Government of Cyprus.


The District Archaeological Museum, St Lazarus Church, the Mycenaean Kition, the Pierides Collection of Antiquities, the Tekke of Umm Haram, the Byzantine Church of Panagia Angeloktisti (Our Lady 'Built by the Angels') at Kiti village, Khirokitia Neolithic Site, Stavrovouni Monastery (women are not allowed), Agios Minas Convent and Lefkara village.


The District Archaeological Museum, Tombs of the Kings, the famous Pafos Mosaics (Houses of Dionysus, Theseus and Aion), St Paul's Pillar, the Byzantine Museum, St Neophytos Monastery, the Baths of Aphrodite near Polis, Temple of Aphrodite at Kouklia, the birthplace of Aphrodite (Venus), and the Folk Art Museum at Geroskipou.


The town and district of Kyreneia are under the occupation of the Turkish Invading Forces and have been declared prohibited areas by the Government of Cyprus.

Troodos Mountains

In addition to the picturesque villages, Troodos abounds in Byzantine monasteries and churches with exquisite mural paintings. Due to their excellent iconogaphy, nine Byzantine churches of the Troodos area have been included in UNESCO's World Heritage Official List. These are: Assinou, Podithou, St. Nicholas of the Roof, Panagia tou Araka, Stavros tou Agiasmati, Stavros at Pelendri, St. John Lampadistis, Panagia tou Moutoulla and Archangel in Pedoulas.

Most favourable seasons for sojourns and touring

For sojourns in seaside resorts: all the year round. Summer hill resorts: April-October. Winter mountain skiing: January-March.

Any time is a good time to visit.

How to dress

Light clothes for summer, tweeds for winter, flannels for autumn and spring.

Main holiday resorts

Seaside resorts are: Lemesos (Limassol), Larnaka, Pafos, Agia Napa, Paralimni, Protaras, Polis.

Hill resorts are: Platres, Pera Pedi, Agros, Troodos, Prodtomos, Pedhoulas, Kalopanagiotis, Moutoullas, Kakopetria, Galata.

Main holiday sports

Swimming, sailing, skin-diving, waterskiing, skiing, horse-riding, tennis, squash, football, windsurfing, hiking, cycling.

What to eat and drink

Apart from the usual European dishes served in the island's main hotels and restaurants, famous Cyprus specialities such as the following should not be missed:

  • meze: it includes Kaskavalli, halloumi or feta, houmous, khiromeri, taramas, zalatina, seftalia, dolmades, mousaka, tavas and many other local dishes;
  • savouries: Pita, yiaourti, patcha, koupes, zalatina, avgolemoni;
  • sweets: Soujoukko, loucoumi, kadeif, halvas, kattimeri;
  • Drinks: a) wines: Cyprus produces the whole range of wines: red, white, sweet and dry, as well as sherries, vermouth, ports and champagne, and the famous Commandaria Cyprus dessert wine;
  • b) Other drinks: an excellent lager beer is produced locally and imported beers are obtainable everywhere. Coffee is served in Turkish and French styles and tea is also widely used.

What to buy

Handmade laces, embroideries and table linens (Lefkarita), local woven curtains and carpets, basketwork and pottery. Large, locally made copper cooking pots are still sold at fairs. Wines, spirits, fresh and dried fruit, cordials and confections.

Lefkara and the surrounding villages in the Larnaka district hold pride of place as the centre of the famous and centuries-old Cyprus lace industry: Lefkaritika.

Frontier formalities


A valid passport without visa for bona fide tourists is required for a stay of up to three months for nationals of:

a) Antigua, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Barbuda, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Dominica, Fiji, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Grenadines, Guyana, Hungary (for a stay of 30 days), Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania,Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nauru, Netherlands, Nevis, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, Solomon Islands, San Marino, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia (for a stay of 30 days), Spain, Sri Lanka, St Christopher, St Lucia, St Vincent, South Africa (for a stay of 30 days), Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vanuatu, Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
b) Other countries will need a valid passport with visa.

Note 1: Collective passports: admitted. Visas required except if the holder belongs to a country mentioned at a) above.
Note 2: Transit visas for a stay of up to five days in Cyprus not required if the holder is a citizen of a country mentioned at A above. Citizens of other countries, except Turkey and Iraq, may obtain transit visas for a stay of up to five days upon arrival provided their case is considered bona fide and they are in possession of onward tickets and visas for their country of destination where such visas are required. Citizens of TurKey and Iraq require prior visas issued by the Migration Officer, Ministry of the Interior, CY 1457 Lefkosia.
Note 2:Persons without nationality (stateless) possessing travel documents valid for at least six months may obtain transit visa upon arrival in Cyprus under the same conditions mentioned above. This does not apply to holders of travel documents issued by the Arab Republic of Egypt, who should obtain prior visas from the Migration Officer, Ministry of the Interior, CY 1457 Lefkosia.
Note 3: Application for visa should be made to a Consulate of the Republic or if none, to the nearest British Consulate.
Note 4: Free visa for nationals of: Bulgaria, Israel, Arab Republic of Egypt, Syrian Arab Republic and Ukraine. Fee for visas: C£5. transit visa: free.
Note 5: Persons entering as visitors are not allowed to take up any form of employment or engage in business. Persons wishing to enter Cyprus for employment or business as well as for studies should be in possession of entry permits prior to their departure for Cyprus.
Note 6: Travellers arriving in the Republic of Cyprus may enter the Republic only through the legal ports of entry: Larnaka and Pafos International Airports, or the ports of Larnaka, Lemesos and Pafos. The ports of Ammochostos (Famagusta), Kyreneia and Karavostasi, as well as the airports in the part of the Republic illegally occupied by the Turkish invasion forces have been declared by the Government as prohibited ports of entry and exit and no passenger should enter or leave the Republic through these ports.

Health regulations

Passengers entering Cyprus do not need vaccinations against any disease.


Bona fide baggage may be imported free of duty as well as certain personal items for use by visitors. Also free of duty to import: 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g tobacco, one litre of potable spirits, 0.75 litres of wine and 0.30 litres of perfumed spirits and toilet waters, of which not more than 0.15 litres is perfumed spirits.

Temporary visitors may also import free of duty their motor vehicles for use by themselves during their temporary stay in the Republic, provided that they have not stayed in the Republic more than 365 days during the two years preceding the date of importation of the vehicle or they have not kept in the Republic any other vehicle temporarily admitted free of duty. Initially a period of three months is granted at the port of importation. Thereafter, an extension of up to a maximum of one year may be granted on application to Customs Headquarters, Lefkosia (Nicosia).

Currency regulations

Visitors may import any amount of Cypriot or foreign bank notes. They should declare to customs, on form D. (N.R.), their Cypriot and foreign bank notes for purposes of: Deposit with banks in Cyprus, purchase of goods or immovable property, or re-export.

Main travel routes

The free areas of Cyprus are covered by a satisfactory highway system embracing 5,806km of paved roads and 5,051km miles of gravel roads. There are buses connecting all towns and villages of the island. The average cost per seat for a 0km (25 mile) run is 90 cents. Efficient transurban taxi services (shared taxi) also connect all the main towns of the island, and a single seat may be reserved at an approximate rate of C£1.70 for a 40km (25 miles) run. Urban taxis are available in all towns and tariffs are based on a taximetre.


Special events 1997

Epiphany, 6 January (seaside towns) - International Akamas Festival (February) Carnival (Lemesos, Larnaka, Pafos in March) - Easter Festivities (April) - 22nd Cyprus International State Fair at Lefkosia (May) - CTO Summer Events (June-September) Pafia Festival (June-September) - Lemesos festival (July) - Wine Festival, Lemesos (First ten days in September) - Othello Festival '97 (September) - 25th Cyprus Rally (last weekend of September) - Various International Tennis Tournament (throughout the year) -Larnaka Festival (July) - Agia Napa Festival (end of September) - Kypria Festival (September).

Representatives abroad

Austria: Zypern Tourismus, Parkring 20, A-1010 Wien.

Belgium: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, 2 Boulevard Clovis (Square Ambiorix, 10o0 Brussels.

Egypt: Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, Ismail Mohamed Street 23A, 1st floor, Zamalek, Cairo.

France: Office du Tourisme de Chypre, 15 Rue de la Paix, 75002 Paris.

Germany: Fremdenverkehrszentrale Zypem, Kaiserstrasse 50, D-60329 Frankfurt/Main 1.

Great Britain: Cyprus Tourist Office, 213 Regent-Street, London WIR 8DA.

Greece: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, 36, Voukourestiou str., Athens.

Holland:Cyprus Verkeerburean, Prinsengracht 600, 1017 KS Amsterdam.

Israel: Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus, Top Tower 14th Floor, 50 Dizengolfstr., Dizengolf Centre, Tel Aviv 64332.

Italy: Ente Nazionale per il Turismo di Cipro, 6 via S. Sofia, 20122 Milano.

Japan: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Palais France Bldg 729,1-6-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150.

Sweden: Cypriotiska Statens Turistbyra, Birger Jarlsgatan 37, S 11145 Stockholm. Postal address: P.O. Box 7050, 10386 Stockholm.

Switzerland: Fremdenverkehrszentrale Zypem, Gottfried-Keller Strasse 7, CH-8001 Zurich.

USA: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, 13, East 40th Street, New York 10016.

Russian Federation: Cyprus Tourism Organisation, Ul Dmitria Ulianova, 16, Korp. 2, Kv. 125, Moscow, 107292.

We have been able to publish the present tourist information on Cyprus thanks to the co-operation and the participation of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation in Nicosia.